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 (December 2021)

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)

  • Thomas says:

    Has anyone noticed if VAA reward availability has improved since they increased the cost in miles? It used to be almost impossible to find an UC seat back from the west coast.

  • drdes says:

    Can I link my wife’s supplementary Amex (ie my Amex account and she is a supplementary card holder) to my Virgin miles account? Or would her card need to be linked to her Virgin miles account?

  • CC says:

    Just got an email from myWaitrose to advise that from now you to make a purchase to get their free tea and coffee. I guess the savings they make here are being passed to awarding virgin miles!!!

    Seriously though, no more shrieking students and freeloaders clogging up the store + Virgin miles. Its a good day if your a regular Waitrose customer.

    • Arun T says:

      This change was done at least 12 months ago at my local Waitrose – so not linked!

    • Fenny says:

      This just means that instead of buying half a dozen ready meals at the weekend, I will buy them daily for lunch and pick up a coffee at the same time. Only downside is on days like yesterday, when it seriously lashed it down at lunchtime and I didn’t need to go out because I already had lunch waiting in the staffroom fridge.

  • Sally G says:

    Sounds very interesting. Does anyone know what happens if you already have a card registered with Avios for spend in cafe nero etc can you do both or should you use different cards?

    • Rob says:

      No idea, it isn’t clear yet but I’m sure someone registered for both will find out soon. If Nero was on Virgin, which it isn’t, I could easily test it myself. Don’t fancy going to American Golf purely to see what happens though 🙂

  • Mark says:

    So if I spend £1,000 in store at Heals with my Amex Platinum will I receive:

    1,000 Avios by using my Amex Platinum?
    1,000 Virgin miles by signing up the same Amex Platinum with Virgin?



    • Rob says:


    • Will says:

      There’s one issue with Heal’s if you are trying to use the portals. If you pay on their credit plan I believe they don’t pay out. Awaiting the outcome of our claim though. There was a ridiculous offer going in Jan. Don’t suppose Rob knows about the t&cs? Couldn’t find anywhere.

  • Harpo says:

    What if the card is registered at where does it “choose” to credit points if you go to Habitat for instance – or will it get confused and you get nothing?

  • Rob says:

    Thanks, hadn’t checked this again recently, I was assuming Curve would email me directly (clearly not).

    • Alan says:

      I don’t think the list HAS changed though? The only thing I spotted was M&S being removed, but I’ve had it confirmed in Curve Community that it is just a website error, it still earns OK.

  • Genghis says:

    This looks the same as when Curve Rewards first launched?

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