One of the goals of this site is to help travelers both new and experienced save money, time and effort when booking travel. BeFrugal, therefore, is a natural fit here.
I hadn’t heard of BeFrugal until last week, but it’s been around, generating free cash for its users, for a few years. For those of you new to it like me, the deal is this: BeFrugal is one of the world’s leading cash back websites. It has partnerships with more than 5,000 online retailers, including more than 200 in the travel space, and its objective is to save you money at all of them—mostly in the form of cash back. That means just what it sounds like: You make a purchase, you get cash back. And unlike with other, similar sites, the cash you generate can be paid out in the form of a check, PayPal deposit or Amazon gift card.
Say for example you want to book a vacation package in Mexico for your family, and you like Expedia. Instead of going to Expedia.com directly to book something, by simply clicking through the appropriate BeFrugal portal (while logged in), and then booking as usual through Expedia from there, you’ll receive a percentage of your purchase as cash back in your BeFrugal account. At the time of this writing, there’s an Expedia deal labeled “All-Inclusive Packages From $999,” through which I found a package with flights and seven days at a hotel in Puerto Plata for $885 per person (40% off). By booking this package, you’d save via the Expedia deal, and then after going on the trip receive 4% cash back. If you booked the package for four people ($3,540 at $885 per person), you’d see $141.60 deposited in your account. And simply because you went through BeFrugal.
The site is free to use, but it does require that you create an account and be logged in to make your money. That, of course, is free to do. Once you’re logged in, you can scour the site for travel cash back and coupons on this page. You need only to book and buy the things you’d normally book and buy—clicking your selected coupon/cash back option on BeFrugal—to take advantage of the savings. It’s cash back where there would otherwise be none.
It’s worth noting that it takes the partnering retailers (usually) 24-48 hours to process the cash back promised, and travel retailers up to 60 days after the “reservation has been completed.” See more on how it all works, and ask questions over chat if you like, on this page. And see below for some ideas on how to use BeFrugal the way the pros do:
For booking hotels
Need a place to stay on an upcoming trip? Start your search the way you usually do to get a sense of prices and availability, and then log into BeFrugal (Incognito mode is always good for travel searches). If you like to scan for value/filter options using an OTA, you can select one of the Expedia options (up to 12% cash back at the time of this writing, plus coupons) and get to it. If you like to stay loyal to Marriott (up to 5% cash back, plus coupons), for example, or Hilton Garden Inn (up to 7% cash back, plus coupons), click one of those links and do the same. You can even earn cash back ($20, straight up) for booking a local’s home or apartment with HomeAway—and on and on.
For booking flights
The same goes for flights. Once you’ve got a sense of what’s out there and you’re logged into BeFrugal, you can hone in on flights and book. If you go through, say, CheapOAir through its BeFrugal portal, you’ll see up to $25 deposited into your account in a few weeks, and save up to $50 on the actual booking immediately with a coupon code. You can also book through specific airlines—like Lufthansa (up to 1.8% cash back).
For booking rental cars
Once again, if you’re going to book a rental car, you may as well look through BeFrugal’s most recent list of savings before doing so. National Car Rental bookings made through BeFrugal can currently be made with 5% cash back plus coupons, while Priceline (always a car rental favorite) is offering up to 10% cash back.
For booking travel insurance
As you know, I recommend getting travel insurance when you travel, especially on bigger trips. Well, if you book a plan with Allianz Travel Insurance (who I use) via BeFrugal, you can use a coupon that gets kids under 18 free coverage with your plan. Book a Medjet Assist plan instead and you’ll secure 15% cash back in your digital pocket (to be cashed out later).
With more than 200 big- and small-time travel retailers, BeFrugal offers plenty of ways to save or earn on travel bookings. Buy a city pass with Go City Card (6% cash back), a leg of a trip to China through Ctrip (5%), a European rail pass from Rail Europe (3%), etc.—and make money. Why turn down free money?
Bonus: The Fly or Drive Calculator
As one last BeFrugal shout-out, I suggest checking out the Fly or Drive Calculator, into which you can input your hypothetical driving and flight logistics for a trip that feels both drivable and fly-able. It feels like a lot of information is being asked of you when you fill it out, but very quickly, you arrive at a helpful, side-by-side breakdown. It’s pretty cool.
Have you used BeFrugal? What do you think of it? Let me know in the comments!
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.