/ Money, Travel & Leisure

Would you use cashback sites for a cheaper holiday?

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Our research found you can earn up to £318 in cashback just by booking a holiday. I’ve never really bothered with cashback websites before but I’m definitely tempted to book my holidays through them now. Are you?

We found that with a combination of cashback options a two-week holiday to Florida was £318 cheaper – 11% of the total holiday cost. And closer to home, a week’s break in the Lake District earnt £158 in cashback – 14% of the holiday cost.

I’d never seen the two major cashback sites – Quidco and TopCashback – before doing this research for Which?, but I was amazed at the number of cashback deals on holiday products. Several Which? Recommended Provider holiday companies and airlines have regular deals, as do holiday cottage companies, car hire providers, airport car parks and currency exchange providers.

So just by booking my holiday and all the extras online – as I normally would – but via cashback websites, using a cashback credit card, I could earn myself some much-needed extra spending money for my next holiday.

Holiday cashback table

A bargain break

Some people might be wary of using cashback sites, but we heard mainly positive stories from the 1,292 Which? members we asked about cashback sites.

My Which? Travel colleague Kate uses her TopCashback account almost exclusively for booking holidays and holiday extras – and always uses it to book airport parking. She has earned over £80 in around nine months. She told me:

‘I don’t let cashback dictate my booking habits, but once I know what I want to buy I’ll always check to see if there’s a cashback deal on it. I’ve found that there are often cashback deals of around 10% with Expedia – on my favourite hotels – which makes it well worthwhile.’

What to watch out for

There are some things to watch out for with cashback websites. This is an unregulated industry, so it’s always best to withdraw your cash regularly, and it can sometimes take months to get your cashback paid. We’ve also heard stories of transactions failing to track properly and the money never being paid.

But surely if you only use cashback sites to buy a holiday item you were going to buy anyway, the cashback is just an added bonus when it does come through?

Personally I don’t think I will bother to go through cashback sites for smaller online purchases, but when it comes to a big ticket item like a holiday and the associated extras, the potential benefits seem to far outweigh the hassle of registering and tracking your cashback claims. What about you?

Do you use cashback websites to book your holidays?

No (81%, 708 Votes)

Yes (11%, 92 Votes)

I will now I've read Which? Travel's research (8%, 74 Votes)

Total Voters: 874

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“Personally I don’t think I will bother to go through cashback sites for smaller online purchases, ” But the sooner you realise that every purchase you make regardless of whether it is big or small will have some element of paying other peoples cashback, then there should be no reason to not join in. I don’t book holidays ( haven’t had a paid for holiday in over 20 years ) Just not being at work was a holiday for me, but if I did book holidays then sure why not get cashback as its already been factored into the price you pay.

But cashback for car insurance, is think is a must, as you have to have it, so you might as well it cashback.

Have been using Quidco for a few years.
Its no real effort once you have decided where you are purchasing from to just go to the site via Quidco and possibly get a few % extra off.
As the article says dont rely on it, although the savings on insurance , mobile phone contracts can be very large.
Its no different a concept than cashback or points on some creditcards.

It seems crazy that the consumer is often charged a supplement for paying by credit card because it costs a company money to offer this form of payment, yet customers can get cashback payments.

Even though its the same company, you’ll find its different budgets and the different areas aren’t considered connected. You try negotiating car insurance and once they’ve matched /bettered a price then say and I’d then get £75 cashback on that will you beat that, they then refuse to budge.

In the words of a famous film It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.

Indeed. I have always found it strange that those who pay for electricity and gas in advance are charged more than those who pay later.

Christina says:
25 April 2014

I have been using Quidco for a couple of years and have earned a whopping £1500 in cashback. I’m an astute buyer, shop around for the best prices and then pop back to quidco for the cashback. Or wait a few weeks til the company I want to buy from are paying decent cashback. I have my account set up to automatically pay me as soon as I have more than a certain amount in my account and there are some companies that give cashback just for searching. Better in my pocket and than anywhere else.

frequent traveller says:
25 April 2014

1. I never book package holidays
2. I research the cheapest options for accommodation and book flights with the airline that flies where I happen to want to go on that particular occasion and from the nearest airport I can fly from: so no options there.)
3. I cant get travel insurance.
No insurance company will insure me to travel for say 10 or 11 weeks as I am over 35 (apparently the maximum age that is considered acceptable for travel for more than 30, 45 or 60 days depending on insurance company ). Worse still I am over 65. Horrors!
Clearly insurers think I should stay ay home!
Doesnt matter if I am going to a peaceful European country to walk the paths and sit on the balcony or the beach. Much too risky!
I could get insurance for a fortnight of course. but not if I want to ski….and a ski holiday is my only likely 2 week trip.
4. I often stay in private self catering apartments booking with the owner.

No benefit to me from cash back at all.

One final comment: The concept is distastefully sleazy!
If the cash back company can make money as a middle man without adding any value at all to the transaction, then the actual service providers are charging far too much and should be investigated!.

You can get cashback on flights and hotels.

Brian Turley says:
26 April 2014

I go for insurance I am 80 but I still love my holidays but now they are a bit dear I checked up on one and got told £80 for seven nights I have cancer but I am clear of it when I told the insurance about cancer they put I up *80 so I asked my doctor they it was stupid so I looked somewear else

I use Quidco for just about everything (in fact Which sent out a photographer to feature me in an upcoming article about cashback). You possibly could get better deals if you have time to research but if you are not a confident holiday booker then packages (particularly all inclusive) are easily booked through cashback sites but you can get better deals on just flights and travel insurance too. I even booked a UK holiday through Quidco and they offer deals at Travel Lodge and Premier Inn if you need to stay somewhere near an airport for an early morning flight. I have a medical condition that means travel insurance is quite pricey, but a company on there gave me a reasonable annual price and 12% on top. Before I had a motability car I even managed to get a fully comp car insurance quote for £102 with a company that then offered £60 cashback on top on Quidco (I used a comparison site first – and got £1 fcashback or that!. Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it – look after the pennies….. My current cashback is £1252.25 with more to come. I have only had to chase up one company for cashback (Monarch) but they have now paid up.

cathymerchant says:
26 April 2014

Having been using Topcashback for quite a while now. If you are buying something on the internet and the company is on their website you would be mad not to. I always check the price elsewhere first. Expedia are very good as their prices are competitive anyway and you can get up to 12% back on a hotel. This can make a big saving. They also pay out reasonably quickly. (Some companies can take up to 6 months).

Jo says:
3 May 2014

Have been using TOP CASHBACK for a couple of years now. Not just for holidays but for everything I buy,small or large.I research what I want at the cheapest price and then go onto TOP CASHBACK to see if the company are offering cashback, which invariably they are.So far I have earned over £1400 and that is buying things I would buy any way. I make a point of withdrawing my cashback each time it reaches at least £10.