Do you understand Avios / Virgin ShopsAway / Bink in-store ‘card clash’?

Both Avios and Virgin Flying Club have launched some interesting in-store earning opportunities recently.  We also featured the Bink loyalty app late last year which lets you earn Avios in High Street retailers.

All of these deals work in the same way.  You register your credit cards with the relevant points provider and give them permission to access Visa / MasterCard / Amex’s transaction records.  They receive card data on transactions at specific retailers and, when your card number is spotted, you receive points.

The key Virgin Atlantic partner is Waitrose.  You earn 4 Flying Club miles per £1 spent instore, as I wrote here.

The key Avios partner is probably Caffe Nero.  You earn up to 10 Avios per £1 spent instore, as I wrote here.

The only Bink Avios-earning partner so far is PizzaExpress.  You earn 3-6 Avios per £1 spent instore, as I wrote here.

But …..

It appears that there is some element of ‘card clash’ at work here.

Importantly, registering a card for one of these services appears to stop you using the same card with a competing service, even for different retailers.

Waitrose

I can’t get to the bottom of it, however.

This is what I do know – the last Avios points I received from Caffe Nero were dated 6th February.  Nothing has turned up since then.  (This is not linked to the block on using Visa cards with Nero as I only use an Amex there.)  At some point after that, I registered the same payment cards with the Virgin programme so that I could earn in Waitrose – and those points have been posting OK.  Avios from all of my recent Pizza Express visits have also been paid OK via Bink.

This wording has appeared in the small print of the Avios instore shopping channel:

“You might not earn Avios In Store if the same payment card is registered with another ‘card-linked offer’ programme. To avoid this, ensure that you delete or remove the card from any other ‘card linked offer’ programmes.”

This is vague.  I can understand why their could be problems if, for example, the same retailer was participating in both the Avios and Virgin instore shopping schemes (and some are in both, for example Ernest Jones).  But does it mean that if I register an Amex card with the Avios instore scheme I cannot use it to collect Virgin miles via Waitrose, who are not with Avios?

I know that some other readers have stopped receiving Caffe Nero Avios after registering for Waitrose / Virgin miles.  There doesn’t appear to be any issues with cards linked to Bink, despite the warning that the Avios e-store is putting out.

We don’t have a lot of evidence though.  If you’ve got any experience of ‘card clash’ when using the same payment card with Avios and / or Virgin, please post your experiences in the comments.

Two generous Hilton competition prizes just for UK residents
Bits: Priority Pass adds sleep pods in Dubai, last chance for TopCashback / Avios bonus
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. Might the problem also apply to registering a card with topcashback? Can’t recall if Quidco have one as well.

    Maybe contact TCBs support to see if they know as might be a better response?

    • Bongola says:

      I would imagine that this is the case. Which is not a major issue for Amex cards with me as Quidco don’t allow them for in store shopping but a pain nevertheless.

  2. Lots of my Waitrose transactions haven’t come through at all, I registered with all these different schemes after seeing how good the Waitrose offer was. It’s a bit annoying if that’s stopped the transactions tracking correctly.

    • Mine are mostly showing on Shops Away, but haven’t yet posted to Virgin, despite it being over 45 days. I need to check my list of transactions against what is showing on Shops Away to makes sure they have tracked all the spend.

  3. I sent an email to Mustafa Mustafa at Rewards Insight on 24th April asking what the rules were but have not received a reply.

  4. Simon D says:

    I am still missing Waitrose transactions from a few months ago too. I do however note that it is in-store only, which is off given how hard Waitrose is pushing its delivery service.

    • All my instore purchases in Waitrose since March 27 are showing as ‘pending’ in my Shops Away account – but none have been transferred into miles. I have sent an email asking why. I know ‘offers’ can clash and void miles awards such as using discount codes on M&S and John Lewis purchases online – but surely Shops Away are not checking whether I used a £5 off a £50 transaction or free newspaper offer !!

      • think thats because it takes 45 days to move from pending to confirmed – I have same issue but is seems to be moving slowly

  5. Roland says:

    OT sorry (but Avios related). I upgraded my free BA Amex to the premium this week in order to trigger the 2-4-1 as had just hit the £10,000 threshold and wanted it for 2 years. The voucher came through today but shows as expiring in May 2018. Anyone else had this problem? Is this BA’s fault or Amex?

    • Crafty says:

      I can’t see that it’s anybody’s “fault” – you did all your spending on the free card.

    • Had the same problem back in February. Called both BA and Amex. It got sorted in about two weeks without a problem. It’s an IT issue and it has to be done manually.

      • +1 happened to me last month. Rang Amex and they emailed BA. Appeared on my ba account a few days later with a 2year expiry date.

  6. Andrew* says:

    +1 on Nero stopping post virgin registration.

    • Mummy55 says:

      Me too. I use Nero everyday and avios have been registering nicely but have just checked now and had none since 4th April. As I rarely shop at Waitrose this is really annoying . Have removed cards from virgin so hope avios postings will return.

      • easiest way around this surely to use one card at nero and another at waitrose….ensure they are registered in the place you want them

    • Andrew* says:

      *CORRECTION* – card that didn’t track at Nero was not the same as registered for Virgin…

  7. Hmmm… not sure how ‘essential’ Waitrose rosemary foccacia is? 😉

    • Especially when we already have a load of them in the assistant Bulters pantry.

    • It’s the addition of sea salt that makes it ‘essential’ – I’m thinking (hoping?!) that Rob posted that picture TFIC 😛

  8. I think the Bink/Pizza Express deal has to be one of my favourites – around once a month we have a Monday evening trip to PE a few doors down from us, with 40% off from my NUS card (don’t ask!), stuck on the amex and collecting 6 avios/£ makes a Pollo ad astra and a bottle of Gavi perfectly palatable :-)

    • Genghis says:

      You’re better off stocking up on gift cards when either Tesco (20% off) or Amex (40% off) have offers on. Stackable with coupons, making a pizza c.£3.

      • Possibly economically, but I don’t like cash being stored in cards that I then lose of forget to take with me. AND I always forget that the avios are being secretly collected which is a nice surprise! :-)

      • Bongola says:

        Sorry but what Amex offers are you referring to? Converting membership rewards?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          The PE/Ask etc AMEX offers that come round every few months on AMEX issued cards

        • Genghis says:

          As @TGLoyalty says, there’s a steady stream every few months of spend £50 get £20 back at PE / Cafe Rouge so net cost £30 for a £50 gift card bought in branch.

          When my wife doesn’t fancy cooking it’s a cheap meal out in the City.

          • Had a look at my offers and I can currently see Cafe Rouge, but it says that gift cards are excluded. Are you saying that gift cards purchased in branch will work?
            Thanks

          • Genghis says:

            Yes. I’ve done it loads of times

  9. Hostime says:

    I too no longer receive Avios from Caffe Nero since registering for the Waitrose offer. Very upsetting.

  10. Catalan says:

    I have only registered one card with Flying Club. It seems the Waitrose points post erratically. My most recent shop was in store 10 days ago and to date nothing has shown as pending. I have also never received the initial 1000 points sign up offer.
    Should I pursue this?

  11. Roger 1 says:

    I have 16 pending transactions showing in my online Shops Away account going back to 25 March but none is approved. Any idea when they are likely to post in my VFC account? Thanks.

    After reading this article, I removed the one MC from Shops Away that was also registered in Bink, just in case. (No relevant Bink experience.)

  12. I just tried to remove my cards from Avios and can’t get them to… I click remove, then click okay, and the page reloads but they’re still there :/ doesn’t work on Chrome or Safari for Mac.

  13. A friend of mine realised that the day she registered her cards with BA it caused all the Virgin tracking to stop, she lost out on a whole month of Waitrose shopping and £300 of John Lewis shopping, about 3,200 miles. So I’ve she has deleted her Avios registered cards and will stick to the Virgin ones!

  14. I have not yet registered a card with Virgin, but I did with BA store for their offers which are different from Avios.com. Same problem. Cafe Nero stopped tracking…

  15. anttelli says:

    Another glitch, I downloaded the new Caffè Nero app, works a bit like Tesco PayQwiq, added my card but then realised I wouldn’t get Avios points as the payment doesn’t go directly to Caffè Nero, so I used the app for the free coffee stamps only and paid normally with Amex and chip and pin but this time no pending points. I’ve queried this and Avios investigating.

  16. Frenske says:

    Regarding the Waitrose offer, has someone had the miles approved or even transferred to Virgin Club account? Mine are all pending.

    • I wouldn’t worry too much about that, these things never get approved in a hurry in my experience. If it shows as tracked then I don’t see why it won’t credit eventually.

      • Moktar says:

        None of my waitrose instore approved either.
        On a similar note, recently a couple of my avios estore transactions were deducted from my balance. Transactions were from Dell outlet (1620 Avios – Purchase tracked on 15/09/2016 –
        Avios credited on 31/10/2016 ) and Ebuyer (934 Avios – Purchase tracked on 16/06/2016 – Avios credited on 30/07/2016) Both were cancelled on 27th April 2017 – more than 6 months later for no reason!!

        • I have had 2 Hilton shops away points deducted 8 months later…..also for no apparent reason as I actually stayed those nights! It’s bizarre

    • 5 transactions from late March are now shown as “Approved” – but aren’t showing in my FC account.

      all my April transactions are still showing as “Pending”.

  17. Amanda Hayes says:

    I have six Waitrose shops pending on my account and then they just stopped even though I shop there twice a week and it’s a brand new card that’s not registered anywhere else. Virgin customer services said 45 days for the pending to turn into miles but still haven’t come back to me regarding the missing shopping. Same problem with Cafe Nero ..

  18. The worst cashback/points problems for me are always chasing TopCashback. They seem to hold back the largest items until just after the payout boost promotions end. I have £85 hotels.com cashback that is now 11 weeks since my completed stay ended, and to make it worse the toipcashback complaints form webpage link is broken when you send the form. No phone number either . Quidco has online chat that in my experience are excellent. This makes a huge difference in the frustration rating

    • Frenske says:

      11 weeks what? Pending; that’s not unusual long. Top Cashback is not going to give you money before hotels.com have paid them.

      Longest wait was 2 1/2 years on Santander.

      • Booking.com paid out on TCB for a room i never paid for and actually cancelled.

        • ankomonkey says:

          Earnaway paid me £20 for a booking I cancelled. Shame they shut down… Or maybe that’s why they shut down…

          • I know why they shut down because they came round and told us! Can’t really repeat though. Interesting model, based on the fact that the average Quidco user is a Spain package holiday bucket and spade person and they wanted something which would appeal beyond that. Seven figure loss for Quidco.

      • 2 years for Hilton, lots of chasing…

    • I’ve given up on TCB. I now only use them when they do a an extra £2 or £5 bonus for buying on a bank holiday or similar. I’ve done 2 of these this year and neither transaction tracked, so had to raise a claim. The one from January still has no movement and they just say they’ve got a backlog with the retailer (Groupon). If they CBA to chase a company as big as Groupon, they aren’t doing anything for me.

      • Whats people fail rate with TCB? I seem to have a consistent decline/fail rate of 10% (by value), starting to get suspicious as to how they make their profits.

        • Crafty says:

          Sounds about the same as mine. It’s infuriating, but as others have said, you can also get mistakes in your favour. Amex is good for this….

        • Alex W says:

          Yep about 10% TCB declined or not tracked for me too.

          • the real harry1 says:

            I guess we’re about £7000 good, £600 bad – so under 10% but close – not that I blame TCB for that, a lot of it was myself trying double or triple discounts

    • the real harry1 says:

      you can’t get Avios with Quidco

  19. The problem appears to be that the system is flawed, and not all purchases in store at Waitrose gets picked up even though the cards are registered with shops away. Until they get the system working properly, we will continue to see these anomolies! I do have confidence that once purchases are shown as pending, we will get the points eventually added to Flying Club Account.

  20. Sorry for the OT, hoping for a bit of advice. Marriott travel packages, does anyone know if you can book Ritz-Carlton properties with these, and also, any experience of paying to upgrade rooms booked through these packages. Thanks

Add your comment here:

*