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