Trouble brewing as the Clubcard / Hotels.com deal unravels

….. because, as is becoming clear, Tesco Clubcard has been playing very fast and loose with the real terms of this offer.

I wrote about this new deal last week.  On the same day, Clubcard introduced Uber and Hotels.com as new redemption partners.  Both claim to give you 3 x the face value of your vouchers.

Uber is ‘the real deal’ – a ‘genuine’ 3 x face value offer.

The Tesco / Uber page is here.

For every 50p of vouchers you convert, you receive £1.50 of Uber credit.  No catches although, for clarity, you can’t use it for UberRUSH credit.  It is only valid for rides in the UK.

This is an excellent deal if you are a regular Uber user and instantly makes this one of the best Tesco Clubcard redemptions.  In fact, the deal is even better than it appears because, as I wrote on Saturday, you can also use the credit in the UberEATS app to order yourself takeaway food.

Hotels com rewards 2

Hotels.com is totally different.

The Tesco / Hotels.com page is here.

This was never a ‘genuine’ 3 x face value offer.  Hotels.com does not let you collect Hotels.com Rewards credit if you pay with Clubcard vouchers.  You won’t get any shopping portal rewards either.  Even discounting those two aspects, however, you would still be getting over 2.5 x face value for your vouchers.  In theory.

Tesco seems to have rushed this out.  On launch day, there was no mention of a cap.  Only later did the site change to say that there is a cap of converting £165 of points per transaction, which would give you a £495 voucher.  Whilst you can only use one voucher per booking, nothing stops you making separate back to back bookings of course.

The first problem is that, according to a comment on Tesco’s own websiteyou cannot use Clubcard vouchers to pay the ‘taxes and fees’ element of the booking.  This must still be paid in cash.  Tesco doesn’t tell you this.  If you convert exactly enough vouchers to pay for your room, you will have converted too much – and any unused part of a Hotels.com credit voucher is lost.

For example:

  • You see a room online at Hotels.com for £150
  • You convert £50 of Tesco vouchers for £150 of Hotels.com voucher
  • When you book, you find on the payment page that the price is broken down into £125 of room and £25 of ‘taxes and fees’
  • Because you have already converted your voucher, you are obliged to use it to cover the £125 room element, losing £25, and you still need to pay the £25 of taxes in cash

This is poor.

Here is the big problem though.

The Clubcard website does not list any serious restrictions on using the vouchers.  In fact, it says:

Check availability before you exchange your vouchers, as once you’ve received the voucher, we can’t refund it.

…. with the word ‘availability’ linking to the Hotels.com home page.

Once you have redeemed your vouchers however – which, remember, are non-refundable – you receive a link to the real terms and conditions.  These rules are here.

The exclusions are shocking as you can see.

This is just the list for ‘H’ – I have bolded the key ones:

  • H Hotels
  • Hacienda Beach Club & Residences
  • Hampton by Hilton
  • Hampton Inn
  • Hampton Suites
  • Hard Days Night Hotel
  • Hawkstone Park Hotel
  • Hawthorn Suites
  • Heritage Hotel – Manila
  • Hesperia
  • Hilton Garden Inn
  • Hilton Grand Vacations
  • Hilton Hotels
  • Hilton International
  • Ho’olei at Grand Wailea
  • Holiday Inn
  • Holiday Inn Club Vacations
  • Holiday Inn Express Hotel
  • Holiday Inn Select
  • Holmsbu Hotel & Spa
  • Home-Towne Suites
  • Home2 Suites by Hilton
  • Homewood Suites
  • Horizont Resort
  • Hormuz Grand Hotel
  • Horwood House
  • Hotel 81
  • Hotel Arts Barcelona
  • Hotel Astoriahotel BLUE
  • Hotel Brioni
  • Hotel F1
  • Hotel Formule 1
  • Hotel Holiday
  • Hotel Indigo
  • Hotel Jen
  • Hotel Motel Prélude
  • Hotel PUR Quebec
  • Hotel Ritz
  • Hotel Russell
  • Hotel Shangri La Santa Monica
  • Hotel Sipar
  • Howard Johnson
  • Howard Johnson San Francisco Marina District
  • HTL
  • HUALUXE
  • Hyatt Hotels

Pretty much every branded hotel is excluded.  The full list is here.

Even though this deal is only a couple of days old, complaints have – not surprisingly – already started to appear on the Clubcard website from people who feel they have been duped:

The site is great and the voucher discounts are good HOWEVER the list of exclusions is huge and the Tesco site does not link to the exclusion list in any way. It was not until I had converted my vouchers that I discovered the exclusion list.

and

Check the massive list of excluded hotels — including the major chains — before you get this voucher. I am stuck with it and can’t book anything.

You would like to think that Tesco will be offering these people a refund of their vouchers – there is no doubt that Tesco would lose a Small Claims / MCOL case in any event.

If you are planning to book a hotel which is not part of a major chain, and which is on Hotels.com, then this new Clubcard deal may work for you.  For many HFP readers, however, it just became pretty useless indeed.

PS.  Here is a little coda to this article.  As you can see if you click through to the Clubcard page for Hotels.com, someone asked to see the list of exclusions.  I posted a comment with the link to the list.  This is the reply I received from Tesco when the comment was blocked from appearing:  “Our staff has read your comment and values your contribution even though it did not meet all our website guidelines. Thanks for sharing, and we hope to publish next time!”

Love Clubcard, don’t collect Avios?  You should be reading our sister site, Shopper Points (www.shopperpoints.co.uk), which covers the latest Clubcard and Nectar offers without any distracting frequent flyer talk!  Why not check it out now?

HFP ‘Credit Cards’ page updated for July – what are the best deals this month?
Bits: interesting Iberia / Avis deal, 1950's BA amenity kits
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Comments

  1. Just like Hotels.com sales. They always seem to exclude those hotels.

  2. John M says:

    I called Tesco Clubcard to ask about this deal.
    They were not overly helpful.
    Said that “Hotels.com” might impose their own restrictions – but was unable to provide me with what these were.
    Wonder whether the people on here who have managed to book “excluded” hotels will actually have the bookings honoured? I’m assuming they have not already stayed.

  3. John M says:

    did a Google search for “Hotels.com special offers exemptions” – came up with a page for special offers for hotels in Prague (lovely city!) – saw an offer for “up to 100% off” – which clearly seems too good to be true!!

  4. Tony Burns says:

    Like all hotel bookings you have to do your own groundwork to ensure you get the best deal.

  5. John M says:

    Just a bit tricky when the T&C are not available in advance

  6. From Tesco’s Website

    Response from Tesco Clubcard:

    Martin · Tesco Clubcard · 12 hours ago

    Thank you for posting your review. We have today updated the fine print on our website to make it clear on how to use your tokens. I can confirm there are no exclusions so I do hope you have a great stay when using your Hotel.com tokens.

  7. It also appears as well as not gaining Reward Nights, you are unable to use the ‘Secret Price’ rates.

    And here is a list of the exceptions, according to the T&Cs….
    http://uk.hotels.com/page/hotel-exclusions-emea/?pos=HCOM_UK&locale=en_GB

    • seems that Tesco say there are no exclusions but the T&C say that most chains are excluded!

      • I have just redeemed some Clubcard points for a voucher, tried to book an Ibis and had the booking fail. The message redirected me to the long list of excluded chains.

  8. The T&C exclude most chains but not Fairmont, but I have no points now that they are not awarded on gift cards.
    Must try hard to get some before we go to Quebec next Fall, unless scheme has stopped by then..

  9. John M says:

    Well, it seems Tesco are trying – even though Rob’s attempt to book an Ibis failed above. Wonder whether Tesco’s “changes” came in after Rob’s attempt – or more likely, Rob is right and Tesco are still wrong.
    Here are the new (selected) T&C on Tesco Clubcard site.

    “This voucher can be combined with discounted prices on Hotels.com but cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotion on Hotels.com”

    >>>>Hotels.com currently have a 10% discount code (which presumably will only work on limited hotels anyway) – I’m guessing this will not be allowed with Clubcard vouchers?

    “Your voucher will work on 100% of pre-paid hotels on hotels.com. Any reference to a hotel exclusion list within T&C’s on hotels.com does not apply to you.”

    What’s the definition of a “pre-paid hotel” – does a Hilton or Ibis with a pre-paid rate count as pre-paid, or is the inference of this T&C to exclude any hotel which offers any sort of “pay at hotel rate” – i.e. quite a lot!!

    Maybe, this is the “small print” which excludes some hotels that people are trying to book?

    • Duncan says:

      A ‘pre-paid’ hotel is when you pay at the time of booking, not at the hotel.

  10. John M says:

    Or maybe Rob tried to book a “non” pre-paid rate at Ibis?

  11. Duncan says:

    I think the list of excluded hotels is for the Hotels.com Rewards scheme and is not related to the Tesco deal. If if there are any exclusions you really need to know them *before* you spend your Tesco points.

  12. I had a failed attempt at booking a Crowne Plaza hotel on Sunday using converted Clubcard vouchers. Even phoned hotels.com and the lady tried the code. It wasn’t recognised and she confirmed that chain hotels are not part of the Tesco scheme. Tesco since emailed me back on Monday saying that there were no restrictions and I shouldn’t have a problem. Too late now. I booked the hotel whilst it was still available and paid full price. Tesco have offered to return them to clubcard points. Not impressed.

    • Duncan says:

      The code will only work online (and using the correct link), not over the phone.