If you shop at Tesco you may be aware of the long running promotion where you earn 150 Clubcard points on every £50 worth of giftcards purchased instore or online. This includes all third party giftcards (i.e. those for retailers that are not Tesco), Tesco's own giftcards don't count as you earn the Clubcard points when you redeem them.

At base value 150 Clubcard points are worth £1.50 in store, but Tesco have so many double or treble promotions you can get much better value than this. You can also transfer your points to Avios (British Airways) or Flying Club (Virgin Atlantic) at a very generous rate.

What is more surprising is that Tesco have started stocking Marks and Spencer gift cards in their stores. This means with a bit of planning you can also effectively earn Clubcard points at M&S if you shop at both M&S and Tesco.

The key to earning a significant amount of points if to stop thinking of these cards as gifts for other people but also buy them for yourself for retailers you shop with anyway.

Tesco have loads of gift cards for various chain restaurants (Pizza Express, Nandos, Jamies Italian and many more), cinemas, DIY stores, clothes stores, even online gaming. The exact range varies by store but Tesco Extra stores tend to have the largest range, although some Express stores have a few on display. So if there's a gift card for a place you use fairly regularly then go ahead and get it.

It's effectively free money as long as you were going to use these retailers in the first place. I can see many people who buy lunch at M&S but do their main shop at Tesco could benefit from this.

If you were to spend £100 on gift cards at Tesco you would get 300 Clubcard points, this is worth £3 in store but can be used at 4x value in numerous chain restaurants, 2x value on rail travel (via Redspottedhanky) or transferred to British Airways or Virgin Atlantic.

If you were to spend £100 on gift cards in Sainsbury's you would get 100 Nectar points, this is worth 50p in store and the most generous offers would only be worth double that. You need to have a minimum of 500 Nectar points to redeem anything.

Key points:

  • You don't have to spend the gift cards all at once. So for example if you buy a £50 M&S gift card at Tesco you can use it at M&S until it runs out of value.
  • If you don't have enough money on your gift card you can pay the remainder by cash or card.
  • If you're buying something more expensive than the value of the gift card you can use multiple ones.
  • If you spend less than £50 on gift cards you get nothing. You get 150 points for each multiple of £50.
  • Some Tesco machines have issues with processing too many cards at one time. So if necessary split transactions up into blocks of £100 if doing many.