Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

How to earn Avios or Virgin Flying Club miles via a Tesco current account

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Since 2014, when Tesco launched its current account, it has been possible to earn Avios or Virgin Flying Club miles with your day-to-day debit card banking.

The main reason we don’t cover it much is that Tesco never offers bonuses for moving your banking across.  Barclays Premier is currently offering 25,000 Avios if you switch, whilst HSBC Premier is offering £175 – and you can then get the Avios-earning HSBC Premier credit cards.  The current M&S offer is £180 if you keep your account for 12 months.

It seemed logical to me that Tesco Bank could afford to offer 10,000 Clubcard points (24,000 Avios or 25,000 Virgin miles) at some point.  But, apart from a couple of very tightly targeted trials, there has never been an incentive to sign up in the five years that the account has been running.

Here is the Tesco Bank website promoting the current account.

The account is totally free.

How do you earn Avios with the Tesco current account?

You will earn Clubcard points on all of your debit card transactions:

1 point per £1 spent in Tesco (2.4 Avios per £1 / 2.5 Virgin miles per £1)

1 point per £8 spent elsewhere (0.3 Avios per £1 / 0.31 Virgin miles per £1)

The ‘1 point per £1’ spent in Tesco is a very generous benefit.  If you are spending £100 per week in Tesco, which includes Tesco Fuel, you would earn 12,480 Avios or 13,000 Virgin Flying Club miles per year if you put all of this spending onto your debit card.  That is on top of the base Clubcard points you would receive irrespective of how you pay.  This is a pretty attractive deal.

Even the ‘1 point per £8 spent elsewhere’ is attractive.   Whilst you would be better off in most circumstances using a loyalty credit card instead, it is not always possible to avoid using a debit card.

There is ‘small print’ attached to the ‘1 Clubcard point per £8 spent on the debit card’.  All payments to ‘banks and financial institutions’ are exempt.  This means that you cannot pay your mortgage, pay off a credit card bill or pay money into a savings account.

It DOES work with payments to the Inland Revenue but that is not something that most people can benefit from.  If you DO pay HMRC, you will get a better deal by getting a Curve Card and linking it to a generous Visa or Mastercard credit card.

As with the Tesco Clubcard Mastercard, it is worth noting that debit card spending is rounded down to the nearest multiple of £8.  A £7.99 lunch payment will earn you exactly zero Clubcard points.  This is a major deterrent unless you are using the card for large transactions.

A little bit of interest too

Current account holders receive 1% interest on the first £3,000 in the account.  

To earn this interest rate, you must pay in at least £750 and have at least three direct debits paid from your account per statement month.

Foreign exchange use of the debit card incurs a 2.75% fee.

Conclusion

The Tesco Bank current account was not competitive when it launched but it has improved.   If we’re honest, it has also benefited from competitors reducing the benefits on their products.

The lack of a moving bonus remains problematical.  If you are fed up with your existing bank, turning down £180 from M&S or 25,000 Avios from Barclays Premier in order to earn a few Avios in the future is not necessarily a great deal.

Curve Card has also changed the game a little.  Curve Card is a free debit card (in fact, they pay you £5 for trying it) which recharges your purchases to most linked points-earning credit Visa or Mastercard.  Making your debit card payments, such as HMRC or council tax, with Curve allows you to earn points on whatever Visa or Mastercard you wish.  You can find out more about Curve and how to get your free £5 sign-up credit in this article.

Is it worth the trouble of moving your current account to Tesco Bank?  For me, I’m not sure.

I have VAT, PAYE and income tax payments but I can put some of these – not all, due to Curve’s transaction limits – through Curve and earn miles and points that way.  I have no other major debit card payments.

I don’t spend a lot in Tesco – perhaps £5 per week at our Tesco Express – so ‘1 point per £1 on the debit card’ isn’t worth much

I would have no problem keeping a £3,000 balance on the account, but £30 of annual interest (which is £30 more than I get from HSBC at present) – less income tax – is not a big enough incentive

For some people, however, this package may well stack up.  If you’re sick of your current account provider it may be time to switch – although, for clarity, you can keep your old bank account open and still take advantage of this deal as long as you move your salary and three direct debits across.

You can find out more about the Tesco Bank current account here.


How to earn Avios points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (August 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

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

Comments (13)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Gemma says:

    Just a note that, if it works for inland revenue it should work when paying your childcare bill via the gov website as well. When you have a 4 figure childcare bill each month, it could start to stack up. I’ve just received my card from Tesco and will give it a go this week.

    • Ammar says:

      Hi Gemma. I tried my curve with underlying HSBC credit card but it would not go through. My starking debit card was fine. Have you tried any other methods to earn points?

    • Nate1309 says:

      Curve does not work on the childcare gov website as it doesn’t have have 3DS. 🙁

    • mvcvz says:

      LOL at having children. Quadruple LOL at a four-figure monthly childcare bill.

      • Rob says:

        £40k for a decent nanny doing 12 hour days.

        We are now past ‘peak nanny’ luckily and have gone for a part time (2-7) housekeeper / nanny.

    • Jo says:

      Yes this works on childcare gov. With two kids in nursery and using the pay+ app for occasional express shopping, it all stacks up for having one of these accounts.

  • Anwar says:

    I pretty much do the same thing. I also use the Pay+ app which makes it a lot easier and gets the 4.8 per £1 you mentioned.

    • Liz says:

      Same here – we do all our shopping in Tesco and have done so since the late 80’s. No Waitrose in Dundee! Hoping for another Pay+ bonus soon. We are also considering their new Plus offer as we spend a fair bit in Tesco – also now doing in laws shopping with ours plus petrol and 3 tesco mobile phones so will be worth it for us.

  • Yawn says:

    I cancelled my Tesco account when the interest dropped from 3% to 1%. It’s hard to claim that this account has improved since it launched…

    • Liz says:

      We had 2 accounts and we closed one when the rate dropped. The other one I had before you needed 2 direct debits and pay in £750 so i just keep £500 in it and top up when I spend on it each month.

  • filipino_chino says:

    Tesco account…

    I keep £1k in and then just transfer in when i have a large transaction, such as £5k deposit on my car, HMRC which i pay for my entire family (they send me the money and i pay on my card)…

    Just a word of warning, Tesco did call me up and asked me if i was paying HMRC for myself or for a company as we sold some big assets in our family, so our tax bill was very large… Anyway, all fine – i get around £300 in Tesco vouchers per year – not converted them…

    Tesco account is good for large transactions, for savings go to another place

  • jimA says:

    Don’t switch your account to Tesco, take it out as a second account (just need to hit the DD targets and jump through the usual ID hoops) then if attractive switch offer appears you are in prime position

    • Mark M says:

      Agred – rotating standing orders work fine to keep the min. £ xxx per month requirement alive. For Tesco and other banks too.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.