Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

At last – Waitrose lets you earn airline miles when you shop in-store

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At long last, the cry from a large part of the Head for Points readership:

“Why can’t we earn miles at Waitrose?”

…. has been answered.

Via a new deal with Virgin Atlantic, you will earn 4 miles in Virgin Flying Club for every £1 you spend in-store at Waitrose.

This is 66% more miles than you earn at Tesco if you collect Clubcard points (1 per £1) and convert them to Avios at the rate of 1 : 2.4.  For a more direct comparison, you will now earn 60% more Virgin Flying Club miles by shopping at Waitrose than if you shop at Tesco and convert your Clubcard vouchers at 1 : 2.5.

As noted in the comments, this should also allow John Lewis shoppers to buy Waitrose / John Lewis gift cards in Waitrose and collect the extra miles.

This offer is part of the Virgin Atlantic Shops Away shopping mall.  To sign up, you need to visit this page of the Virgin website and register your credit cards.   Make sure you register your partners cards as well if they are also likely to visit Waitrose.

If you register an Avios credit card, you will obviously continue to earn Avios from that as well as earning Virgin Flying Club miles via Virgin Atlantic for your shopping.

As an added benefit, registering will also earn you Virgin Flying Club miles when you use your payment card in this rather odd selection of outlets:

  • American Golf (4 per £1)
  • Blue Inc (4 per £1)
  • Debenhams (1 per £1)
  • Ernest Jones (2 per £1)
  • Forever 21 (4 per £1)
  • H Samuel (2 per £1)
  • Habitat (4 per £1)
  • Heal’s (1 per £1)
  • Jamie’s Italian (2 per £1)
  • Officers Club (4 per £1)
  • P&O Ferries (4 per £1)

If you don’t already have a Virgin Flying Club account, you may want to sign up purely to take advantage of this deal.  

At the very worse, you can redeem 12,500 miles for a £50 voucher valid at many Virgin Group companies or for Theatre Tokens.  It is also worth remembering that you can transfer Virgin Flying Club miles into Hilton Honors points (at 2:3) and IHG Rewards Club points (at 1:1) with a minimum transfer of 10,000 miles.

How can you earn more miles?

It is very easy to earn further Virgin Flying Club miles to top up your account. The options are numerous:

Take out the Virgin Atlantic credit cards.  They are currently offering enhanced sign-up bonuses of 10,000 miles on the free card and 25,000 miles on the £140 card.  You are able to apply for both cards and get both bonuses (more in this article).

Transfers from Tesco Clubcard (at a higher rate than BA, £2.50 = 625 Flying Club miles)

Transfers from American Express Membership Rewards (1:1) – transfers from Amex to Virgin are instantaneous as well, once your accounts are linked, unlike transfers to BA

Transfers from Heathrow Rewards (1:1)

Transfers from most hotel programmes, including Starwood Preferred Guest

There are also some hotels which credit to Virgin even though they do not credit to Avios

Car rentals – Virgin offers a generous 1,000 miles per Hertz rental for example

Receive 6,000 Virgin miles for taking out a Virgin Money ISA

Receive 3,000 Virgin miles with your first order from Virgin Wines

This recent article looks at where you can fly with Virgin Flying Club miles.

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards

How to earn Virgin Points from UK credit cards (July 2024)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Virgin Points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

You can choose from two official Virgin Atlantic credit cards (apply here, the Reward+ card has a bonus of 18,000 Virgin Points and the free card has a bonus of 3,000 Virgin Points):

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

18,000 bonus points and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

3,000 bonus points, no fee and 1 point for every £1 you spend Read our full review

You can also earn Virgin Points from various American Express cards – and these have sign-up bonuses too.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for a year and comes with 20,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 20,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 40,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 40,000 Virgin Points.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points AND (to 27th August) £400 to spend at Amex Travel Read our full review

Small business owners should consider the two American Express Business cards. Points convert at 1:1 into Virgin Points.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and FREE for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Virgin Points

(Want to earn more Virgin Points?  Click here to see our recent articles on Virgin Atlantic and Flying Club and click here for our home page with the latest news on earning and spending other airline and hotel points.)

Comments (265)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Polly says:


    Re your point on the question of avios. I only mentioned it originally due to the fact that Tesco clubcard gives us the choice to convert to either avios or FC. That’s where l was coming from. If T is able to offer that choice, even tho they are avios partners, perhaps W could also look at developing this option, even tho their main partnership appears to be with FC. Just a thought! And l think worth exploring, actually.

  • ben says:

    These are really great news as I do spend money at Waitrose and never felt I am getting anything back for my loyalty (the free coffee doesn’t compensate).

    I do not really plan to fly with Virgin but I do like the conversion into Hilton. It offers a great rate of 6 Hilton points per £1 spend. Even with a modest value of 0.33p, the value of the 6 points come to 2p which is quite generous.

    These new points have made me apply for an account with Virgin and also to a Virgin credit card. I don’t think that the virgin CC is that generous but I wanted to get the sign up bonus so that my new Virgin account will have a balance on it.

    Speaking on the Virgin CC, I plan to cancel it within a month once I spent the £1000 to trigger the bonus. Do you know when will I be able to apply for it again? Are there rules like the 6 months wait with AMEX?

  • Frenske says:

    I am not really familiar with Virgin miles, but bare with me. I have friends living near Cancun.

    To visit my friends with my wife and child requires 123,750 Avios plus £900 taxes (0.8p per Avios) in economy. With Virgin it costs 75,000 miles plus £750 taxes which is about 1.6p per Virgin mile. Is there a catch somewhere!?

    • AndyF says:

      No catch Virgin offers better economy and premium economy pricing with lower fares than BA.

    • Wally1976 says:

      The catch *may* be with finding availability when you want to go. Virgin do not release 4 x economy and 2 x business for EVERY flight like BA do. However, I have no experience of this route and would expect that if you have a little flexibility with dates you would be OK.

  • DV says:

    No sign of any points here so far, despite several shops at Waitress since registering the card.

    • Tracy says:

      Same here. I need a new iPad but wanted to see if it is worth buying John Lewis gift vouchers in Waitrose with my registered card. I bought a £20 gift voucher to test it but I’ve no idea how long we’ll need to wait to see if the flying club miles are added.

  • ADS says:

    Flying Club newsletter now promoting this … still no sign of any purchases tracking.

    • ADS says:

      just seen that my purchases from 29th, 30th and 31st March are now tracking … progress 🙂

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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