In the past, I’ve explained that the best way to grow your Avios or Virgin miles balance quickly is to diversify the ways in which you earn them. You should try and collect miles from as many different sources as possible.
That means you should run through all of your daily activities and consider whether there’s a way to earn miles just by going about your regular routine.
Filling your car up with petrol is one such activity. And there’s a simple trick that allows you to double the amount of Tesco Clubcard points – and by extension airline miles – you earn when doing so.
The examples in this article are based on filling up at an actual Tesco-branded petrol station. Esso petrol stations which may/may not have a Tesco shop attached also earn Clubcard points but at a reduced rate and thus don’t feature here.
Part 1 – Choosing the right Clubcard
Most purchases you make at Tesco will earn 1 Clubcard point per £1, however fuel purchases only earn a reduced rate of 1 Clubcard point per £2 spent.
Here’s a clever method to double that and receive a full 1 Clubcard point per £1 instead.
At the bottom of some (older) Tesco Bank credit cards, you’ll see a Clubcard number printed there.
This indicates that you’re able to use your credit card as a Clubcard if you wanted to – and there’s a good reason to do so when filling up with petrol.
A quick check of your receipt after using a Tesco credit card as a Clubcard when filling up will show that you’re received an increased 1 Clubcard point per £1.
What if I don’t/can’t usually pay for my petrol with my Tesco credit card?
There are a number of situations when you wouldn’t normally use your Tesco credit card to pay for petrol.
If travelling for work you might have a company credit card that you’re supposed to use for expenses such as fuel. Or you might be putting all of your daily spending towards a sign-up bonus on a different card.
The key here is that just because you use your Tesco credit card as a Clubcard doesn’t mean you have to use it to pay!
How it works
The process is very simple:
- When paying at the pump, you’ll first be prompted to scan your Clubcard.
- Simply insert your Tesco credit card
- After a moment you’ll be asked if you wish to pay with this card, press no and remove your credit card.
- You can then insert whichever card you wish to pay with and complete your payment as normal.
If you’re paying at a cashier just tell them what you want to do and hand over both your Tesco credit card and your desired payment card – this won’t be an issue.
Part 2 – Which payment card should you be using?
The next step in this process is to work out which payment card you should use to pay if the choice is yours. Ideally, it should be the one that earns you the most reward points in your scheme of choice.
For Clubcard points or Avios
The most generous card is actually the Tesco Premium credit card.
Remember that: 1 Clubcard point = 2.4 Avios
1 Clubcard point (2.4 Avios) per £1 (enhanced rate using the Clubcard trick above) + 1 Clubcard point (2.4 Avios) per £1 (Tesco Premium) = 4.8 Avios per £1
Joint third place
The Amex Gold, Platinum and Starwood cards, as well as the HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard all earn 1 Avios per £1. When combined with the Clubcard trick that would give you a total of 3.4 Avios per £1
If you prefer Virgin miles
If you’d rather collect Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles, it potentially gets more interesting.
The best option is still the Tesco Premium Credit Card.
Remember that: 1 Clubcard point = 2.5 Virgin miles
1 Clubcard point (2.5 Virgin miles) per £1 (enhanced fuel Clubcard rate for swiping a Tesco credit card) + 1 Clubcard point (2.5 Virgin miles) per £1 ( (Tesco Premium) = 5 Virgin miles per £1.
A close second place
If you paid with the Virgin Black Credit Card (currently closed to new applicants, unfortunately) which earns 2 Virgin miles per £1 you could end up with the following:
1 Clubcard point (2.5 Virgin miles) per £1 (enhanced fuel Clubcard rate for swiping a Tesco credit card) + 2 miles per £1 (Virgin Black) = 4.5 Virgin miles per £1
It’s worth bearing in mind that other factors may also influence your choice of payment card. If working towards triggering a card sign-up bonus you may be happy to pay with that card, even if it earns slightly less per £1 than another of your cards.
This a useful trick to be aware of, with virtually no extra effort required. It’s simply a case of knowing what to use when.
To sum up, the best card to use together with this trick if you’re after Avios, Virgin miles or just Clubcard points is the Tesco Premium Credit Card.
The Clubcard trick I’ve outlined plus using the Tesco Premium card to pay would net you 2 Clubcard points/4.8 Avios/5 Virgin miles for every £1 you spend on petrol!
Even if you don’t have or want the Tesco Premium Credit Card, make sure to swipe any other (free) Tesco credit card when filling up to double your Clubcard points. I have an old version that stays in my wallet just for that reason.