Just Wanderlust Blog » A discerning, food-loving, & culturally curious road warrior seeks the world's beautiful and bizarre destinations.

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How To Get Cash Back For Traveling (And Shopping)

(Photo from here)

Darn it, I wish I were traveling for work right now.  Instead, I’ve been working from home the last couple of months and while it’s been so cozy to roll out of bed and turn on the laptop, I can’t take advantage of the extra cash I could be earning if I were booking hotels every week!  If you’re a road warrior or even if you have upcoming holiday travel plans, you can take advantage of this post to earn cash back on all your travel plans.

First of all, am I the last person in the world to discover Ebates?  Ebates has been around for a while and I’ve never bothered looking at it so if you’re like me, keep reading.  This site is awesome for anyone who shops online since you earn additional cash back for making online purchases at most major retailers.  The best part is that the cash back is completely independent of any promo codes and additional discounts the retailer offers.  It’s simply cash back you get for clicking the merchant’s link on Ebates to get to the merchant and then placing an order (it is THAT simple).  I signed up a month ago and have already netted almost $40 back just from doing shopping I was already planning on doing!

The coolest part, however, is that some of the major hotels and car rental companies are on Ebates, too (especially the ones I like to use when traveling for work) which means you could get cash back on travel bookings you make through Ebates — regardless of who is paying the bill.  For those of us who often travel for work, this is free money!  And it shouldn’t interfere with your status earning potential since you’re still booking through the merchant’s website directly.  I just did a quick search for some hotels and car rentals and here are some of the current travel-related cash back offers:

  • 1.5% back at Westin, Sheraton, Four Points, W Hotels, Le Meridien, Hertz
  • 2.5% back at Marriott, JW Marriott, Springhill Suites, Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, Best Western
  • 3% back at Avis, Alamo
  • 3.5% back at Radisson, Thrifty

You could also book travel through popular booking websites and get similar cash back deals:

  • 2% back at Hotwire
  • 3.25% back at Hotels.com
  • Up to 5% at Expedia
  • Up to 6.5% at Travelocity
  • Up to 10% at Orbitz

There are even deals for booking vacations through airlines, too.  For instance, Southwest Vacations and American Airlines Vacations are offering 1.5% cash back now.

The cash back percentages change sometimes, too, so it literally pays to pay attention.  Ebates sometimes offers double cash back!  The current highest cash back is at 40% (for magazines.com) so it’s possible to get a lot more.  My philosophy is that any bit helps especially if it’s on purchases I was already going to make!

All the cash back you earn is recorded in your Ebates account.  If your purchase is $100 and you get 3% cash back, that is $3 added to your account.  Ebates then pays you via PayPal or check (depending on your preferences) every quarter.

Anyway, whether or not you use Ebates for traveling, you’re basically throwing money away if you already shop online and don’t get to the merchant’s website by clicking through Ebates first.  I’m currently kicking myself for all the years I’ve missed out on this — all those Sephora, Amazon, and Piperlime purchases… and all my stays at Westins and Sheratons!  I could have had enough for another vacation by now.

If you want to sign up for Ebates, my referral link is here.  Although I’m generally turned off by “referrals”, it’d almost be a sin not to share this simple tip with others so whether or not you use my link, just sign up!  If you do use my link, however, I appreciate it!

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Amanda - November 26, 2013 - 4:11 pm

Hi Diana, I really appreciate your blog. It gives me loads of inspiration every week. I just wanted to let you know that wen I view this post in my feedly feed it shows up with some odd spam like content and links. It could definitely be just my feed, but thought I’d give you a heads up anyway.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

JustWanderlust - November 26, 2013 - 9:09 pm

Thanks, Amanda! I caught it this morning – what a pain! I’m working on fixing the spam…. hopefully I get rid of it soon. Have a great Turkey Day too!

[…] This week’s travel tip is to get cash back for travel reservations that you’re already booking.  If you’re booking a car, hotel, or vacation package through a popular site like Travelocity or a major car rental vendor like Avis or a big name hotel chain like Sheraton why not go through eBates first so that you get a small percentage of your spend back?  I wrote all about my love for eBates back in November (and anyone who signed up for it could have collected a nice payday if you did all your holiday shopping through eBates).  If you are new to eBates and you want to get cash back for things you’re already buying online anyway, read my post: How to Get Cash Back for Traveling (and Shopping). […]

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