Why Use Cashback Sites
In recent months, as most of you know, I have really gotten into clicking through Cash Back sites to get an added rebate on my online purchases.
I always knew Cash Back sites existed but it wasn’t until I realized that many of the major Hotels Chains and Online Travel Agencies (Orbitz, Expedia) offered Cash Back on travel purchases, that I really started to see the potential in Cash Back sites.
A prime example is the Club Carlson Stay 1 Night, Get 1 Night Free promotion. On top of everything else I earned from this promotion (free night, points, elite stay credit, best rate guarantee, credit card points), by taking 2 extra seconds to click thru a Cash Back site, I was able to score an additional 8% off the room price. This is fairly significant since after the Best Rate Guarantee the room rate dropped to only $72 and I paid with my Chase INK Bold which gets me 2x on Hotels, so 2% + 8% Cash Back is an additional 11% off.
The thing that I love about Cash Back sites is that you can stack them on top of existing offers and still earn Hotel Points and Elite Stay Credit. Unlike booking on Orbitz or Expedia, with Cash Back sites, they send you to book directly at the Hotel’s website.
Also with Cash Back sites, you can use whatever Credit Card you want and still get the Cash Back bonus. So if you have a Hyatt stay coming up, you can click thru a Cash Back site to Hyatt.com, earn 3% Cash Back on your purchase, but still be able to book at Hyatt.com and use your Hyatt Credit Card to earn even more Points!
In short, if you have a purchase you were already planning on making, Cash Back sites are basically free money waiting for you to take.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to interview Jon Lal, who is the founder and CEO of cashback site BeFrugal.com. The reason I wanted to interview him is because there are a lot of similarities between Travel Hacking and Couponing, and I was curious to see if there were any new tricks I could learn from Jon to maximize my Cash Back haul.
Interview With Jon Lal – CEO of BeFrugal.com
Parag: Jon, thanks for taking the time to speak with me. As you know Frequent Flyer University’s goal is to help people travel for free, and in recent months Cash Back sites have really started to play a significant role in achieving this goal. So for my Readers who don’t know about BeFrugal.com, what exactly is it and what made you decide to start it?
Jon: BeFrugal.com is a free website aimed at helping people save money. I launched the site in 2009, and began by offering online coupons. Since then, we have added many new features such as printable coupons, restaurant coupons, weekly ads, and Cash Back. We now offer an average of 7% Cash Back on more than 3,000 stores such as Travelocity, Marriott, Avis, Expedia and more travel merchants. At BeFrugal.com we not only help people save money on their everyday transactions, but also offer online calculators to help people with larger purchases like travel. Our free Fly or Drive Calculator to help decide on the best transportation method for trips based on travel time and trip costs.
Parag: For Travel Hacking, because of the Economy, there has been a large uptick in people wanting to learn how to travel for free. Have you seen a similar rise in interest for couponing or is the rise mostly attributed to shows like Extreme Couponing?
Jon: Every dollar matters and that is even more true in today’s economy. People are interested saving money – and we help them use coupons and earn cash back to get the best deal – and without having to resort to extreme measures. While the extreme couponing TV shows are popular entertainment, a person can save a lot of money using BeFrugal.com without being an extreme couponer.
Parag: I talked a little about how I save money using Cash Back sites when I make travel purchases, but is there anything I am missing or doing wrong?
Jon: First, always book online. Some travel providers charge a fee if you do not make your reservation online. Using an online coupon code during the booking process and earning cash back both make a big difference. The average BeFrugal coupon saves $27 per order, and members also earn an average of 7% in cash back. Finally, using a rewards credit card for payment and taking advantage of free travel memberships to accumulate perks over time, both add up to more savings.
Parag: In addition to BeFrugal.com, I also use some other Cash Back sites for my online purchases. My experience with the other sites are very mixed because many times my Cash Back won’t post, or the site will deny my claim. Ultimately there are some Cash Back sites I refuse to use because they are not worth my while. How is BeFrugal different from other Cash Back sites?
Jon: BeFrugal.com offer cash back on more than 3,000 popular stores, and we have Guaranteed Best Cash Rates, and guarantee that our coupons work. We offer excellent customer service via Live Chat (for instant response during our business hours) and also email assistance. We stand behind our members and the offers on our site.
Parag: What is next for BeFrugal?
Jon: We are proud to introduce a new free tool to help save more money. The BeFrugal.com Add-On with Couponomatic provides cash back and coupons right in out browser – no more hunting for coupon codes or searching for cash back. Our new & exclusive Couponomatic feature automatically provides coupon codes at checkout. Plus, the Add-On offers automatic coupon alerts, Cash Back at 3000+ stores and easy access to grocery coupons, restaurant coupons, weekly ads & more right from the web browser. It’s 100% safe and works with Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome.
If you don’t use Cash Back sites currently, I strongly suggest you start because you are basically leaving free money on the table.
I know for myself, outside of groceries, I rarely buy anything in stores anymore because I can buy it online, not pay sales tax, and it is normally cheaper. Even my bed W Bed that I just bought, the thought of going into a store to purchase it didn’t even cross my mind. Because I bought the bed online, I used a 35% online coupon, got free shipping, and didn’t even have to pay sales tax! All in all, I got the bed for close to 50% off what I would have paid had I bought the bed from a Mattress Store.
Almost every online store these days offer some sort of Cash Back, and it literally takes 2 additional seconds to click thru a Cash Back site. For example my friend is also moving and also needs a new mattress. They are going to buy it at Macy’s. The great thing about Macy’s is that they have physical stores (aka showrooms), so you can go into Macy’s and try out the mattress, and then just come home and purchase the item using a Cash Back site. With BeFrugal, they could get 3% Cash Back, a 20% off Macy’s coupon, and free shipping. Although 3% doesn’t sound like a ton, when you factor in the 20% coupon and free shipping, it certainly makes a huge impact on the final purchase price.
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