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Can you get a better travel deal with Clubcard points than Avios or Virgin miles?

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Tesco Clubcard offers a very cheap way of accumulating Avios points and Virgin Flying Club miles without stepping on a plane.   This is why I cover the best Clubcard earning offers on Head for Points and a broader range of Clubcard and Nectar deals over on our sister site Shopper Points.

Are Avios points a blinkered way of redeeming your Clubcard vouchers, though? After all, there are a huge number of other partners to choose from.  Once in a while it is worth stopping to look at alternatives.

Let’s take a look at Tesco’s other travel partners.

Clubcard vouchers

First, you need to ask yourself ‘What is an Avios point worth to me? – this linked post explains my views.  If you settle on 1p, then 1p of Clubcard vouchers gets you 2.4p of value if you redeem for Avios.

Do any other Clubcard travel deals come close to Avios or Virgin Flying Club redemptions?  After all, most Tesco partners now claim to offer ‘3x face value’ which would be a better return than 2.4x with Avios. Let’s take a look:

Clubcard redemptions with airlines

Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are the only airline partners since Monarch went bust.  There are no alternatives here.

Clubcard redemptions with trains, buses, ferries and car hire

Although no train lines are directly represented, you can get 3x face value redeeming for a Railcard.

The various ferry and cruise companies are also 3x – I never book a ferry so I am not sure how easy it is to take advantage of other special deals.

National Express and Megabus both offer 3x face value.

Uber and Uber Eats was recently removed as partner, which is a shame as this was – for many people – the best Clubcard redemption of all.  You really did get 3x face value as it is very difficult to get Uber discounts by any other route.

Eurotunnel does offer genuine value.  Feedback from HFP readers is that you pay the same price as shown on their website, availability is the same as shown online and the vouchers get you 3x face value.

APH Airport Parking is also worth considering, although you need to book for a minimum of eight days.  I don’t know how easy it is to find APH discount codes, which cannot be combined with Tesco vouchers, elsewhere.

Clubcard redemptions for package holidays

Tesco works with many of the top groups such as Intrepid, P&O Cruises and Royal CaribbeanThese are generally at a headline rate of 3x face value.

Back in ”the old days’ when Tesco was throwing around Clubcard points like confetti, I read some great stories about people who have had ‘free’ holidays via Clubcard points.  The rules have been tightened over the years, though, and of course it is now harder to earn 10,000 / 20,000 / 30,000+ points per quarter.

Some tour operators have now capped the use of large amounts of Clubcard vouchers. Virgin Holidays left the scheme – back in the days when they allowed you to use unlimited amounts of vouchers it was an easy way to get a totally free family holiday.

With cruises, for example, Royal Caribbean does not allow redemptions against flights, taxes, admin fees etc, only cruise costs.  There is a £510 per person voucher cap and a minimum cruise of 7 nights.  The upside is that the minimum spend is also £510 per person so you could cover the majority of the cost of a cheap cruise with Clubcard.

P&O now has a maximum cap of £810 of vouchers per booking (Royal Caribbean is £510 per person) which makes it more interesting for a solo traveller.  With cruise deals you are generally required to book the brochure price which may often be discounted via brokers.

You need to do the sums to see if these deals make sense. How much cheaper can you get the product if you book elsewhere?

Clubcard redemptions for hotels

This is also the land of small print! You can use Clubcard deals for 300% of face value with a number of hotel groups including Butlins, Hilton, Macdonald, Mercure, Novotel and Warner Leisure Hotels. 

In general, you are restricted to UK stays, at weekends, paying the ‘fully flexible’ bed and breakfast price. Mercure allows midweek stays ‘subject to availability’ and lets you book ‘advance saver’ rates.  Not all Mercure UK hotels take part.

Voucher codes are valid for Hilton Hotels ‘Fully Flexible’ rate at participating hotels in the UK & Ireland.

Hilton rooms can be booked seven days a week (you must book four days in advance) at Hilton, Conrad, Waldorf Astoria, Curio, DoubleTree, Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton branded hotels, in the UK only, priced off ‘Best Flexible B&B rate’ only.  A long list of hotels also refuse to participate.  There is now a dedicated Hilton / Tesco booking website which you can find here.

Hilton allows you to book most room categories with Clubcard tokens.  This can make them more flexible than Hilton Honors points if you need a larger room or suite.

Historically you WOULD earn Hilton Honors points back when you stayed on a Tesco Clubcard rate.  A couple of reader reports recently have said that this is not happening, although retro-claims are often successful.

Hotels.com also allows 3x face value, although you will not be able to earn or spend any Hotels.com Rewards in conjunction with Clubcard vouchers.  This reduces the ‘real’ value by at least 10% because Hotels.com Rewards give, effectively, 10% back in free nights.

Conclusion

Fundamentally, I have never been able to get my head around the small print with many of the non-Avios travel deals. The only one that I know worked nicely for me was Uber, which has now been cut.  Hilton is a possibility but not one I have tried yet.  That isn’t to say that some of the other deals are not worth it, they just don’t work for me.

I think, for me, I will return to converting to Avios now that the Uber route is dead.  This doesn’t mean much, however, since I struggle to earn more than 250 points per quarter at the moment!

If you’ve got any experience of redeeming Clubcard vouchers for travel (or other) deals for genuine bargains then do post below.  All of these deals can be found at the Clubcard Boost ‘travel deals’ page.

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?

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Comments

  1. Sigh, the good old days 🙁

    In the same way this generation does not get the link between a biro and a cassette tape, it will come to pass that people will not get the link between printer ink and a free flight

    • I’m absolutely gutted I wasn’t fully engaged in the points game in the ‘good old days’. Meagre pickings today.

      • Mikeact says:

        It’s not too late, just more difficult, time consuming and to get up to your first million will be a significant challenge without the help of actually flying and using the right credit card/s.
        Just glad I’m from the old school with a massive amount that will keep my wife and I going, (with creative routings, ie ex Madrid with Iberia, ex Dublin with AerLingus and other ex EU routes. Not forgetting the excellent RFS options around Europe …..must go, as we’re just off to Malta ..30°c !)

    • Or a motorpoint car paid for with Tesco points…

    • Oh! Matron! says:

      Printer ink? No….. Used printer cartridges 🙂 Did Incredible well using the tesco recycling scheme for points 🙂

  2. My partner and I paid for our Intrepid trip to Vietnam with 4x converted (there was some kind of a boost promo) Tesco vouchers. Basically got 800 pounds value for 200 pounds of vouchers value. Not bad init?

    I often exchange small amounts of points for Red sported hanky (train tix) and Megabus. Didn’t know that Nat Ex is also part of the deal, will try one day. Better and quicker value than avios anyway!

    • Scallder says:

      Also did Intrepid at 4x value when that deal ran a number of times in the past, and also at the usual 3x. Couldn’t use vouchers for the deposit (was usually £150) but with up to £800 of converted vouchers being able to be used I had a sailing trip around the Cyclades Islands and a trip around Cambodia without paying more than the original deposit!

      • I didn’t have Tesco points to use but can recommend Intrepid. We used them in Australia.

    • Red spotted hanky unfortunately left a while back…another nearly-clean 3x value redemption

      • We used Tesco vouchers for many years to pay for Eurotunnel tickets when the children were small and from memory we often got 4 x value, we also had a couple of virtually free Centre Park stays in the overseas parks (which are better value anyway), a couple of hotel stays and a very cheap/free lodge/mobile home holiday in France with Hoseasons or someone like that. Now the children are much older, money isn’t as tight as it was and the Clubcard scheme is not nearly as good, the points accumulate – last night I did splurge and renew my student sons railcard to get rid of £10 worth of them. Might switch them to Avios from now on when there is a good bonus offer.

  3. “I struggle to earn more than 250 points per quarter at the moment!”

    Although there are no base CCPs for buying gift cards, if you buy £100 of John Lewis gift cards in Tesco (to use in Waitrose) using a Tesco debit card and the Tesco Pay+ app, you will get 125 Clubcard points. That converts to 3 Avios/£ for shopping in Waitrose. Although the extra point for £4 on the Pay+ app is due to finish at the end of the month.

    • It depends on your route, but I’ve been turning 9-15% on Waitrose at the moment between Visa and InStore offers.

    • Although if you collect Virgin miles you typically get 3 miles on a £75+ spend at Waitrose with a registered credit card plus whatever points you get for the credit card spend.

      • My Waitrose discount vouchers are typically spend £40 get £8 off. So I never spend £75 in a single transaction. I will sometimes spend £40, take the shopping to the car, then go back for more. And I’m getting 3 Avios to the pound by buying JLP gift cards in Tesco.

        • Still working my way through my JLP gift cards from the Amex 10% in Morrisons offer.

        • Lady London says:

          Anyone know why is Waitrose persisting on only sending out money-off-spend bouchers by post? I always miss these due to mostly travelling for work. Electronic ones i could use because I would be able to plan abd could also use at Waitroses near clients. But I dont have xray eyes to see what’s on the doormat if working away or travelling. If i know the vouchers are there and their use dates then i already head first to Waitrose to stock up when back so i could plan to use them.

          It’s almost as if Waitrose wants to say they are rewarding loyal customers with vouchers but they dont really want you to spend them.

        • I think I’ve missed something there! I’m guessing that you’re splitting it because you can use two £8 off £40 spend vouchers, but why wouldn’t you just split the payment in one go instead of packing your shopping, going to the car then walking in again for a second shop?

          • I use self scan (to get as close as possible to £40. Not sure you can have two scanners on the go at the same time, and even if you could I think it might be awkward if they wanted to do a check.

    • fivebobbill says:

      Not as big a fan of tesco as I used to be, but agree Nick, and some of us are still on the legacy 3.2 avios per point! Unfortunately there are no Waitrose stores where I live, however general spend on the pay+ app makes it 4 avios per £, and link your BAPP card for a grand total of 5.5 avios per £1 spent at Tesco!
      Plus you also get to eat the food… 🙂

      • If you have a Tesco debit card though, this gives you one extra CCP for every pound spent. Better than BAPP.

        I don’t actively use my Tesco current account, but top it up to cover any debit card spend as and when I use the card.

  4. Mikeact says:

    It looks as though ‘Bits’ is finished, so here’s an OT.
    Is anybody going to take up Curves Crowd funding offer ?

  5. OT. When planning to use Addison Lee in Manchester ive found theirvouchers don’t work in Manchester. Furthermore I priced a trip and they wanted £80 – which would reduce to £70 with Amex platinum. Whereas a local firm will do precisely the same meet and greet for £58. Do I need to move to London to get the best AL deals ? They’re going to join BA as being on the London centric list !

    • You only seem to get the best AL deals if your company is paying for it…they are always £20+ more expensive than Minicabit in London.

    • Addison Lee is always an expensive option, it hardly ever makes sense to use it as a consumer.

  6. O/T – Lloyds Upgrade Voucher
    I received a letter in Oct/Nov from Avios saying that I had acquired an upgrade voucher – IIRC it was one of the ‘bonus’ ones dished out at that point ahead of avios.com account closure.
    I don’t have the letter to hand at the moment, which would obviously be helpful, but have tried to speak to someone at BA Exec Club (as per the instructions upon avios.com account closure) on four separate occasions now about redeeming this voucher, only for them to say that they basically don’t know what I’m talking about. Has anybody else had any issues redeeming/accessing their voucher?

    • Mikeact says:

      No problems….you need to call 0344 493 3349….and ask for Avios Bookings..with a Lloyds voucher.

    • If the voucher was issued, BA customer services should be able to see it in your account. They won’t know what you mean by a bonus voucher as not many people are aware of the vagaries of the Lloyds cards, so just behave as though it’s the usual voucher you were expecting for the £7k spend.

      • Thanks both. Not having much luck with the Avios team – nothing is showing on my account apparently. Once I have the voucher number with me, I’ll try again!

  7. Just realised that Evans is gone too!

  8. OT but no bits. If I pay my hotel bill in US $ on a Thursday with Curve linked to Lloyds Mastercard, will I need to change the currency setting to avoid forex fees or doesn’t it matter? I am still on the old Lloyds Ts & Cs but this will be my last opportunity to take advantage 😭 (and earn my last upgrade voucher).

    • Hi Anna- if you have the old Lloyds (I think the one with 0% exchange fees) then why do you need to use curve at all?
      I would save that curve limit for better uses.

    • With Tom1 on this. Why Curve at all, it’s just a pointless layer if you had the old Lloyds Avios card.

  9. Charlieface says:

    Cottages.com is a good shout. There a very few voucher codes available for them otherwise so it’s exactly 3x.

  10. Worth mentioning that the Hilton rates for clubcard redemption are the same as Best Available Rate, i.e. no AP / Hhonors discount but also have restricitons on booking windows etc…

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