Do you understand Avios / Virgin ShopsAway / Bink in-store ‘card clash’?

Both Avios and Virgin Flying Club have launched some interesting in-store earning opportunities recently.  We also featured the Bink loyalty app late last year which lets you earn Avios in High Street retailers.

All of these deals work in the same way.  You register your credit cards with the relevant points provider and give them permission to access Visa / MasterCard / Amex’s transaction records.  They receive card data on transactions at specific retailers and, when your card number is spotted, you receive points.

The key Virgin Atlantic partner is Waitrose.  You earn 4 Flying Club miles per £1 spent instore, as I wrote here.

The key Avios partner is probably Caffe Nero.  You earn up to 10 Avios per £1 spent instore, as I wrote here.

The only Bink Avios-earning partner so far is PizzaExpress.  You earn 3-6 Avios per £1 spent instore, as I wrote here.

But …..

It appears that there is some element of ‘card clash’ at work here.

Importantly, registering a card for one of these services appears to stop you using the same card with a competing service, even for different retailers.


I can’t get to the bottom of it, however.

This is what I do know – the last Avios points I received from Caffe Nero were dated 6th February.  Nothing has turned up since then.  (This is not linked to the block on using Visa cards with Nero as I only use an Amex there.)  At some point after that, I registered the same payment cards with the Virgin programme so that I could earn in Waitrose – and those points have been posting OK.  Avios from all of my recent Pizza Express visits have also been paid OK via Bink.

This wording has appeared in the small print of the Avios instore shopping channel:

“You might not earn Avios In Store if the same payment card is registered with another ‘card-linked offer’ programme. To avoid this, ensure that you delete or remove the card from any other ‘card linked offer’ programmes.”

This is vague.  I can understand why their could be problems if, for example, the same retailer was participating in both the Avios and Virgin instore shopping schemes (and some are in both, for example Ernest Jones).  But does it mean that if I register an Amex card with the Avios instore scheme I cannot use it to collect Virgin miles via Waitrose, who are not with Avios?

I know that some other readers have stopped receiving Caffe Nero Avios after registering for Waitrose / Virgin miles.  There doesn’t appear to be any issues with cards linked to Bink, despite the warning that the Avios e-store is putting out.

We don’t have a lot of evidence though.  If you’ve got any experience of ‘card clash’ when using the same payment card with Avios and / or Virgin, please post your experiences in the comments.

(Want to earn more Virgin Flying Club miles?  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.)

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  1. Lots of my Waitrose transactions haven’t come through at all, I registered with all these different schemes after seeing how good the Waitrose offer was. It’s a bit annoying if that’s stopped the transactions tracking correctly.

  2. mark2 says:

    I sent an email to Mustafa Mustafa at Rewards Insight on 24th April asking what the rules were but have not received a reply.

  3. Simon D says:

    I am still missing Waitrose transactions from a few months ago too. I do however note that it is in-store only, which is off given how hard Waitrose is pushing its delivery service.

    • think thats because it takes 45 days to move from pending to confirmed – I have same issue but is seems to be moving slowly

  4. Roland says:

    OT sorry (but Avios related). I upgraded my free BA Amex to the premium this week in order to trigger the 2-4-1 as had just hit the £10,000 threshold and wanted it for 2 years. The voucher came through today but shows as expiring in May 2018. Anyone else had this problem? Is this BA’s fault or Amex?

    • Crafty says:

      I can’t see that it’s anybody’s “fault” – you did all your spending on the free card.

    • Had the same problem back in February. Called both BA and Amex. It got sorted in about two weeks without a problem. It’s an IT issue and it has to be done manually.

      • Kipto says:

        +1 happened to me last month. Rang Amex and they emailed BA. Appeared on my ba account a few days later with a 2year expiry date.

  5. Andrew* says:

    +1 on Nero stopping post virgin registration.

    • Mummy55 says:

      Me too. I use Nero everyday and avios have been registering nicely but have just checked now and had none since 4th April. As I rarely shop at Waitrose this is really annoying . Have removed cards from virgin so hope avios postings will return.

      • easiest way around this surely to use one card at nero and another at waitrose….ensure they are registered in the place you want them

    • Andrew* says:

      *CORRECTION* – card that didn’t track at Nero was not the same as registered for Virgin…

  6. Hmmm… not sure how ‘essential’ Waitrose rosemary foccacia is? 😉

    • Especially when we already have a load of them in the assistant Bulters pantry.

    • It’s the addition of sea salt that makes it ‘essential’ – I’m thinking (hoping?!) that Rob posted that picture TFIC 😛

  7. David says:

    I think the Bink/Pizza Express deal has to be one of my favourites – around once a month we have a Monday evening trip to PE a few doors down from us, with 40% off from my NUS card (don’t ask!), stuck on the amex and collecting 6 avios/£ makes a Pollo ad astra and a bottle of Gavi perfectly palatable 🙂

    • Genghis says:

      You’re better off stocking up on gift cards when either Tesco (20% off) or Amex (40% off) have offers on. Stackable with coupons, making a pizza c.£3.

      • David says:

        Possibly economically, but I don’t like cash being stored in cards that I then lose of forget to take with me. AND I always forget that the avios are being secretly collected which is a nice surprise! 🙂

      • Bongola says:

        Sorry but what Amex offers are you referring to? Converting membership rewards?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          The PE/Ask etc AMEX offers that come round every few months on AMEX issued cards

        • Genghis says:

          As @TGLoyalty says, there’s a steady stream every few months of spend £50 get £20 back at PE / Cafe Rouge so net cost £30 for a £50 gift card bought in branch.

          When my wife doesn’t fancy cooking it’s a cheap meal out in the City.

        • Had a look at my offers and I can currently see Cafe Rouge, but it says that gift cards are excluded. Are you saying that gift cards purchased in branch will work?

        • Genghis says:

          Yes. I’ve done it loads of times

  8. Hostime says:

    I too no longer receive Avios from Caffe Nero since registering for the Waitrose offer. Very upsetting.

  9. Catalan says:

    I have only registered one card with Flying Club. It seems the Waitrose points post erratically. My most recent shop was in store 10 days ago and to date nothing has shown as pending. I have also never received the initial 1000 points sign up offer.
    Should I pursue this?

  10. I just tried to remove my cards from Avios and can’t get them to… I click remove, then click okay, and the page reloads but they’re still there :/ doesn’t work on Chrome or Safari for Mac.

  11. James says:

    A friend of mine realised that the day she registered her cards with BA it caused all the Virgin tracking to stop, she lost out on a whole month of Waitrose shopping and £300 of John Lewis shopping, about 3,200 miles. So I’ve she has deleted her Avios registered cards and will stick to the Virgin ones!

  12. I have not yet registered a card with Virgin, but I did with BA store for their offers which are different from Same problem. Cafe Nero stopped tracking…

  13. anttelli says:

    Another glitch, I downloaded the new Caffè Nero app, works a bit like Tesco PayQwiq, added my card but then realised I wouldn’t get Avios points as the payment doesn’t go directly to Caffè Nero, so I used the app for the free coffee stamps only and paid normally with Amex and chip and pin but this time no pending points. I’ve queried this and Avios investigating.

  14. Frenske says:

    Regarding the Waitrose offer, has someone had the miles approved or even transferred to Virgin Club account? Mine are all pending.

    • I wouldn’t worry too much about that, these things never get approved in a hurry in my experience. If it shows as tracked then I don’t see why it won’t credit eventually.

    • 5 transactions from late March are now shown as “Approved” – but aren’t showing in my FC account.

      all my April transactions are still showing as “Pending”.

  15. Amanda Hayes says:

    I have six Waitrose shops pending on my account and then they just stopped even though I shop there twice a week and it’s a brand new card that’s not registered anywhere else. Virgin customer services said 45 days for the pending to turn into miles but still haven’t come back to me regarding the missing shopping. Same problem with Cafe Nero ..

  16. AndyW says:

    Sorry for the OT, hoping for a bit of advice. Marriott travel packages, does anyone know if you can book Ritz-Carlton properties with these, and also, any experience of paying to upgrade rooms booked through these packages. Thanks

  17. Paul L says:

    Apologies for going OT and for asking a school boy question but what qualifies as earning avios? I am trying to trigger RFS for my mother’s BA account. Will cashing in a Tesco Clubcard voucher do the trick?


  18. Looks like I get points on using the same card in Waitrose and PizzaExpress I am also signed up to Nero but not used it

  19. Has anyone had points post or track for gift card purchase in waitrose yet?

  20. AlexT says:

    My best guess is that those “card-linked” programs get not just the data on your spend at the participating retailers, but your entire transaction flow. By signing up for two of them, you’re essentially selling your flow twice.

    I believe that was the initial conclusion around Bink…