Can you get a better travel deal with Clubcard points than Avios?

Tesco Clubcard offers a very cheap way of accumulating Avios points and Virgin Flying Club miles without stepping on a plane.   This is why I cover some Clubcard offers on Head for Points and ALL Clubcard earning offers (however good or bad!) over on our sister site Shopper Points.

Are Avios points a blinkered way of redeeming your Clubcard vouchers, though? After all, there are a huge number of other partners to choose from.  Once in a while it is worth stopping to look at alternatives.

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 Clubcard redemptions, ranked by the multiple of face value offered, on this page of Shopper Points.

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, 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 left the scheme – back in the days when they allowed you to use unlimited amounts of vouchers it was an easy way to get a totally free holiday.

With cruises, for example, Royal Caribbean does not allow redemptions against flights, taxes, admin fees etc, only cruise costs.  There is a £510 per person voucher cap and a minimum cruise of 7 nights.  The upside is that the minimum spend is also £510 per person so you could cover the majority of the cost of a cheap cruise with Clubcard.

P&O now has a maximum cap of £810 of vouchers per booking (Royal Caribbean is £510 per person) which makes it more interesting for a solo traveller.  With cruise deals you are generally required to book the brochure price which may often be discounted via brokers.

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, Barcelo, Butlins, Hastings Hotels, Hilton, Macdonald, Mercure, Novotel and Warner Hotels. 

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’ and lets you book ‘advanced purchase’ rates.  Not all Mercure UK hotels take part.

Hilton rooms can be booked 7 days a week (you must book 14 days in advance) 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.  You can check availability on the Hilton website by searching for corporate code PR20TC although Tesco don’t tell you this!

Hilton allows you to book most room categories with Clubcard tokens.  This can make them more flexible than Hilton HHonors points if you need a larger room or suite.

apartments4u looks interesting.  You redeem a flat £30 of Clubcard vouchers for a £90 apartments4u voucher.  This can be redeemed on their website as a standard discount code against any 7-night booking and so are getting a genuine 3 x face value saving.  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 for me is redspottedhanky, but at only 2x face value it is not great.  Hilton is a possibility but not one I have tried yet.  That isn’t to say that some of the other deals are not worth it, they just don’t work for me.

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.

Love Clubcard?  You should be reading our sister site, Shopper Points (www.shopperpoints.co.uk), which covers the latest Clubcard and Nectar offers.  Why not check it out now?

HFP 'Credit Cards' page updated for September - what are the best deals this month?
Fewer Avios options: Lufthansa to take over 1/3rd of airberlin routes
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Comments

  1. Lady London says:

    P & O has now reduced their offering to their Irish Sea ferries only. (So not Dover and Calais.) This was a bit of a blow when I went to use some Clubcard points last week.

    • Lady London says:

      Plus DFDS’s t’s and c’s are quite tough – need to be booked a much longer period ahead etc.

  2. O/T avios.com Enjoy up to 35% bonus Avios
    Top up your balance and take off sooner.
    When you Purchase Avios between 09 – 26 September 2016

    135,000 Avios = £1615 = 1.1962962p

    • or (same 35% bonus)
      114749 Avios for £1375 = 1.1982675p

      • I’m certainly not a buyer at that price!

        • nor am I but there’s a massive case for buying 135000 if you need them to get enough for a 2-4-1 (or perhaps can get more that 1.2p of value elsewhere)

          chean & dead easy, whammo 135000 or 270000 if you feel like it 🙂

        • I am using reward flight over Christmas to Canary islands and if I calculated correctly I am getting a value over 3p easily per avios. (40000 avios against nearly £1200 cash ticket price for four of us)

          Even though I will now be buying at this price.

        • Should read NOT be buying instead of now.

        • Yes, I can believe that, I had same idea about a week ago and checked out what was available, answer was nothing much at reasonable prices and problematic to get both an out and rtn redemption that worked. Also noticed that BA to LPA was operated by Iberia Express. Didn’t realise Canary Islands were so popular over the holidays.

  3. Clubcard: Also useful for buying Merlin Annual Pass.
    Have used wightlink and managed to achieve 3x value in the past.

    • Forgot to mention other than travel Pizza Express is certainly a good value for me.

      • Only on Fri and Sat IMO. My wife prefers somewhere more fancy on a weekend. (Can use tastecard / vouchers on most other nights thereby diminishing the true value of the redemption).

  4. The apartments4u are mainly timeshare units and I would advise researching the resort and booking only Gold or Silver Crown units as the standard ones may not suit.

  5. O/T Amex

    Finance Times spend £30, get £20 credit
    ft.com/amex

  6. About the Daily Mail-o-graph £20 offer, even if you can’t stand the biased reporting, the offer may be worthwhile, because it includes:
    – 15% discount on Thursdays at Robert Dyas (all week online);
    – free coffee at Debenhams on Mon-Fri afternoons;
    – 2-4-1 and similar dining offers

    You need a subscriber card and may need to request it. Mine came automatically, a pair btw.

  7. We generally use our points for restaurant vouchers (Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge mainly) for when we have family breaks in the UK. At 4x face value I think its a good use of them. You can’t use the vouchers for drinks though, but other than that they are very useable.