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A few weeks ago, with some fanfare, Tesco announced several new Clubcard redemption “Boost” Partners, including Hotels.com. Sadly, this was almost immediately beset with problems, with lots of complaints on the Clubcard site, and long explanations of the problems eg this Head For Points article.
Since then, Tesco claim to have sorted this out. Armed with some soon-to-expire Clubcard vouchers, and the corrected instructions, we put it to the test!
In theory, Hotels.com is now a 3x Boost partner, offering 3 times the value of your Tesco Clubcard points. In practice though, and in common with many of the redemptions at above face value, things aren’t that straight forward, and the value gained isn’t the headline rate.
The first place to head to is the Tesco Clubcard site, specifically the dedicated Hotels.com redemption option page at secure.tesco.com/clubcard/boost/hotelscom/UK-009591.prd
The next thing you need to know is you can’t just get a voucher and then straight away book on the main Hotels.com site. That’s what Raffles tried in his Head For Points article, and for most hotels it doesn’t work! You also can’t go getting a voucher for the exact total shown on the
search results, as that won’t work either….
What Tesco have only just made clear is that your voucher (similar actually to the Hotels.com loyalty program redemptions) can only be used on the tax exclusive price of your stay. To see that, you have to search for a hotel, find the one you want, then click through, and finally get your calculator out!
Taking a stay in Barcelona when most of my normal “go-to” chain hotels were silly money, we have an interesting looking hotel showing a rate of £238.30 on the search screen. When we click through, we see this pricing:
The £238.30 price is actually made up of £216.64 in “hotel” and £21.66 in “taxes”. Any voucher amount more than £216.64 would be wasted.
Next, we hit a snag with ordering the vouchers. Unlike some schemes which offer £0.50 or £1 chunks, Hotels.com insists you redeem in £5 chunks, to a maximum clubcard voucher spend of £100. Only one voucher can be used per booking, so you can’t get two small vouchers and combine them. For this stay, that means the biggest voucher I can use without wastage is £70 of Clubcard points for a £210 voucher.
(With the minimum redemption being £5 and the maximum £100, that means you can get a Hotels.com voucher for £15 to £300 in £15 chunks)
After ordering via the
Hotels.com redemption page on the clubcard site, I quickly got an order confirmation. A few minutes later, the voucher code came through, along with the instructions on the special Hotels.com URL I had to visit to book through. Going through the normal home page means the voucher won’t work on most hotels! You do have to use the special one, which is very un-memorable – hotels.com/?rffrid=mdp.hcom.GB.550.000.00
Oh, and the hotel has to be one that accepts payment in advance (which most do, to be fair) – ones which only offer “pay at hotel” don’t work with the voucher.
So, going back to the special hotels.com/?rffrid=mdp.hcom.GB.550.000.00 site I searched again for my hotel, and found it once more. Next, I added my voucher, and saw the price drop! Finally, I entered my credit card details to pay the taxes and the extra from the voucher rounding, and booked.
From this, for a 2 night booking, the headline price was £238.30. I spent £6.64 of hotel cost from the voucher £5 chunks, the £21.66 of taxes, and £70 of Tesco clubcard points, total amount £28.30 cash + £70 clubcard.
However, it isn’t fair to consider only that price. Had I booked with cash, I would have earnt around 10% cashback via Topcashback or Quidco (exact amount varies but is normally about 10%), and 10% towards a free night with the Hotels.com rewards program. Both of those are normally on the price
excluding tax, so probably £43.33. Those would’ve brought the “cash” price down from £238.30 to £194.98.
Adding it all up, I “spent” £98.30 in total on the two nights (cash + clubcard points), for a headline rate of £238.30 (2.4 time value), but instead of an effective cash rate of £194.98. That means I basically only got 2 times the value of the clubcard points.
Don’t get us wrong – getting 2 times real value from your Tesco Clubcard points is pretty good! In the real world, sadly you can’t actually save the claimed 3x value with Tesco Clubcard and Hotels.com, but we’ll take the actual 2x most days….