A TRAVEL-MAD money-saver has flown all over the world by banking £3,800 in cashback, discounts and free flights.
Lachlan Forbes-Sutherland, 34, has been to Paris, Riga, and Benidorm in the past year all from "playing the cashback and rewards game".
The mortgage broker from Derbyshire uses a combination of cashback websites, rewards, and discounts to fund his jet set lifestyle.
He said: "It makes me feel great to know that when I book a holiday with cashback, the companies I’m using are, in part, funding my travel.
“The best thing is knowing I’m getting free money or money off.
"It’s addictive finding these amazing deals and even better knowing I’ve got a bargain."
On average, Lachlan takes around five or six holidays a year thanks to his money-saving techniques.
His favourite cashback website is TopCashback, which he joined in 2011.
Since then, he has made £3,783.
Lachlan and his husband Dale, 40, have an annual joint household income of £90,000 and they've always loved luxury travel.
But they also love to bag a bargain.
Lachlan's top trips
HERE'S how much Lachlan saved by booking holidays through cashback websites:
Total cost: £428
He paid: £168 for flights and used cashback for the hotel
Total cost: £598
He paid: £300 using Avios points and a discount on his hotel
Total cost: £511
He paid: £216 as he used cashback to buy reward points for his hotel
He paid: £1,420 as he used Avios towards flights, and Amazon vouchers for his hotel
Total cost: £3,320
He paid: £1,159 using cashback and discounts to book his hotels
He said: “I’ve always got my eye on good deals and I love the thrill of making them better – or picking luxury holidays that I can get money off – so it feels like I’m getting a good deal on them."
Last May, Lachlan went to Paris with his acting agent husband after bagging free flights and scoring money off their hotel.
He converted his cashback from Topcashback into Avios points and used these to book flights with British Airways, which would have otherwise cost the couple £148.
You can get usually one Avios point per 1p of cashback, but there are sometimes offers to collect more points.
Once you’ve chosen to do this, the cashback will appear in your Avios account and you can start to redeem the points.
How to get cashback every time you shop
NOT using a cashback site or app means you are missing out every time you shop. Here are full-time bargain hunter Collette Jones' best tips.
- Check out welcome offers: Cashback sites have amazing freebies for new customers, such as a takeaway from Just Eat or a Benefit beauty product
- Look for cashback on everything: You can claim on things such as MOTs, insurance, train tickets and holidays
- Save money at the supermarket: It’s a good idea to download apps Shopmium, Check-outSmart, Quidco ClickSnap, GreenJinn and TopCashback’s Snap and Save. Check out what is available, pick it up in-store and upload a photo of the receipt to get your cashback
- Combine cashback offers with promotions: Double savings and maximise cashback by matching third-party offers from cashback sites with in-store and online promotions. You can’t always use discount codes with cashback, but you can take advantage of sales and offers such as free gifts
- Download cashback notifiers: The website Honey has a great notifier. It sits in your browser, pops up when you click on a website that offers cashback and searches voucher codes
As well as free flights, Lachlan used a 30 per cent discount for their hotel, the Radisson Blu, and he also got £60 cashback on the booking, bringing the total cost of the hotel to £300, down from £450.
You can choose to receive cashback directly into your bank account.
But Lachlan sometimes chooses to earn Amazon vouchers or points for well-known brands instead.
These vouchers are often worth more than receiving money.
Last September Lachlan and Dale went to Benidorm for four nights with some friends.
He used his cashback to buy reward points for the Melia hotel, and then booked cheap flights saving him just under £300 in total.
Earlier this year, Lachlan went to Riga using Amazon vouchers, which he’d converted from cashback, to pay for the hotel.
He also bought a voucher for £99 from Buyagift when there was a sale on through Amazon which he used to pay for two night’s accommodation at a four-star hotel with breakfast included, which would have usually cost £260.
How to bag a holiday bargain
LACHLAN reveals how he managed to score great holidays for less:
1. Pick the hotel first, then search for cashback
- When choosing a holiday, make a short list of hotels or resorts and then find the booking site offering the highest discount.
There can be quite a different in the discount so take the time to check everywhere offering a price cut including cashback websites, travel firms, discount codes, sales, and newsletters.
- 2. Big hotel chains can offer great discounts
- Don’t ignore the big chain hotels such as the Hilton or Radisson, thinking they’re too expensive, as many will offer cashback of the price of a booking if you go to them directly.
They can also throw in discounts off your next stay including: free room upgrades, breakfasts, drinks, or money-off the overall stay.
- 3. Clear your website cookies for bigger discounts
- When searching for your next trip, website cookies will keep track of what you’re looking for and this can mean you miss out on discounts.
He said: “I’m always buying Amazon vouchers, either from Amazon or another retailer, when they’re discounted or when I see a special rate.
“I did this with Tesco a while back when it had an offer of £10 back in Amazon vouchers when buying gift card of £50 to use for the shop.”
Lachlan now has trips booked to Thailand and New York.
For the New York trip, he converted £259 of cashback into Amazon vouchers and used this to book a four-star hotel.
The full price of the hotel for six nights would have been £1,383 but by paying for it with the Amazon vouchers, he managed to save just over £1,000 on the trip – including using Avios points for the flights.
For Thailand, where he’s going this month, he booked his hotel through Expedia, via Topcashback, and earned £161 in cashback.
If he’d booked with Lastminute.com, Lachlan says the cashback would have only been £68 so it’s well worth checking a few different websites before you book.
Another way you can make some extra cash is by switching bank accounts. Natwest is offering £175 of free money if you switch to its current account.
Meanwhile, a schoolboy turned £150 into £61,000 by studying trading tips on Youtube.
And Martin Lewis has revealed how you could get paid to take out home insurance.
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