Using UK Cashback Sites: Do They Offer a Good Deal?

Summary

You can save some extra money on purchases using UK cashback sites. In my example below, I could receive a cashback of 12% on an Expedia hotel booking by using TopCashBack. This would be a saving £18.48 on the best rate of £154 per night, found on the HotelsCombined price comparison site.  To me, this appears to be the type of  scenario in which to use a cashback site, as I’m making the purchase at the lowest available price, then having the chance of saving even more.  I wouldn’t be too blinded by a high cashback offer, you need to check that the initial price you pay, excluding cashback, is a good deal, viewing the cashback as a nice extra.

UK cashback

How Cashback Sites Work

I’ve been doing some research into UK cashback sites.  As ever, there’s no simple, easy way to get the best deal. You make your purchase by clicking on a link in the cashback site, which takes you through to the supplier’s website. You make the booking on the supplier’s site and receive your cashback from the cashback site at a later date.  The cashback comes from the commission paid by the supplier to the cashback site. It’s crucial to be aware of this, your cashback isn’t 100% guaranteed the way a price quoted on a supplier’s website is. Therefore I’d only make a booking through a cashback site if the price I pay to the supplier is already very competitive. I’d view the cashback as an additional bonus, versus the main reason to make that purchase. There have been some issues with people not receiving their cashback, for example due to tracking issues. There could also potentially be problems if a cashback site or one of their partners stopped trading.  It’s probably best to withdraw any cashback received as soon as possible, although you need to check out for minimum payment thresholds.

How I’d Use a Cashback Site

Let me give an example where I researched the best deal on a hotel, carried out on 19 July 2011. Say I wanted to find the lowest price for the Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel in London for 2 nights, Friday 16 September to Sunday 18 September 2011. I started off on the HotelsCombined price comparison site, which searches through the databases of more than 30 leading hotel sites. The best price on HotelsCombined was £154 a night for room only with Hotels.com and Expedia. However I noticed that for £158 a night, £4 a night more, I could get breakfast included with Otels.com. I checked the best price on the hotels own site and it was £219 a night, excluding breakfast.

UK cashback

Room at Pestana Bridge Hotel

My next move was to check out the best cashback deals on Hotels.com, Expedia and Otels.com on two cashback sites TopCashBack and PouringPounds. TopCashBack was offering 12% back on Expedia hotel bookings, offer ending that day, bringing the cost (after receipt of the cashback) per night for room only down to £135.  The best cashback I found for Otels.com was 6%, on TopCashBack bringing the cost (after receipt of the cashback) per night for bed and breakfast down to £149.52.

Then I’d have to decide which to book, especially with the 12% cashback on Expedia with TopCashBack ending that day.  It would have been hard for me to decide whether I’d  book with Expedia or Otel.com. Since I  view the cash back as an additional bonus, I’d probably go for the B&B with Otels.com as, excluding cashback, I’d only be paying £4 a night on top of the Expedia room rate for breakfast for two people.  However I’d be tempted with the room only rate on Expedia, as including cashback,  I’d pay £14 less a night than the best price found on HotelsCombined.

Conclusion

I’d recommend that you use cashback sites with caution.  Be prepared to take some time to do your research thoroughly using price comparison tools to find the lowest prices and then seeing what cashback is available on these prices with at least two cashback sites e.g. TopCashBack, Quidco or PouringPounds.  I’d look on any cashback as an added bonus, versus a dead cert, so only book what was a good deal before factoring in cashback.

More Money Saving Travel Tips

You can discover more ways of saving money on your travels in my “Money Saving Travel Tips“.

Warning and Disclosure

This post is based on my personal research and evaluation, carried out on 19 July 2011.  You should read the terms and conditions before joining and making a purchase through a UK cashback site.  I’ll receive a commission if you click through to HotelsCombined and/or sign up to and use TopCashBack, Pouring Pounds or Quidco UK cashback sites through the links in this blog post.