Raise is a online-marketplace for gift cards for hundreds of companies, including airlines and hotels. Sellers can put gift cards up for sale that they weren’t going to use, and buyers can get discounted gift cards. Since most airlines and hotels (and other merchants) offer best-price guarantees, and gift cards are almost always considered a method of payment (meaning you can use coupons, cash-back sites, etc.), it’s an easy way to save a couple percent points (in some cases substantially higher savings) by first identifying the product or service you want from what merchant, and then buying a gift card on Raise at a discount.
Here’s an example. Say I want to stay at the Fairmont Bali. The price on Fairmont’s website comes out to the equivalent of $916USD a night for October 1 – 4. In this case, Fairmont’s website had the best-available rate. If I first search on Raise for a gift card, I see a $750USD gift card off at around 5%. Further, I can use the coupon NEWRAISE10 (not an affiliate coupon) for $10 off my first purchase of $25. In this case, I am saving $47.05USD on a purchase I was going to make anyways, and since I can purchase the gift card using a credit card, I still get whatever bonus is available from my credit card.
Note that Raise only allows transactions from the USA, so make sure to access the site either from the USA or using a VPN. Further, if you are using a Canadian credit card, in the ZIP field, enter the digits of your postal code followed by 00 (ex. K1A 0A9 would be 10900) – this is a legitimate trick offered by Visa and Mastercard for Canadians to purchase products in the USA.
There are some cautions using these types of providers. There are a number of companies that offer services like this, some legitimate and some not-so legitimate. Raise is probably the best of them. Finally, if you are buying a product or a flight, there’s the caution that you wouldn’t be covered by whatever credit protections you have, since those protections are usually only active if you put the full purchase price of the product on the credit card. In this case, you’ll be putting the purchase price on a gift card, so you wouldn’t be able to use purchase protection, insurance, etc. For that reason, I only really use this service for hotels and services.