Credit card review: Tesco Clubcard Mastercard
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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 British Airways Avios or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles to help you maximise your travel.
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.
Earning Tesco Clubcard points
Purchases on this card earn Tesco Clubcard points. While many cards in the UK earn points per £1 spent, this card earns points per transaction, not per £1 spent. You will earn the following, per transaction:
- 1 Clubcard point per £4 spent at Tesco supermarkets
- 1 Clubcard per £8 spent everywhere else
So, this means that if you spent £40 at Tesco you would receive 10 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.
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.
How to convert Tesco Clubcard points to British Airways Avios or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles
Tesco Clubcard points can be converted to Avios at a rate of 1:2.4, and Flying Club miles at a rate of 1:2.5. This means 1,000 Clubcard points would be worth 2,400 Avios, or 2,500 Flying Club miles. 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.
Crunching the numbers, that means for purchases above the transaction minimums described above, by paying on this card you would earn the equivalent of 0.3 Avios or 0.3125 Flying Club miles per pound spent, double this for spend at Tesco.
This flexibility to convert between the two programmes (and not be locked to just one) is valuable. You will receive a statement every three months with your Clubcard points, which you can choose to convert to Avios or Flying Club at the above rates. These Tesco vouchers can be obtained faster through the Clubcard app or your online account.
However, this is a low earning rate, especially for Flying Club miles, even for a non-Amex card. And even for big families, you would need to spend more than £50,000 on this card at Tesco alone just to earn enough Avios to take a family of four to Amsterdam or Madrid off-peak using an Avios Reward Flight Saver.
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 Avios or Flying Club transfers.
There’s no interest payable on purchases for the first 26 months of holding the card, although this period may be reduced to 14 or 20 months depending on your individual financial circumstances.
Which cards compete with The Tesco Credit Card?
If you are looking to collect Avios on a non-American Express card, there aren’t many options that compete with this card. However, 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.
This is a complicated offer that is not particularly compelling, especially if you are a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club fan. 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 Clubcards points to BA or Virgin miles.
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