Tesco has today postponed a shake-up of its Clubcard Rewards scheme after a furious backlash from customers and a call from MSE founder Martin Lewis for it to rethink the changes.
On Monday the supermarket giant announced a major revamp of the popular boost scheme, which lets you swap Clubcard vouchers for Rewards 'tokens' worth up to four times as much with partner firms such as Prezzo, Cafe Rouge and London Zoo.
It said that all tokens - previously worth two, three or four times the value of Clubcard vouchers - would be worth three times the value with immediate effect, meaning the maximum boost you can get with some partners would have been slashed by 25%.
However after an outcry from customers and a call from Martin for a delay in implementing the changes, Tesco has now backed down. It told MoneySavingExpert that the changes will now come in on 10 June.
Tesco says anyone who's lost out as a result of the shake-up should contact its customer service centre on 0800 505 555.
'It's good to see Tesco is listening'
Martin Lewis, MoneySavingExpert founder said: “Having been lobbying for 24 hours, I’d put in a call to ask to speak to someone senior at Tesco – preferably the Chief Exec – to try and see if we could get it sorted. The issue here isn’t the change in itself, Tesco has every right to do that, but the fact it was implemented without notice – that was unfair and left many people missing out on £50 or more.
“Instead of putting someone senior on the phone though, we got the even better news that it was agreeing to our request. Tesco had seriously misjudged the mood here, especially as by definition those hardest hit were its most loyal customers. The fact it has back tracked is good news for its customers, and for its own reputation, as many were talking about changing where they shop after this.”
How is the Clubcard scheme changing?
Reward tokens are offered by a wide range of firms on everything from days out and train tickets to restaurant meals and magazine subscriptions.
Tokens offered by over 100 partner firms will now change on 10 June, with exchanges which were worth two or four times a Clubcard voucher's face value soon worth three times the value. Here are some examples of how Reward tokens are affected:
- Value will be CUT from 4x to 3x - Cafe Rouge, Hampton Court Palace, Lightwater Valley, London Zoo, Paradise Wildlife Park, Pizza Express, Prezzo, Shakespeare's Globe, Tower of London
- Value will REMAIN THE SAME at 3x - Eurotunnel, Goldsmiths, Hotels.com
- Value will RISE from 2x to 3x - APH Airport Parking, Denby Online Shop, Evans Cycles, Megabus, RedSpottedHanky
You can see a list of affected partners on the Clubcard website - though this doesn't indicate what the previous value was. We've asked Tesco for full details of how each partner is affected, and will update this story when we know more.
Reward tokens with a 3x value, such as Eurotunnel, Goldsmiths and Hotels.com, AREN'T changing. Nor are the few Reward tokens with a non-monetary value, such as Avios points, a Merlin annual pass or cinema tickets.
For full details of how the Tesco Clubcard scheme works, how to get back lost vouchers and how to boost them to their maximum value, see our Reclaim & Boost Tesco Vouchers guide.
'No notice whatsoever - piles insult on injury'
When the Clubcard Rewards shake-up was first announced on Monday we had a huge response from MoneySavers, most of who were very unhappy with the changes, and particularly the lack of notice given:
Pretty disappointed @Tesco have changed the terms of their Clubcard voucher reward options. Now, without warning only worth 3x the value to boost. Did you know? @MoneySavingExp @Katykicker @lottyburns— Ellie (@espanswick) January 15, 2018
Totally disgusted with Tesco!!! I use the Rewards as treats for my family and this has put the kybosh on many that I choose!!!! A bit of notice may have softened the blow a little... MAYBE!! #nothappybunny— Terry Parkinson (@tezarifica) 16 January 2018
A few did respond more positively to the changes though. Forumite tgroom57 said: "I'm very pleased about RedSpottedHanky, now 3x."
And forumite Miller told us: "I only use them for RedSpottedHanky so it's ok for me (though I fondly remember when that was x4 with no booking fee)".
After Tesco's update, saying they will be offering a grace period, customers online reacted positively:
Amazing Martin - thank you!!👏👏— Carrie (@CarrieLouise255) January 17, 2018
Will old Rewards tokens still be valid?
Yes - Tesco says any Rewards tokens which you've already exchanged Clubcard vouchers for will be worth the same value. Just remember to use them before the expiry date.
What is Tesco doing to help customers who've lost out?
Tesco says if you believe you've lost out as a result of the changes, you should call its customer service line on 0800 505 555. Let us know how you get on at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When it first announced the shake-up on Monday, Tesco told us it had "shared a triple points coupon with impacted customers which can be redeemed in time for their February statement". It said impacted customers were those "who most frequently redeemed their vouchers with partners at 4x the value".
We've asked Tesco if there's any update on this in light of today's announcement and will update this story when we know more.
Has anything else changed?
Tesco says Clubcard vouchers will still be worth their face value when you use them to buy groceries or anything from Tesco Direct, just like before.
On Monday it also said that by the end of February, it will be sending all Reward tokens by email, not by post (so you'll need to remember to check your spam folder to make sure you get them). We're checking if this is still the case and will update this story when we know more.
What does Tesco say?
Alessandra Bellini, Tesco's chief customer officer, said: "Customers have told us they want Clubcard to be simpler, and they’ve asked us to make it easier to get the most value from the points they collect.
"That’s why we’re simplifying our Reward Partners programme so it’s more straightforward to use, by offering customers three times the value of their vouchers with over 100 Clubcard Reward Partners.
"We’ve listened to the feedback from customers who said they want more time to adjust, so we’ve delayed making these changes until 10 June. It means that customers who planned to redeem their vouchers at four times the value with Reward Partners will have the time to do so.
"We will be sharing more information with Clubcard customers over the coming days."