3V cards | master thread

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Old Dec 31, 13, 4:00 am   -   Wikipost
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*** NS&I & HMRC NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR 3V USE ***

Introduction 3V cards and Avios
Tesco gives 150 Clubcard point (convertible to 360 Avios/375 Virgin Miles) for every 50 spent on gift cards. These include the 3V 'Internet Shopping' Visa gift cards (which carry no fee) and have the ability to be recycled back into cash or to pay off bills where an Avios earning card is not accepted. To earn the points just purchase in multiples of 50; you combine with other gift cards (e.g. iTunes, Prepay Visa cards (with fee), Nandos etc).

Spending 3V cards
The original loophole of recycling 3V cards via NS&I direct saver accounts appears to have been closed as of 12/12/13. Other potential routes to dispose of cards can be found here, although this list is now out of date and some disposal methods listed are no longer available.

Current Disposal Options
Following the discontinuation of the NS&I loophole the following websites are still accepting payment by 3V and may be an ongoing useful source of 3V spend to collect points:-

Sky (but there are reports of Sky reversing the transactions); Orange/EE; BT; Virgin Media;Talk Talk, topcashback.co.uk (gift cards); PayPal; Highstreet Vouchers; ParentPay, United Utilities, EDF Energy, Scottish Power, Npower, Amazon (via giftcard), VoucherExpress

Purchasing cards at Tesco
It is strongly recommended when purchasing 3V cards at Tesco that a maximum of 4 cards is purchased in any one transaction (and ensure you have all four activation slips before leaving the store) due to the system limitations of Tesco's checkouts giving rise to potentially being charged for cards which haven't activated. Official Tesco advice to stores is for a maximum of 5 cards (although in this scenario no Clubcard points would be earned on the fifth card). Store policy on how many cards you can take away in one visit is variable although in an unknown store it is wise not to immediately draw too much attention to your activity - if staff are happy to proceed then you can always build to larger quantities before they decline to sell you more.

Non-Tesco 3V outlets
3V cards can also be found in Morrisons, Boots & Homebase. With Morrisons usually having large quantities, sometimes in excess of 100 cards per store and the offer of 1p off of every litre of fuel for every 10 spent makes this is a very good alternative if you're having problems locating stock at Tesco.
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Old Aug 31, 13, 3:57 am
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3V cards | master thread

For those who don't know what a 3V card is see the BA Tesco thread or Raffles blog: http://www.headforpoints.com/2013/08...-surprisingly/

I'm finding it difficult to find 3V cards now and when I do the store gets cleared out very quickly of them presumably by other FT/HFP readers.

3V cards are virtual Visa cards, there's no fee to purchase them, but you don't get a physical Visa card, just a number and the security details are emailed to you when you register.

Tesco also does another type of Visa gift card which is more plentiful in supply. These include a physical Visa card in the packaging but there's also a fee attached to them. The 25 card costs 2.95 (on top of face value) and the 50 card costs 3.95.

Now as Tesco is giving out 'Helping Hand' coupons for 5 off when you spend 50 or more you can use these coupons to wipe out the fee. You get 150 Clubcard points (360 Avios) per 50 of gift cards, plus points on whatever you spend on your credit card.

As you need to buy in multiples of 50 I think the 50 cards are decent value with a 3.95 fee, but not the 25 cards as buying two of them would cost 5.90 in fees.

Even if you have no helping hand coupons these cards still may be worth it (if there's no 3V available, they'll always be better) depending how much you value an Avios.

50 card = 53.95 incl fees. 150 Clubcard Points = 360 Avios.

e.g. bmi Plus Amex cardholders (2.5 miles per pound, convertible 1:1 for Avios):
132.5 miles earned on card spend (MBNA seems to allow fractions of miles to be carried forward)

Total: 492.5 Avios

BA Amex PP (2 Avios per pound):
106 miles earned on card spend.

Total: 466 Avios

PS I think it's always a good idea to buy something in the store when going for gift cards even if it's just something small like a packet of Jaffa Cakes, if their analysis shows that people who buy gift cards also buy other items they're more likely to keep promotions like this running. Also when I've transferred 3V to NS&I savings accounts I keep the money in NS&I until I need to withdraw it rather than taking it out ASAP, if everyone withdraws their NS&I cash as soon as it clears I can see NS&I blocking 3V cards.

Last edited by Prospero; Dec 11, 13 at 4:25 pm Reason: Update title
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Old Aug 31, 13, 4:30 am
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Good points RE keeping under the radar layz.

Bizarrely I find 3V cards in every Tescos I go to this week after many weeks of no luck - I check with Tesco website that they have a "gift card store". Perhaps they are getting better at stocking, or are clearing out all their prebought 3Vs before they stop selling them. Or its random luck.

I'll name one Tescos, for fellow readers, as I left them with dozens of 3V cards (Thursday evening): Thetford superstore just off the A11.

I have an Amex Gold in its first year, and I seem to be getting triple MR points at Tescos (bonus rate in first year). Note thats the current Amex gold not any grandfathered rate.

So per 50 I have been getting:
150 (tesco CC points)
150 (Amex MR points)
Avios at base rates
150+(150/250*600)=510 Avios per 50

Both Amex and Tescos seem to fairly regularly have better conversion deals so 510 is the minimum avios.
Plus the 2000 spend on the gold triggers the 20,000 point bonus. Which wont be a problem with all the 3V cards! And I'm rolling in 5 off for 40 and 5p a litre vouchers.

3V used for Council tax (Cambridge city), giffgaff topup so far, and now have the NSI account.

Long may 3V cards continue
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Old Aug 31, 13, 4:34 am
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Originally Posted by layz View Post
For those who don't know what a 3V card is see the BA Tesco thread or Raffles blog: http://www.headforpoints.com/2013/08...-surprisingly/

I'm finding it difficult to find 3V cards now and when I do the store gets cleared out very quickly of them presumably by other FT/HFP readers.

3V cards are virtual Visa cards, there's no fee to purchase them, but you don't get a physical Visa card, just a number and the security details are emailed to you when you register.

Tesco also does another type of Visa gift card which is more plentiful in supply. These include a physical Visa card in the packaging but there's also a fee attached to them. The 25 card costs 2.95 (on top of face value) and the 50 card costs 3.95.

Now as Tesco is giving out 'Helping Hand' coupons for 5 off when you spend 50 or more you can use these coupons to wipe out the fee. You get 150 Clubcard points (360 Avios) per 50 of gift cards, plus points on whatever you spend on your credit card.

As you need to buy in multiples of 50 I think the 50 cards are decent value with a 3.95 fee, but not the 25 cards as buying two of them would cost 5.90 in fees.

Even if you have no helping hand coupons these cards still may be worth it (if there's no 3V available, they'll always be better) depending how much you value an Avios.

50 card = 53.95 incl fees. 150 Clubcard Points = 360 Avios.

e.g. bmi Plus Amex cardholders (2.5 miles per pound, convertible 1:1 for Avios):
132.5 miles earned on card spend (MBNA seems to allow fractions of miles to be carried forward)

Total: 492.5 Avios

BA Amex PP (2 Avios per pound):
106 miles earned on card spend.

Total: 466 Avios

PS I think it's always a good idea to buy something in the store when going for gift cards even if it's just something small like a packet of Jaffa Cakes, if their analysis shows that people who buy gift cards also buy other items they're more likely to keep promotions like this running. Also when I've transferred 3V to NS&I savings accounts I keep the money in NS&I until I need to withdraw it rather than taking it out ASAP, if everyone withdraws their NS&I cash as soon as it clears I can see NS&I blocking 3V cards.
The helping hands coupon specifically excludes gift cards.I will try to use 1 monday when the start date opens,but my tesco has become a little cute of late,and even with some shopping items have been refusing to accept these as part payment.
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Old Aug 31, 13, 4:40 am
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Good choice of mobile operator there! Do you ever top up giffgaff using O2 vouchers from Tesco? A few times in 2012 I received bonus points vouchers from Tesco for buying O2 top ups.

I mentioned one place where I seen these gift cards, mentioned it here, went back the next day (less than 12 hours later) and there were gaps where the 3V used to be

I'm really surprised this keeps on going.

I use 3V on two things:
- I buy rail e-vouchers on eastcoast.co.uk, I've prepaid what I estimate to be a years train travel this way. They can be used on any train operator.
- The rest in NS&I.

Originally Posted by rapidex View Post
The helping hands coupon specifically excludes gift cards.I will try to use 1 monday when the start date opens,but my tesco has become a little cute of late,and even with some shopping items have been refusing to accept these as part payment.
In my case I've never had a problem before using these with gift cards, as long as I buy something else at the same time.

If I joined the queue with an onion and 20 3V cards then they might have said something

Of course, each store will vary.

If you go to a Tesco nearly every day anyway (close to work or home) and have a supply of helping hands then there's not much to lose by just adding a single 50 gift card to your shopping.

Last edited by Prospero; Dec 11, 13 at 2:46 pm Reason: Combine consecutive posts
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Old Aug 31, 13, 4:51 am
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Yes I try to always buy O2 topups in Tescos for the points, and because giffgaff dont take amex themselves. I haven't had any bonus vouchers though, perhaps I dont buy enough. I normally just use it PAYG, most of the time my S3 is on Wifi, so dont need mobile data 99% of the time, and when I would like it I'm abroad and its madly expensive - even on giffgaff.

Trains, aha. Good plan, though I commute by car, so trains are a minimal use for me, but a really useful one for others who spend 1000s a year.
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Old Aug 31, 13, 5:18 am
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Originally Posted by Colcannon View Post
Yes I try to always buy O2 topups in Tescos for the points, and because giffgaff dont take amex themselves. I haven't had any bonus vouchers though, perhaps I dont buy enough. I normally just use it PAYG, most of the time my S3 is on Wifi, so dont need mobile data 99% of the time, and when I would like it I'm abroad and its madly expensive - even on giffgaff.

Trains, aha. Good plan, though I commute by car, so trains are a minimal use for me, but a really useful one for others who spend 1000s a year.
It may be because I bought a few months top ups in advance to increase my total spend before I handed over a double points coupon. It meant that in Tesco's eyes there was a spike in my top up buying and then I stopped buying them for a few months so they wanted to encourage me to start again.

I often get bonus vouchers to encourage me to buy things I used to buy but don't anymore.
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Old Aug 31, 13, 5:50 am
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If you can't find any 3V cards...

At 510 avios for each £50 turned over even the 3.95 fee would be worth it for some people. The people who buy avios anyway I mean
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Old Aug 31, 13, 6:04 am
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Are you sure you get the 150 bonus points for the Visa cards?

On the Tesco Giftcard website it says
"150 Clubcard points awarded when you spend 50 in a single transaction on selected gift cards in store, excluding Tesco Gift Cards and Visa branded cards. Points will appear on your next available Clubcard Statement."
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Old Aug 31, 13, 6:15 am
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There were about a dozen of these in Tesco Dundee last week for those still searching
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Old Aug 31, 13, 6:45 am
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Originally Posted by travellingblade View Post
Are you sure you get the 150 bonus points for the Visa cards?

On the Tesco Giftcard website it says

Yes, I'm sure.
For me they have. Headforpoints says same, what ever the Tesco site says, their system gives 150.

I buy them in sets of 2*25 and the 150 have posted for each and every set, which is dozens of sets. I feel 2*25 avoids triggering and possible single transaction alarms, and maximises the vouchers. I got 2*150 points when I bought 4*25 though (first 3v purchase).
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Old Aug 31, 13, 11:52 am
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I left 10 3vs on the rack at AIRDRIE Tesco yesterday evening. Bought 14. Nice young girl at checkout was happy to process them in batches of 4, + 2, shared between 2 Club Cards
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Old Aug 31, 13, 12:40 pm
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Originally Posted by olybeast View Post
At 510 avios for each 50 turned over even the 3.95 fee would be worth it for some people. The people who buy avios anyway I mean
Luckily some of us get 680 (the old 800 conversion rate per 2.50 of vouchers, plus 2 Avios per pound on the BMI AmEx).

I have had mixed fortunes using the helping hand vouchers in the past for vouchers, but if you choose the least experienced looking cashier and buy another few things too then it normally works.... I have about 8 helping hand vouchers to try next week
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Old Aug 31, 13, 3:57 pm
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Originally Posted by travellingblade View Post
Are you sure you get the 150 bonus points for the Visa cards?

On the Tesco Giftcard website it says
That's old information, must not have updated it. Originally Visa cards didn't count, now they definitely do (most recent purchase yesterday).

http://www.tesco.com/giftcard/faq.asp#visa

Do I get Clubcard points when I buy a Visa Gift Card?
If you're a Clubcard customer, you'll earn 150 Clubcard points for every 50 you spend in a single transaction on Branded Gift Cards (including the Visa branded Cards) at the time of purchase.
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Old Aug 31, 13, 4:30 pm
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nothing in Reading and surround areas....
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Old Aug 31, 13, 4:54 pm
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There's already a Tesco thread in this forum - could we ask a mod to bury this business in there?
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