Thursday, 1 August 2013



As many of you are undoubtedly aware, every few months, Tesco runs a promotion on their range of original HP printer ink cartridges, buy 2 get 500 bonus Tesco club card points.  This is one of the most regular promotions that Tesco runs, it seems to crop up every 2-3 months. Regulars will know that Tesco clubcard points can be converted to BA Avios, at the rate of 600 Avios for every 250 clubcard points.

The promotion each time has the potential to provide good points accruing possibilities, by buying the most cost effective ink cartridge, and then sell them for a small loss. However the range of ink cartridges, the prices, the multi-buy offers and discount vouchers, makes it impossible to offer a specific recommendation for the ink cartridge that provides the best return for the cash outlay.

I have however come up with a generic set of criteria which when correlated together, have worked well personally, and can be used as the basis for your own decision making process. These rules include the discount offers that are currently available, but of course the specific active codes vary from time to time and vary in amount.

  1. Typical eBay pricing of the ink cartridge (or your preferred sales outlet)
  2. Mis-price Tesco pricing. Ocassionally, Tesco will advertise one price, but when you put the ink cartridge into your basket, it'll come up with a different price. This seems to particularly arise when there is a discount for buying multiple items. The single price might be say £20, and the offer might say, "save £6, 2 for £38", but the basket will cost it out @ £34.
  3. The frequency the ink cartridge sells on your preferred outlet. There is no point in buying ink cartridges, if they are poor sellers.
  4. Weigh up the overall amount lost, after postage sales fees etc, taking into account 1&2 above, and weigh that against the number of cartridges that can be purchased for as close to, but over £100 (see below), whilst ensuring an even number are purchased, as the 500 bonus points applies per pair of ink cartridges bought.
  5. Apply a £10 of £100 (online), or £20 off £100 in-store, remembering that in-store will not have the online mis-pricing, nor the online discount that some inks attract for multiple purchases. So in-store must be no more than £10 more expensive than online, otherwise the better offer is online.
  6. For online orders, use click and collect so as you don't incur any Tesco P&P costs.
  7. When selling, price your cartridges to encourage multiple purchases. These cartridges tend to be a size and weight, that posting 2 costs the same amount as posting 1. So if you can sell 10 cartridges in batches of 2 each, you halve your postage costs. Postage is a significant cost, the cheapest small parcel, sent by 2nd class post, will cost £2.60.
  8. If ordering online, go either via TopCashBack, or go via the BAEC estore.
  9. Don't go overboard. If you buy too many inks, Tesco might reasonably consider that you are no longer acting as a consumer, and might remove the points.

The last line warrants further explanation. (and indeed, have an estore, that will give you extra avios directly into your BAEC account, if you shop online through the estore portal. The rate for Tesco is currently 2 avios for every £1 spent (excluding vat). So £100 spent will get you 168 avios. But you should consider the topcashback option first.
TOPCASHBACK is a website that gives you cashback, if you shop with various online shops via their portal. Recently, they have added the option to allow you to take your cashback in Tesco clubcard points instead of money. So you can earn extra tesco clubcard points, simply by going to Tesco direct via the topcashback website.

The maximum cashback that you can convert to Tesco clubcard points is £50 per year, so if you have already earned that, then you should use the BAEC estore instead. Also note that the amount of cashback is variable based on the current cashback offer, and it also varies based on the type of tesco product you are buying. You need to check out the Topcashback website to determine the exact cashback being offered.

If you are new to Topcashback, can I suggest you use any of the links on this page to sign up. In doing so, I'll get a small commission from Topcashback, and I'd be most grateful.

Summing up

The above strategy for purchasing HP ink carts during a points promotion, can generally result in getting clubcards points for around an overall cost of 1p per point. At times, when pricing and vouchers are favourable, I have managed to get them at substantially less than 0.5p per point.

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