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.

Waitrose Virgin Flying Club miles

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 (January 2022)

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, one has a bonus of 15,000 points):

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express comes with 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee 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)

  • Rob says:

    Good point! Have added that in. Should have remembered this as I live 2 minutes walk from a John Lewis ….

  • Graham Walsh says:

    Also interesting is that offer 8miles per £1 for bookings. Also IHG is 2 points per £1 but no IHG points. However you could pay on your IHG card to get VS miles and IHG points. Interesting. Not sure how all the numbers actually stack up.

    • Graham Walsh says:

      That’s what the T&Cs say. Usually work, when I booked a Marriott room, I then got Marriott points too. Just ask nicely at the desk.

    • Leo says:


    • Anna says:

      I use – you get 8 avios per £1 plus a free night for every 10 you stay. No noticeable difference in room prices.

      • Genghis says: for non-branded stays generally all the way (once you’ve compared actual prices) at c.18% back. For branded stays you need to weigh that up of course against points earned (which can be huge when there are offers around) and lack of status benefits (lounge access potentially saving cost of dinner etc).

  • Will says:

    If only Sainos could partner up. That ruddy Nectar card is pointless.

  • Graham Walsh says:

    O/T Anyone know how to pay British Gas with Amex? Tried searching and it’s seems a firm no. They say PayPoint is cash payments only.

    • Genghis says:

      I pay with a PayPoint card at Co-Op, paying the min direct debit and topping up. Just ask BG to send you a paypoint card.

      • Liz says:

        Genghis when you pay your energy bill with Paypoint do they adjust / reduce the direct debit each month or are you paying on top of the full monthly direct debit and then getting a rebate at a later stage? I’ve just switched to EDF and thought I might ask them for a Paypoint card. EDF now take Amex but I’m not sure if they would adjust the monthly bill each month if you make extra payments online.

        • Genghis says:

          Hi Liz. I at least make payments to what it should be per month based on my usage but then occasionally make additional payments over and above. BG are more than happy to refund. Earned £30 last month by making an additional £300 BG payment at Co Op Paypoint on the Halifax 10% back offer. Once all gone through, I called up and gave them my meter readings and excess credit balance is now back in my bank account. All very straight forward.

        • CV3V says:

          BG dont automatically adjust the payment amount, but you can go into your account details and adjust yourself. BG website gives a lot of control over your payments, and ‘overpayments’. Looks like i need a Paypoint card…..

        • Polly says:

          Liz, cv, see if they can make your dd the smallest possible, then pre pay with the pp card, or with Amex card on line etc. Edf are flexible to deal with. They just want da money. I think if you are in credit over the monthly amount they don’t take the dd. But one thing make sure you top up 10-14 days before the dd is due, as they can call for it quite early. Feel the csa you prefer to manage your cash flow better this way! BG, SSE spark, etc all the big guns are usually ok with this payment plan. They did sound surprised when l asked for my dd to be £5 a month! When our usage was way higher!

  • Alan says:

    According to Which? magazine’s survey of a basket of goods for February 2017:
    Morrison’s = £148.05
    Asda = £148.11
    Tesco = £156.25
    Sainsbury’s = £157.61
    Waitrose = £159.13
    Ocado = £161.86

    So, you pays your money and takes your choice. We currently use Asda as their home delivery service is by far the cheapest (£5 per month). Would the airmiles be worth the extra? Personal choice I guess.

    • Alan says:

      Forgot to mention, the list of items in their “basket” were all branded goods – no supermarkets own label stuff at all.

      • mark2 says:

        I am always very dubious about these comparisons.
        I am surprised that they found enough items stocked by all of the chains.
        IT will exclude most meat, cheese etc.

        • Alan says:

          If i could post an image I could show you what the items were as they link to a spreadsheet on their site.
          That was just the latest comparison. They do it every month and the cheapest 2 are usually Morrison’s and Asda (they swap around a bit), and the most expensive shop (excluding Ocado) is usually Waitrose. Some months the difference is bigger top to bottom, than others, but I guess that depends on individual offers.
          Whenever I’ve been to Waitrose I’ve always thought it was expensive but this is just anecdotal, not based on any comparisons.

    • Alan says:

      Interesting – personally I’ve noticed Sainsbury’s to be quite a bit more expensive than Tesco. Asda definitely cheaper, with surprisingly good fruit and veg selection (at my local one anyway).

      • Julian says:

        The Senior Executives won’t find Tesco or Asda any cheaper as Tesco Finest stuff costs every bit as much as the Waitrose or M&S equivalent.

        If however you look at the cheap freezer ranges or things like 500g packs of Frozen Breaded Paice or Frozen Battered Cod you will find Waitrose hugely more expensive than Tesco or Asda (and Asda are usually 20% cheaper again than Tesco on many of these products)

        Comparisons using Branded Goods are meaningless as branded goods (eg cereals especially) are usually 100% more expensive and there is very little price compteition between the supermarkets on the branded goods.

        All the price competition comes in terms of what the different supermarkets charge for own branded products but due to different pack size or meat quality etc the likes of Which will always maintain they can’t do a comparison on these kinds of product.

        So if shopping in Asda, Lidl or Aldi and buying own branded goods and avoid branded goods your shop will be 30%+ cheaper. Simple Fact.

        • Genghis says:

          We do most of our shopping at Tesco with online delivery (£60 delivery saver for the year) as it’s easy. I’m quite price conscious but mix and match my basket across prices ranges based on product experience. e.g. cheap everyday value yoghurt is nice, I like the Tesco normal steak but I prefer finest bacon – and it can never be any beans other than Heinz! As such, it’s probably very difficult to do a price comparison for a shopper like me – but if someone can point me in the direction of one I’d be happy to review.

          I’ve tried Asda and the in shop experience is awful and online delivery just as bad. I love Lidl but once again it involves a bit more effort to shop in store. We try to stock up on quality meat from the butcher and put in freezer and if buying lots of fruit and veg do to the market to get it for £1 a bowl.

          I’ve shopped at Sainbury’s a few times and their stuff generally seems to be more expensive. Perhaps I should relook at Waitrose given this new offer?

          • Will says:

            Fyi – Think Sainsbury’s/Ocado have a much more efficient delivery operation. Might be different in your area. Always find Tesco replacing loads of items.

          • Anna says:

            I pay £36 per year for Tesco deliveries as I’m happy with Tues/Wed/Thurs deliveries. I’ve found for at least the past couple of years any substitutions have been upgrades – my favourite so far was when they didn’t have my 1L of Gordon’s gin so sent 2 x 70cl instead :-). If you click on the special offers section it tells you all the items which are half price so you can do branded shopping very cheaply indeed.

    • Brian says:

      The question is whether that survey took into account offers. In my experience, Waitrose are never more expensive than Tesco – and I do generally compare beforehand, if I have the time – with Sainsbury’s being the most expensive of the three (don’t have the others nearby, so don’t generally bother with them. Plus they have things like My Offers, which brings the price down on lots of products.

  • Allan says:

    Wonder if this is in any way related tl BA choosing M&S for onboard catering over Waitrose?

    • Rob says:

      I find the whole thing odd. Even the earn rate, 4 per £1, is weird.

      4 per £1 is too high. To match Tesco they only need to offer 2.5 per £1. More importantly, groceries are a massively low margin business. There simply isn’t 4% profit margin to give away so casually.

      My gut feeling is to enjoy this whilst it lasts, and potentially even stockpile gift cards at 4 per £1.

      • DRB says:

        Yep – a new line of business suggests short term burst of sign-up.

        • Genghis says:

          I’ve never read these Kantar report before. V good writing style.

      • John says:

        The avios/Caffè Nero offer started at 10 per £1 but eventually settled down at 5 avios per £.

        I now spend £2.95 a day in Nero rather than Costa and am credited with 16 avios.

        Every little helps (especially if there’s no Waitrose without a sea crossing).

  • mark2 says:

    It is a Virgin Money Stocks and Shares ISA which earns 6,000 points.

  • Anna says:

    OT – I now have the 3,000 avios bonus offer on my Amex MR Gold home page – if I refer my other half for a supplementary card will it prevent me referring him for his own card later in the year?

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