Here are a few tips I have for Loss Rebates:
1a.) The absolute best way to play a Loss Rebate is (redacted).
1b.) The second best way to play a Loss Rebate is (redacted).
1c.) If you are not aware of 1a or 1b, then I would say that you want to make Variance your friend. Make the biggest bets that you can in the hopes of hitting something huge (relative to bet level). You can look at what Wizard has for Double Diamond:https://wizardofodds.com/games/slots/loss-rebate/
I would say that you could just go with pragmatic considerations if you're not generally an AP, which is to say, "How much do you want to win?" And, when you've won a certain amount, do you really want to lose it back?
You'll notice, on the 98% return Double Diamond games Wizard discusses, that the win goal can be as high as 600% of bankroll if you have a 25-Credit bankroll. If the game sucks, it's barely over 100% of bankroll.
I could see where pragmatic things could be a consideration, though. If someone gets ahead $1,000 on a $500 Loss Rebate, then do you want to lose $1,500 (compared to where you are now) to get $500 back in two installments? Are you happy to just take the $1,000 and call it a day? That's going to vary from person to person.
Here's some WoO information about VP win goals:https://wizardofodds.com/games/video-poker/loss-rebate/
And, again, when you convert the Win Goals to actual dollars, I could see why someone would be satisfied to walk away with less than that if they get to a certain point.
2.) Make SURE your card is in.
-This one seems obvious, but it becomes even more important if your bet is going to be a high percentage of the amount to be rebated. If you can play at $25 denomination on VP, then a Max Bet is going to be $125. That's four bets. You don't want to have to potentially lose $125 and not have your card properly inserted just to have to lose $500 AFTER THAT to get the full rebate.
-Make sure the screen shows your name, card level, and everything like that. If you want to be really careful, check something on there that would require you to put in your PIN, now you know it's working.
3.) Remember, the rebate is variable.
But...it's $500...how is that variable?
It's variable until the point that you've already won. If you find yourself +$1,000, then that's your $1,000, you can walk away ahead $1,000 if you like. If you choose to risk it, you now have to lose $1,500 to get the $500 rebate. That's no longer a 100% loss rebate, it's a 33% Loss Rebate. It was 100% when you started, but now you have to lose more than $500 to get the rebate.
4.) Check your losses.
After you play and have lost, if that's what happens, wait five or ten minutes and then go ask the players club what they show you as losing. This is ALWAYS important, but even more important if you are not betting very much relative to the rebate.
Imagine if you are not terribly concerned with value and are just playing something at a $5 total bet, now the players club shows you at a $495 loss. You're going to lose $50 in Free Play because of that! Factoring in the house edge (and the fact that you actually have to lose another $5) that mistake is going to cost you just under $45 in expectation, so make sure to check! Besides that, the $5 gives you another shot.
5.) Free Play Counts
Even when doing loss rebates, some casinos may still give you Free Play for new members or for giving an E-Mail address, or something along those lines. Make sure to check your losses, of course, but also realize that any winnings from the Free Play are going to count as money won, so that's going to work against your rebate. If you win $20 off of any Free Play, then you need to lose $520 to get the $500 rebate. If you just lose $500 then you will show a loss of $480 giving you Free Play of $450 which has an actual cost on you.
6.) The pragmatics matter.
There's a difference between living right next to the casino and having a substantial drive, unless you would be going anyway. If you have a 2.5 hour drive each way, then on two pick-ups, you're going to spend 10 hours just driving for $500 in free play. That's going to be $50/hour in free play just on the driving, less when you count playing it off, even less when you look at expenses to get to and from the casino.
In that sense, if it's going to cost you substantial time to go back that you might not want to spend, then you might want to set your win goal lower than what may be considered optimal.
7.) (Try To) Know When the Free Play Will Hit and for How Long
The information anyone gives you will often be incorrect, but as much as possible, try to figure out how long after the day you play the free play will hit and how long each increment will be good for. If you're going to be out of town and don't have any other means of getting a pick up done, then you are effectively playing a 50% loss rebate if you're going to miss a pickup. NOTE
Pretty much nothing I have said above is an advanced tactic of any kind. The post above is mainly for recreational players who are not necessarily all that familiar with loss rebates. There are some more advanced tactics I could talk about, but won't, because I will be hunted and killed if I do.
Vultures can't be choosers.