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Related: Curve Card

Which supermarkets enable customers to collect airline loyalty points or air miles when buying groceries? You may not know this, but Waitrose is the best supermarket for the most miles earned per pound spent, in the form of Virgin Flying Club miles. You can collect British Airways Avios at Tesco. You can earn less useful Nectar points with Sainsbury’s and you can earn a decent return of Curve Rewards at Marks & Spencers. I detail below which supermarket has the best earning capacity and why:

Earn Virgin 4 Flying Club miles For Every £1 Spent At Waitrose

You can now earn 4 Virgin Flying Club miles for every £1 spent at Waitrose. I value Virgin Club Miles at just under £0.01, so for shopping in Waitrose you are getting between £0.03 and £0.04 of Virgin Club Miles for every £1 spent. This is more airmiles than you earn at Tesco where you get 2.4 Avios for every £1 spent (I value one Avios at £0.01).

It is worth noting 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. I am a huge fan of the Intercontinental London with their magnificent Club Lounge (you have to pay an extra fee to access the Club Lounge). You can earn a night here (60,000 points) by spending £15,000 in Waitrose. I value a night at the IC London at £300 (valuing each Flying Club mile at £0.005) therefore, if you convert to IHG rewards Club Points you will be earning a 2% cashback in miles from your Waitrose shop.

You earn the same mile rate by buying John Lewis gift cards in Waitrose.

To collect these miles you need to sign up on the Virgin website and register your credit cards. I did a Waitrose shop and my points are showing up no problems.

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Register an Avios credit card such as the Lloyds Avios American Express, and you will obviously continue to earn Avios from your shop as well as earning Virgin Flying Club miles via Virgin Atlantic for your shopping. I am currently collecting hotel loyalty points on my Starwood preferred guest American Express credit card when I buy groceries, as well as earning Virgin Flying Club miles.

If you choose to spend your points flying on Virgin Atlantic travelling in Upper Class, you may be interested in our reviews of Virgin Atlantic’s Business Class and also whether Virgin Atlantic or British Airways is better to travel transatlantic.

28 May ’17 Update: This rate may now have been reduced to 1 mile per £1 spent.

Earn 2.4 Avios For Every £1 Spent At Tesco

This rate is not as good as Waitrose where you can earn 4 flying club miles for every £1 spent. But if you are an Avios collector and pay with an Avios collecting card such as the Lloyds Avios American Express credit card, you will collect 240 avios for an average £100 grocery shop before taking into account the additional 1.25 Avios per £1 spent on the American Express card. If you value Avios at £0.01 you are getting 2.4% + 1.25% = 3.65% back in Avios from Tesco. It is worth watching out for the regular bonus point offers on brands such as Lego on Tesco Direct to help boost your Avios balance

Earn 1 Nectar Points For Every £1 Spent At Sainsbury’s

You earn 1 Nectar points for every £1 spent at Sainsbury’s. You then can redeem 500 points for £2.50 to spend at places like Argos as well as Sainsbury’s itself, which is a very poor return of £0.05 per £1 spent and makes this the worst supermarket for collecting loyalty points or miles.

If you want to travel with your Nectar rewards, 2,000 points equates to £10 spend on Expedia or Easyjet which is the same value as spending your points at Sainsbury’s. A better rate of return (double in fact) can be found if you want to spend your points at on the Belmond British Pullman and Belmond Northern Belle luxury trains. Here 2000 points equates £20.00 to spend with Belmond. Sadly this offer does not include Belmond properties like the Cipriani Venice which would make collecting Nectar points far more interesting.

Update 28 May ’17: following a read of HeadforPoints, I can share that you can also collect 80 Virgin Flying Club Miles per Sainsbury’s shop if you login and clickthrough from the Virgin site.

Earn 3% Curve Rewards For Every £1 Spent At The Marks & Spencer Food Hall

I use my Curve Card which I have reviewed when buying food from the Marks & Spencer food hall. This gives me 3% cashback which I can use towards travel if I so wish. You earn 1.5% cashback on their free card (and get £5 for applying with a Curve Card referral code) of 3% cashback on their premium card.

M&S will be trialling a food delivery service this Autumn which will make the 3% Curve cashback from the M&S food hall even more interesting. I link my Curve Card to my Lloyds Avios Mastercard so will also be earning 0.25 Avios per £1 spent which is better than nothing.