Do you like the idea of getting free hotel stays? How about getting a cash rebate every time you do pay to stay?
If you follow the strategy below, you can triple dip on points and rebates, getting something back in three ways.
Start With Ebates for a Cash Rebate
You may have heard of Ebates, the company that gives you cash back when you buy something through their portal. You can shop at a whole long list of online merchants like Amazon, Target, OfficeDepot.com, and eBay, usually earning 1% to 5% back (sometimes more) on whatever you buy.
The cool thing is, they also have a travel rebates portal.
So you can go book through the company you would normally use anyway, but earn money back on the booking. It works for airline tickets, rental cars, and yes, hotels.
For example, if you normally use Hotels.com, you can go through Ebates first and get 1% to 4% depending on the various options. You can get 4% back through Hotwire. You can get 7% back through Orbitz at the moment.
If you belong to the IHG Hotels program though and want to be sure you get your points (and status upgrade if applicable), then you sign into Ebates first, follow the right brand link, and get 4% back on your booking. On a $300 stay, that’s $12 back in your pocket!
You can do the same thing with Hilton, Marriott, Loews, Wyndham, Choice Hotels, Barcelo, Best Western, Radisson, Sandals, Hyatt, and more. Heck, you can get 5% back from Motel 6 even! If you want to stretch out, you can get a $10 rebate for renting a HomeAway apartment rentals. In some cases they even have discounts on top of the rebate, like with Wyndham right now you get an extra 20% off for booking 2+ nights.
Want one more reason? You get $10 if you sign up, either as a cash credit or a Walmart gift card. That’s 10 bucks you’re ahead before you even book anything. (Then that pop-up that follows you around their site will disappear after you sign in.)
Use a Credit Card That Earns Rewards
You’re getting something back every time you use your credit card, aren’t you? If not, put that at the top of your to-do list. Most of them give you a huge sign-up bonus that’s enough for one or two nights of free lodging, but for this post let’s just talk about what happens on your normal spending. With some cards where you can transfer to different programs, you will earn at least 1 mile/point per dollar spent, but there are usually bonus levels for hotel bookings.
Where you really get a big payoff though is with the hotel cards themselves. The Hilton Amex card, for instance, gives you a whopping 12 points per dollar spent at their properties. The IHG card gives you 10 points per dollar. Some of the others aren’t as generous (3X at Hyatt, only 2X at Starwood), but assume if you pay for your hotel stay with a branded hotel card, you’ll get some kind of bonus payoff. But even if you use an airline card, an Amex card with Membership Rewards, or a Chase Sapphire card, you’re going to earn miles or points you can apply to free travel of some kind later.
Congratulations, you’ve just double-dipped! You earned twice: the rebate from Ebates and the points back from the credit card charge—just for booking a hotel room you would get nothing back from without these steps. On that hypothetical $300 stay at a Holiday Inn Express, you just earned a 4% rebate ($12) plus 3,000 points toward a free room.
Reward #3 – Hotel Loyalty Points
Now, if you’re staying at a chain hotel where you have loyalty status, you may be thinking that going through Ebates is going to mean sacrificing your loyalty points. Good news: you can get those too, so go ahead an triple dip!
If we return to the IHG example, you earned a rebate up front, you earned miles/points through your credit card, then once you complete your stay, you’re going to earn IHG loyalty points as well. That’s another 10 points per dollar for the Holiday Inn Express stay (or a swanky Intercontinental like the one we reviewed in D.C.), or 5 per dollar with Candlewood Suites or Staybridge Suites.
So back to that $300 booking, you earned $12 back from going through Ebates, 3,000 points for using your IHG credit card to pay for it, and another 3,000 points for the stay. Sometimes IHG puts rooms on sale for just 5,000 points through their Points Break program, so this 6,000 total from a single stay is not an insignificant amount.
You can still earn your loyalty points with the other programs mentioned at the beginning of this article as well, like Choice, Hyatt, Marriott, or Wyndham. The stay will still count as one of your 10 at Hotels.com. Just know that a rare few of them will cut down your rebate as a result. Hilton gives you a 4% rebate if you don’t take any loyalty points, 1% if you do. That’s kind of cold, but if you treat the 1% rebate as found money you wouldn’t have gotten if you just went straight to HIlton.com, you’re still coming out ahead on the triple dip plan.
Most of the programs don’t do this though, so you can score three times if you follow this plan: book at Ebates, use a rewards credit card, and book with a hotel chain where you’re earning loyalty points. Triple win!
It doesn’t have to stop there either. If you’re going on vacation, you can earn more rebates by using Ebates to rent a car, book a local tour, go to an amusement park, or get concert tickets. See more info here and get your $10 sign-up bonus.
As with many other companies you see in the banner ads of this travel blog, Ebates is an advertising partner of Hotel Scoop. We would use them even if they weren’t, however, because we like to win at the travel hacking game and squeeze the most out of every hotel booking!