Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

“Should I convert my £1,800 of Tesco Clubcard vouchers into Avios by 18th January?”

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As we have covered, Tesco Clubcard and Avios are going separate ways on 18th January. Click for the story. This is the last day to send your points over.

It seems that Virgin Flying Club will remain a Tesco Clubcard partner, although Virgin Red – which will take over all non-flying offers for Virgin Points in the new year – has yet to confirm this.

Should I convert Tesco Clubcard points to Avios

A reader writes …..

A reader wrote to me this week asking what he should do with his £1,800 of Tesco Clubcard vouchers, which would convert to well over 400,000 Avios. I thought I would run through what I told him for the benefit of others in a similar boat.

(The reader didn’t explain how he had so many Clubcard points, given the paucity of deals recently. I imagine that he had a Tesco Bank mortgage and received a substantial points compensation payment when Tesco pulled out of the sector.)

In this particular case, the reader has an existing pot of 400,000 Avios. His current plan was – sensibly – to dripfeed the Clubcard points across as he needed them. This meant that he was not at risk if there was a negative change to the Avios scheme.

One concern he has is that, with credit card sign-up bonuses now harder to achieve, he may struggle to obtain more Avios in the future if he does not convert his existing Clubcard points stash.

Tesco Clubcard to BA Avios

My thoughts ….

If we’re honest, for anyone sitting on a small stash of Clubcard vouchers (I have £25-worth unredeemed), there isn’t much at risk. If I move them to Avios and Avios devalues, I haven’t lost a lot.

If you are sitting on larger sums, it does become an issue. Here are some key points to consider:

The ‘Clubcard to Avios’ conversion rate is strong

Getting 2.4 Avios for 1 Clubcard point is a strong exchange rate. It is important to remember this.

Other Clubcard redemptions are not as good as they seem

There are Clubcard redemption offers which claim to offer ‘3x face value’. If this is true, you would be ‘paying’ 1.25p per Avios since the alternative to taking 2.4 Avios is getting a 3p discount on a Pizza Express meal, Hotels.com booking etc.

In many cases, you are NOT getting a genuine 3x. With Hotels.com, for example, Clubcard bookings do not earn Hotels.com Rewards credit which is equivalent to 10% of your spend. This makes it nearer 2.7x.

We did an article recently looking at other travel-related Clubcard deals. Railcard IS a true ‘3x’, as is Eurotunnel, since these brands rarely discount. This isn’t the case for many brands.

Tesco Clubcard to Virgin Points

Virgin Points remain an option

As far as we know, Virgin Atlantic is remaining a Clubcard partner. The transfer rate is marginally better than Avios at 2.5 Points per 1p of Clubcard points.

The airline has a limited route network, however, and it is changing rapidly. No-one can be sure where it will be flying in 12 months or even if it will survive – although the odds are looking better now that travel will pick up before its rescue funding runs out.

With £1,800-worth of vouchers, our reader has a bigger problem than most

One problem for our reader is that he has so many vouchers.

No-one needs £5,400 of Pizza Express vouchers, or Railcard vouchers, or Alton Towers tickets. Many of the travel options are also restricted – the Hilton offer, for example, is OK but restricted to the UK and Ireland. I wouldn’t wish a tour of UK Hilton hotels on anyone …..

My best suggestion was this …..

Assuming that none of the package holidays deals looked attractive, I told the reader to look closely at Hotels.com.

Tesco Clubcard to hotels.com

With over 325,000 hotels globally, he won’t be stuck for options. There is no limit on redemptions – each booking can’t use more than £750 of converted vouchers, but you can back-to-back your stays for a longer trip.

There are reasons NOT to use Hotels.com, especially if you have hotel elite status. Hotels booked through them do not earn points and you won’t receive any status benefits. The reader didn’t say what his hotel elite statuses were.

It is also worth noting that Hotels.com bookings made with Clubcard points are non-refundable.

However, assuming no status, he is diversifying his risk by continuing to sit on his vouchers and assuming he can convert into Hotels.com down the road. This may be a better route than doubling up his existing 400,000 Avios to well over 800,000 Avios.

And here’s the maths behind it …..

Here is a mathematical reason to back up my thinking.

Let’s treat Hotels.com vouchers as worth 2.7x the face value of Clubcard points, instead of the advertised 3x.

£1 of Clubcard vouchers gets you £2.70 of Hotels.com credit or 240 Avios. This means the reader is ‘paying’ 1.125p per Avios (270/240) by giving up the Hotels.com vouchers and taking the miles intead.

However, Avios will regularly sell you points for a little less than 1.125p. There are a couple of 50% ‘buy Avios’ bonuses each year where you will pay just under 1.1p per point.

If 50% bonuses for buying Avios continue, there is no risk to our reader by opting for Hotels.com vouchers instead of Avios.

If he does decide that he needs more Avios down the line, he can use the money he saved on stays by using the Hotels.com vouchers to buy Avios in a future ‘50% bonus’ promotion. He is no worse off and he has reduced his risk by not going ‘all in’ with Avios now.

These are my thoughts. If you disagree with my thinking, please let us know in the comments below.


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 (123)

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

  • Lewis says:

    Do you think your reader was more looking to retain these up until say the 17th Jan for some kind of promotion/incentive to move them?

  • Yuff says:

    That’s exactly what i have been doing for the past couple of years.
    Even changed a junior suite from the Conrad st James to the Savoy, next month, and Tesco points reduced the price of the suite by £750.
    The points were earned several years ago when it was a lot easier to earn Clubcard points

  • BS says:

    It really is down to how you earn avios, and what you use them for, and how you travel. That hotels.com valuation is only valid if you would pay that for a hotel anyway. With corona, many hotels will give you substantial discounts just by calling and asking.
    Having status with BA increases an avios perceived value, because you and gold priority award and/or have extra economy tickets.
    If the reader does frequent last minute tickets then avios is surely better.
    In the current climate with many risks in the travel industry, you should also consider just taking the £1800 as ‘cash’. Outside of specific circumstances, I really do not value an avios highly, at more that 0.3-0.4p.

  • Jonathan says:

    If I were this reader, I’d transfer a bulk of the vouchers into Avios, leaving a few hundred for so for other Clubcard redemptions.

    It’s going to be hard finding such generous and easy way of earning Avios (assuming Tesco is your preferred grocer) when the Avios – Clubcard route ends in just a couple of months, this especially the case now that Amex have made the rules on sign-up bonuses a lot more stricter.

    Another point to also remember is that Clubcard automatically issue vouchers, which will expire if untouched. This isn’t the case with Nectar points that will just sit in your account until used (or expire).

  • charlie says:

    Tesco mortgages paid 1 Clubcard point for every £4 of monthly repayment. Assuming a large mortgage of say £2000 a month, that’s only 500 Clubcard points, or 6000 points (£60) a year.

    When Halifax bought the mortgage book, customers (like me!) were paid in full the remaining points for the rest of their initial fixed term. Assuming a 5 years fix, that’s only 30K (£300) Clubcard points with the above example.

    The reader could have partially paid off the mortgage, and points would have been paid on this too, but during the initial fixed term only 10% would be allowed before penalties. Assuming a £1M mortgage, repayment of £100K would have netted 25K (£250) clubcard points.

    So not impossible to get to £1800 in clubcard points, but the reader probably had a major source of points elsewhere.

    • Ian M says:

      Could well be Clubcard points left over from the days of Tesco Direct. I still have a large pile from then. When the Clubcard hack happened a while back Tesco reissued all my vouchers with a new 3 year expiry

  • Chris Heyes says:

    Rob I’m in the same boat fortunately/unfortunately i have 5mil Avios
    (between 3 of us) but also £1,350 in clubcard points that i class as mostly free due to Daughters partner filling his works vans up at Tesco using my clubcard keyfob and my Amex card, rest Tesco shopping
    He has now stopped with vans, due to his boss discovering Avios lol
    previously his boss didn’t mind him doing it, as long as he got a receipt
    I’m Gold at almost all Hotel chains, so big decision to be made ?
    Already booked and paid next years trips so will only affect 2022 onwards, but that makes the decision harder ?

    • Adam says:

      I disagree. Think it makes your decision easier.

      You’ve got 5m avios – do you spend them quickly enough to warrant putting another 325k over now? If not, you need to anything and leave them as CC points until you decide.

      My personal view (for what it’s worth) is having 5m avois is your biggest risk (from a devaluation).

      Anyone who has that many miles is either earning them quickly or spending them slowly. Either way, transferring more from Clubcard doesn’t make a great deal of sense.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Agree!

      • Genghis says:

        Agreed. It’s why I used my HSBC points for Amazon vouchers.

      • Chris Heyes says:

        Adam Yes i agree but 5mil Avios built up over quite a few years
        Flying 1st class peak times quickly used Avios when there are 3 of you
        Even more quickly if Daughter n Partner n kids want to go.
        As i mentioned the petrol ruse is over due to his boss joining the game
        From 18 January can’t transfer to Avios
        i should also mention it’s a very many years since we paid for any flights (our Europe flights we went club still using Avios some times 5/6 of us)

        • Lady London says:

          @Chris Heyes how did his boss find out? Is boss now filling all the vans himself? Does boss think he’s the only one doing the avios or did(s)he know son was?

          Enquiring minds would like to know .. 🙂

          • Chris Heyes says:

            LL Daughters partner works for a building firm building mainly houses,
            from start to finish quite a few vans though (based north of England Manchester/Liverpool area mainly)
            My daughters partner works for him (only, but in charge of his own gang) organizes what needs to be done orders amounts concrete and what else needs to be ordered ect
            Boss hardly seen lol just sanctions payments ect
            Boss noticed all Vans was always filled up at Tesco’s so asked why
            Was explained was for me (his boss doesn’t know me)
            This was over 12 months ago, but couple of months ago he got a Amex Business card started to use it now
            No boss doesn’t fill vans up himself my son-in-law still fills just not my card
            Was good while it lasted
            Hope Inquiring minds

        • Adam says:

          My point still stands.

          You’ve got 5m miles. Which, give or take at around 170k for a round trip in first is about 30 trips – twice that if you’re using 241.

          Let’s say you find availability for 4 people and you go 2 times a year, that’s nearly 4 years of flying. And that’s assuming you don’t earn a single mile in those 4 years……and you haven’t been using Amex 241’s – which would increase your miles to 8 years worth.

          Is 325k really going to make a difference….?

          • Chris Heyes says:

            Hi,Adam, not sure if you will read this, But it costs 100k Avios each way at least our long haul flights always 3 of us that’s 600k return
            plus we go for 3/4 weeks (usually 3) Fly between airport US Citys by AA using Avios spend 1 week each place then fly next
            Sometimes 120k each way although recently cut down to long flight
            I Think over 15/20 years or more since paid for a flight anywhere
            Was Airmiles when i first started, we actually have two 241s to use before march 2022 (well one because one is used for Denver Aug 21, returning from Pheonix end Aug 2021)

    • Jim says:

      I have never understood whether comments like these are genuine or not. If you genuinely have 5 million Avios points, then why have you not been able to use them? If you’re too busy flying then surely you’re too busy to post here? Or, alternatively why are you keeping onto them, and irrelevaent of that, if you do have that many Avios NOT from flying then surely you are astute enough to know what or not to do with them in the first place? So I’m calling horse poo on you sir. Especially when you say ‘gold at almost all hotel chains’ and ‘boss discovering Avios lol’. It is a nonsense post.

      • Chris Heyes says:

        lol Jim do you not realize how many Avios it costs for 3 on long haul flights in first (or even business) Sorry Jim you don’t have a clue had Platinum until June that gives me “Gold” most Hotel chains if you knew what you was talking about you would have realized that possibility. couldn’t use them due to Covid
        Loads of referrals when Platinum now BA Premium, Partner Gold, brother-in-law Gold, i have 5 supplementary card (Family)
        His boss asked about Avios so daughters partner explained how i used the points

        • Chris Heyes says:

          Wow Jim caused a stare with you good job i didn’t mention the 3 Hotel.com vouchers i have as well lol

  • blenz101 says:

    I agree that hotels.com is currently the best use for a large stash of vouchers in terms of getting value for something that would otherwise cost cash and is not inflated by using a voucher to begin with.

    I think it’s worth highlighting in these Covid times that Tesco have updated the terms of the vouchers to be explicitly clear that vouchers are non-refundable. Even if you book some kind of flexible rate only the cash element of your booking will be returned no matter what the reason for the cancellation.

    If you are certain of your travel plans then it shouldn’t be an issue but if you are making back to back bookings using £750 tokens and events mean you are unable to travel then your voucher is lost and only the taxes and fees you have paid would become refundable.

    If you convert to Avios and things go wrong you can at least obtain a redeposit of your points (to Avios not CC).

    • BuildTheWall says:

      Rob should’ve highlighted this. How many would be comfortable booking non-refundable hotels now?

      • Nick says:

        No, but in the buyer’s market we’re currently in it’s entirely feasible to book very last-minute. Smart people would book a cancellable rate from a chain, then the day before (or even in the lounge while waiting for a flight) look at hotels.com and pick up a bargain. In any case most of my hotels.com bookings have been made while already away (at least pre-covid I tended to like multi-centre stays but often don’t pick the next town(s) once I’ve arrived and got a feel for the place). Assuming you’ve got a UK VPN to access Tesco site, this is when hotels.com can have value.

  • Chelseafi says:

    I’m also in similar position, I’ve got around £1250 between self and OH, just been converting £2.50 to Avios and getting change back to keep from expiring, these were earned from a few years ago now. Like many on here I’ve been waiting for an Avios Bonus conversion that just never came back. I’ve got 600k Avios but think I’ll add the 300k from Tesco to account.

    • Polly says:

      Same here, but only £850 worth. Did the same, keeping them alive. Ours are remaining from the 3v days, and prepaying Of games…thinking will do the avios route, as bonus earning rate way down for us now. But have a stash of 750k already, and that’s with 2 x F/J booked for next year in that sale. Those 241s are just too valuable atm…what to do, that is the question.
      Having BA silver meant We didn’t use avios on CE bk and forth to Dublin too much, only when y unavailable. So easy to book y with exit seat. For such a short flight…
      Just might get some hotels.com vouchers anyway as an option in reserve.

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