/ Shopping, Travel & Leisure

Raw deal on holidays for Tesco Clubcard holders

Pig holiday

Putting Tesco Clubcard points towards money off a holiday sounds like a good deal in theory. But if you’ve done that with travel company Cosmos Holidays, we’ve found you might have been charged extra for your trip.

There’s no better coping strategy for dealing with the gloomy British winter than booking a holiday in the sun.

But if you booked that holiday through travel company Cosmos Holidays using Clubcard points, then you may have been charged more than if you’d just booked it normally.

Points meant paying more

Until recently, Clubcard customers were able to trade in £10 worth of points for £30 worth of Cosmos vouchers – but to use the vouchers you had to go to a separate section of the Cosmos site.

In November, we checked prices on 36 different package holidays and 33 of them cost more when booked through the Clubcard section of the Cosmos site than when booked normally. The site didn’t give us any indication that prices would be different.

The holidays we looked at in our snapshot research cost £1,159 on average through the regular Cosmos site. But the same packages cost £1,285 on average, before applying any vouchers, when booked through the Clubcard section of the site – a difference of almost 11%.

The worst offender was a 14-day holiday in Florida. It normally cost £1,685, but, even after applying a £30 voucher, we would have paid £1,903 on the Clubcard section of the site – an extra £218.

Who else is charging extra?

I own a Tesco Clubcard, and mostly use my points to get discounts on train travel. It’s always a nice bonus when a few months’ worth of food shopping has paid for a ticket back home to Manchester.

But until a Which? member contacted us to report this problem with Cosmos, I’d never considered that I might be offered a different price just because I’m using Clubcard points. Are there other companies out there doing this too?

We contacted Cosmos about this, and it said it was about to change its website so that everyone would be charged the same. When we asked why Clubcard holders had been charged more, Tesco said that sometimes Cosmos prices were lower because of temporary discounts, and that Cosmos previously wasn’t able to accept Clubcard vouchers as payment in these cases. We think Cosmos should have made this clearer on its website at the time.

If you’ve noticed that you’ve been charged extra when using Tesco Clubcard points – or any other loyalty card – let us and we’ll investigate further.

Comments
Member

Often taking walking breaks in England we tried using clubcard vouchers to book suitable hotels nearby the location we were visiting. We found this a very stressful experience on more than one occasion for the following reasons.

Location – we obviously tried to find hotels near to where the walks are, mainly in rural areas. This proved to be very difficult and took sometime as although there are many “hotels” listed allot did not participate in clubcard voucher stays or did not have any allocations left for clubcard vouchers.

Participation – what a joke! After numerous attempts to book a hotel always being advised they do not participate or have no clubcard allocation left I decided to ring hotels direct that had turned me down to investigate this virtually impossible task! Low and behold they had plenty of rooms available to book if you did not mention clubcard.

Price – all I can say is unbelievable! An example is a hotel who wanted £360.00 in clubcard vouchers for a double for 2 nights. When I rang the hotel direct the same was £160.00. What a rip off!

It’s also very annoying as you have to book your stay through a dedicated number, not the normal hotel booking system. When you do find a place at an inflated price you have to then order the vouchers from Tesco, and as the hotel will not save or hold a booking until you have the voucher numbers you are taking a chance on the clubcard allocation being given to someone else.

Believe me you will need a break after all this just to book a 2 day hotel stay!!!

Member
Ian Johnson says:
28 December 2013

slightly different problem with tesco clubcard points but my wife and I have had several weekends away with tesco clubcard but hotel chains in the scheme seem very reluctant to offer rooms using this scheme. I have to book very many weeks ahead, have to be very flexible with both the weekends selected and also destination required. It makes me wonder whether this scheme is worth pursueing

Member
Marshall Douglas says:
31 December 2013

Noticed this a couple of years ago, tried to book two nights for four in a mercure hotel in london using my vouchers, This was also 3 months before i intended to go, on getting the price from central reservations at mercure i was quoted the price of £700 for 2 double rooms bed and breakfast while at the same time on the hotels website i could get the same deal for £490, when queried i was told i would need to take it up with tesco, which i did to no avail, spoke to the highest person i could regarding this but the informed me that they could not discuss their tie in with the hotel group and if that was the price quoted that was what i would have to pay, got my vouchers returned used them for eating out, which is still dodgy, you have to do your homework there as well as some resturaunts are at it too.

Member
Bucksambler says:
2 January 2014

I have also had the same situation with Irish Ferries. I looked for prices to sail from Holyhead to Dublin on 25/4/14 going out and returning on 1/6/14, both trips on Fast Ferry services. Price using Tesco Clubcards was £359 and with no Clubcard use £319. Why should we have this differential? I feel I’m being cheated out of a promised ‘deal’.

Member
Susan - Swansea says:
3 January 2014

I have used the Clubcard voucher scheme since it started but I do feel it has gone downhill since they stopped giving you 4 times the amount. I have used them for short breaks in the same 5* hotel for years, but found that last year the difference was really noticeable, it was costing £260 per night on vouchers and less than £200 without- making one wonder if it is really worth using them for this.

Many years ago I did buy a holiday and paid virtually in full (you are unable to do this now) with the Tesco vouchers so things are definitely not getting better.

Member
Susan - Swansea says:
3 January 2014

I have used the Clubcard voucher scheme since it started but I do feel it has gone downhill since they stopped giving you 4 times the amount. I have used them for short breaks in the same 5* hotel for years, but found that last year the difference was really noticeable, it was costing £260 per night on vouchers and less than £200 without- making one wonder if it is really worth using them for this.

Many years ago I did buy a holiday and paid virtually in full (you are unable to do this now) with the Tesco vouchers so things are definitely not getting better.

I have looked at various websites and found other people have changed their minds on using Tesco vouchers and decided to return them and book direct with Macdonald Hotels. Food for thought.

Member
Jacky says:
7 January 2014

I booked a Cosmos holiday with my Tesco clubcard vouchers prior to seeing your information in the latest Which. Checked online and found the one week holiday I booked for 2 people costs 877.52 including an upgrade for B&B and transfers. The cost of the holiday with the clubcard vouchers was £1000.50. I added in transfers which cost £12 each but when I booked with the clubcard vouchers I was not given the option to not have transfers. We are actually hiring a car so don’t need transfers but I wanted a like for like comparison.
They really should make it clearer when you go on the website and I believe Tesco have a responsibility to be up front about their deals.

Member
John Parry says:
13 January 2014

I have used the Tesco clubcard scheme for many years, but I question whether I will continue to do so after the way I was treated just before Christmas. I purchased an Apple TV via the rewards exchange. There was a 25% discount from the standard price by using the vouchers – but my issue is the fact that when I reported the Apple TV as faulty to Tesco, they simply did not want to know, stating that the item was a “corporate gift” and that I would have to take-up the issue with Apple. (Reluctantly, I had no choice but to take this course of action – and Apple were very helpful and supplied me with a replacement Apple TV). I was offered no help at all by Tesco, even though they were happy to supply the item. In future, I shall purchase electrical items from John Lewis, who would, I am convinced, have replaced the faulty item should I have had to return it to the retailer. Not good customer service, Tesco

Member

If you use nectar points to buy Easy Jet tickets you end up paying a booking fee. In a recent example I used 4000 points worth £20 to buy tickets, but only saved £10. A waste of point