You’ll never find anyone at UKtravelpoints shopping online like an ordinary person. Nope, whether it’s via a cashback site, miles portal or gift card discounter, you can guarantee that we’ll be looking for a bit of added value.

So where do we shop?

That depends. It involves a fair bit of shopping around, before you shop around.

You basically need to determine which option gives you the best value at the particular time of your shop. So, for example, if Hilton is offering me 1% cashback at TopCashback, but 8 Avios per £1 at the Avios eStore (as is currently the case, FYI…), I’ll be booking my Hilton stays at the Avios eStore.

So, with both the Avios eStore and Virgin Flying Club’s Shops Away offering massive bonus miles on your online shop, they are currently well worth considering.

What are the Avios eStore and Virgin Shops Away?

In the same way that the cashback sites give you hard cash, Avios eStore and Shops Away give you airline miles for shopping with online retailers if you click through to those online retailers from the Avios eStore or Virgin Shops Away site.

So, if these are retailers you would ordinarily visit, it is a great way of earning air miles on transactions you would have made anyway.

What’s available? – Avios eStore

There’s a huge number of retailers on Avios eStore, but there are some standout offers. In particular:

  • House of Fraser – 4 Avios per £1
  • John Lewis – 4 Avios per £1
  • Tesco Direct – 4 Avios per £1
  • IHG hotels – 6 Avios per £1
  • Apple UK – 8 Avios per £1
  • Dell – 8 Avios per £1
  • Hilton – 8 Avios per £1
  • M&S – 8 Avios per £1
  • Harvey Nichols – 9 Avios per £1
  • Goldsmiths – 12 Avios per £1
  • Groupon – 14 Avios per £1

What’s available? – Virgin Shops Away

Again, Virgin offers a great range of retailers. In fact, rather wonderfully, you may have noticed that our screenshot for Virgin above is exactly the same (retailers and miles/£1) as the one for Avios. That’s not a mistake, these are screenshots from the two different sites, it’s just they’re clearly matching each other (and, it seems, the third party that runs both of their shopping portals has got a little bit lazy).

So, unsurprisingly, the Virgin offers largely match Avios, including:

  • House of Fraser – 5 miles per £1
  • John Lewis – 3 miles per £1
  • Tesco Direct – 3 miles per £1
  • IHG hotels – 4 miles per £1
  • Dell – 6 miles per £1
  • Hilton – 6 miles per £1
  • Harvey Nichols – 9 miles per £1
  • Goldsmiths – 9 miles per £1
  • Groupon – 12 miles per £1

The above said, as a general rule, where miles offered by Avios and Virgin differ, Avios offers more (e.g. Hilton is 8 Avios versus 6 Virgin miles). However, don’t be blinded by the higher earning rates. If Virgin miles are clearly more useful to you than Avios, then factor that in and it may well be worth taking the lower amount.

Anything to add?

Remember, these air miles are on top of any savings you get on retailer site, too. I imagine most of the retailers on Shops Away and Avios eStore will be running their own Black Friday sales, so there should be some excellent opportunities to stack them with the Avios eStore/Shops Away Black Friday rates.

Similarly, it’s not controversial to say hard cash is more flexible than even the most flexible loyalty point, so have a look at TopCashback too – if the cashback amount is slightly lower than the miles offered, it still may well be better value. This is all, of course, heavily dependent on your personal circumstances. If you desperately need a few more Avios to get that dream redemption, bag them!

How long have you got?

The Avios eStore deals run until 22 December. I’m not quite sure how long the Virgin deals run for, but I’d be amazed if you didn’t have until at least the end of Monday (or “Cyber Monday”, as we now call it.)

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