You can earn cashback for most travel bookings you make. Here’s an update to the piece that I wrote more than a year ago about the online shopping cashback malls that you can use to get some cash to your PayPal account or more miles/points.
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 operated 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. You should check with your card companies websites.
I used to use 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 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. I tend to check the ones that I use most (Ebates, MrRebates & TopCashback) weekly, when doing travel related purchases.
There are sometimes problems 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. If you don’t do this, it is practically impossible to make sure that you get all that you are owed.
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 Accor Hotel
The cashback amount on Accor affiliated hotels varies a lot between the sites. You have to check the ones that you use to make sure that you get the max payout.
Note that these payout ratios were correct at the time of writing this article and that the UK based sites should only be used from the UK.
TopCashback (US) 4%
TopCashback (UK) up to 10.5% (brand dependent)
Quidco up to 10% (brand dependent)
The cashback amounts differs a lot and IHG suddenly disappeared from most of the sites earlier this year. I can still earn cashback/miles for IHG stays through Upromise or AAdvantage Eshopping mall.
The OTA’s (online travel agents) are currently offering rather attractive payouts especially for hotel bookings.
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.