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No more Avios or Virgin Flying Club miles from Esso as petrol loyalty sees a big shake up

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There is a major shift underway in petrol station loyalty, with Tesco Clubcard seeing another major blow.

It will hit Virgin Flying Club particularly hard, as they will lose their last branded petrol partner.  This follows the withdrawal of Texaco Star Rewards as a Virgin Atlantic transfer partner recently.

Avios collectors will also be hit.

This is what is happening.

From June 2019, BP is withdrawing from Nectar.  The company is apparently planning to launch a stand-alone loyalty scheme, potentially similar to Shell Drivers Club, although there are no details yet.

BP has announced that it will be rolling out more Marks & Spencer Simply Food outlets at its garages, so there are potentially some options to work with the – pretty pathetic – M&S Sparks scheme.

At the same time, Esso is withdrawing from Tesco Clubcard.  At present, you can earn Clubcard points (which can be converted to Avios or Virgin Flying Club miles) when you buy petrol or in-store items at Esso garages.  This Head for Points article explains the complex earning structure.

Esso will then join Nectar.  This is a little surprising, since Nectar is now wholly owned by Sainsburys and the main Esso retail partner in the UK is …. Tesco.

Unless there are plans to replace all of the Tesco stores at Esso garages with Sainsburys outlets, you are going to be in the weird position of being able to earn Nectar points – but not Clubcard points – at Tesco stores in Esso garages!

BP leaving Nectar

How can I still earn miles from petrol purchases?

For now, everything continues as usual.  From next June, your only options will be:

For Avios collectors – you will need to buy your fuel at a Tesco-branded filling station, where you will be able to earn Clubcard points which can be converted to Avios.  You can also fill up at a Shell garage, earn Shell Drivers Club points, and convert those to Avios.

For Virgin Flying Club collectors – with the ending of the Texaco partnership, your only option will be to buy your fuel at a Tesco-branded filling station and earn Clubcard points, which can be converted to Virgin Flying Club.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

Comments (47)

  • Paul Brennan says:

    If you don’t have it already, get the Esso app. You’ll get 200 bonus points for the first £30 spend and 5th £30 spend. Sounds like you should start this now before the whole Clubcard points thing goes away.

    Oh and also, (this maybe targetted), link your PayPal account to esso app and get £5 back on one time £50 spend on the esso app paid with PayPal. This works in conjunction with the above.

    I did report this to HFP but it clearly wasn’t newsworthy.

    • Rob says:

      Was on Shopper Points!

      • Dan says:

        And I think the PayPal deal is £5 back on £10+ spend?

        Was a bit fiddly to load up and set up in the app, but worked a treat. I topped up £10 exactly and was charged £5.

  • MDA says:

    Wow this sucks.. so first Tesco scrapped the Clubcard boost (4x the value for hotels.com, uber etc) which was very generous, now they will scrap the strategic Esso and Clubcard alliance… I suspect Tesco are charging a higher premium for Esso on their contract renewal with Esso and they told them to do one.. nectar must have been charging a lower premium. Sounds like Tesco are charging a higher premium and at the same time, lowering the value of their points as Clubcard is a household name so they earn the highest amount of profits. Who are the losers? Customers and their partners as usual. I expect nectar to step up their game as they rarely double the value of their points, even their app doesn’t allow you to scan the nectar barcode (Whose bright idea was it to release a Nectar card app but without the ability to scan your barcode?!)

  • Sunguy says:

    Too true on the M&S Sparks comment……I still dont really know why I bother with the scheme – the points dont really seem to mean much – other than being able to check your app to see if they have given you any decent usable(for you) vouchers – so far, mine have been rather feeble and pathetic and waay too time limited.

    • RussellH says:

      I entirely agree on M&S Sparks. I handed my card back about a month after getting it, telling the CS desk it was useless.
      Do not shop there much anyway – too expensive for many things – and when a checkout person asks for my Sparks card I tell them why I no longer have one.
      I do not suppose that my comments get through to anyone of significance though!
      There is a reason why I have never seen it mentioned on Shopper Points, I suspect!

      • Genghis says:

        It’s only good for the priority access to sales stuff and for occasional 20% off offers (occasionally stackable).

      • Aeronaut says:

        Largely a waste of breath telling a cashier something like that really.

      • callum says:

        When I used to work in a supermarket, at best your “type” would get a silent internal groan (“why on Earth does he think I remotely care that he doesn’t like a loyalty scheme that has nothing whatsoever to do with me?”) and at worst you’d be mocked behind your back.

        I’d stop doing that if I was you…

    • Louise says:

      Priority access to 50% off in sale, stock is normally gone by the time everyone gets access and sometimes discount isn’t as good!

    • Frenske says:

      Indeed. I used it because they said they will support a charity but I’m not carying a card for once in a month shopping.

  • Nigel Williams says:

    OT as no bits.

    Currently running Amex Plat (Already upgraded from Gold) and BAPP. Have hit the spend target for the 241 vouncher and referred the OH for her own BAPP and supp card.

    Is the next logical step to cancel *my* BAPP to trigger the 6mth period (since I can use any Amex to pay the taxes on the 241) and self-refer for the Amex Gold Credit card?

    • Polly says:

      Why not refer your OH for the gold cc from your plat, and get 18k MRs. Hope you did, the referral from your plat for the OH bapp! So,yes,you can cancel your bapp and start your new 6 mths wait. Keep a spreadsheet of start and cancel,dates tho, and always make sure one of you is spending towards a target. And on a 6 mths rotation. Are you planning to keep the plat or rotate it?

      Plus when you refer for new card, wait a couple of weeks to add the 1st supplementary. Get 5k for plat, 3k for bapp, 2k for gold.

      • Nigel Williams says:

        Thanks, she already has a gold charge, trying to convince her to run the Plat upgrade before cancelling. Planning on keeping the Plat with a supp and splitting the fee (pays back in lounge fees alone).

        Will kick off a spreadsheet (Dont suppose you have a template, save me re-inventing the wheel?), and am currently spending towards OH’s 241.

        • tom1 says:

          Try your hardest to make sure she does the upgrade – it’s probably the last chance she’ll have to get free Plat (assuming they don’t charge for plat until the anniversary of gold charge).

          If she signs up asap, she can refer you to Gold CC before end of the year, and get herself 18k MR, then the ’90k points for referrals per year limit’ resets on Jan 1st.

        • Genghis says:

          I’d encourage you to develop your own spreadsheet based on your own “appetite” for using Amex.

        • Shoestring says:

          mine’s in my head, more of a spreadsh!t to be honest

        • Yuff says:

          Shoestring
          I’m not alone in how I operate in this game 😄

        • Genghis says:

          Exactly. The whole thought process isn’t that hard. If you follow the basic rules:
          – max referrals from plat
          – extra supps on MR and avios cards
          I’m just a bit of a geek and want to model different scenarios and also know exactly how much I’m actually paying for those avios (0.04p at latest check).

        • Shoestring says:

          Genghis shouldn’t that be £0.004? (Or 0.4p.)

        • Genghis says:

          No. 0.04p. Spending £111 on card fees for a few hundred k avios. Doesn’t take into account what I could have earned using a cash back card but de minimis IMO

        • Shoestring says:

          Flying for free, that’s the dream 🙂

  • David says:

    Esso sites, whether independently owned or as part of a group (MFG, MRH, Eurogarges etc) pay for every point given out. Monthly bills can be pretty substantial. The new “deal” Tesco wanted to negotiate was unsustainable and with Tesco becoming more and more protective over the Clubcard usage, it was time to change.