There are websites who will pay you to shop and make holiday bookings through mainstream online retailers that you would probably normally use anyway. OK, this is starting to sound like a scam but here’s how it works. You know those online banner ads you see when you are browsing through the web. The website that referred you to the online retailer gets a percentage of the revenue that is generated when you buy something or make a reservation as a result of clicking on the advertising banners. There are cashback websites that has created a place for you to click on those banners when you want to shop and will pay you back most of the revenue that is generated.
The best cashback websites that I use are topcashback.co.uk (especially for UK residents) and topcashback.com (especially for residents of USA and Canada). Although Topcashback are generally geared towards UK, US and Canadian residents, you can request payment by Paypal which is available to anyone living anywhere in the world. The hotel and flight booking retailers are also international, such as Expedia, booking.com, Opodo, Hilton, IHG, as well as specific airlines such as British airways, Etihad, Lufthansa etc. Do keep in mind that some of these retailers are targeted to specific countries so you may have to pay in £, $ or the currency of the hotel.
If you are a resident of those countries, you can get even more cashback for day-to-day services or shopping including broadband (eg ~£100 for Virgin Media), mobile phones, utilities, insurances including travel insurance, train tickets (eg East Midlands Trains), and coach/bus tickets (eg National Express). Check out the hundreds of retailers that are available and see if the retailer that you were going to buy from is listed. The cashback sites give back the commission that they usually earn from the retailers so there are no extra costs to you. Using cashback sites also does not affect other loyalty schemes such as frequent flyer programs- you are literally a normal customer, you just have to click through from the topcashback site before you make your reservation.
Please sign up using my links and I will get a few £/$ once you have earned about £10/$10 in cashback.
In the 2 years that I lived in the UK (2009-2011), I received about £1000 from topcashback.co.uk, mostly through day-to-day service providers and retailers like broadband, power and gas companies and travel. Since moving back to NZ, I have continued to receive cashback for my travel bookings. I usually make my hotel reservations with Expedia (12% cashback on topcashback.co.uk), Venere [merged with Hotels.com since 1 December 2016; still 12% cashback on topcashback.co.uk], and Booking.com (5% cashback on topcashback.com). I also use expedia.com through topcashback.com for car hire and flights only after checking that they are the cheapest with the respective car rental or airline’s website. If it’s not the cheapest on Expedia.com, you can even get a best price guarantee (see Best price guarantee section).
The fine print
The cashback can take up to 3 months to credit into your account so don’t rely on the cashback to pay your credit card bills! See it as a nice little bonus to go towards your next holiday. Sometimes the transactions may not track properly but Topcashback has good customer service so just keep track of all your transactions (usually you will receive an email from the retailers with your purchase) and raise a missing cashback claim from the topcashback website.
Other cashback opportunities
Another cashback website worth mentioning is Quidco. They offer cashback if you register your payment cards for shopping at highstreet retailers in the UK. In addition, they sometime offer a higher cashback rate than topcashback. Since topcashback offers a best cashback rate guaranteed, you can even use Quidco to improve your cashback rate even if you only use topcashback!
On a more local scale, some banks and airline frequent flyer programs also offer “points” or “rewards” for shopping through links on their website.
- Air New Zealand Airpoints Mall [NZ and international]
- Qantas points shopping [AU], as well as rental cars, hotels and Airbnb [international]
- Halifax bank cashback extra [UK]
Do you know any other cashback sites or handy travel tips? What’s your favourite retailer that is offering a cashback? Please comment below.