Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

What are the best Tesco Clubcard travel deals now Avios is withdrawing?

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Last Monday, we exclusively broke the news that Tesco Clubcard and Avios were getting a divorce.  The partnership ends on 18th January 2021.

I have a feeling that Avios has a new supermarket partner lined up.  Tesco contacted me on Monday to confirm that it was the decision of British Airways, not Tesco, to terminate the current deal.

Use Tesco Clubcard points for travel

Some of you will, I am sure, swap from Tesco to a new Avios supermarket partner if price, quality and convenience are the same.

It is also possible, however, that you will continue to use Tesco for one or more of those reasons.  What can you do with your Clubcard points going forward?

The good news is that, value-wise, you won’t be any worse off.  In fact, you may be better off.

I haven’t converted my Clubcard points to Avios for some years.  If you assume that an Avios is worth 1p (readWhat is an Avios point worth to me?‘) then 1p of Clubcard vouchers gets you 2.4p of value if you redeem for Avios.

For a number of years, I beat this by paying a regular Safestore bill with Clubcard vouchers.  This got me 3x face value, so 3p per point.

When Safestore withdrew, I switched to Uber.  Again, I got 3p of Uber and Uber Eats credit for every 1p of Clubcard points I converted.  This was better than 2.4p of Avios.

Uber then withdrew too!  Since then my Clubcard points have been sat in my Tesco account waiting for a good deal to come along.

Using Tesco Clubcard points for travel

What are the other Tesco Clubcard travel deals?

There are, of course, many non-travel deals available with Tesco Clubcard points.  This article focuses exclusively on the travel options.

Clubcard redemptions with airlines:

Whilst Avios is withdrawing from Clubcard, Virgin Flying Club remains a partner.  You receive 2.5 Virgin Points (the new name for Flying Club miles) for every 1 Clubcard point you convert.  Occasional transfer bonuses can add 10% to 20% to this.

If you value a Virgin Point at 1p, you may be better off with one of the other deals below.

Under no circumstances should you convert Clubcard points to Virgin Flying Club with the intention of moving them on to IHG Rewards Club (1:1) or Hilton Honors (2:3).  You will lose huge amounts of value, given that I value an IHG point at 0.4p and a Hilton point at 0.33p.

Details of the Virgin / Tesco partnership are on the Virgin Atlantic website here.

Clubcard redemptions with trains, buses, ferries and airport parking:

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 get discounts via other routes which would reduce the value of Clubcard.

National Express and Megabus both offer 3x face value.  You can also use Clubcard vouchers to pay for a National Express Coachcard at 3x face value.

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 a ‘real’ 3x face value as Eurotunnel rarely discounts.

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 has now left the scheme – back in the days when they allowed you to use unlimited amounts of vouchers, and when you could easily pick up points, it was an easy way to get a totally free family holiday.

With cruises, 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.  You need to cruise for 6+ days and book 90 days in advance.  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?

If you are staying in the UK for a while, it is worth having a look at cottages.com and Hoseasons.

Best Tesco Clubcard travel deals

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, Select Hotels of Ireland and Warner Leisure Hotels. 

In many cases, you are restricted to UK stays paying the ‘fully flexible’ bed and breakfast price.

Some brands also restrict you to weekend stays.  Mercure allows midweek stays ‘subject to availability’ although not all Mercure UK hotels take part.  Mercure allows you to book either ‘room only’ or B&B rates and you can book cheaper ‘advance saver’ rates.

With Hilton, 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.  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.  There was a time a couple of years ago when some readers had to retro-claim in order to get them.  I have not heard any recent reports.

Hotels.com has the greatest flexibility, allowing redemptions at 3x face value.  The only snag is that you will not be able to earn Hotels.com Rewards in conjunction with Clubcard vouchers.  This reduces the ‘real’ value by at least 10% because Hotels.com Rewards gives, effectively, 10% of your spend back in free night credit.

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 knew worked nicely for me was Uber, which has now been cut.

Hilton and Hotels.com are possibilities but not ones 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 am currently sitting on around £25 of Clubcard vouchers.  At the moment I can see myself moving them to Avios, but only at the last minute –  close to 18th January 2021 – when I am sure there isn’t a better deal out there.

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 ‘travel deals’ page here.

(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 (75)

  • ChrisC says:

    Has shopper points died a death?

    Been almost 4 months since anything was posted on it.

    I realise that offers are limited but even so there are various offers such as the Nectar “Count up to Christmas” points collection promo. Pointe maybe small but it all helps.

    • Freddy says:

      Sainsbury double up scheme also incoming

    • Rhys says:

      Currently in purgatory whilst we decide what to do with it!

    • Rob says:

      Anika has gone on maternity leave again and we can’t monetise SP. Nectar doesn’t pay for anything and obviously all the Tesco offers have gone.

      • Andrew says:

        The very fact that bonus clubcard point offers have disappeared and been replaced with clubcard prices is surely worthy of a SP article?

        • Rob says:

          Once Tesco dropped Direct, SP revenue literally dropped to 1% of HFP revenue. It doesn’t justify the time.

          What we might do, at some point, is pay someone a few hundred per month to write it for us. It makes more sense to pay someone else £20 per hour to write it than use HfP staff time, which can generate far more than that when used productively elsewhere.

          • xcalx says:

            Harry (SS) would do a great job on SP with the scope of deals he advised of on HfP.

          • Baji Nahid says:

            Rob if you’re looking for someone to write hit me up! Im on the ball with these shopper points and all with all the apps! Whens the interviews? haha x

      • Alex Sm says:

        @xcalx I would doubt though that he would do that for £20/hr

  • CraigyC says:

    I always used to use Tesco vouchers for euro tunnel, it’s a great way of maximising their value to be honest. Since I started collecting avios I’ve predominantly moved them over to there, but have then felt short changed when booking a train to France.
    I guess I’ll just go back to using them for that, would be interested in another supermarket avios source though.

    • SimoninItaly says:

      Eurotunnel is definitely a good exchange, but you have to book quite some time in advance.

    • memesweeper says:

      +1

      Before ‘the event’ we’d travel to/through France at least one a year and this mopped up the family Clubcard points. Can’t see that changing.

  • Simon says:

    I have always shopped at Tesco through gritted teeth in order to collect Clubcard points to convert to Avios. I find some of their fresh food to be of a fairly poor quality and over the years they have taken a hard faced approach where my family have had to raise customer service issues. I look forward to giving this company little of my money in future.

    • The real John says:

      I just don’t understand why anyone would buy low quality food for years in order to gain a handful of avios.

      If you want to spend your leisure time reselling printer inks at a “profit” that’s fair enough but I buy the food I want to eat, of an acceptable quality, at a supermarket convenient to me.

      • Crafty says:

        Agree completely. Although everyone’s motives may vary, I find some of the naivety freely expressed by (sometimes longtime) commenters on this website bizarre!

        • Simon says:

          Sorry, to clarify I would buy mostly branded and non perishable goods from Tesco then follow up with a second shop at Waitrose, which is a hassle but justifiable with the extra clubcard points from my Tesco debit card. The point about the poor quality of their fresh food was more to emphasise my overall contempt for Tesco.

      • Andrew says:

        How do you define “low quality”?

        Truth is, most of the food you buy comes from the same key suppliers. There is only one large scale batch baker in the UK that batches a Plain Loaf. So it doesn’t matter if it’s Tesco, Sazbo’s or Mother’s Pride you butter and dunk in your Royal Game – they are all made by Hovis in Glasgow.

    • TripRep says:

      I think it depends on your locality. If you live in a city surrounded by access to good farms then you stand a better chance of quality fruit/veg. However we still tend to buy most meat directly from a local producer.

      Really liking the convenience of delivery since we started it a few weeks ago, will appreciate it more as we likely go into another lockdown + winter weather.

  • Yuff says:

    One point about hotels.com vouchers they are non refundable so make sure you don’t need flexibility, as hotels.com will not help if you need to change the booking

    • Genghis says:

      To add to this, this also applies to refundable hotel rates you may find.

      • Bill says:

        I found this out last week. I can’t move a hotels.com reservation next Feb.

        • Yuff says:

          Hotels.com won’t amend the booking but the hotel you are staying at can if they want to.
          I had a similar issue with melia hotels where I had used a hotel.coms voucher and they were very helpful as I’d lost £420 of credit by not realising their refundable policy didn’t align with hotels.com’s policy

    • Simon says:

      That is the biggest problem with hotels.com no flexibility, especially in this current climate.

  • S says:

    Until it stopped a few years back, RedSpottedHanky used to offer 3p per Clubcard point on train tickets. Although there was a £1 booking fee per ticket, this was very good value – you could get any kind of generally available ticket, from advanced singles to open returns.

    The only ones you couldn’t get were operator-specific advanced tickets – often used for sales – because it was a third party booking site. But as these rarely covered peak dates around Easter/Christmas/Bank Holidays anyhow, the savings you made on regular full price tickets at these times made it excellent value for money.

    • Alex Sm says:

      Oh good memories! Though it was a very convoluted and non-instant process of getting and applying these codes. Every time was such a labour to go through (but what else to expect from a red thing?)

  • Duncan Stevenson-Price says:

    I recently redeemed voucher for Forest Holidays at 3x value. I was given a voucher code to use at the regular checkout and it arrived quickly by email. You can pay up to 25% of the cost of the holiday.

  • Ian McDowall says:

    In the past before I discovered avios I used them for Rac membership. I always thought it was good value at 3x face value.

    • Reney says:

      That is what we do at our household too, in recent years without a lot of clubcard points deals I have only scraped together enough to cover the the cars.

      I am always surprised I don’t hear many people talk about using points for RAC here.

  • Alan says:

    Anyone had any experience with Intrepid Travel or Cottages.com redemptions? The former seem to have stopped taking bookings for now but both are theoretically 3x value…

    • Genghis says:

      We used intrepid in South Africa as part of a “cheap” Kruger experience. Easy process: the deposit can only be paid in cash. The experience was fantastic since it ended up being a private tour but the hotel was a bit too basic for us. I’d use them again

      • Alex Sm says:

        This sounds like a sensible Australian approach – rather than a cheeky British one to lure you in with various offers, get your £££ and them cancel for a voucher

    • Alex Sm says:

      My partner and I used this route to book a great trip to Vietnam with them exactly 5 years ago, it was 4x value then, so we paid a fraction of the actual price and were very happy! The best Tesco redemption ever