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Tesco makes U-turn (of sorts) on major Clubcard changes

Tesco petrol station forecourt

Last week we covered what was essentially a significant, stealthy devaluation of the Tesco Clubcard loyalty scheme. 

Especially galling was the fact that these changes came into effect immediately – with no prior notice to customers.

What Tesco surely couldn’t, but perhaps should’ve envisaged was the widespread media attention and backlash that these changes received. A swift U-turn of sorts followed and most of the references to these enhancements were removed from the FAQ’s on the Tesco website.

In case you missed this story last week, here is a quick recap of the changes to the Clubcard scheme and the revised date that these will come into force.


Tesco began emailing customers last week with details of some changes that were being made to their Clubcard loyalty scheme.

Here is the official comment from Tesco:

“Tesco Clubcard is a big part of how we help customers and is our way of saying thank you for shopping with us.”

“We’ve listened to our customers and simplified our Clubcard Reward partners so that they’re more straightforward for everyone.

“This means that from 15 January, we will offer customers three times the value of their vouchers with over 100 Clubcard Reward Partners including days out weekend breaks, holidays and more.


What’s changing?

Essentially, Tesco has moved to replace the present Clubcard rewards system which offered varying levels of value for your Clubcard points depending on which partner you chose to spend your vouchers with.

Instead, they’ve simplified matters:

“We’re simplifying the Clubcard rewards you can collect through the majority of our Reward Partners.

Previously, you could either get 2x, 3x or 4x the value of your Clubcard vouchers – but starting from 15 January 2018, we’re making everything 3x the value. So you won’t have to keep checking whether you’re getting 2x, 3x or 4x the value depending on which reward you’re claiming; everything will be 3x”.


Are transfers to Avios or Virgin miles affected?

The thing I feared most was an ‘enhancement’ of Clubcard transfers to Avios or Virgin miles. Thankfully, those seem to have come through this overhaul unscathed.

That means each Clubcard point is still worth:

You can read more about converting Clubcard points to airline miles in this article here.

Also unaffected are Clubcard transfers to Uber credit, which from talking to friends and family,  has become a tempting option since its introduction in July 2017.


Which partners are affected?

All of the partners listed below have either gone up from offering 2x value to 3x value or down from 4x to 3x. It’s quite the list and so I’m not going to post all 100+ partners that have been altered.

Here’s an example of some of the affected partners:


When are these changes being introduced?

Following a wave of negative customer feedback, Tesco has decided to postpone these modifications by six months.

Tesco confirmed that these changes have now been pushed back until 10th June 2018.

That means you still have another few months to convert Clubcard vouchers to your preferred partner at the old rates. Importantly, you will now be able to redeem any vouchers earned during the current collection period, due to end on the 25th January 2018. They will also allow you to convert any vouchers earned in the next collection period which will end at some point in April/May.


What if I converted vouchers in the period between the changes being introduced and then withdrawn?

Per the Tesco website:

If you placed an order on the website between Monday 15 to Wednesday 17 January with a 3x Reward Partner that is now worth 4x, don’t worry you won’t lose out, just contact our Customer Engagement Centre on 0800 591 688.

If you placed an order with a Reward Partner that had changed from 2x to 3x, your order will still be worth 3x the value. Just remember to use it before the expiry date on the Partner voucher.


Verdict

I am still struggling to get my head around exactly what the original thought process was at Tesco when signing off on the timetable for these changes. Did they just genuinely underestimate how strongly people would feel about the partners that offered 4x value?

Personally, I think what irked people most was that the changes were snuck in on the quiet – almost seeing if they could get away with it.

Credit to Tesco however, for ultimately reversing their decision and delaying these changes. They also deserve praise for giving people an additional Clubcard collection period to earn and then redeem at current rates.

What do you make of Tesco’s U-turn?

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