Quantcast

What other Tesco Clubcard travel deals are worth a look?

There are a lot of posts about accumulating Tesco Clubcard points on Head for Points. This is primarily because Clubcard offers a very cheap way of accumulating Avios points and Virgin Flying Club miles without stepping on a plane.

Is this a blinkered way of redeeming your Clubcard vouchers, though? After all, there are a huge number of other partners to choose from.

Let’s take a look at Tesco’s other travel partners.

Clubcard vouchers

First, you need to ask yourself ‘What is an Avios point worth to me? – this linked post explains my views. If you settle on 1p, then 1p of Clubcard vouchers gets you 2.4p of value if you redeem for Avios, or (say) 3.6p during a 50% conversion bonus.

Do any other Clubcard travel deals come close to this?

Airlines

The only other partner is Monarch. £10 of Clubcard vouchers gets you £15 of Monarch vouchers. This is a poor return.

Transport

redspottedhanky offers 2x face value for train fares – you are at least cashing out cleanly here, as train tickets are not usually discounted further elsewhere, apart from those operators who offer special deals exclusively on their own websites.

Europcar is 3x but UK only and with restrictions which reduce the value sharply. The various ferry companies are also 3x – I never book a ferry so I am not sure how easy it is to take advantage of other special deals. Megabus and the railcards tend to offer 2x. None of these companies are likely to soak up a large pile of vouchers in any event.

Holidays

I have read some great stories about people who have had ‘free’ holidays via Clubcard points. Tesco works with many of the top groups at 3x face value, such as Cosmos, Bridge The World, Cunard, Disneyland Paris, Leger, P&O Cruises, Park Resorts, Royal Caribbean, Siblu and Virgin Holidays.

The rules have been tightened over the years, though. Some tour operators have now capped the use of large amounts of Clubcard vouchers. Virgin (who are leaving Clubcard in October) restricts you to £525 of tokens (so £175 of unconverted vouchers) per passenger, and insists on a minimum 7-day flight and hotel booking. Royal Caribbean does not allow redemptions against flights, only cruise costs. P&O has a £500 minimum booking rule, although most Head for Points readers could easily cover that! Cosmos has a limit of £300 per person (£100 of unconverted vouchers) per passenger.

You need to do the sums to see if these deals make sense. How much cheaper can you get the product if you book elsewhere?

Hotels

This is also the land of small print! You can use Clubcard deals for 300% of face value with a number of hotel groups, including Best Western, Hilton, Macdonald, Marriott, Mercure, Novotel and Thistle.

In general, you are restricted to UK stays, at weekends, paying the ‘fully flexible’ bed and breakfast price. Mercure allows midweek stays ‘subject to availability’. Mercure also has this fantastic clause: “tokens cannot be used for internet bookings and are not valid on prices shown on the internet” which makes you wonder what prices they do use!

Hilton has the same clause. You can, on paper, book ‘worldwide’, but not continental Europe! Or Conrad hotels. Or Waldorf-Astoria properties. Or the Hilton Bath or a few other random exclusions! They also offer ‘limited’ midweek availability.

(It is also worth remembering that you can redeem Avios points for hotels at roughly 0.58p per Avios. This would represent around 1.4p per 1p of Clubcard voucher, or 2.1p with a 50% conversion bonus.)

Conclusion

Fundamentally, I have never been able to get my head around the small print with the non-Avios travel deals. The only one that I know would work nicely is redspottedhanky, but at only 2x face value it is not great.

Am I missing out? If you’ve got any experience of redeeming Clubcard vouchers for travel (or other) deals for genuine bargains then do post below.

(Goldsmiths is a decent one if you have a ‘premium’ branch near you. I got a Mont Blanc pen for 75% off back in the days when Goldsmiths offered 4x, and apart from duty free you rarely see discounting on branded jewellery. Even at the new 3x exchange rate, you could pick up an Omega or Tag Heuer watch for a good discount.)

Eurostar 'pre-sale' available until 6pm tonight
What the new Delta / Virgin Atlantic joint venture means for you
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, airline miles and hotel points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our emails via the box to your right.

Comments

  1. vindaloo says:

    Any thoughts on good conversions for Nectar points? I don’t use Sainsbury’s all that much but have accumulated a couple of hundred quid’s worth of points over the years and never redeemed them as I don’t know of a way to get more than their face value.

    • Sinizter says:

      They are always worth 0.5p each. The only way to get more value is to wait till there is a double value promo for something you actually want, in which case they will be worth 1p each.

      • Agreed. It is difficult to get over 0.5p. I dumped all mine a few years at one of the pizza chains when they offered double value AND let you use points for alcohol – cleared about 7,000 out in one boozy go.

    • I use mine for Easyjet – you get 10% of the points back so effectively a 10% discount.

  2. It i s harder now to redeem for big ticket Goldsmiths items, in the past you could order the rewards in say £100 (unconverted) batches then put them all together to buy your watch. Now the reward is emailed and only one can be used per transaction. You would want to be certain your clubcard account was squeaky clean as ordering say £700 unconverted would lead to ‘extra security checks’.

  3. Agree none of the travel deals seem that great. I’ve redeemed for a PC Pro subscription (I think that was 3x) and for Prezzo and Pizza Express (both at 4x), which worked well. At least Tesco give you options with decent rates, unlike Nectar!

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Even the pizza deals’ so called ’4x’ is a bit of a myth. You have to pay full price, but there are often discounts of 25%+ available on voucher sites.

      • What is good about Pizza Express is that they now email you the codes, immediately. So you can check for any vouchers, and if there aren’t any, you can order up some via Tesco for email delivery straight away.

        • I do this once a week. Just make sure you allow 2 hours before you plan to eat. That is the case with the belle italia/strada/cafe rouge. These vouchers are also valid in each others resturaunt.

  4. A little OT, avios.com offers a (slightly) wider choice of airlines once you have converted points to Avios.

    The avios.com website in one of its banners offers flights on Air Malta, American, Aurigny, BA, Flybe, Iberia and Monarch. Of perhaps more interest to non-metropolitan readers, you can fly from many more UK airports.

    Nothing like the old days of Air Miles, though, when I happily redeemed on Swiss and Continental, even earning Flying Poo miles on CO award flights.

    • Ironically, I have a post lined up for tomorrow which covers all 31 airlines which let you redeem Avios for their seats!

  5. iantowns says:

    You’ve been a little unfair on the possible Royal Caribbean redemption I think Raffles. You’d never book a ‘fly cruise’ anyway, as it’s never a decent deal with flights included. Savvy cruisers are strictly cruise only people, and know how to cherry pick the good deals as and when they come along.
    For example, we snagged a 14-night Transatlantic re-positioning cruise, with a balcony, for May 2014 for £585 each. Unlimited food, entertainment, a gorgeous ship (The Liberty of the Seas), and great service.
    Although I didn’t, it’s quite possible to pay the whole cruise fare in Tesco Clubcard points. So £195 worth of vouchers gets you a fabulous 2-week holiday on one of the biggest cruise ships in the world.
    Now, whilst that conversion rate may be on a par with an Avios redemption it’s still a very good use of Clubcard points in my opinion.
    We should all be aware that a default transfer to Avios points isn’t necessarily the best use of Clubcard points.

  6. ankomonkey says:

    Raffles, when you say the Virgin/Tesco deal is coming to an end, is that just Virgin Holidays or Virgin Atlantic too?

    I live in the Midlands and we redeem Clubcard vouchers for West Midlands Safari Park every year. When they run a discount offer you get roughly 4x value. 2x is the best non-Clubcard return on this.

  7. Raffles,

    Love the blog.

    What I would say is the price you pay via the travel companys for the trip is highly inflated to start with, so while 3x doesnt sound like a bad deal the price is inflated so makes it more like 2x.

    Excellent example is the Cosmos travel, I found a deal recently via the website for £350, when i looked again via the special Tesco link it came up at £470.

  8. Great blog Raffles

    I have had experience of “reduced” value using Clubcards for stays at Barcélo Hotels,
    Converted the Clubcard points for Barcélo Tokens but was unable to use them online for the reduced 30% off locations or the tailored offers on mi Barcélo as I had to call to book at Standard Rates. I still gained a benefit but it was significantly reduced through being disadvantaged in not accessing the internet deals,

  9. Eurotunnel is good value at x3. I’m trying to save for a Tag or Omega but I couldn’t really justify paying the £180 fare for our summer hols in cash when £60 of vouchers got me the same trip.

  10. tho this deal has nothing to do with travel, ill share it anyways,

    http://phone-shop.tesco.com/pay-monthly-phones/BlackBerry-Curve-9320-Black-b96c374d-0770-4b9e-bc3d-cbe18e845a08 (10000 cc points for a bb 9320, witch is 14£ pcm for 24 months 336£ total) *this offer is quite often there, but had been removed for the past few weeks*

    tcb give £36.75 for tesco phone shop orders (if you are using the free trail 5% account anyways)

    these guys http://www.rpcrecycle.com/Manufacturer-blackberry/Phone-1979/9320curve.aspx?source=webgains&siteid=124925, give / claim to give £62 for the phone and have decent reviews on MSE, (for those that dont have the time to ebay or cannot be bothered i also wont factor in the avg ebay selling price tho its about £80 – £120 depending on luck)

    the recyclers are also on tcb for another £1.57 for the price range (given trail account again)

    the end resort if you do get all the cashback with out issues would be 42.43 CC points for every pound spend, you may or maybe not be able to get o2 to remove the data bolton for a better deals (have not added this in to the works costs since the reports are about 50/50 for o2 removing the bolton at a saving of £3 pcm), true this was a better deal around new year with 15000 points but still better than the 100 points for a £10 cd ect

    like said just thought id share

    • “The end resort if you do get all the cashback with out issues would be 42.43 CC points for every pound spend,”

      That’s well over 2p per CC point, that’s a crazy price to pay, never mind being stuck into a payment plan for them for 2 years !

    • Best case (You get the bolt-on removed, get the TCB cashback as CC points, full £62 RPC) is 0.62p/avios or 1.49p/CCP
      If you have already used your £50 TCB limit, pay for special delivery to RPC, and can’t remove the bolt-on it climbs to 1.03p/avios or 2.47p/CCP

      In my opinion the best case is OK, but otherwise I am not sure it is a good way of getting points. I would be a bit concerned that the whole thing depends on tesco phone shop paying the points so I wouldn’t dare remove the bolt-on until you have them (up to four months).

      Note, I assumed a conversion rate of 2.4p clubcard to avios.

      • How about if you use the contract element and just resell the phone? Especially if you’re currently on a low-use contract with a decent phone you’d like to keep anyway, then this deal would be great.

        • I’ve done this. Had to chase for the points but got them eventually. The cashback via Quidco went through without a hitch and I got a £93 credit voucher at CEX for the phone (about 6 months ago). This was the unlocked price as I never actually put a SIM in it.

  11. luckyjim says:

    For me, Avios are not a great use of Tesco vouchers.

    A Club World flight to the US requires just over £200 in Tesco vouchers which are worth up to £800 elsewhere. Add in taxes and the true cost of that ‘free’ flight is around £1300.

    Now, I know that is a hefty discount on the BA fare, but that is irrelevant. The question is, would I be prepared to pay £1300 for CW if it was cash? For a family of four? I think I’d rather pay £500 and fly economy with no compromise on the dates, destination and airline of my choice.

    • iantowns says:

      I’d tend to agree.

      Whilst trading Clubcard points for Avios may be a decent deal during a promotion, there are often plenty of things that one can ‘buy’ with them which gives much better value in my opinion.

      It’s easy to fall into the trap that makes one think it’s all about collecting Avios regardless. It isn’t.

      It’s about getting the most value for money.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      I generally agree, but I think the 4p/PT valuation on CC is a bit extreme (as this post highlights). CW for a more realistic £900-1100 starts to sound better.

      • Indeed. I managed to exchange for Virgin holidays vouchers when they were offering 4x face value. The reality was that we missed out on discounts and cash back the meant the real value even then was around 3x the face value of the Tesco vouchers at best. These days it is worse with very few partners offering 4x face value.

        As to whether circa £1000 for a CW flight is good value is obviously going depend on many personal factors, including whether or not the vouchers can save you money the you would otherwise spend with other partners. Worth also noting that Avios for upgrade can offer a better deal in some cases compared to a 2for1, for substantially reduced Avios requirements.

        Use of Avios for short haul Reward Saver / partner flights can also offer value for those who would never contemplate spending extra to fly in a premium cabin.

  12. Jens moller says:

    @Zoe

    The idea of a new TAG heuer watch sounds too good to be true ! I had originally dismissed the goldsmith option as diamonds are ridicously overpriced at goldsmiths – much better to buy ‘used’ certified diamonds at auctions and get them fitted.

    Any way that do you mean with a clean Tesco account?

    I got a number of 500 cc for prepay games vouchers that I ‘forgot’ to use etc.

    By the way Can rewards be used for sales items?

    • Chris Storrie says:

      I spent £700 of CC points in Goldsmiths (during a 4x promotion) last year. Got myself a £700 Tissot and a £2k Tag. Was immensely satisfying and didn’t cost me a penny

      • Chris Storrie says:

        and no i built up a really good rapport with the manager cos i was spending so much but was told in no uncertain terms no chance of getting a sale item or any further reduction when using clubcard vouchers

    • If you redeem a large amount of Clubcard vouchers for a Goldsmiths voucher at once (and it appears you have to now, if they only accept 1 voucher per purchase) Tesco appears – before sending the voucher – to manually go through your account to see where your points came from, to make sure you haven’t been doing anything dodgy. What they define as ‘dodgy’ is, of course, not clear.

      • What do you guys mean by dodgy activity on a Tesco CC account? I guess overusing some of the preorder point promos may be considered weird but it’s not like manufactured credit card spending or anything… Tesco giveth and we taketh :)

        • I think they look for fraud such as scanning bonus club card coupons multiple times at self service check outs and employee related fraud. I don’t think multiple bonus purchases would be enough for them to cause concern. Tesco have had a few big problems with fraud recently with clubcard vouchers.

        • It is really down to what Tesco defines as ‘dodgy’! If you are personally happy with everything you did to earn the points, then you will be OK.

  13. I have previously redeemed Tesco vouchers for both Stena Line and Irish Ferries. The rate is not hugely favourable, particularly now that there is a limit of £210 for a return journey, the most you can do in one redemption. The £10 booking fee is included in the ‘Tesco fare’ with both operators iirc. Also, note that with Stena you can’t book the Premium fare, meaning that if you want access to the onboard lounge you have to pay separately which will end up costing you more. You also don’t get the express boarding and disembarkation, which is useful for getting ahead of the rest of the boat traffic in Dublin.
    All in all, I figured that I was getting about 2.5p per CCP, which is not the best value. I don’t think I’ll be doing it again.

  14. Of course the other aspect to this is that most serious CC/reward collectors in general, i.e. those who actively seek out worthwhile deals to grow their points stash, are doing so with a particular goal in mind because the effort and any extra spend it is worth it to them in pursuit of that goal.

    So for someone who collects Avios for an occasional CW/First on a 2for1, or Reward Saver trip for the annual family holiday in Europe is unlikely to care that the CC points they’ve earned towards their 100K Avios could have bought 40 meals for two in Prezzo or a diamond ring, and probably would not have spent the time and money collecting the points if it didn’t serve their particular goal.

    • luckyjim says:

      Yes, but that is irrational captain. Always do the math.

      • Agree, to a point… however, it’s not just about doing the math, but also about a judgement on what rewards are worth to each individual. The points only have an easily definable cash value if you’re able to use them to reduce or eliminate the cost of something you would have bought anyway, and even then that often won’t be the headline conversion rate for that partner if you’re missing out on discounts.

  15. We have used the Tesco vouchers against the Stena line cruise ferry service to Holland, overnight… leave Harwich around 10pm arrive in Holland having slept in a comfortable cabin for around £20.00 clubcard vouchers, arriving before the flight has got off the deck at LHR….
    They have capped the amount you can use, but it is a good deal for us, further if you have a Stena line plus card, you get 10% back, even if you booked with vouchers.

    We also paid for a Boat hire holiday by purchasing marriott reward points and converting to Tesco back in the day…. when you could get 4 x value….. and a quality holiday when you used to be able to convert Marriott points to Tesco club card.

    Agree Red spotted hanky is good too.