Saving Money: Online Rebates Could Help You Afford a Vacation

PHOTO: Want to save money for your summer travel? Some helpful yet little-known tips.
Trinette Reed/Getty Images
Want to save money for your summer travel? Some helpful yet little-known tips.

If you’re saving for a summer vacation, you need to know about a strategy that could help you and your getaway dollars go further: online rebates for travel. Several rebate sites have travel categories, such as eBates.com, ExtraBux.com and FatWallet.com.

Here’s how it works: You go to the rebate site instead of going directly to a travel site. On the rebate site, choose the travel category and you will see all sorts of cash back offers from airline booking sites, hotels, car rental companies and so on.

Here’s a random sampling of the offers being advertised as I write this. Two of my own savings gurus say they have added this rebate strategy to their arsenal with great results through ebates, fatwallet and extrabux.

Site, Vendor and Offer

1. ebates.com

hotels.com: Up to 4 percent cash back.

2. ebates.com

orbitz.com: Up to 6.5 percent cash back.

3. fatwallet.com

travelocity.com: 13 percent off participating hotels.

4. fatwallet.com

Hertz: 15 percent off weekly or weekend rental.

5. extrabux.com

Kipling: 5 percent cash back on luggage.

6. extrabux.com

booking.com: 3 percent cash back.

If you need to buy expensive airline tickets or stay at an upscale hotel, these percentages will add up. If less expensive travel is your style, at least you’ll pick up some extra spending money for your trip. Also search around for special offers above and beyond the norm. For example, earlier this year eBates.com was offering double cash back on travel deals.

I do suggest having a couple of windows open on your computer when you try out these offers. For example, see how much your airfare will cost on fill-in-the-blank booking site and simultaneously check to make sure the online rebate site offers the same price or less. (An old trick is for companies to offer coupons but then jack the base price up on anybody who uses the coupon, so I’m a bit scarred by my long memory.)

True guerrilla shoppers know that one of the best ways to save money is to layer multiple savings strategies on top of each other. Here’s one more layer of intrigue for you to try out. If you do well with this strategy, leave a brag post in the comments section below.

Opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author.

Elisabeth Leamy is a 20-year consumer advocate for programs such as "Good Morning America" and "The Dr. Oz Show." She is the author of Save BIG and The Savvy Consumer. Elisabeth is also a professional speaker, delivering talks nationwide on saving money, media relations, and career success. Elisabeth receives her best story tips from readers, so please connect with her via Facebook, Twitter or her website, to share your ideas.

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