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.)

Reminder: IHG PointBreaks bookable from Monday afternoon
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Comments

  1. Watching

  2. One of the best is Eurotunnel @ 3x

  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)

  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.

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