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 (October 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 30,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert into 30,000 Virgin Points:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

Until 2nd November 2021, there is a special offer on The Platinum Card from American Express.

You will receive a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points which converts into 60,000 Virgin Points.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 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)

  • RICHARD says:

    site will take my mastercard, but not my BA Amex ….am I doing something wrong ?

    • Andrew* says:

      Something 😉 It was happy with mine earlier…
      Sorry if this is insultingly obvious but did you change the radio button from MC to Amex?

  • Rob says:

    Rob – what do you think happens if you register the same card on the Avios in store thing and on the Virgin one? Both schemes seem to be run by the same firm – Sports Loyalty Card Limited.

    Cheers.

  • Stephen says:

    Will this work with Apple Pay? The card number gets scrambled each time you pay, so it seems like there’s a possibility it wouldn’t track correctly.

  • barnaby100 says:

    Well Waitrose have tightened up on the free coffee availability with an email sent today. ‘From 3 April, we’ll simply be asking myWaitrose members to make a purchase before collecting their cup at the checkout’.

    Hopefully that will reduce the congestion and they might remember that their core purpose is as a supermarket not a free cafe. Now if only they will lower the shelf heights that was raised to provide room to put the coffee machines and benches in then I might shop there again.

  • Mark says:

    Seems like a good way to boost ones FC balance.

    Think I’ll be switching my shopping from Tesco to Waitrose.

  • Genghis says:

    OT. Tesco Orchard is no more – fully closing from 31 March.

    • Rob says:

      Yes, heard about this – SP article coming.

      More shockingly, Tesco is no longer selling Life Insurance 🙂

    • Alan says:

      Got my email this afternoon too. Never found it that great TBH, won’t really miss it. More annoyed about lack of ever getting any vouchers from Tesco now cf a couple of years ago!

      Only a small handful of Waitrose stores in Scotland AFAIK so not esp excited about this news!

      • Liz says:

        I looked them up today – closest to me is Stirling! Will need to visit my daughter more often as she is living there now!

        • Alan says:

          Yes only 7, I know the 2 in Edinburgh – pretty pricey but they are in Morningside and Stockbridge 😉

          • Liz says:

            We have a night in Aberdeen next month so will go find the one there!

          • Kinkell says:

            Nearest W. for me is a 3 hour drive! Even Sainsbury is 30 miles away. However, we have a choice of 5 Tescos !
            Let’s hope T. decides to reinstate or better its current points/£ .

          • the real harry1 says:

            W opened in Truro LY so we have 2 now – a decent whack of a drive away so it won’t be very often unless we can find a trick

            do they stock most of the regular ‘other retailer’ giftcards that you find in Tesco/ Morrisons? Esp Amazon?

          • mark2 says:

            No, only their own.

          • Genghis says:

            I thought they’d be a huge Waitrose in Padstow area to cater for the London set (like one of my colleagues) with their holiday homes down there?

          • Polly says:

            Lifted our Hearts as we drove into Truro and saw the giant W.. Popped in for supplies immediately, ESP the prosecco for the sunny garden evenings there. Can’t wait to go back there this summer.

          • the real harry1 says:

            nice to see somebody who likes Cornwall, we all generally take pride in our county & I think I’m lucky to have this beauty, Devon not too bad either

            was on the coast earlier today

            the good thing about the Truro W is that they gave space next door (so I’m told) to Cornwall producers so you can buy locally produced stuff

  • Alex W says:

    Don’t try and scam the system by returning goods. That will just ruin it for everyone else.

    • barnaby100 says:

      I dont. I spent at least £30 k a year at John Lewis on line to collect at Waitrose- last year . I mail order items and then return those i don’t want- like the shopping on line system encourages you to do. They don’t take the miles back- that is their fault of the system- I am not being at all dishonest.

      I was just pointing out the flaw in the current system.

  • Fenny says:

    This is indeed excellent news. My daily walk up to Waitrose to pick up coffee and lunch will now earn me Virgin points. Apart from a pint of milk and a loaf on Sunday evening, I can’t remember the last time I shopped in Tesco.

    I suppose they won’t give me points on the total value of my shop before myWaitrose deductions, as that would probably double my spend!

    • Genghis says:

      I doubt it. I like the %off coupons for Waitrose as the discount is applied then your fixed price free coffee comes off the tab

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