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Please excuse the clickbait title, it’s not strictly true since you still have to pay taxes, (roughly about 10% of the price) but this is a still a great little hack for getting exceptionally cheap travel. The gist is you save up Tesco Clubcard vouchers and then exchange them for triple their value on a range of rewards. Here’s exactly how I do it…
Free hotel stays
I am a huge supporter of shopping local, and do so whenever I can. However, like a lot of people are we are not in a position to buy everything from small independents. We get a weekly ‘big shop’ from Tesco. And we rack up the Clubcard Vouchers. These vouchers can be transformed into some lovely treats. Firstly, definitely do not spend them in store because you’re just throwing away money.
Instead, save them up. And the beauty of this is you don’t actually need to save the paper vouchers because you can do it all electronically. You can check your current balance here.
Once you have saved a nice little stash, the vouchers can be exchanged for up to three times their face value at a range of partners including days out, English Heritage membership, hotel stays etc. They can even be swapped for Denby vouchers.
For hotels, many of the partners are chains… but I’ve found the most appealing hotels by swapping Clubcard vouchers for Hotels.com vouchers. Every £5 in Clubcard vouchers is worth £15 in Hotels.com vouchers. There are various terms and conditions and you don’t necessarily get the best price – but given that it’s still essentially free, I think it’s a banging deal.
The other thing I like is that all of the exchanging of vouchers is done online, so there’s minimal cringe factor at reception. However, the process is quite convoluted so read the ‘how it works’ information carefully here.
The best independent Derbyshire hotels
There are lots of chain hotels, but I usually try to find somewhere independently run, or at least in a small, characterful chain. These are the top of my list:
The Rutland Arms, Bakewell – we have just returned from a really lovely stay here. A two hundred pound suite was paid for entirely using Clubcard vouchers! All I had to pay was about £25 in taxes and fees.
The Cow, Dalbury Lees – we stayed here for my birthday (not on a deal, just as regular paying customers) and it was gorgeous.
Losehill House & Spa – this is high on my list.
Peak Edge Hotel – I’ve never stayed here but the restaurant is really nice and features in my guide to the best Derbyshire restaurants. Owned and operated by the same team who run the Casa Hotel in Chesterfield, which you can also get free using vouchers. Read about my recent Sunday lunch at the Peak Edge.
Van Dyk by Wildes – contemporary hotel with good restaurant.
Pentahotel Derby – contemporary hotel situated on Pride Park in Derby city centre. Read my blog post on the best things to do in Derby.
Ringwood Hall near Chesterfield (the spa here is lovely – it’s small but very nicely done – but last time I looked residents didn’t automatically get spa access so just make sure you read all the T&Cs carefully) – I have never dined or stayed here.
Scotsman’s Pack Hotel, Hathersage – again, not somewhere I have stayed but a good, traditional country pub in the pretty Peak District village of Hathersage. Read my review of food at the Scotsman’s Pack.
Have fun! Let me know if you go anywhere great using this hack.