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

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(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.

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?

 

Comments (97)

  • Gavin says:

    When I was a lot fitter I did the Round Rotherham 50 mile run twice – it was surprisingly scenic and quite a bit of fun!

  • Lesley Wheeler says:

    Rob, I think the problem may be with Hotels.com, not Tesco. I won a Hotels.com voucher through the Guardian newspaper some time ago and when I went to redeem it I was restricted to hotels I would not choose to stay in. I had to write a couple of stern emails pointing out that the exclusion of the hotels was not pointed out to me in the T&Cs of the competition. I was told that all Hotels.com vouchers had this restriction. I persisted and was issued with a new voucher code (so they do exist) and enjoyed a pre-flight hotel at the Radisson, Heathrow. As Tesco have now confirmed there are no exclusions, they must insist that Hotels.com issue the correct redemption code.

  • Steve says:

    The very latest from Martin at T’s

    Response from Tesco Clubcard:

    Martin · Tesco Clubcard · 20 hours ago

    Thank you for posting your review. This was something we originally we missed off the terms and conditions but thanks to your feedback we have now added this on our website. I can confirm the link of exclusions on the hotels.com website doesn’t apply to the Tesco Offers and there are actually no exclusions.

    • Adam says:

      I would recommend to screenshot that statement, use it in any correspondence if issues arise with redemptions.

    • Rob says:

      Clearly wrong!

    • Nick says:

      That sounds positive doesn’t it? Presumably there are some teething problems with the voucher but looks like it will actually have real value by the time they fix the IT. Now I don’t really bother actively collecting avios any more, this gives me a reason to get the clubcard out again.

      Competely off topic:if I’ve paid for legroom seats on long haul Y on a cash fare and I use avios to upgrade, so I get a refund of the seat booking costs? And is the upgrade to PE worth it on the 787? Thanks!

      • Tim says:

        Imho the upgrade is especially worth it on the 787 which is dire in economy with very narrow seats. I don’t think you will get a refund for your seat reservation but you should be able to reserve a seat in pe for whatever that normally costs minus what you have already paid.

  • Sarah says:

    I find that this is generally the case with hotels.com promotions – I seem to get an email most days talking about 50% offers, but the list of excluded hotels probably covers pretty much every hotel on the planet, except perhaps a 1 star in rural Azerbaijan. Having said that, I do like the free night with every 10 booked that hotels.com offers and regularly make use of this.

  • Lady London says:

    Er…. isn’t Rob from somewhere near Rotherham, originally? Well, from up North anyway, and it’s all “up North” to me! :-)/ R&R with family nearby might be nice.

  • Rob says:

    And I saw it all over 18 years ….

  • barry cutters says:

    off topic but thanks to rob for the article RE world cup flights last week.
    I have used my (early activated 241 voucher ) and boked CW RFS tickets to Moscow for me and 3 mates for the first week of the championship. Amazing value really when all direct flights have already been block booked. outbound on the nice a321 ex BMI ,back on a 777.

    Just a question. Didn’t there used to be a rule that you could only book redemptions for people in household account or on F&F list?

    • Rob says:

      If you’re in a HHA yes. If you’re not you can book for anyone which is why I am not in a HHA.

      • barry cutters says:

        So actually no reason for a F&F list if you are not in household account ?

  • Jack says:

    Hi, OOT quesition. I just realized BA charged me 2 x £17.50 under (BRITISH AIRWAYS MOTO). I suspect they are related to an avios booking I made over the phone as the website kept giving error messages. They never mentioned the charge, they were just helping out bc the site wasnt working properly. Anyway, have you had any luck trying to get a refund for these charges? Should I call?

    • Genghis says:

      It looks like the taxes on an Economy Reward Flight Saver avios booking. I.e. what you have to pay whether you book online or on the phone.

    • anon says:

      Presumably this was for 2 shorthaul BA flights and is the RFS fee.

      • Jack says:

        Ohh that’s exactly right! £35 total taxes for Beijing to Tokyo. Cheers guys thanks for clarifying.

    • Peter Taysum says:

      In general if it can’t be booked online they will waive the charges. Many of us on here do this regularly, so I think if you phone and enquire smd point out it wasn’t possible to do online. I’m not a solicitor so I can’t give legal advice, but isn’t charging someone something without telling them fraud? Isn’t fraud a criminal offence?

      • Mzungu says:

        That was always my understanding too – but when I called to book an open jaw ticket with a 241, which can’t be done online, I was charged the fees. When I challenged this, I was told that they now charged the fee irrespective of the reason for the call.

        Have I been robbed, or is this another of Alex’s enhancements?

      • Anna says:

        That’s not a charge for booking online, it’s the usual fee for a RFS booking in economy.