Get money off your phone bill with minimal effort cashback app
The Airtime Rewards cashback app is a very easy way to get money off your mobile bill with O2, EE, Vodafone and others. Just link your bank account to it and it automatically tracks your spending at over 100 retailers and gives you 1% to 15% cashback at them. Better still, you can often use it alongside other cashback sites such as Topcashback and Quidco so in most cases it's a hassle-free no-brainer. Let's run through it...
With phone bills and the general cost of living rising, using apps such as Airtime Rewards can be a great way to make back a little money on your everyday spending.
Two key warnings before we start:
- Don't use this as an excuse to overspend – just a way to earn rewards on normal spending.
- See the cashback as a bonus, not guaranteed, so don't make a purchase decision just due to it. Things can go wrong with tracking technology. See our Top Cashback Sites guide for more on that.
Get money off your phone bill with minimal effort
One of the biggest perks of Airtime Rewards is that once you've set it up and linked your accounts to it, it automatically tracks your spending for you. So you can essentially just forget about it and rack up cashback in the background. Plus, you could even double the amount of cashback you earn by using it alongside other cashback sites – though this isn't guaranteed.
It works on many everyday, popular retailers, so you'll be earning cashback on spends you'd be making anyway, without having to remember to shop via a special link or website. All you need to remember to do is to claim the cashback as credit against your phone bill once you've earned enough. We'll outline below how to set it up, how it works and how to maximise it.
Download the free Airtime Rewards app (available via the App Store and Google Play) and sign up using your mobile number. Airtime Rewards works on the major UK phone networks, including O2, Three, EE, giffgaff and Vodafone. It doesn't work on smaller networks, for example, Sky Mobile, Voxi, Tesco Mobile. For other ways to grab discounts from your network provider, see our Mobile provider loyalty deals blog.
Once you’ve created your account, register at least one Visa or Mastercard – to earn the most cashback, it's best to register all the cards you spend on. This works on any UK Visa or Mastercard account including debit, credit and prepaid, but you can't link an American Express card.
Once you've linked your cards, the app will automatically track any transactions you make at included retailers, so you don't have to shop via a special link or cashback site each time.
Earn up to 15% cashback when you shop at popular retailers
You can earn cashback by shopping at over 100 different retailers, including Argos, Boots, Currys, Greggs, Tesco and more. The amount of cashback you can earn from each retailer varies between 1% and 15%, but when we checked a sample of 50 retailers on Tuesday 12 September, we found the average cashback amount was about 5%.
Airtime Rewards says that the list of retailers and the cashback amount can frequently change. Plus, some retailers will be targeted to different users, which is done at the retailers' discretion – so see the list above as example of what you could get, as it can be different for everyone. For example, when we checked on Tuesday 12 September we saw a limited-time promotion of 10% cashback at BoohooMAN, which as you can see from the table below, is normally 4%.
Some retailers will also pay you a higher amount of cashback if you reach a certain spend threshold. When we looked in March 2022, the base cashback rate for Greggs was 1% but if you spent over £5, you'd get 5% cashback.
You can browse the included retailers on the app, and search for a retailer if you've a specific one in mind. It'll tell you how much the cashback amount is, whether it's valid on in-store or online purchases, how long it will take for the cashback to clear into your account and any T&Cs the retailer has.
Do remember that cashback is never guaranteed, so don't make purchase decisions based on it – see it as a bonus instead.
If you really want to get the most cashback (and let's face it, who doesn't?), you may be able to stack the rewards with other cashback sites/apps to earn two separate amounts of cashback in a single transaction.
So for example, if you shop online via Topcashback* or Quidco* and pay with a card that's linked to Airtime Rewards, in theory you'll get two lots of cashback – one through the cashback site and the other through Airtime Rewards. MSE Laura F has been able to do this in the past with a purchase she made at Urban Outfitters. However, this is at the retailers' discretion, so as ever with cashback, it isn't guaranteed.
Redeem cashback earned for £10, £20 or £30 off your phone bill
Airtime Rewards says that cashback usually takes an average of 30 days to clear into your account, though we've spotted some that take as many as 90 days. You're able to keep track of your pending and available cashback balances within the app.
Once you've racked up enough cashback, you can then redeem it as a credit against your phone bill or a voucher if you're on pay-as-you-go (which must be used within 90 days). You can redeem credit in £10 increments, up to a maximum of £30 – so you can claim back £10, £20 or £30 in one go.
Once you've selected the amount you'd like to redeem, it'll then be deducted from your next phone bill – it'll show up as a statement credit on your bill as below:
Once you've signed up and linked all of your accounts, you can essentially forget about it which is the biggest bonus for us. However, do remember to link any new cards, particularly if you've had a card that's recently expired, as you could be unknowingly missing out on cashback.
Cashback sites set a threshold which you must reach before you can withdraw cash – in this case £10. The best practice is to redeem it as soon as you hit that level, and not let it build up when you can take it out. If the company goes bust or changes its payout policy, your money could be lost. See our cashback safety rules.
How to maximise it and boost your cashback
Airtime Rewards offers a few different ways to boost your cashback and receive bonus credit, including referrals, challenges and short-lived promotions.
We'll list them below in more detail, though we must stress, don't use these as an excuse to overspend. You shouldn't spend more than you usually would just to receive a bonus, but there's no harm in 'opting in' to a challenge or adding a code to your account, just in case you happen to make the required spends anyway.
'Share & Earn' referrals
Airtime Rewards offers a few different ways to boost your cashback, one of which is through referrals. If you go into the 'Share & Earn' section of the app, you'll find a unique code you can share. When the person you refer signs up with your code and spends within a week, you'll both earn up to £1.50 bonus credit.
Another way to earn bonus cashback is through 'Challenges'. These are limited-time promotions where you're rewarded by completing certain spending tasks, but we must stress, don't use this as an excuse to overspend. For example, we've previously spotted a February Challenge where if you make two purchases of over £5 throughout the month, you'll earn a bonus £1.
Limited-time codes and promotions
We also occasionally spot limited-time promotions running on Twitter where, for example, the first 2,000 people to enter a code in the app will receive a bonus £2 after spending £10 – so keep an eye out on its Twitter page for others like this.
While you shouldn't spend more than you normally would just to receive a bonus, there's no harm in 'opting in' to a challenge, just in case you happen to make the required spends anyway.
Of the 50 retailers mentioned in the cashback table above, we took a sample of 25 of these to see how cashback rates compared between Airtime Rewards and other cashback sites (Topcashback and Quidco). As you can see in the table below, Airtime Rewards offered the best cashback rate for 17 of the 25 retailers we looked at.
The cashback rates we looked at were existing customer rates for online purchases on 24 January – cashback rates can be higher for new Topcashback and Quidco customers, and some rates may be higher if you meet certain spend thresholds.
As you can see, it's likely that you'll earn more cashback via Airtime Rewards than other cashback sites, though of course this cashback can only be redeemed against your phone bill. For more ways to save on your phone bill, see Martin's suggestions on cutting costs.
What do MoneySavers say?
We've had a few MoneySavers get in touch to tell us how they use Airtime Rewards and how much they've saved since using the app including:
A MoneySaving trick I use is pairing Topcashback and Airtime Rewards. Boots and Argos both have good cashback amounts and if you time it right when they both have a higher amount, you could earn as much as 20% in one transaction. With everyday shopping I have essentially halved my phone bill each month. – MoneySaver Zak
Airtime Rewards is a great app. Spend on the nominated card and get cashback at various retailers to use as credit on your registered mobile phone bill. I have saved over £100. – MoneySaver Tony
How does Airtime Rewards make money?
Retailers pay it a fee to be featured on the app, with their incentive being that people may be more likely to shop from them if they can earn cashback. Airtime Rewards then splits this fee between paying back its users via cashback, and keeping the rest as commission.
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