What would be better than getting cashback rebates for travel related bookings that you would be taking regardless? Sounds too good to be true? Actually, it is not. You are really leaving money on the table if you are not taking advantage of various cashback options for hotel stays and airline bookings.
Different type of cashback malls
1. Straight cashback malls
These are my personal choice as you normally get the cashback deposited directly to your PayPal account. It is easy to compare the cashback options because the payout is represented in percentage of the price. You just choose the cashback mall that is offering the highest payout at the time you do the booking/purchase.
2. Airline/hotel related malls
There are few hotel chains like Hilton and Marriott that are offering a cashback mall where most of the major US airlines like Delta, United, American, and US Airways (and pretty much all the others) do have one. These tend to be run by Cartera.
I normally only use these when they are offering a bonus for a bonus miles for hitting a certain thresholds. These are normally offered during the holidays and back to school periods.
3. Credit card/bank related malls
Credit card companies and banks have opened their own cashback malls as well. Citi, Chase, Discover, Bank of America etc. all have their own cashback malls.
I used Citi’s Thank You Points-mall a lot when they were offering fixed price air awards. Now that the payout is only 1.33 cents per point on air fare, it hasn’t been that competitive.
Comparing cashback payouts
You can always just go through one provider or follow my advice and just open an account with all of them. You should then the cashback mall that offers the highest payout. The cashback amount varies vendor to vendor and can change sometimes weekly.
There are various sites for checking out the cashback amounts. You can visit Evreward, RewardsDB, CashbackHolic, CashbackMonitor and NerdWallet. The latter is specialized for the credit card and bank cashback malls.
None of these is perfect, however. You should always check UK based Quidco as well that has offered very good cashback rates as of late and is excluded from most of these comparison sites due to its location.
There are sometimes problem with tracking the cashback from making the booking to getting the payout. I have made a simple Excel sheet that I use for this purpose. I record the date of the booking, the date of the stay (in case of hotels), the name of the merchant, name of the cashback mall, the confirmation number, and the expected cashback amount or percentage of rebate.
It is really essential that you do this if you make number of bookings as it might get confusing really fast which mall you used and when. Also, the cashback amount/percentage can change. It is essential that you have recorded the amount that you should get based on the cashback rate at the time of booking/purchase.
The de facto payment form for the first set of sites is PayPal. Some sites pay out quarterly, some monthly, some require you to request a payment before it is processed and some may require you to have a minimum withdrawal amount of $10.
The airline/hotel related malls just deposit the miles/points that you have earned from your purchases to your account. The same goes for bank/credit card related ones as well.
Example booking an InterContinental Hotel
The cashback amount on IHG group of hotels varies a lot between the sites. I have come to realize that I really need to check them all when I am making bookings.
Last week MrRebates was offering 6%
And Quidco whopping 12%
The booking was made using the cashback link on Quidco’s website.
Hotels tend to offer attractive cashback rates as they are trying to get more bookings through their websites and not having to pay 10% travel agent commissions. I have earned thousands of dollars cashback through these sites over the past ten years I have been using them.
It doesn’t matter if you are not located in the United States as these sites are paying out to PayPal account. Similarly, nothing prevents you taking advantage of sometimes generous rates that Quidco, based in the UK, is offering.
Note that LoyaltyLobby may get a referral fee if you join and use the cashback sites mentioned above.