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Planning a vacation? Get up to 5% cash back from Airbnb, Southwest, Uber and more

This is the perfect time to use the Slide app, which can also save you money on things like cruises and hotels.

Taking a trip? See if the Slide app can shave 5% off the cost of your Airbnb, flight or hotel.
Dino Reichmuth, Unsplash

Travel is back, at least in the US. I'm sure I'm not alone in my eagerness to actually go somewhere, which is much easier now that COVID-19 vaccinations are readily available and we can finally do and see things out and about.

Of course, travel is still expensive, so it makes sense to look for ways to save where you can. Suppose, for example, you're getting ready to book an Airbnb stay. The fees alone are maddening enough to make you want to stay home, but what if I told you you could save 5% on your reservation?

That's possible thanks to Slide, a cash-back app that's worth a look before you book a cruise, hotel, train trip or the like. (It also offers cash back from over 150 stores, but for our purposes today we'll focus on travel.)

This is a little different than services like Rakuten and TopCashback -- easier in some respects, a bit more complex in others.

Your first step is to connect a payment method (Apple Pay, PayPal, credit card or debit card) to the Slide app. Now head to Airbnb, Amtrak, Carnival, Southwest Airlines, Uber or one of the other handful of travel-related sites supported by Slide. Plan your reservation, but don't complete the checkout process -- yet.

Instead, you're going to first use Slide to purchase a digital gift card in the amount you need. Then you pay for the reservation using that card. Doing that earns you 4% cash back. However, if you add funds prior to that process, Slide immediately gives you 1% back, effectively bumping your total savings to 5%.

This works in amounts of up to $500; if your travel costs more than that, you can look into purchasing multiple gift cards -- assuming the site allows you use more than one per reservation.

I realize this might seem a little confusing at first. And it's worth noting that some credit cards give you extra points or cash back on certain travel purchases. (Read CNET's roundup of the best credit cards for travel to learn more.) Depending on what you're already getting, Slide's limits and hoop-jumping might not be worth it.

But if there's travel in your future and you want the option of saving an extra 5% here and there, this is worth a look.

Your thoughts?

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