Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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 points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2021)

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

There are two official British Airways American Express cards. Both have increased sign-up bonuses until 2nd November 2021:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

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

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

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

The 30,000 points bonus on Amex Gold runs to 9th November 2021. The 60,000 points bonus on The Platinum Card runs to 2nd November 2021.

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:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company 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. This card has a limited time offer of 60,000 Avios when you sign up:

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (37)

  • Vasco says:

    Of course if that Supermarket is Sainsbury’s or Tesco, you can earn some miles anyway.
    It’s worth noting that recently Esso have been offering a ton of bonus nectar points which might flip the needle some.

  • NigelthePensioner says:

    What about the 3rd stand alone option of buying fuel at a Sainsburys forecourt and the 4th option of buying fuel at a Sainsburys forecourt and paying for it on a Sainsburys bank nectar master card?

    • Rich says:

      Typically saving 3 or 4p a litre in the process? Yep I’ll go with that option thanks.

  • BuildBackBetter says:

    Do we get 2 nectar points on the nectar Amex if used at sainsburys petrol?

  • Jens Fallesen says:

    For fuel card holders, it is worth noting that Esso will give you Nectar points whereas BP most likely will not give you any points (depending on the card).

  • Nick says:

    I just filled up at my local Esso last weekend, purely based on an offer of 10X Nectar points which is pretty much ‘guaranteed’ to appear on the Nectar and/or Esso app. every couple of months, or at least it has over the past year. That’s the only time I tend to use them.

    Shell Go+ regularly throw a £3 per visit offer at me and I recently had 4 X 5ppl off V-Power (£40+ spend) valid until end October available, on top of the usual10 visit fuel reward.

    BP have been pretty unaspiring over the past few months, offering only reduced price visits to leisure parks, which is of no interest to me.

    All of my petrol purchases are based on what offers are available at any time from my local Shell, Esso & BP garages.

  • Stuart says:

    Is there a minimum fill on the BPme rewards to trigger the bonus points for sign up? Can’t find the terms anywhere

    • Rob says:

      Depends which bonus you mean. I bought a £1 drink in the shop and that triggered my sign up bonuses, unless you have one which specifically requires a fuel purchase.

  • Scott says:

    BP is nowhere near me, so not worth my while going to it to be honest.

    There’s an Esso station just up the road from me, and on my way to work, but that charges 138.9 compared to 130.9 at Sainsbury. Not even sure if there’s a difference in fuel since E10 came out? Seems to be no “super unleaded, regular” etc. at present.

    Sainsbury might a couple of miles in the other direction, but it’s handy getting a food shop in at the same time (same with Tesco).

    My Nectar card never offers me anything for Esso.
    My mother has “500 bonus points when you fill at least 20L for the first time” etc., but nothing for myself who actually has a car and drives. £2.50 (+ whatever points are earned) to spend in store (or 250 Avios) for an extra £1.40 spend probably isn’t too bad (should I stick to 20L max).

  • Ian says:

    I downloaded the BP Me app last week and got an offer of 1,600 points on my next three visits…500 on visit 1, 500 on visit 2 and 600 on visit 3, if completed by 11th October. The only spend requirement is a minimum of £1 each time, so I could get £8 worth of points for spending just £3!

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.