What is happening with Tesco and Hotels.com Clubcard redemptions?

(UPDATE 15/7:  since this article was published, Hotels.com and Tesco Clubcard have made some changes to the way the offer is described online and to the instructions you are given when you are asked to redeem.  Whilst the list of Clubcard voucher exclusions is still showing on the Hotels.com website, as of today it seems that you CAN book ANY prepaid hotel on Hotels.com, charged in £, using Clubcard vouchers.)

The saga over the new Hotels.com Clubcard redemption option continues to rumble on.

As I wrote on Monday, Tesco launched this offer last week by stating that all pre-paid hotels on Hotels.com could be booked using Clubcard vouchers.  As you could swap your Clubcard vouchers for a Hotels.com voucher worth 3 x face value, this was a decent deal.

Within 48 hours, highly critical comments were appearing on the Clubcard / Hotels.com page saying that the deal came with huge exclusions.  Not only could you not pay taxes and fees with vouchers, but pretty much EVERY branded hotel on the planet was excluded.

This is the list of hotel chain exclusions which Clubcard was circulating – it is vast.

Hotels com rewards 2

Over the last 48 hours we have seen a couple of changes:

Tesco has changed its website to admit that taxes and charges must still be paid in cash

Tesco stated that NO hotels are excluded. It has posted this comment in response to questions:

“I can confirm there are no exclusions so I do hope you have a great stay when using your Hotel.com [sic] tokens.

So, what is the answer?

I decided to order a Hotels.com voucher and test out the deal. This is the email you receive from Clubcard containing your voucher code, which arrived impressively quickly:

Redemption Instructions 

1) Click the link here and search for your desired hotel, continue with the booking and on the booking form click “apply deal or discount”. You must use this link or the voucher will not work

2) Copy and paste the voucher code above. The voucher amount will be deducted from the cost of the first room booking (excluding taxes & fees), enter your details and pay the balance.

3) You will receive a confirmation email from Hotels.com including the booking details.

No mention of any exclusions there.  And:

Terms & Conditions 

You can’t use this voucher on taxes, fees, or charges including extra guests, phone calls, cancellation fees, parking, or other charges. You must pay these charges when you make your booking, or directly at the hotel.

Please check availability before you exchange as once you’ve received the voucher, we can’t refund it.You can use this voucher only once and in full. You won’t be able to use it again, even if you cancel your booking. Vouchers cannot be added at a later date.

Vouchers cannot be used for bookings paid for in a foreign currency.

The usual Hotels.com terms and conditions apply and all bookings are subject to availability.

No mention of any exclusions there either.  Sounds good.

But what happens in reality?

Having a clear couple of days in late July, I decided to book myself into the ibis Rotherham East for some much needed R&R.  The website said that it is only 35 minutes walk from Maltby Leisure Centre and 4.5 miles from Rotherham General Hospital, so it sounded good.  I also happen to know there is a Wacky Warehouse across the road.  The ‘pay in advance’ price was £41.41, split into £34.51 of room and £6.90 of tax.

ibis is listed on the ‘excluded chains’ list circulated by Hotels.com.

I tried to input my voucher code and this is the message I got:

rsz_hotels_com_test_2

Hmmm ….. strange, I can’t redeem my voucher ……

Let’s click on that ‘Terms & Conditions’ link in the image above.

This is where you are taken – a brand new page headed “This coupon is only valid for Tesco Clubcard members.”

And in the small print:  “Go to http://uk.hotels.com/page/hotel-exclusions-emea/?pos=HCOM_UK&locale=en_GB for a list of non-participating hotels. Participating hotels are subject to change at any time.”

On that list – which is the same list I circulated on Monday – it says you can’t use them at ibis or a few hundred other chains.

So ….. what is going on?  Tesco is adamant that there are no restrictions, whilst the combined experiences of myself and those people who have posted on the Clubcard website suggest otherwise.   Let’s see if this is some sort of temporary IT issue or not.

 

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Comments

  1. the_real_a says:

    What i have noticed of Tesco time and time again is that the “campaign” owner/manager doesn’t follow through the whole process. If i was the guy that brought on a new partner i`d be making sure everything was working well (and tracking the value) but it seems once they complete they “drop it” and move on to something else…

  2. JamesB says:

    Pants!

  3. Sounds like a rerun of the the never to be forgotten Hoover free flights promotion / fiasco from many moons ago :)

    • That’s a blast from the past, you don’t forget easily

      • JamesB says:

        Soon after that debacle there was another promotion for free flights at one of the wine stores. I popped into a branch in Tenterden of all places, bought a case of wine for around £50 which provided a free flight on AA which I used to Miami with a free stopover in NYC. I cannot recall the details but I joined AAdvantage and the miles I got for that trip and various ptomotions then saw me off to Rio in business via ORD and MIA. That in turn gave rise to a flight to YUL and a return from YYR via NYC. That was my introduction to miles anc points thanks to a case of wine, I’ve been hooked ever since. Despite that experience I remained too naive to benefit from the golden era of clubcard.

    • I recall as the dust was settling on that, a smart travel agent started offering a free hoover if you bought two flights to the US. Genius!

  4. John M says:

    Just to confirm, I just used a code successfully.
    I did a “dummy” run on an Ibis Styles hotel – but have since booked another (probably non brand)
    However, the code was accepted on the Ibis Styles (presumably Ibis Styles is “Ibis”?)

  5. That is what I like about this website, it is so aspirational. I bet none of my firends have gone on a city break to Rotherham.

    • Very funny, still laughing Here…bet it’s a great place!

      • JamesB says:

        I might have laughed too Polly except I must confess my partner and I just enjoyed a drive around the immediate environs of Hampton Newport in the vicinity of M4 J23,

  6. Aceman says:

    I’ve given up with hotels.com I’ve been trying to join their reward scheme, and utterly failing. The confirmed I wasn’t a member, You can’t join while logged in, so they sent me instructions in joining, starting from being logged out. When I tried to join I got a message saying I was already joined. Just went around in circles. I’m sticking to booking.com, same price but fully changeable bookings is an ok offset to fixed bookings and some nightmare reward scheme.

  7. NadineR says:

    Successfully used Tesco Clubcard deal for Hotels.com to book a Novotel in Paris.

    The email with the voucher did link to an exclusions list that listed Novotel so I was cautious but the hotel booking went through with no problems.

    I think the trick is to use the link they provided in the current step 4 of the deal to complete the process (as of yesterday it states that you must use this link or the code won’t work – https://uk.hotels.com/?rffrid=mdp.hcom.GB.550.000.00)

    • Davewhite says:

      interesting. so no restrictions then if used with the link they provide? Rob, thought you would have an inside Bat-line to Tesco HQ ? :)

  8. OT – flying to GCM via Nassau in 4 weeks. Cannot find anything in Manage my Booking to pre-order a meal, apart from “Special Meals”. Does this option still exist? We are in CW.

  9. Rob, at first I thought for sure that your words ”… I decided to book myself into the ibis Rotherham East for some much needed R&R” was you with your tongue buried deeply in your cheek.

    Then I recalled that you hail from those parts and the complete absence of any exclamation marks or etc just might mean that you were serious!

    Have I ”outed” you Rob?

    :-)

  10. Tim Millea says:

    I really question the point of using sites like Hotels.com, Booking.com and their like. They tend to be so overpriced any promotion available is simply worthless.

    E.g. I chose 10 nights, twin/double room for solo-occupancy all-inclusive in the five-star Crystal De Luxe in Kemer, Antalya from 1st December. I chose this because I had already booked it.

    Hotels.com: £3 303 (£330.30 /night).
    A quick search at comparison site Travago leads to Roomdi.com: £198 (£19.80/night).
    Alpharooms.com, who I thankfully booked with: £149.56 (£14.96/night)

    So Hotels.com would have me paying over 22 x as much or, put another way, a premium of 2108% over the Alpharooms rate. Keep your triple rate Clubcard promotion!

    • Graeme says:

      But equally sometimes they are cheaper. And the Rewards Night is effectively 10% back on your booking, which is a nice bonus on top of cashback.

  11. Kenneth says:

    I just made a successful booking using the maximum £495 coupon for a stay in Hamburg (regretfully I don’t think there’s a marathon in Rotherham – the purpose of my trip)

    To try to help get to the bottom of the issue I first tried through a non-Tesco affiliate link. This failed with the same message as Rob got i.e. “Sorry that voucher can only be used for a specific promotion”. I then closed the browser window and instead used the link supplied by Tesco and the booking worked without issue.

    Also of note is that the email voucher terms of conditions have changed since Rob ordered his. Tokens ordered today have an extra clause: “our voucher will work on 100% of ‘pay in full’ hotels on hotels.com. Any reference to a hotel exclusion list within T&C’s on hotels.com does not apply to you.”

    Unfortunately I found this still isn’t quite true. I originally tried to book “The Madison” in Hamburg which is a highly rated independent. This hotel was advertised as non-refundable / ‘pay in full’ but the code wouldn’t work. I think this is because the hotel seems to charge in local currency directly instead of taking payment via hotels.com.

    I had no such problems with my second choice.

    Hope this helps.

    • Thanks. I think we are finally getting to the bottom of this.

      • It does say vouchers cannot be used for bookings paid for in a foreign currency.

        How long is the voucher valid for?

        I wonder if the safest thing to do is to convert just £5 and then use that to make a dummy booking to check it’s valid for the hotel you are planning on staying at before doing a large conversion although it sounds like as Rob says we are getting to the bottom of this.

        • Kenneth says:

          They seem to have a 6 month expiry.

          You’re correct it says bookings paid for in a foreign currency aren’t eligible. Unfortunately it is not obvious that this is the case until the very last step in the booking process. I think most “pay in full” options allow you to pay in GBP so I think I was just unlucky.

          My feeling is that you should be safe enough to make a booking now. What I would suggest is doing a search just before you order from the clubcard website. If it is a non-refundable rate and has got the “Apply a deal or discount button” on the Hotels.com booking page then it ‘should’ work.

          Good luck.

        • flyforfun says:

          Only 1 voucher code is acceptable per booking, so you’d have to use that £5 conversion elsewhere if you did.

  12. Dave Stone says:

    I tried to leave a comment on the Clubcard website, simply warning about the restrictions, but the moderators decided it wasn’t acceptable!

  13. Davewhite says:

    has anyone successfully managed to use on a Hilton stay?

  14. flyforfun says:

    Worked for me! Used it for the Bloc hotel at Gatwick. £20 of Tesco vouchers gave me £60 off the booking. Followed the link as per the email and it worked.

  15. So can you apply a clubcard voucher for part of the balance and then pay the rest by card?

    • davsum64 says:

      Yes – I didn’t wan’t to “waste” vouchers by overpaying for the non-tax figure, so I traded £20 in vouchers for £60 credit, paid the remaining £7 plus taxes on my card. So basically, my £81 (sale price) room with breakfast cost me £21. Can’t complain about that.

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