Tesco's Clubcard is one of the most generous loyalty schemes around, if used the right way.
It's possible to play the points and rewards scheme like a symphony, so here's the score...
Regular shoppers at retail megalith Tesco earn Clubcard points. Every three months it sends the points as vouchers, yet it's possible to gain massive extra value.
How do you earn Clubcard points?
Flash your Clubcard at Tesco and you bag one point per pound spent. You can also earn via partners such as E.on, Blinkbox and Living Social - see a full list.
For devoted points chasers, the Tesco Clubcard Credit Card* gives one Clubcard point for every £4 you spend on it (18.9% representative APR). Though you could get a better return with a cashback card - for full help and options, see Cashback Credit Cards.
How much are Tesco vouchers worth?
While 500 points equals a fiver to spend in-store, you can trade it for up to four times that (ie, £20) on Boost Partner items. These include restaurant vouchers, jewellery and train tickets (see Top 10).
Alternatively, you can double vouchers' value by swapping Clubcard vouchers for 'Boost at Tesco' tokens for specific goods, including toys, wine, gifts and fragrance (see Tesco Boost).
Urgent: £16m of Tesco vouchers expire soon
Tesco Clubcard vouchers only last two years, and millions lose or forget to use ‘em. Tesco says 2 million people have unspent vouchers worth up to £16 million, all due to expire on 30 November 2013.
The reasons for this include vouchers getting lost in the post, or folks not realising they have any available to spend or simply forgetting. So check your account now – read on for how to easily claw back two years' worth.
Many people lose or forget to use their Tesco vouchers, but there’s an easy way to claw back the last two years of unused vouchers (some report successes from even further back).1
Log in online. Go to the Tesco Clubcard* website and enter your details. If you're new, you'll need to enter your email address and Clubcard number to access your account.
You'll need to be registered for a Tesco.com account. Tesco says doing this won't mean you miss out on money-off codes the first time you shop (see Tesco Discount Codes).2
Check for unspent vouchers. In your Clubcard account, click on 'my vouchers' on the left-hand side and you should see a table listing the vouchers you still have to spend.3
Instantly print vouchers or use the codes online. If you want to spend vouchers online, you simply need to use the code listed, eg, beginning "A6TCD". To spend in-store, print vouchers yourself to use instantly.
Friends and family not online?
If you're telling friends and family how to reclaim lost vouchers but they don't have internet access, there is another way. Just phone Tesco customer services, and its staff will check whether you have any vouchers to spend. If so, it'll cancel the lost vouchers and add the points onto your balance for your next statement, so you'll get them re-issued.
Check your account regularly, as some Clubcard holders have had vouchers stolen in recent months. Police have investigated a security breach this year. See the Clubcard fraud reports MSE News story. Here are some MoneySavers who've shown it's worth the effort:
MoneySavers have so far found £32,692.50 in lost Tesco vouchers!
Worth up to £130,770 when converted to Clubcard Rewards vouchers.
"Almost £600 worth of vouchers going back nearly three years. I knew I had a lot and this new website saved me having to dig though piles of old paperwork."
"Thanks to your article, we found that we had nearly £150 of unclaimed Tesco vouchers! We have already doubled the vouchers' value online, which has been incredibly useful for Christmas."
"Thanks for the tip on checking unused vouchers - just found over £50 worth not used - don't know how that happened but am happy to spend them now!"
Report how much you've found
Further tips and hints
Q. How far back can I access unspent vouchers?
A. The online system will only show current vouchers. Tesco keeps Clubcard vouchers on your account for two years, so you can find and use any vouchers from up to two years ago.
Q. Can you use vouchers online straight away?
A. Your account details will show you the code needed to redeem rewards online, so you'll be able to use them straight away.
Q. Can you use them to 'double up'?
A. Yes. You can use the online codes to take advantage of Clubcard Boost (previously known as Clubcard Exchange and Rewards), which allows you to double up on five categories. See full Tesco Boost info.
Q. Can I get a refund on Boost with Clubcard Partner tokens?
A. Sadly, Tesco's Boost with Clubcard Partner tokens (previously known as Tesco Rewards) are non-refundable, even if they haven't been used. They're generally valid for six months from the date of issue, unless otherwise stated. Find more info on the Tesco* website.
Q. Can I trade in cashback for Clubcard points?
A. If you've money squirrelled away with cashback site Topcashback*, there's another way to boost your Tesco points stash. You can now trade in every £10 of cashback for 1,050 Tesco Clubcard points. This equals £10.50 to spend in-store, but up to £42 in Clubcard Boost Partner deals (see Top 10 deals below).
If you're new to cashback sites, they work by giving you a cut of revenue earned for directing you to retailers and providers. See full help and warnings in the Top Cashback Sites guide.
You can swap a maximum of £50 Topcashback earnings for Tesco points per account up to £210 in Boost with Clubcard Partner deals. There's no minimum amount of cash you can exchange - every 20p is worth 21 Tesco points. This is an ongoing offer.
How to convert cashback into Tesco points
Log on to your Topcashback* account, click My Profile and register your Clubcard number.
Click Payments, then scroll down to Clubcard Vouchers.
Click Payable - points will reach your Tesco account in a few days.
How to exchange if you've more than £50 in your Topcashback account
The maximum cashback you can exchange for Tesco points is £50. If you try to exchange more, Topcashback's IT system doesn't like it. Yet there's a workaround:
Log into your account and go to Payments. Then click the option at the top to 'Split your pay-out by merchant' to see a list of all your cashback transactions.
From the list, tick a combination of transactions which adds up to no more than £50.
Hit Recalculate and select Tesco points.
Unfortunately, if you've earned more than £50 cashback in one transaction, you can't swap any part of that amount for Tesco vouchers. For example, if you bagged £60 for buying a car insurance policy, you can't convert £50 of that into Tesco points. It's also worth noting the list of all your cashback transactions will only show if you've more than one transaction payable.
Step 2: Check if you can get up to 4x value
You can get two, three or four times the value on your points by converting vouchers into tokens for days out, experiences, restaurants and more. This offer used to be called Tesco Rewards, but it's now called Clubcard Boost Partners*.
Everything's the same apart from the name. Tesco has confirmed that rewards cost the same number of points as before, and there are still the same number of deals available. When we checked our top rewards, they still cost the same number of points. If you spot any changes, please let us know in the Tesco Clubcard discussion thread.
How do I exchange under Clubcard Boost Partners?
You can exchange vouchers into Boost tokens online on Tesco's website.
Am I really getting three or four times the value?
The pricing for Boost with Clubcard Partners is based on Tesco's list price. Always check you're really getting three or four times the value before committing. So before exchanging £20 for something with a £60 RRP, check the price elsewhere in case it's cheaper and you're better off using the Clubcard voucher for something else.
1Days out - Alton Towers, Cadbury World and more.
Get a ticket to a major theme park from £5 in Clubcard vouchers.
Brochure: Days Out*
Estimated value: Up to 4x if no alternative vouchers or deals are available.
This depends on the venue and if any other 2for1 offers are available. If there are no offers available at the time you want to go, these are worth up to about four times vouchers' value. You can exchange £12.50 for an Alton Towers day pass (costs £35 online) and £11 in vouchers for a ticket to Chessington World of Adventures (about £32 online).
Reason for being a top pick? It's a good way to cut the cost of family days out, but check for other offers before converting.
2Restaurant vouchers, including Prezzo and Cafe Rouge
Every £5 gives £20 in vouchers for restaurants, including Spaghetti House, Cafe Rouge, Prezzo and Strada.
Brochure: Restaurant Deals*
Estimated value: 4x voucher value if no deals
Some of the listed restaurants offer 2for1 vouchers (see Cheap Restaurant Deals). If you can grab one, save your Clubcard vouchers for something else as this means they're only worth twice the value in reality. If you can't get a 2for1, Boost with Clubcard Partner tokens are four times the value, so are worth the swap.
Reason for being a top pick? Like days out, they're a good swap to boost a family meal out - but only if no other deals are available for that restaurant.
3Jewellery - Goldsmiths
Every £10 Clubcard voucher gets you a £30 Goldsmiths voucher, so a £600 ring costs £200 in Tesco vouchers. There's no minimum spend with these vouchers at the time of writing, though Tesco has warned this may change, so check before you buy.
If you're saving up for something, be careful. Only convert when you have the full amount you need, and use vouchers quickly. While it's a big company, if it went bust you'd probably lose the cash, so ensure you minimise the time between buying and redemption. See the Beware buying vouchers MSE News story.
Estimated value: Up to 3x voucher value
Goldsmiths is generally reasonably-priced and competitive for branded items. Depending on the item, it can be 3x face value of Clubcard vouchers in many cases. But you may find cheaper elsewhere, so do a price comparison (see the MegaShopBot) before converting.
When we checked a high-end Vivienne Westwood ladies' watch, it was priced similarly online. But a cheaper mens' Tommy Hilfiger watch was about £10 less elsewhere. You may find branded items cheaper elsewhere, but it's still worthwhile if you're spending at Goldsmiths anyway.
Reason for being a top pick? If you want something specifically from Goldsmiths, this is practically a cash discount. Particularly for those looking for engagement rings, this can seriously boost spending power. It was even better in the past, as you got four times the value, but currently it's only three.
4Avios (formerly Air Miles and BA Miles)
Convert Clubcard vouchers into Avios points and £2.50 becomes 600 points, so £37.50 buys a Eurostar return to Paris. For 30 more ways to max your Avios points, see the full Boost Avios Points guide.
You have to pay taxes and charges
Unlike the old Air Miles system, Avios charges passengers taxes and fees on flights, usually up to about £100 for European return flights. Yet under its Reward Saver scheme, you pay a fixed £35 fee on BA economy flights in zones 1-3 (mainly Europe, see map for full list), if you've earned at least one Avios point in the year before you book.
You don't pay taxes on Eurostar trips, which makes them an excellent value exchange.
Avios* 2.5x voucher value
1,000 Avios points are typically worth £8-£10 (though up to £20 if you spend them on business class). So £12.50 in Clubcard vouchers normally buys £30-ish in Avios points.
BA Executive Club Points* 2.5x voucher value
Avios says the main Avios scheme's better for irregular travellers and BA Exec's best for frequent flyers, offering benefits such as free airport lounge access. However, you can pool Avios and BA Exec points, so if you change your mind later, it doesn't matter.
Reason for being a top pick? It's an easy way to boost Avios points. The return's typically 2.5x value, but much more if you redeem during an extra Avios promo period and spend Avios in the right way. See the Boost Avios Points guide.
5Day trips to France with Eurotunnel
£10 in Clubcard vouchers gets £30 in Eurotunnel Rewards vouchers.
Estimated value: 3x voucher value
When we looked, Eurotunnel ticket prices generally started from about £50 each way. So unless you can grab one of its rare cheap return specials, this is a good way to cut the total cost.
If you aren't fussy about how you get to France, it's also worth considering ferry deals. These can be even cheaper.
Reason for being a top pick? This stacks up well in the value stakes, unless you can track down a deal (see Cheap France Day Trips).
6Train tickets - RedSpottedHanky
Trade in Clubcard vouchers for rail travel with ticket shop RedSpottedHanky* and you get 2x their in-store value, so £10 becomes £20.
Estimated value: 2x voucher value
In our check, prices were usually identical or very similar to other train ticket sites, so this is a decent saving.
Reason for being a top pick? While this is two times value, rather than three or four, as it's money off train tickets and they're a standard price, this is almost a cash redemption for someone who needs to make a journey by train. For more tricks to slash train fares, see Cheap Trains.
7Magazine subscriptions - InStyle, Marie Claire
About £8-£40 gets you an annual subscription to one of a variety of magazines, including InStyle and Marie Claire.
Brochure: Magazine subscriptions*
Estimated value: 2x voucher value
Normally these cost about £16-£30 depending on the magazine (though it varies widely), sometimes doubling the face value of the Clubcard rewards. However, it's sometimes possible to up the gain and get a free gift special offer. See the Magazine Subscription Offers thread.
Reason for being a top pick? This is popular with forumites and good if there's nothing else you want to spend your Rewards on.
8 £4 gets one Cineworld ticket
Swap £4 in vouchers for a Cineworld* cinema ticket (£3 for kids), or £4.50 (£3.50 kids) for Odeon.
As a rough guide, Cineworld and Odeon tickets typically cost about £9-10, though it varies widely depending on location. Also see Cheap Cinema deals.
How to do it
When you exchange vouchers for Cineworld or Odeon tickets, you'll be emailed a voucher with a code. You can't use the Cineworld voucher to book online or by phone - print and take it to the cinema to redeem. Odeon lets you redeem the code when booking online, by phone, via its mobile app or buying in person. Codes must be used within six months.
There's no limit per customer on the amount of vouchers you can exchange.
Estimated value: About 2x or 3x voucher value.
Reason for being a top pick? If you're buying a ticket for about £10+, this is worthwhile as it's something you'd spend on anyway.
9RAC breakdown cover
What you get varies depending on the policy you get. For example, every £18 in Clubcard vouchers gets you an RAC Roadside policy, which normally costs about £30 if you buy online.
Estimated value: 1-2x voucher value
The value depends on the cover you choose. See a full rundown, including a chart comparing the Clubcard cost with the standard cost, in Cheap Breakdown Cover.
Reason for being a top pick? It's a decent discount, but it can sometimes be beaten.
10Merlin Pass: Alton Towers, Chessington, Thorpe Park
A standard Merlin Annual Pass costs £50 in Clubcard vouchers. It's a big saving as it's usually £159 at full price (about £143 online) - this deal makes it less than a third of that.
Passes are valid for unlimited entry for one person to Merlin attractions (which include Alton Towers, Legoland and Chessington) for 12 months.
Estimated value: 3x voucher value
The pass usually costs £159 at full price (it's cheaper online), so at £50 in Clubcard points, it's worth just over three times face value. See the Merlin Pass* offer.
Reason for being a top pick? This is super-popular with thrill-seeking forumites. But if you're only going to make the odd visit, stick to 2for1 Theme Park Deals.
Step 3: Double value with Xmas boost
If there’s nowt for you in the voucher Valhalla that is the Boost Partners list, its Boost at Tesco* scheme at least lets you double vouchers’ value.
In July Tesco made its double-up deal ongoing, but with fewer departments than when it was a twice-yearly promo. You can swap Clubcard vouchers for twice their normal value in-store and online, so a £5 voucher buys £10 in six departments, including clothing, baby and fragrance.
Until 20 Dec, its Christmas Boost promo will let you double up in five extra categories, including toys, gift sets and Finest brand wines and champagnes – perfect for prezzie-buying.
How to do it
To swap vouchers online, log on to Tesco Clubcard* and pick a department. When shopping on Tesco Direct, vouchers should automatically appear at checkout when you log on and spend in that category. You can then choose to double up.
Alternatively, look for the special in-store desks where they’ll exchange your vouchers on the spot (not Express stores).
There's a £10 minimum spend with each £10 Boost token. You can use your tokens on items that are already on special offer, so look out for 2for1s.
Vouchers for the new departments added for Christmas must be exchanged by 20 Dec, and converted tokens must be redeemed by 31 Dec.
We asked Tesco if you would still be able to double up in the original categories after the temporary promo ends. It's now confirmed the six original Clubcard Boost departments are ending on 31 Dec, with converted tokens valid for six months after this.
What are the categories?
You can exchange vouchers both online and in-store in all these categories.
New departments added for Christmas:
- Toys and bikes.
- Gift sets from across the departments (eg, includes toy, beauty and electrical gifts).
- Finest brand wines and champagnes.
- Electricals (eg, sat navs, cameras, toasters).
- Phones and accessories (pay-as-you-go mobiles, home phones).
- Clothing (eg, womenswear, menswear, kidswear).
- Cosmetics and fragrance (eg, moisturisers, beauty sets).
- Baby and toddler (eg, nappies, bottles, car seats).
- Cook, dine and home (pots and pans, not food).
- Opticians (eg, prescription glasses, contact lenses, sunglasses).
- Hudl tablets and accessories.
Exclusions apply, so check the Clubcard Boost* terms before exchanging.