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Get a cash refund from online travel agents
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Oftentimes you get a better rate and more flexible terms (such as for refunds and changes) when you book travel directly with the airline (or hotel) rather than going through a popular online travel agent such as Expedia, Travelocity or Orbitz.
However, in cases where you anticipate that rates might drop later on (such as when you book very early and before any sales have come out), you might profit from the rate guarantees offered by the online travel agent. Each situation differs, but if you see the same price available through a big online agent as you do with the airline/hotel--and you aren't getting any extra flexibility on cancellations from the airline/hotel--then you should consider taking advantage of these policies.
If you successfully take advantage of this just once per year, could get you an extra $50-$75 (or more) in your pocket from refunds and potential bonuses! Here are the policies:
Expedia has a Best Price Guarantee, promising a $50 travel coupon on top of a refund if someone books flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars or activities for less than you paid.
As part of their Price Assurance policy, Orbitz tracks other customers and automatically sends you a check if someone books a flight or prepaid hotel room for less.
They offer similar protection as Orbitz does with their PriceGuardian service. In this case, though, you need to keep your eyes peeled for better prices. If you find one, you need to notify them to get a refund.
As always, be sure to read the details of the promotion to make sure it applies to you!