I have just received S$166.16 in cashback for the hotel bookings of my recent trip, no kidding! Here’s how i did it.
Earn cashback through Shopback. Simple as that. Hotel booking websites take an average of 15% in commission from the hotel/accommodation provider for every booking done through their websites. Yes, that’s an awful lot of money! They’re willing to give you back 6% of that commission, so you better grab it! You can get this cashback if you do your hotel bookings through cashback websites, like Shopback.
If you don’t live in Singapore (or Malaysia/Philippines/Indonesia/Taiwan/India where Shopback is also present), there’s Ebates that will give you cashback for hotel bookings as well, although you get much less through Ebates. Anything is still better than nothing right?
Here are 2 tips to save money on your hotel bookings (with the assumption that you are using Shopback):
Tip #1 Do hotel bookings through Agoda. I used to book only through booking.com exclusively, but have since switched to Agoda to earn points on top of the same 6% cashback that both booking.com and Agoda awards.
You may be wondering if booking.com possibly has better pricing than Agoda, and so nullify the benefits obtained through the cashback. Well, i don’t always check, but i’m inclined to think that the prices are more or less the same. Do check carefully if the price quoted is inclusive of tax. One can be easily misled by the before-tax pricing. Agoda, for example, doesn’t show you the tax-included price unless you click to initiate that booking.
Despite how much i like booking.com (their website presentation and customer service is unparalleled), i now use Agoda almost exclusively. The exception is when there are hotels available under booking.com that are not offered on Agoda. Anyway, they are both under the Priceline group now and are complementing rather than competing with each other.
Tip #2 Pay for the Agoda bookings using a credit card that gives rebates for online transactions
Agoda always receives the payment on behalf of the hotel, giving you the option to pay now (at the point of booking) or later. In the case of “later”, the payment will be debited from your credit card 3 – 14 days before your stay. This payment is considered as an internet online transaction (my credit card bill says INTERNET), which can earn you rebates with some credit cards.
I use UOB Visa Signature. You can earn 5% in rebates for up to a maximum of S$2000 spend in a month (minimum of S$1000 spend required). There is a caveat though – the transactions have to be in foreign currency. This is not a problem, as you can select USD or other currencies when doing the booking on Agoda.
There is also another advantage with the Visa Signature – all your foreign currency spend while you’re overseas also earns you rebates, and this would roughly coincide with the dates Agoda starts charging you for the hotel bookings if you choose to pay later. There’s one thing you need to take note of though – the rollover date of your credit card statement period, to ensure that all the foreign currency spend happens within the same statement period to chalk up the minimum spend of S$1000. You can actually call Agoda to make the payment as an when you want. This way, you can be exactly sure that your hotel booking payments are made in the statement month that you want.
The other cards that give rebates for online transactions are OCBC 365 (3% with monthly minimum S$600 spend) and SCB Singpost (7% with monthly minimum S$600 spend), just for your information. Don’t miss out on the rebates you can get from a credit card in addition to the Shopback cashback!