How shopping at Tesco can earn you incredible travel rewards

Aug 22, 2020

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If you live in the U.K., chances are that you’ve heard of Tesco. Whether you’re a weekly — or daily — shopper or if you’ve ever passed one of the chain’s petrol stations, Tesco seems to be everywhere.

But, what about that loyalty programme you sometimes hear about? Here’s your go-to guide to teach you how your Tesco Clubcard points could turn into free travel.

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What is a Tesco Clubcard?

Tesco, in a similar way to many other retailers, airlines and hotels, likes to reward its loyal customers in various different ways. With Tesco, that comes in the form of collecting points using its free Clubcard loyalty programme.

The premise of the programme is that when you spend with Tesco, you’ll earn Clubcard points. Once you’ve spent enough with Tesco and your Clubcard, you can those points into vouchers.

The vouchers can be used to save money in store, online and when filling up with petrol.

However, we really don’t see the value in redeeming them that way. At TPG U.K., we much prefer to redeem our Tesco Clubcard rewards for travel. That’s right — the money that you’re spending every week on avocados and milk can turn into a free flight.

Related: What are the differences between Tesco Clubcard points and Sainsbury’s Nectar points?

How do I collect points?

You can rack up a decent amount of Tesco Clubcard points quicker than you think. That’s because you can earn them in more ways than just buying your grocery shopping in-store.

Here is a list of the ways you can earn Clubcard points and the amount of points you’ll be awarded:

  • In-Store: £1 spent = 1 point
  • Tesco Online: £1 spent = 1 point
  • F&F (Tesco’s clothing range): £1 spent = 1 point
  • Tesco Mobile: £1 spent = 1 point
  • Tesco Homewares: £1 spent = 1 point
  • Tesco Fuel: £2 spent = 1 point
  • Tesco Bank Current Account: £1 spent = 1 point
  • Tesco Bank Credit Cards: £4 spent = 1 point
  • Tesco Bank Mortgages: £4 repaid = 1 point

Terms and conditions for each of the earning channels are outlined on Tesco‘s website.

A shopper chooses fresh fruit at a Tesco Superstore in south London on September 30, 2019. - Tesco, Britain's biggest food retailer, will report its first-half results on October 2. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / various sources / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

How do I get the vouchers?

The reward points that you earn with your Clubcard don’t auto-convert into vouchers like many airline reward programme points do. Until quite recently, you had to wait until Tesco sent your vouchers in the post.

Now, however, you can simply exchange your points for vouchers through your online account or through the Tesco Clubcard app. The vouchers will be available within 24 hours.

Each 150 Clubcard points gets you £1.50 in Clubcard vouchers. The 150 points are the minimum amount needed in order to be able cash in your points.

So, if your family spends £200 per week with Tesco — between in-store purchases, online and on petrol — you’ll earn roughly 800 Clubcard points per month. When converting those 800 points to vouchers, you’ll have £7.50 in vouchers (with some points leftover). Not a bad return on purchases you’re making anyway.

How do my Tesco Clubcard points convert to travel?

So, once you have your vouchers, now what? Tesco partners with almost 300 companies, enabling you to convert your hard-earned vouchers into spending in a variety of ways. From restaurants to magazine subscriptions and everything in between.

At TPG U.K., we aim to help you maximise your travel. Below are our favourite Clubcard point travel redemptions available.

British Airways 

You can cash in £2.50 of your vouchers for 600 British Airways Avios. All you need in order to get the Avios is a British Airways Executive Club membership registered to the same name and address as your Clubcard. So, if you’re using a credit card that earns you Avios alongside your Clubcard, you will be well on your way to redeeming a return economy flight within Europe for 8,000 Avios and £35.

In the example above, the £200 in weekly spend would generate you enough in vouchers to be redeemed for 1,800 Avios. Based on TPG’s most recent valuations, those Avios are worth nearly £20.

(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic offers slightly more than BA’s Executive Club. With Virgin’s Flying Club programme, £2.50 worth of Tesco Clubcard vouchers can be exchanged for 625 Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles. This is an especially generous transfer rate when you consider that if you are shopping at Tesco and paying with a Tesco Bank current account debit card you’ll earn 2 Clubcard points per £1 spent. With this generous transfer rate to Flying Club, this means you can earn 5 Flying Club miles for each £1 you are spending at Tesco — an excellent deal that you can read more about here.

The name on the Flying Club membership must match the name registered with the Clubcard membership. So, if you use a Virgin Atlantic credit card for your purchases and you redeem your Clubcard vouchers for Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles as well, you could soon be booking award flights, treating yourself to upgrades or using Virgin Atlantic’s Miles Plus Money fares.

Virgin Atlantic from time to time offers a bonus of 1,000 Flying Club miles for changing your settings on your Tesco Clubcard account so that your Clubcard points automatically get converted into Flying Club miles, so keep an eye out for the next offer. Worth doing? Absolutely. An extra 1,000 miles is not to be passed up.

You can always change your default back to vouchers, Christmas Savers or British Airways Executive Club Avios once you have received your bonus Flying Club.

Railcard 

If you’re more of a train person, £1 of Tesco Clubcard vouchers can be exchanged for £3 to spend on a 16-25 Railcard. That means that just £10 of vouchers would be enough to get you £30 in Railcard credits, which then gives you up to one-third off all of your rail travel — a great deal, especially if your journeys aren’t served by the U.K.’s domestic flight network.

Don’t forget that using Virgin Trains on the West Coast Mainline also earns you Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles, so taking the train can help toward getting you in first class in the air.

Related: How to save on your next Heathrow Express journey

Eurotunnel Le Shuttle 

Roadtrips to France and the rest of Europe are also made easier with Tesco Clubcard, as its partnership with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle enables you to turn £5 worth of Clubcard vouchers into £15 to spend on crossing of the channel in the comfort of your own car. Journeys must be booked originating in Folkestone only, not Calais, and they are invalid for Flexi Plus tickets. As always, the lead name of the travel booking must correspond to the name on the vouchers.

Related: Should you transfer your American Express Membership Rewards points to Eurostar?

Ferries 

There are also great partnerships between Tesco Clubcard and some of the major ferry operators connecting the U.K. to the rest of Europe. Namely those include DFDS (£5 in vouchers = £15 to spend), Irish Ferries (£5 in vouchers = £15 to spend), P&O Ferries (£5 in vouchers = £15 to spend), Stena Line (£10 in vouchers = £30 to spend) and Wightlink Isle of Wight Ferries (£2.50 in vouchers = £7.50 to spend).

Check out the transport section of the Clubcard website to find out more about each of the partnerships.

Related: 5 of the coolest ferry journeys from the UK

Uber 

Maybe one of the lesser-known — and maybe most useful — Clubcard partnerships is that with Uber. With it, £0.50 worth of vouchers converts to £1.50 in Uber credit. If you live and work in London and dislike getting the Tube, these Uber credits could prove to be very useful. You can use a maximum of £50 in Clubcard vouchers — or £150 in Uber value — per trip.

Hotels 

If there already weren’t enough options for you, Tesco Clubcard has also teamed up with several hotel programmes to allow you to turn your vouchers into hotel stays. Namely, Hotels.com (£5 in vouchers = £15 to spend), Butlins Hotels (£5 in vouchers = £15 to spend), Hilton Hotels U.K. & Ireland (£2.50 in vouchers = £7.50 to spend), Macdonald Hotels & Resorts (£2.50 in vouchers = £7.50 to spend), Mercure Hotels (£2.50 in vouchers = £7.50 to spend), Novotel Hotels (£2.50 in vouchers = £7.50 to spend), Select Hotels of Ireland (£0.50 in vouchers = £1.50 to spend) and Warner Leisure Hotels (£5 in vouchers = £15 to spend).

The terms and conditions vary per company, but you can find all of that information here.

Related: The 6 best eco-friendly hotels in England

Bottom line

Now, all you need to do is sign up for your very own Tesco Clubcard and get earning points toward those flights, hotel nights, Uber rides and much more. All terms and conditions of use for each programme and more information about your Clubcard can be found on Tesco’s website.

Additional reporting by Ben Smithson.

Featured photo courtesy of Tesco.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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