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.

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.

Airlines

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.

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 such as Cosmos, Bridge The World, Disneyland Paris, Leger, P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean and SibluThese 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?

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, 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.

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.  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.

(Want to boost your Clubcard points?  Click here and scroll down to the Clubcard logo to see our list of current promotions.)

Hilton and Marriott scrapping 'same day' cancellation for Best Flexible rates
Reminder: IHG PointBreaks bookable from Monday afternoon
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Comments

  1. Watching

  2. One of the best is Eurotunnel @ 3x

    • +1 for Eurotunnel

      • +2 never paid for eurotunnel in my life and take it twice a year at least

        • also the way you book now is much better than it used to be. can be done in a single phonecall after ordering a voucher online. no more posting and calling twice :o)

          • Lady London says:

            + 1.
            My minimum boost to equal the value in miles is 3x.
            Used the Eurotunnel boost recently. Dealing with them was pleasant and efficient.

            Tesco is advertising for someone to manage the travel category from a purchasing/negotiating point of view for clubcard, btw.

    • Again for Eurotunnel. Didn’t come up against any limits or specific criteria when we booked last year

  3. Rajiv Chhabra says:

    Gone are the good days of Virgin holidays.
    Currently, flights with Avios is probably the best value. Also euro tunnel.
    Also, some might disagree but despite the taxes , long haul flights to the USA if planned in advance( including school holidays) represent good value as the direct flights to USA destinations are ridiculously overpriced.
    I thought Funaway holidays looked like a good option but have not used them from Tesco clubcard points & would love to hear from someone who has

  4. Not travel as such but we had a cheap UK holiday this summer by exchanging for food and activities at our destination. There were a number of tourist attraction specials which gave 5x face value. That covered the sightseeing bus and several viking related attractions in York. Thanks to a wide range of chain restaurants in the city we pretty much ate out for free at Strada, Bella Italia and Zizzi.

    • The point being made here is that nothing is really free. You’re making a purchase decision using a real currency.

  5. Re Megabus, also offered are “Megatrain” tickets on a select number of services on routes where Stagecoach Group owns or part owns the franchise (South West Trains, East Midlands Trains, Virgin Trains).

    They don’t show a map of the available routes, but Money Saving Expert has put together this one as a guide:
    http://images.moneysavingexpert.com/images/megamap.gif

    Note that there are only tickets available for some journeys – e.g. London-Birmingham and Birmingham-Edinburgh are offered, but London-Edinburgh is not. Also on some routes they’re not offered every day of the week, nor over busy periods (e.g. Xmas). The booking horizon is 60 days.

    Despite all the caveats they can be very good value should you wish to travel when ‘Mega’ tickets are available – likely cheaper than the cheapest regular Advance tickets on offer.

  6. We always obtain our senior railcards by redeeming Tesco points.

  7. Be careful about redeeming for restaurant vouchers – yes, you get a headline 3 or 4 times face value. However, you can’t use these vouchers with any kind of special offer. So no tastecard or Gourmet Society 2for1, no vouchers from vouchercodes. Given that the saving offered by such discount schemes is substantial, you would only gain value from Tesco restaurant vouchers if dining alone or on a Saturday, when most of the discount vouchers and schemes are not valid.

  8. This is an interesting one for me. Im keeping a “balanced portfolio” outside of avios in case of devaluation (scrapping reward flight savers on short haul would hit me the worst) and i always seem to dip into the Tesco “double up” promotions giving 2p value on each point. This is interesting if the underlying base product is further reduced:

    E.g. 1 year of water filters (value 4p point); new pair of glasses (value 3p point); a couple of holdalls from the ellehammer luggage promotion (at least 4p point)

    • Any ‘latest’ thoughts on whether people think Tesco CC points > Avios is under threat?

    • I use mine for Safestore these days – it is a genuine 3x deal and I need to pay the bill anyway.

      • I think that’s one of the key things to remember: if you need to do/buy something anyway & you can use any sort of points, especially if on a multiplier, then you’re bound to be on a winner.

  9. Keith Jenner says:

    I bought a friends and family railcard using club card points. Only 2x value from what I recall, but it works well, and more than paid for itself with just one return to London for the three of us.

    The best value for Clubcard that I have made use of recently is not travel related, but we got 4x value for a whole load at Topps Tiles. No restriction to any deals as far as I could see.

  10. Felix Flyer says:

    May be a limited market but used CC last year for Stena Line Harwich to Hook of Holland and got 3x value for car and 3 pax. Max value is £210 but this is generally ok.

  11. In Malaga now on a P&O cruise paid totally in Tesco Club Cards points. Brilliant.

  12. Interesting article about clubcard:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-30095454

    • Thanks for highlighting this article – really interesting read, I had no idea of the background to the scheme and the involvement of an external company.

  13. We did Tesco > Virgin > Hilton and got around 4 x value for a couple of nights at New Years. Was better value and more flexible than converting straight to Hilton.

    • Back in the days when a) Virgin was 1:2 into Hilton (now 2:3) and b) Hilton points were worth about 0.5p rather than 0.3p and c) Virgin did generous transfer bonuses this was a really good deal.

      100 Clubcard with a 30% Virgin bonus got you 325 Virgin which got you 650 Hilton which was worth £3.25.

      Now it is more like:
      100 Clubcard with a 20% Virgin bonus gets you 300 Virgin which gets you 450 Hilton which is worth £1.35.

  14. i must add that the comments on Tesco clubcard page about P&O cruise are mainly from people using a small amount of points. Which it’s not worth booking this way, but it clearly states you must pay select price. We paid £750 in CC points for a 11 night FB in a balcony cabin. As we paid the select price we had first offer on cabin upgrades, which we were offered an upgrade to a mini suite for £200 pp. so we are having at this moment a £4.4k holiday for a total of £750 cc points and £400 cash. Food onboard is great etc etc.
    I am very happy with the offer from Tesco for P&O cruises.

    • These are legitimate complaints though; not everyone has £750 CC points to drop on a cruise and the Saver fares are perfectly legitimate for those who don’t care where their cabin is located or want the extras that are included with Select fares.

      If you’d only ever booked reduced fare (Getaway or now Saver fares) with a TA and that’s all they really discussed with you, then I can imagine the price P&O wanted for (to some people) the same product would be quite a shock.

      • If I did not have the CC points I would not have booked it, as it clearly states the fact no onboard spend etc, but we luckily built the points up over 1-2 years. We feel it a good exchange of points if you have the total amount.

  15. linda phillips says:

    Thanks Raffles didn’t realise Tesco vouchers could be converted in Goldsmith vouchers have just redeemed the lot for hubby,s Xmas present a Tag Huer watch he has always wanted.

    • Some infrequent flyers use Goldsmiths to get cash out of TCC points, ie various items can be sold on.

  16. I used them for Thompson and Morgan plants. Just put 200 bulbs in the garden and bought two seeds from the UK’s largest pumpkin this year. This is a good saving as I would have spent the money anyway and the plants should last for a few years.

  17. Why not convert clubcard points to Virgin air miles and then convert those to Hilton HHonors points? There are some amazing deals to be had especially if you go for the category 1 and 2 hotels.

    As an example, the 5 star Pyramids Golf Resort in Egypt is only 5,000 points per night and normally costs around £100 a night non-refundable. 5,000 HH points is 2,500 virgin air miles, which at the current rate of 625 miles per £2.5 cc points is £10 in clubcard vouchers. Might be good to wait for the bonus they normally do on virgin air miles exchange. There’s a few other good cat 1 hotels aswell. Much better value imo. Does anyone know if there is some sort of limit as to how many clubcard points you can convert to virgin?

    Even better if you have Hilton Gold with the free breakfast/upgrades.

  18. Re. cruises, it also worth considering the Avios earn by booking through Avios.com. I have just booked a Cunard transatlantic on the QM2 for £599 pp in a balcony cabin, including flght back from New York. On the 22nd December, the flight seat alone is currently listed at £902 with strictly no Avios award seats in sight. Avios.com pay 10/£ on Cunard bookings, which gives 11,980 Avios for the two of us, multipled by 2 because I paid with the BMI Amex (same for BA Amex) plus the regular 2 Avios/£ Amex earning = 26,356 Avios worth a one way flight between Madrid and South America for a later repositioning cruise. It s a shame the flight from New York is United Airlines and not BA, otherwise there would have been more Avios earning opportunities.

    Tim.

    • I missed the part about double Avios when paying on a BA Amex… that was not a perk I was aware of. I’ve just booked a Celebrity cruise though Avios costing about £4k total and got around 36,000 Avios for it. I’m planning to open a BA Amex soon anyway so I’d have done it before booking if I’d known that.

      Seems a bit TOO good… are these Avios though the BA Amex, or through Avios when booking?

      • Greater beings know more than I on this subject (cue Raffles) but, as I understand it, spending on travel via Avios.com is treated like spending on BA via Avios.com. As I won’t know until “28 days after returning” for the Avios to be credited I am cannot be certain. I am going on past reports here.

        Either way, with the cruise industry in the UK behaving like a closed shop with no discounts to be had anywhere, a significant Avios earn is the best option going.

        Tim.

        • Some comments recently have said there holiday spend via Avios did NOT attract double points on the BA Amex. It seems to be a bit hit and miss and may even vary by tour operator so I would not rely on it and would not factor the extra Avios into any calculation of whether the deal is decent.

        • Lady London says:

          Hi Tim, I guess you know about the US websites for discounted cruises? apparently huge discounts offered on same cruises that are never discounted to the UK.

          • Thanks Lady London but vice-versa. U.S. rates can be easily triple UK rates depending on cruiseline and itinerary. I generally check UK, US, Australian and Spanish rates on a regular basis for any good deals. There is no consistency as to where to book for the best deals.

            Raffles, it was a superb deal already with no cash-back or discount available elsewhere. Whether it is half a flight or a full flight to/from Rio or Buenos Aires, it is still a very welcome bonus.

            A balcony cabin on the Queen Mary 2, Southampton to New York, arriving in New York three days before Christmas Day and a flight back and transfer for £599? I won’t grumble at only half a flight to South America as ‘Avios compensation’.

            Tim.

            • Sounds pretty good – if you like cruises, that is.

              Can’t get away from the people and that doesn’t suit me! ;-)

  19. Sally Graham says:

    I sometimes use the red spotted hanky double value vouchers for train journeys. If you sign up with RSH too they give you an extra 1% of the real value of the purchase even if you use the tesco vouchers. OK not an extra fortune, but quite satisfying to double up and you can use the credit for part payment of future tickets rather than having to wait to accrue the full amount. Useful as they expire at the end of each dec which caught me out the first year. If you’ve got no travel plans towards the end of dec you can donate the points to charity…..

  20. kevin cottrell says:

    When Tesco does a boost, then the dynamics change.

    I bought an HTC One M8 for under £250 last time that they did it.

  21. Are 3V vouchers still available? I’ve been in a number of stores in North London since I read your articles and I’ve never seen one – Is anyone still buying them?