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.
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.
Do any other Clubcard travel deals come close to Avios or Virgin Flying Club redemptions? After all, many claim to offer ‘3x face value’ which would be a better return than 2.4x with Avios points. You can find a full list of all of the Clubcard travel redemptions here.
The only other airline partner is Monarch. £10 of Clubcard vouchers gets you £15 of Monarch vouchers. This is a poor return.
Train, buses, ferries and car hire
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 (such as only being valid on ‘pay on arrival’ rates) which reduce the value. 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.
If you live in Northern Ireland, the ability to redeem for Translink rail and bus tickets at 3x face value may be interesting.
Eurotunnel does offer genuine value. Feedback from HFP readers is that you pay the same price as shown on their website, availability is the same as shown online and the vouchers get you 3x face value.
I have read some great stories about people who have had ‘free’ holidays via Clubcard points. Tesco works with many of the top groups such as Cosmos, Bridge The World, Disneyland Paris, Leger, P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Siblu. These are generally at a headline rate of 3x face value.
The rules have been tightened over the years, though. Some tour operators have now capped the use of large amounts of Clubcard vouchers. Virgin Holidays has now left the scheme – in the days when they allowed you to use unlimited amounts of vouchers it was an easy way to a totally free holiday.
With cruises, Royal Caribbean does not allow redemptions against flights, only cruise costs. There is a £500 per person voucher cap and a minimum cruise of 7 nights. Last time I wrote on this topic, a reader commented that he had got a great deal on a cheap repositioning cruise (using Avios for flights) which cost only a little more than the cap.
P&O has no cap on the amount of vouchers that can be used. The Clubcard website has many scathing reviews of P&O’s Tesco deal, however, as P&O does not let you use them against their best deals. Cunard requires a minimum 6 day cruise but has no limit to what you can redeem – again, there is some criticism in the reviews of promotional deals not being allowed. You are unlikely to get exactly 3x face value with either P&O or Cunard because of this, albeit you should still get over 2x.
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?
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, Butlins, Hastings Hotels, Hilton, Macdonald, Mercure, Novotel and Warner Hotels. Note that Marriott and Thistle have pulled out in the last 18 months.
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 – minimum 2 night weekend stays only, at Hilton and Doubletree branded hotels only, in the UK only, priced off ‘Best Flexible B&B rate’ only. A long list of Hilton and Doubletree hotels also refuse to participate. On the upside, Hilton does offer ‘limited’ midweek availability. You can check availability on the Hilton website by searching for corporate code PR20TC.
(It is also worth remembering that you can redeem Avios points for hotels via ba.com at roughly 0.57p per Avios. This would represent around 1.4p per 1p of Clubcard voucher.)
apartments4u looks interesting. You redeem a flat £50 of Clubcard vouchers for a £150 apartments4u voucher. This can be redeemed on their website as a standard discount code against any 7-night booking of £225 or more. The reviews of Clubcard holders who have redeemed are all very positive.
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. All of these deals can be found at the Clubcard Boost ‘travel deals’ page.
(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 current 3x exchange rate, you could pick up an Omega or Tag Heuer watch for a good discount.)