BetFred called themselves - for a long while - The Bonus King. They did used to be pretty generous with offers, free bets, enhanced odds and the like. Unfortunately, too many people (like me) have jumped onto the matched betting bandwagon and they've tightened up quite a bit.
All that said, they're still offering a generous £30 in free bets, for a £10 bet.
Not willing to leave free cash on the table, here's how I got on:
The qualifying bet was on a horse called Desaray at Doncaster in the 12:30. To keep the qualifying loses to a minimum, I went with a bet as close to the minimum (evens) as possible. This bet just about qualified (perversely, it works out better if the bets at bookies lose, so that the lay bets at the exchange win).
Desaray, however, finished a disappointing (for his owners) 4th out of 6 horses. For me, not such a big deal. The £10 qualifying bet at BetFred was lost, but £10.31 appeared in the Betfair Exchange against my lay bet (£9.79 after commission). This means it cost me 21p to snag £30 in free bets!
Unlike Coral and PaddyPower - who credit free bets immediately after you place your first bet with them - BetFred make you wait until your bet has completed (i.e. the event has occurred and the bet has fulled settled). It took 48 hours for BetFred to process the free bet refund, but - true to their word - after two days, my account was credited £30 free credit. BetFred say you can spend this on any number of bets; while I could have spread the balance over a number of smaller bets, looking for good matches between BetFred and Betfair/Smarkets, I lumped the whole lot on:
Middlesbrough v Southampton, £30 at 5/1 (decimal odds 6.0)
Middlesbrough to lose at Smarkets, £23.03 at 6.4
Of course, Southampton won, 1-0 which meant a gain of £22.56 (after Smarkets 2% commission). In total, given that it cost 21p to place the qualifying bet, a profit of £22.35