Welcome to a regular feature on the Renés Points blog. This blog series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this featured topic.
This seemed like the perfect time for this rookie post. While there is no question earning and burning all kinds of points will GREATLY reduce all facets of your travel costs, cash back is not bad either.
One of the ways to stack your cash back is always starting at a shopping portal. One of best ones I almost always turn to is TopCashBack (TCB). Before I book a GrounLink car service I start at TCB to get 1% cash (6% for your 1st booking but start HERE for $10 new user bonus). I also buy a lot of gift cards from GiftCards.com and I always start at TCB to get 1% to lower the cost of buying the cards.
Last year as well as this year I have used JustFly to book my AeroMexico mileage run tickets to get $16 back per ticket to lower the cost of each run but I have used other OTAs as well like Expedia when I am in need of Expedia reward points vs. cash (I still get $2.50 per ticket from TCB but then also earn Expedia points). But when it comes time to cash out I don’t want cash! Er what?
Notice the above example. I had collected almost $600 in rewards and was ready for a payout. Rather than have TCB simply ACH pay my checking account I chose a prepaid Visa Debit card. Most of the time this results in a 5% bonus (but certain times of the year it is even HIGHER – a reason not to be quick to cash out your reward dollars).
This added almost $30 to my reward payout above. That sounds almost too good to be true? Well, there is a tiny catch. You MUST burn this Visa card payout in 6 months or the money goes POOF!
You have two choices when it comes to the Visa card payout. One of them is a virtual card for no extra cost and the other, a real physical card, includes a $5.00 fee.
I have over the past year or two requested and burned both virtual cards and physical cards.
With the 6 month time clock what are ways to quickly burn this virtual debit card? Clearly you can just pay any bill you have that takes debit cards for no fee online – even overpay say your gas or electric bill. Or, in my case, I have purchased refundable credits for an NCL cruise and the last day of the cruise they pay me CASH for anything I have remaining in the onboard account.
The other way I have also utilized, if you still want a higher reward than just an ACH transfer, is get a real Visa debit gift card in the mail. It comes with a PIN (you can set your own as well). You can use this at stores that sell money orders when you use a debit card or if you prefer use it to bill pay (all the normal places work just fine with this TCB card).
Bottom line is stacking every single penny and point does add up. If you are simply going to whatever web site directly you are missing out on rewards. And when it comes time to cash out those rewards, take a little extra time and effort to max out those rewards as well! – René