EXCLUSIVE: No more Avios from Tesco Clubcard
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British Airways and Tesco have decided to part ways. The option to convert your Tesco Clubcard points into Avios is ending soon.
Nothing will change with the partnership between Tesco Clubcard and Virgin Flying Club.
When is Clubcard ending Avios earning?
The last day to initiate a transfer of your Tesco Clubcard points into Avios is 18th January
For those who receive their Clubcard vouchers quarterly, the last day to earn points via Tesco is 22nd October. This is the cut-off date for the November voucher mailing. The next mailing after that will not take place until February, at which point it will be too late to convert.
However, if you have the Tesco app, you can still collect points after 22nd October. This is because app users can turn their Clubcard points into e-vouchers at any time. You simply need to order an e-voucher with your remaining Clubcard points balance by mid January to ensure that it can be converted to Avios by 18th January.
Why is Tesco splitting with British Airways?
It isn’t made clear.
EDIT: Tesco contacted me after the publication of this article to state that it was the decision of British Airways to withdraw from Clubcard. Tesco did not want it to leave the scheme.
However, let me take a guess.
The volume of points transferred from Clubcard to Avios is likely to have fallen sharply in the last couple of years. I have no idea of the exact numbers, although we know that – in 2013 – 2.5 BILLION Avios were ‘bought’ with Tesco Clubcard points. 2.5 billion Avios represents over £10 million of Clubcard vouchers at face value.
I am guessing that number is well down. We have recently seen:
the closure of Tesco Direct, an exceptional source of bonus point opportunities
the closure of Tesco Wine plus other small non-core Tesco companies
the shrinking of Tesco Bank, including the closure of Tesco Mortgages (which earned points) and the closure of Tesco Bank current accounts to new applicants, which earned points for debit card spending
the ending of Clubcard earning at Esso garages, except those with a Tesco Express store
a move towards price discounts rather than bonus points as a way of driving sales in Tesco stores
Tesco’s loss of market share to Aldi and Lidl
Avios has not become less attractive as a conversion option – indeed, I moved back to converting the few Clubcard points I still earn to Avios after two better alternatives (Safestore and Uber) withdrew – but I imagine that the number of Clubcard points in circulation is down.
Does British Airways have a better offer up its sleeve?
British Airways was a small cog in the Tesco wheel. It wasn’t even the only frequent flyer partner – Virgin Atlantic is also in there. You can imagine why Avios may have wanted something more high profile.
On the other hand …. if Tesco was the only deal in town, it would be foolish to walk away. Surely something is up?
What could British Airways be planning?
Good question. There is no obvious solution:
Sainsbury’s? Arguably a better ‘fit’ with the Executive Club customer base, but how would Avios fit with Nectar? There is no chance of Nectar being dropped given that Sainsbury’s now owns it. Would Avios want to be a Nectar conversion partner? The old BA Miles scheme WAS a Sainsbury’s partner many years ago.
Waitrose? Potentially an even better fit with the Executive Club customer base. Waitrose is only a fraction of the size of Tesco, however. It also has no points-based loyalty programme. John Lewis Partnership has a new management team in place so you can’t totally discount this.
Marks & Spencer? It has an even smaller market share in food than Waitrose. It has also just overhauled its useless Sparks loyalty scheme, which remains non-points based, so I can’t see it making more changes so soon.
Asda / Morrisons? Unlikely. Asda has literally just been sold so I doubt it had been planning fundamental loyalty changes. Both chains have focused on price over points. The same goes for Aldi and Lidl, times ten.
What are the options, realistically?
Perhaps Avios becomes a Nectar transfer partner ….. although this would disturb the whole Avios ecosystem since many Nectar partners compete with Avios partners. The maths doesn’t work either. At present, £1 spent in Tesco earns you 2.4 Avios. Assuming a 2 Nectar to 1 Avios conversion rate, £1 spent in Sainsbury’s would only earn 0.5 Avios. It wouldn’t get many people to switch.
Perhaps Waitrose launches an Avios scheme via card-based earning …. there would be no points scheme BUT you could earn via your credit or debit card spend being tracked. Waitrose offered this with Virgin Atlantic for a while but it was never ‘official’ – Waitrose never promoted it. It would be expensive for Waitrose, however, given that they wouldn’t be getting much in the way of customer data in return.
Perhaps Waitrose and John Lewis launch a combined loyalty scheme (this is believed to be coming soon after a trial in a handful of areas). This could have some points-based element with Avios as one of a small number of partners. The John Lewis Partnership credit card could potentially also be pulled into this with its current 0.25% cashback offering 0.25 Avios an alternative.
The last option makes most sense, but is very hypothetical at the moment. We may need to wait until 19th January to find out.
Please share your craziest Tesco Avios-earning offers
If you’ve been collecting Avios seriously for less than five years, you won’t understand how fundamental Tesco Clubcard used to be.
You won’t look at the package below and shudder …..
Share your best or most notorious Tesco Clubcard deal in the comments. Most of them pre-date Head for Points (so pre-2012) so we are going back a long way.
For more information …..
Take a look at BA’s Tesco page here. At the time of writing there is nothing on Tesco’s BA page here.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (April 2023)
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 Mastercard
25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review
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 American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
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.
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable 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 10,500 Avios.
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers 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
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.
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year 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.