/ Money

Are you waiting for Booking.com cashback?

Have you been left waiting for a cashback offer from Booking.com? It looks like I wasn’t alone…

Booking.com regularly offers its customers a cashback reward if they book a hotel by a deadline, and their stay is completed without cancelling. 

But there seem to have been delays in awarding the cashback promised, and some customers are still waiting several months since their stay. Are you one of them?

Cashback concerns

Back in February, I received an email from Booking.com promising me 10% cashback if I booked a hotel through its site and completed my stay.

It’s rare that I get excited by marketing emails, but I happened to be planning a spring break to Devon.

Since I’d get cashback through the offer, I decided to book a couple of nights at a countryside spa hotel. 

A few weeks after my stay, Booking.com emailed asking me to add my credit card details to my account in order to qualify for the cashback.

I wasn’t too impressed with another post-holiday hoop to jump through, but I did as it asked. However, I didn’t receive a confirmation or any acknowledgement of the update.

Three months later, I still hadn’t received my payment. I’d since been made aware of other customers reporting similar cashback issues to the Guardian.

Conflicting messages?

There seem to be conflicting messages in the emails I received, the rewards zone on Booking.com and what its customer service is saying to others who also haven’t received their cashback. 

The member rewards zone says the cashback will be paid in 14 days, while the email I received says 30-60 days.

Customer services then told me it can take up to 90 business days to process. I asked Booking.com about this – here’s what it told me:

“A 30-60 days time frame is the redemption period that Booking.com communicate in its Rewards FAQ. This is the time it takes for Booking to verify that a person actually stayed at a property.

Once the stay has been verified, the reward is paid. It can take up to 14 days for this to be processed by a third party payment provider and added to the credit card of the individual.

As part of our commitment to customer experience, we are continuously looking at how we can make it even easier for our customers to book their ideal trips and take advantage of various promotional offers.

As always, if our customers ever have any questions, our support team is available 24/7”

After following up to discuss my cashback issues with Booking.com for the purpose of this article, I received my payment quickly. But not everyone will be writing about their experience for Which?!

Have you had any similar issues? Let me know if you have – if possible, I’ll see if I can help.


Although I use price comparison sites such as Booking.com and Trivago for price discovery, I usually book directly on hotel chains’ own web sites, not least as this maximises the loyalty points that I receive. I have gold status with Hilton, Marriott, Radisson, Meliá and Shangri-La, as well as platinum with IHG, discoverist with Hyatt and silver with Accor. Often if you book via a third party site, you don’t get your loyalty points from the hotel chain and in some cases lose out on the benefits of status, which can include free breakfast and upgrades. I book via the likes of Booking.com only for independent hotels where the prices on comparison web sites are often lower than on the hotels’ own web sites, but I’ve never been promised cashback.

smilla says:
2 September 2019

Like NFH, I’ve also decided to research hotels and prices via Booking.com and then book directly or via a different site. Which? highlighted some of the false claims and tricks these sites use in a recent article (Why hotel booking sites can’t be trusted – Which_ News).

My recent experience: Booking.com advertise price matching. Having made a booking on their site I discovered a lower price on Trivago. I applied for a refund of the difference, following the instructions. The screenshot I emailed was for the same hotel and dates. Booking.com replied it couldn’t see any difference in rates and asked for evidence. I forwarded my original email with the screenshot, but was turned down again, the explanation being this time that the room wasn’t available on the hotel site. I replied that obviously it had sold out in the meantime. Annoyed by this experience and their infantile games I asked them to remove the price matching claim from their website as it was clearly misleading. I also wrote I’d never book through them again. Shortly after that I had an unanswered phone call from a US phone number which I subsequently traced to Booking.com. I suspect it was a reaction to my angry email.

Booking.com used to be a useful site but it has become ever more dodgy posting untrue claims. Another one is that you only pay at the hotel while I usually find on arrival that the payment for non-refundable, ie cheaper bookings has already been taken from my sterling credit card – registered with Booking.com ‘only to guarantee your booking’. There is some small print about the hotels’ right to charge in full immediately, but only AFTER you’ve made the booking. This means I incur foreign exchange fees which can be quite considerable.

Alice says:
7 October 2019

Hi. I am having a similar issue. I had a £55 cash back voucher to use. I got back from my stay and the reward process started. I have since been asked to update my card details as the card used wasnt supported even though I used this on previous rewards no problem. It then said reward being processed. To my surprise I then went back into the app and the not support message had come back.. very confusing. So now I dont know whether to hold out or make a phone call to them.