Move Over Tesco – up to 6 Virgin Flying Club Miles / £1 at Waitrose via Shops Away In Store!


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Here at InsideFlyer UK it’s safe to say we’re fans of Tesco and their Clubcard scheme. It’s an easy way to earn Avios or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles through everyday spend, with a generous 2.5miles/£1 spent – and they often offer bonuses on transfers. This is in addition to any points you earn via any rewards credit card you use for your purchase.

This weekend however I’ve uncovered a potentially more lucrative offer from upmarket rival Waitrose – offering 4 Flying Club Miles / £1 spent in store (excluding fuel and motorway services spend).

Offer Details

As Tom covered at Christmas, the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club has a shopping portal – Shops Away. This functions exactly like the BA Shopping portal, and other cashback sites like TopCashback or Quidco.

Normally – these portals require you to click through to the retailer and make your purchase online.

This weekend whilst browsing – I noticed a new section on Shops Away – In Store. This works a bit differently. You’ll need to register your credit card details (you can link up to 10 cards), and then purchases you make in physical stores will be tracked. The site advises you leave 24hours between registering and making a purchase to be sure the purchases track.

Currently there are only a limited number of retailers included – with only Waitrose really standing out to me.

Currently there is no end date or validity period posted, and the only exclusions are purchases made at motorway service stations and petrol filling stations.

Shops Away In Store

But you said 6 Miles / £1

The 4 miles / £1 is before any rewards earned on your credit card. If you pay with the MBNA Virgin Atlantic Black Amex you earn 2 miles / £1. Naturally, you can use other rewards credit cards to suit your personal earning strategy.

Bottom Line

If you already shop at Waitrose (or the other stores listed), this is a great opportunity to earn some bonus Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles. Even if you don’t generally collect Flying Club Miles – remember they can also be converted into IHG or Hilton hotel points (and with IHG it even counts towards your elite status qualification!).

If you don’t already shop there – you will need to judge whether the potential higher costs of shopping at Waitrose are worth the Miles. I do believe that if you’re careful and don’t get tempted by their “organic, hand crafted, limited edition, gold leaf sausage rolls” (ok – maybe I made that up 😉 ?) or other pricey items, it can be competitive with Tesco.

The trade off is you are authorising a third party to have access to your credit card transaction details. As this is a scheme in partnership with a reputable company like Virgin Atlantic, I trust there will be sufficient security measures in place. All loyalty schemes require you to give over some level of personal information – hence why companies reward you with Points or the equivalent. You will need to decide if you are personally comfortable with this and review the terms and conditions.


  1. RichT says

    I’m wondering if it’s a soft launch. I would have expected some kind of announcement via email or banner on their homepage at least.

    Either way – I’ve signed a couple of my cards up and will be testing this out. I suddenly have a craving for artisan sausage rolls…

    American Golf could work out a good deal too for high spenders.

    • baccarat_guy says

      They do, I believe. But, the terms&conditions have a caveat. But, it’s sort of a “maybe” if you will get credit :

      (miles will not usually be awarded on VAT, all other taxes, surcharges, any additional costs such as shipping or delivery charges, or on the purchase of Gift Vouchers.)

      • Joe Deeney says

        Very interesting. If it’s going off the credit card data, I can’t really see how they would be able to tell what exactly you buy so hopefully gift cards should be fine regardless of the terms. Certainly worth an experiment I think!

        • baccarat_guy says

          Joe, I am so “all over this,” since I’m at Little Waitrose down the block all the time. I’ve also been “dancing” with VS since they are matching me. I saw some other interesting options (Harrods), but am wondering if that is in-store (or not). I’ve already added a bunch of cards, and am testing this week.

  2. ben says

    From the Virgin Shop website:
    “You might not earn Flying Club miles 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.”

    So it seems that registering the same card with Virgin, BA, Quidco, TCB and others may not work. One has to decide which portal they wish to work with or have a card per portal…

    Do others have any experience / knowledge of how this actually works?

  3. Glenda says

    Does anyone know how long it takes for the miles to appear on your Virgin Flying Club account after shopping in Waitrose?

    • Joe Deeney says

      Unfortunately I haven’t had chance to test it yet, but I’m sure someone will be along soon who has.

      • Glenda says

        I’ve just found this on Virgin’s website:
        “Typically, a qualifying instore transaction will show in your Flying Club Shops Away account as ‘pending miles’ within 7 days of the transaction. It will then take up to a further 45 days for the miles you have earned to move from ‘pending’ to ‘approved’ and show in your Flying Club account.”
        Guess I’ll have to wait a couple of more days to see if it really works!

  4. baccarat_guy says

    Just a few data-points. I checked my account, after a purchase on 31 March 2017. It appears today. (I did not check yesterday.)
    Shows 31/03/2017 Waitrose instore, 148 Pending Miles. So all seems to work fine. For reference, the linked card happens to be an NL AMEX Card. So, that proves that you do not have to register UK payment cards for this to work. I have yet to try one of my USA Cards.

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