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 (May 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 30,000 points until 6th June 2022):

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

30,000 points bonus (SPECIAL OFFER) and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Virgin Rewards credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard

A generous earning rate for a free card at 0.75 points per £1 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 Amex Gold

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.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 60,000 Virgin Points, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits 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.

  • Leo C says:

    I work very close to a waitrose and am in there a lot-with top-up shops. I usually pay with BA Premium Amex. It seems crazy to start from scratch collecting Virgin Miles when I am focussed on BA air miles. Is there a mechanism of trading Virgin to Avios? and by the time i use a different card and then convert Virgin to Avios am I really any better off than using my BA Amex premium card?
    Thanks
    Leo

    • Polly says:

      Same here, would,love it if W gave the avios option too. I actually stocked up with W cards before T pulled the GC 150 pts offer. So still ploughing through them. Am hopin T will bring back a special GC promotion this year sometime, maybe before Xmas. Fingers crossed there. Don’t think there’s a crossover opp to get Vs to avios. Am sure someone out there knows a handy conversion trick!

    • Rob says:

      You can still pay with your BA Amex and earn Avios.

      This is an extra bonus – you will get both.

  • Polly says:

    Shame Waitrose hasn’t given us the choice of either VS or Avios… Must be possible as Tesco does it. We shop 50/50 between tesco and W, no car needed for the latter, as opposed to 3 mile drive to T. So def used to W now, and similar pricing across the board with regular food. Ready meals superb quality, even own brand,
    Might pop an email to marketing. Our local W is full of Lhr and avios users. And uniformed BA staff!
    Rob, would it be worth your while contacting W head office to see if they could Link to avios too. We like the flexibility of avios for going east or west, which is why we never got into VS FF.

    • Cate says:

      YES!! Avios would be great as Waitrose is our main shop and we’re not keen on Virgin metal.

      • Thomas says:

        Not keen on Virgin metal? They’re going to be all 787s and A350s in a couple of years 🙂 ✈️

        • Will says:

          exactly. well for the 787 at least. Didn’t enjoy UC – very cramped.

          • Thomas says:

            UC more cramped than CW? Each to their own I guess 🙂

          • Will says:

            Actually yes. I dunno – I don’t like this layout where you’re facing towards the aisle. It’s weird to me. Guess logic is your head is away from aisle while sleeping? It just felt cramped. I quite like the CW seat. UC great for the mattress mind.

        • the real harry1 says:

          sorry this one

          how do you get a plane? 🙂

    • dps says:

      …but VS can still take you east as well – to DEL, DXB, HKG or PVG – and usually fior fewer Miles than the Avios charged by AY, BA, CX, JL etc.

    • Genghis says:

      On the one hand I’m hearing that Waitrose is only for those on over £100k and on the other I’m hearing that BA staff are shopping in Waitrose (yet according to Unite have to survive on £12k a year…) 🙂

      • Will says:

        Haha.

      • Polly says:

        Honestly Ghenghis, you are hearing correctly. But they are the senior staff not the young mixed fleet, from our older! school mum groups . Yes, we all belong to baec, so yes Arun l do know, sadly! And we always wanted a coffee shop to be set up in our W for after the morning school run. We got our wish 20 yrs too late!

      • Lady London says:

        You are wicked Genghis

    • Arun T says:

      Apologies if I am being daft here but how on earth do you know what airport/FF scheme the people in your local Waitrose use?!

  • Axel H says:

    Lat month I got some Curve Rewards from shopping at M &S oddly, so when I checked the Curve website to see the % I was also surprised Curve hadn’t listed M & S but were paying out.

    Guess M & S wouldn’t give Curve permission as they have their offer their own financial services and the third party IT platform they use hadn’t been told this either by Curve.

    With Curve I always get the impression they are wee boys who shouldn’t be playing in the big boys playground.

    • Alan says:

      They did use to be listed, I got the impression it was more just a mistake they weren’t on there now.

      • Axel H says:

        Possibly Alan, but if you were M & S Bank would you want to promote using other banks credit cards in your partner stores?

        I’m sure M & S are pretty edgy where they allow their logo being used on the web.

  • Guy says:

    Hi Rob/All,

    Sorry for the OT and few questions, any help, even if brief, would be greatly appreciated!

    At a point where I am looking to juggle the sign ups after the first tranche but at a bit of an information impasse before doing so, I’m unsure on the following:

    1) Was there any clarification on Gold Amex referring Platinum cards and whether it was 9k or 18k? I read the old article and saw various conflicting comments including whether it was still viable with a green card?

    2) Does anyone know if you hold the SPG amex if they issue referral bonuses for the card holder in the same way as the gold/platinum card?

    3) With regards to applying for the SPG card would the Lloyds card have any impact or is that irrelevant as its not issued by Amex? I currently have the LLoyds and BAmex.

    4) Do Amex catch on to people who churn or are they actively aware and let it happen? Is there ever any issues opening/closing accounts when on the phone to them or is it a nudge nudge wink wink arrangement.

    Thanks to anyone kind enough to help replying!

    GG

    • the real harry1 says:

      re: 4) – Amex know all about it (cf in USA they are desperately trying to stop churning) – but don’t seem too bothered for now. It’s at your own risk because it’s inevitable that sooner or later they’ll stop churners & you could easily get caught out with no Amex card at all for a few years. Currently they are laid back about it on the phone and understand people are doing it to avoid fees in year 2 plus to get another sign-up bonus.

      • Guy says:

        Thanks

        • Polly says:

          Guy, as H says and Rob frequently warns, slow down the churning. Best to do an annual churn on say one MR card and one BA card, with referrals to each other if you have an OH. Then it’s more reasonable to cancel after a year once your OH then has one. It would be a shame if it’s over used. Be cautious is the name of the game.

    • Genghis says:

      Hi Guy.
      1) Gold->Plat referral IIRC only earns 9k MR now. No idea with a Green card. Never done it.
      2) If you hold the SPG Amex and refer someone for another SPG Amex, you will get 5k SPG points (and the other person 11k sign up for £1k spend). You can only refer from like cards. @rams1981 reported being able to refer Amex Gold->SPG but I think he struggled to get the points.
      3) Holding Lloyds card should not impact getting a directly issued Amex card (but for normal credit approval procedures). Holding the BA Amex is fine too – you will still get MR card sign up bonuses (i.e. Gold and Plat) and SPG.
      4) I’ve been doing churning for a while now and no problems. Never been rejected. When cancelling, “I don’t think I’m going to use the card anymore”; “no problem Mr Genghis, we hope to welcome you back in another six months”. I play by the rules and apply after 6 months though others have reported applying much sooner and still getting the brucie.
      We do put through lots of spend with Amex so perhaps they let me do it but who knows what will happen in the future. One of the KPIs in the UK is supposedly the number of sign ups, not customer retention.

      • Guy says:

        Thanks Ghengis, really appreciate the reply

      • Will says:

        Interesting Ghengis. Is your tactic to spend a bucket load in one period then quit? And they’re happy with that?

        • Genghis says:

          In the past 12 months we’ve done 3xBAPPs for 241s, 4 Plats and 4 SPGs between my wife and I. So at least £42k spend for the 241s and all the other sign ups. Yes we’ve got lots of reward for that spend. Then there’s Lloyds Amex spend x 2 (another £14k) but I don’t know whether this spend affects Amex directly. Anyway, I try to pay min fees by being straight in and straight out. Amex do make money from FX fees from me though when work are paying the bill.

          • Polly says:

            Am breathless reading that post G. Amazing planning…we try to stay 8-10 months per card, then l feel less guilty cancelling. that’s great earring going on there…lucky you can put work stuff through too.

          • Anon says:

            Polly – ditto here, I’ve said it before, Mr G is on a whole other level! 🙂

          • Will says:

            guess they’re happy to take all the fees from the shops as well? Would the same apply for Amex recording healthy spend on the Lloyds card or do you think they don’t really look at that relationship? Still like the Lloyds for keeps & minimal fees.

  • Andi Hawes says:

    Can i only register my VA themed cards? What happens if i reg my Gold or BA Amex?

    • baccarat_guy says:

      I registered two AMEX products and a Chase Visa product. AMEX are European and Chase (obviously) is American. I am sort of curious if they all credit for purchases.

    • Rob says:

      You can register any card.

  • Rob says:

    There you go, proof that I genuinely don’t read other UK travel sites (as I always tell people). And proof that no-one else on here seems to read them either 😉

  • Rob says:

    Fixed

  • Ian says:

    Will purchases on the Waitrose website for home delivery count?

    • Rob says:

      Good question – does the store process the payment or is it central? That would drive it.

      • mark2 says:

        why not buy giftcards instore to use online?

      • TGLoyalty says:

        It shows as my local store on my statement whenever I buy online don’t know if the system they use can tell

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