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

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As we covered the other day, Hilton is withdrawing from the Tesco Clubcard scheme at the end of 2021.

If you had started redeeming for Hilton vouchers after the end of the Avios / Tesco partnership, you need another option.

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.

Neither ‘Clubcard to Hilton’, or indeed ‘Clubcard to Avios’ before that, got you a true ‘3x face value’ redemption. The problem with Hilton was that the price you paid was based on the Best Flexible Rate. As your booking could not be cancelled you should be comparing the price to the cheaper Advanced Purchase Rate.

For a number of years, I got a better return than I would have from Avios by paying a regular Safestore bill with Clubcard vouchers.  This got me a genuine 3x face value, so 3p per point.

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

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 withdrew 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. You are only getting 2.5p of value for every 1p of Clubcard points you convert, and you could possibly do better elsewhere.

Under no circumstances should you convert Clubcard points to Virgin Flying Club with the intention of moving them on to IHG Rewards (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. This is a ‘true’ 3x redemption as Railcards are rarely discounted.

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. The requirement to book for a minimum of eight days appears to have been removed.  I don’t know how easy it is to find APH discount codes, which cannot be combined with Tesco vouchers, elsewhere.

Using Tesco Clubcard points for Royal Caribbean cruises

Clubcard redemptions for cruises and 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 had ‘free’ holidays via Clubcard points.  The rules have been tightened over the years and of course it is now harder to earn 10,000 / 20,000 / 30,000+ points per quarter.

Some tour operators have 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, 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 seven 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 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.

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, 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.

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 travel deals. Even Hilton didn’t work for me for that reason.

Hotels.com is probably the best travel option remaining now that Hilton is leaving Clubcard, unless you collect Virgin Points.  That isn’t to say that some of the other deals are not worth it – they just don’t work for me.

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.

Comments (48)

  • Freddy says:

    I used some of my points for a railcard recently for 3x

  • Scallder says:

    Intrepid travel is genuine 3x with £800 per person cap of total amount off a trip.

    In the good old days of 3v cards my wife and I got a completely free sailing trip round the Cyclades Islands which was amazing

  • Alex Sm says:

    My partner and I used them for Intrepid in a 4x special sale promo to get a virtually free trip to Vietnam. But it was in 2015. Still good memories!

    Otherwise – buses and trains in the UK are not a bad option. But be careful with Railcards. They have their own restrictions. My partner got a Network Railcard recently but it is virtually useless because you can only use it with a couple of more expensive ticket categories

    • Nick says:

      A Network railcard is not ‘virtually useless’ if you actually read what it’s for and go in with the right expectations. I’ve saved a small fortune with it over the last few years. Just a shame it’s the only one excluded from the Tesco offer.

    • Andrew says:

      Network Railcard is great. It takes a £28.90 off-peak Oxford-London return to £19.05.

      I’m heading into London this weekend. £7.90 in, £6.60 back on Advance tickets, discounted from £12 and £10 respectively.

    • tony says:

      What others have said. This is a very silly comment indeed. I live just one stop from the old NSE boundary so the savings are incredible. A couple of trips into town and I’ve recovered the cost for the year. Heck, my HEX ticket in from the airport last week even seemed vaguely respectable at £14 (I remember being aghast when HEX launched and it was £5 with the shuttle bus to get you under the runway…)

    • QFFlyer says:

      When I lived in the UK, the Network railcard was literally the only one I was eligible for, and I could cover the cost of the card on a single trip if OH was with me. I very rarely used trains, but even then the Network railcard was worth holding.

  • Amanda says:

    3 weeks ago I used 3x Clubcard points to get entry to the Eden Project for 2 adults. This would usually cost £70. If you are heading to Cornwall it is a great day out.

  • Simon Cross says:

    Before Brexit and covid I used to use Tesco vouchers for wine buying day trips with eurotunnel. Excellent value but no more as you can only bring some 18 bottles back.

    With the advent of Virgin credit card upgrade vouchers I now use Tesco vouchers to top up my Virgin points and have just booked upper class to south Africa in November with the result points.

  • LukeM says:

    Just collecting them for our yearly Two Together Railcard now.

  • Ryan says:

    With reference to Airport Parking, it is often the case that the APH/Tesco link will only offer the standard Park & Fly products. Booking via APH direct, you may be offered Park & Fly, Valet Parking, and other ‘extra value’ options.

  • JOHN CONNOR says:

    The hotels.com rate tends to be about 10% more expensive for the hotel (SBH) I book in the Canaries compared to booking direct with the SBH site. So you probably lose 20% in all.

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