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Will you earn more Avios from BP or Esso when buying fuel?

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On Thursday we covered the launch of the Avios and BPme Rewards partnership. You can now transfer your BPme Rewards points into Avios.

The transfer rate is attractive. If you have 200 BPme Rewards points, you can get 125 Avios or a £1 discount on your fuel. At 0.8p per Avios, you are ‘buying’ them at a good rate.

Is this better than earning Avios from Esso though?

Is it better to earn Avios from BP or Esso when buying fuel?

Esso is not an Avios partner. You can, however, collect Nectar points when you buy fuel at Esso and these can be transferred into Avios.

Let’s have a look at the numbers.

Earning Avios at BP garages

The earning rate for BPme Rewards points at BP garages is:

  • 1 BPme point for every litre of regular fuel purchased
  • 2 BPme points for every litre of Ultimate fuel purchased
  • 1 BPme point for every £1 spent in a BP forecourt shop

If we convert these to Avios, you get:

  • 0.625 Avios for every litre of regular fuel purchase
  • 1.25 Avios for every litre of Ultimate fuel purchased
  • 0.625 Avios for every £1 spent in a BP forecourt shop

Earning Avios at Esso garages

The earning rate for Nectar points at Esso garages is:

  • 1 Nectar point per litre spent on Esso Synergy fuel
  • 2 Nectar points per £1 spent on other items, including in the store

If we convert these to Avios, you get:

  • 0.625 Avios per litre spent on fuel
  • 1.25 Avios per £1 spent on other items, including in the store

Remember that you do not earn Nectar points at Esso garages which have a Tesco store attached. You can earn Tesco Clubcard points at these garages, which can be converted to Virgin Points if you wish.

Is it better to earn Avios from BP or Esso when buying fuel?

Which is better?

It’s not difficult to analyse these two earning rates.

The deals are identical for fuel.

The only exception is if you pay for premium fuel, in which case BP is the better choice due to double points on Ultimate.

On the other hand, if you tend to buy something in the shop alongside your fuel, Esso is the better deal due to the higher rate on in-store earning – unless it is an Esso with a Tesco store, in which case you can’t earn Nectar points at all!

Coupons and bonuses may make the difference

Both Esso, via the Nectar app, and BP, via the BPme Rewards app, offer bonus points from time to time.

Given the relatively small number of Avios earned from filling your tank at standard rates, a bonus is likely to make the difference as to which is more rewarding.

Perhaps more realistically, the fairest thing to say is that buying petrol is unlikely to earn you a huge amount of Avios irrespective of whether you shop at Esso or BP.

You will probably earn more Avios from the credit card you use to pay for your fuel than from the fuel itself.

It might be worth settling for an easy life and filling up at the garage most convenient for your home or office, irrespective of what you earn. You are also likely to find fuel cheaper at your local supermarket – and you would earn Nectar points at a Sainsbury’s petrol station, of course – with a saving that would outweigh the Avios you would get from Esso or BP.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

Get 25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher at £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

EDIT: Applications for this card are temporarily suspended due to IT issues with the British Airways On Business SME loyalty scheme.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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 Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (37)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Chris says:

    I spent 60 minutes last Friday at my local Esso putting multiple amounts to get Nectar bonuses. Was a bit of a pain as the Esso App wouldn’t work, so had to keep going in the shop.
    I did 14 transactions of 3 litres each. 12 of them awarded me 10 bonus Nectar, 1 awarded 20 bonus and 1 awarded 100 bonus.
    So 282 Nectar points for 42 litres of fuel (and it was amongst the cheapest around).

    I need to get out more.
    Not to an Esso station though.

    • Doug M says:

      I admire your tenacity but question your sanity.

    • AJA says:

      Unlike Doug I don’t admire your tenacity. 60 minutes of your time to earn a whopping £1.41? You plainly have plenty of time on your hands. Not sure Esso would be that thrilled either as you’ve tied up a pump for an hour for them to sell only 42l of fuel. You definitely should get out more.

    • David says:

      Dear God.

    • Sam says:

      I wonder how the face of the cashier was when you approached him/her for the 13rd time in 10 mins…

  • AJA says:

    As I’m currently with Sainsbury’s Energy / Eon Next I get double NP on spending at Sainsbury’s and that includes their petrol stations too so this is my Ist choice especially as the price per litre is significantly cheaper than the Esso down the road which is itself cheaper than the nearest BP.

    If they switched to points per £ that might tempt me to do something different. I think Nectar has worked out that I don’t buy fuel at Esso as I’ve stopped receiving the bonus NP offers to tempt me which is fine but rather counterintuitive. Trouble is the bonus offers always were for their premium grade fuels which I’ve never ever bought.

  • Tom says:

    Petrol lol.
    Electric is the future. Electric is more convenient. Electric doesn’t pollute already polluted cities. I never have to fuel my car, it fuels whilst I sleep.
    And before you say it isn’t affordable, considering the average salary of a HFP reader I think you’ll manage just fine 🙂

    • Olivia says:


    • AJA says:

      I agree that my next car will be fully electric. But the point re pollution is slightly misplaced due to the fact that we rely on gas to generate the electricity. We need more renewables and wind generation. Plus a lot more electricity generated to recharge the cars once they are the majority of vehicles on the road. Also scrapping a perfectly working older car is far more environmentally wasteful. Selling it someone else merely transfers the pollution problem to someone else. And the batteries in new electric vehicles are using up finite resources too and they and the new vehicle are CO2 intensive in their mining and production.

      • Rui N. says:

        A gas turbine in a power station is much more efficient that a petrol or diesel internal combustion engine in a car. Also, burning gas produces a lot less pollution (and CO2) than burning petrol or diesel (and gas power stations are not located in the middle of cities, where car pollution has the worst effects). So, even if we replaced ICE cars with EVs that were charged with 100% gas-based electricity only we would be much better off than today.

        • tony says:

          Better still, the grid currently compensates wind turbine owners handsomely to turn them off in periods of low demand such as overnight. So cars can be recharged off-peak potentially just from renewables where there’s a negative cost to the grid for doing so.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      What’s the latest cost of installing a charger at home?

    • Sam says:

      Lol don’t make it sound like it’s shabby to go petrol as going electric like you do is not that edgy. In 10 years time petrol and diesel cars will be banned in the UK anyway by which everyone will have an electric car like you do so there’s definitely no need to judge someone on the choice of cars.

      • Rui N. says:

        Petrol and diesel cars will not be banned in 10 years. The sale of new petrol and diesel cars will. Quite different things.

    • AndyGWP says:

      Sounds great… tho I don’t have a parking space right outside my apartment unfortunately

    • BlueThroughCrimp says:

      I’m not running a 50 meter cable, from my top floor flat to the kerb (if I can get parked outside), and running the risk of it tripping someone, or it being nicked for the copper.

  • PJJ says:

    Surely using the Morrison’s 10% + + can’t be beaten ?

  • PJJ says:

    Surely using the Morrison’s 10% + + can’t be beaten ?

    Sorry Shirley !

    • Kipto says:

      I have lots of offers on my Esso app offering bonus nectar points when paying using the app. I have tried on four separate occasions to pay but it has never worked. Has anyone had any success trying to pay for fuel using the Esso app

      • Dave says:

        Worked a treat for me twice now. It’s a small faff sorting out the app beside the correct pump but saves time at the counter and all loyalty/payment cards are saved automatically

      • Mike says:

        Kipto – I am the same

  • Sloth says:

    You won’t be earning anything at either as they have both run out of petrol… 🙂

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