Credit card review: Tesco Clubcard Mastercard

Dec 27, 2020

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As the largest supermarket chain the U.K., many of you may already do your weekly shop at Tesco supermarkets. Tesco personal finance offers a cobranded credit card that allows you to earn and then convert Tesco Clubcard points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Virgin Points miles to help you maximise your travel.

Related: Virgin Red launches with new ways to earn and spend Virgin Points

It’s worth noting that you used to be able to convert your Clubcard points to British Airways Avios, however, as of 18 January 2021, the two are ending their partnership. Now, Virgin Atlantic is the sole airline partner of Tesco Clubcard.

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Who is the Tesco Clubcard for?

Not surprisingly, anyone who regularly shops at Tesco is the target customer for this card. As it is a Mastercard, it may also be attractive for anyone who already holds a high-earning American Express card, but wants a secondary card to earn rewards where American Express may not be accepted.

The earning and redemption structure is reasonably complicated compared to other cards where generally, £1 earns 1 point, which is worth 1p. That said, this card could be great for big Tesco supermarket shoppers to earn Tesco Clubcard rewards.

Sign-up bonus and annual fee

As a basic credit card, there is no annual fee. Unfortunately, there is no sign-up bonus either. So, you won’t get a head start on rewards, which doesn’t make this a very lucrative offer compared with the welcome bonuses of some other cards available right now.

Representative example: 19.9% APR with 19.9% p.a. interest rate on purchases with an assumed credit limit of £1,200.

(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)
Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy. (Photo by Ben Smithson / The Points Guy.)

Earning Tesco Clubcard points

Purchases on this card earn Tesco Clubcard points. While many cards in the U.K. earn points per £1 spent, this card earns points per transaction, not per £1 spent. You will earn the following, per transaction:

  • 5 Clubcard points per £4 spent at Tesco supermarkets
  • 4 Clubcard points per £4 spent on Tesco fuel (excluding Esso)
  • 1 Clubcard per £8 spent everywhere else

So, this means that if you spent £40 at Tesco you would receive 50 Clubcard points. However, if you spent £7 on the card at Waitrose you would not receive any Clubcard points for that transaction.

This makes it a good earn rate for large shopping bills at Tesco, but not good for smaller purchases — especially elsewhere.

Related: How to earn miles and points on petrol purchases

As with most U.K. rewards credit cards, there is a foreign transaction fee — for this card, 2.75%. The foreign transaction fee is significantly higher than the value of the points earned, so you may wish to consider a fee-free card instead.

Note that you will also collect Tesco Clubcard points for spend at Tesco supermarkets at a rate of 1 point per £1 spent (even if you don’t hold this card) by being a member of the normal Clubcard programme by swiping your Clubcard at the till. You can double dip if you pay using this Mastercard.

Related: What are the differences between Tesco Clubcard points and Sainsbury’s Nectar points?

How to convert Tesco Clubcard points to Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Virgin points

Tesco Clubcard points can be converted to Virgin Points at a rate of 1:2.5. This means 1,000 Clubcard points would be worth 2,500 Virgin Points. This means TPG value Clubcard points around 2.9p each making them one of the most valuable points currencies you can collect in the U.K.

Related: How doing your shopping at Tesco can earn you incredible travel rewards

You will receive a statement every three months with your Clubcard points, which you can choose to convert to Flying Club at the above rates. These Tesco vouchers can be obtained faster through the Clubcard app or your online account.

You could also elect to use the Tesco Clubcard vouchers as a discount off your next Tesco spend (or with other partner retailers) at a rate of 100 Clubcard points for £1 off, but this is not good value compared with Flying Club transfers.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
(Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Perks

There’s no interest payable on purchases for the first 15 months of holding the card, although this period may be reduced to 12 or nine months depending on your individual financial circumstances.

Which cards compete with The Tesco Credit Card?

If you’re looking to collect Flying Club miles where American Express may not be accepted, consider either of the:

Both of these cards have a much higher (and simpler) earn rate for everyday purchases as well as welcome bonuses for being approved for the card.

Bottom line

This is a complicated offer that is not particularly compelling unless you plan to spend a lot with Tesco. If you do spend lots of money at Tesco supermarkets, it may make sense, but you will have to spend enormous amounts of money to reap decent travel rewards from this card if you are looking to convert your Tesco Clubcard points to Virgin Points.

Featured image by The Points Guy

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