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. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. Davewhite says:

    has anyone successfully managed to use on a Hilton stay?

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

      • segundo55 says:

        I’ve just spoken to Tesco and they said to follow the link to the special hotels.com tesco clubcard page (it has the Tesco Clubcard logo at the top – see below)
        https://uk.hotels.com/?rffrid=mdp.hcom.GB.550.000.00

        Search for your desired hotel and date then click to book (you can do this before you trade your tesco vouchers for hotels.com vouchers)

        If your booking then shows a blue “apply code or discount” link at the bottom then it will be eligible for the offer.

        I followed this through and it worked for me – £45 off a Hilton Curio hotel