i find maximize each hotel stay with both the benefits I receive at the property and the hotel points I earn when booking (which I can then redeem for future stays). Usually that means direct booking with a major hotel chain on its website to make sure I win elite status qualifying nights, enjoy elite status benefits, and earn points (Hilton Honors is now my go-to program). For those reasons, I haven’t dig deep into the Expedia member loyalty program called Expedia Rewards.
While it may not be quite as rewarding as Hotels.com Rewards’ third-party hotel-booking loyalty program, Expedia Rewards is a points-based option as you can earn Expedia points. Here’s everything you need to know about Expedia’s loyalty program.
Expedia Rewards Basics
Expedia is a Online travel booking platform with over 1 million listings. The Expedia Group employs more than 24,000 people in 30 countries and also owns platforms including Hotels.com, Vrbo, Orbitz, Trivago and Wotif, but for now, Expedia Rewards only includes Expedia. It is not a hotel chain or an airline, nor does it have its own properties or operate its own flights. Instead, it is a platform that lists hotels, flights, cars and experiences that you can book in advance, similar to Skyscanner or Google Flights. The site book several hundred million hotel nights every year.
You won’t get regular hotel points or elite nights when you book through a third party, so why choose Expedia over Book directly with the hotel?
Unlike competitors and subsidiaries in the hotel sector, such as Hotels.com, which offer a simple 11th night free, or Booking.comOffering discounts on room rates and occasional bonus perks to loyal customers, Expedia Rewards features a traditional points-based loyalty program.
Earn Expedia Rewards Points
You’ll earn 1 Expedia Rewards point for every $1 spent in the program on hotels, cars, packages and activities, and 1 point for every $5 spent on flights. This makes the program unique as you can earn points for both your hotel stay and your flight, so it can be the only place you can book your next trip. You’ll get double the points when you book through the Expedia app.
So if you book a $1,000 flight and a $1,000 hotel through the Expedia app, you’ll earn an impressive 2,400 Expedia Rewards points on your purchase.
As a basic Blue member (join the program for free), you will receive:
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- Access to membership prices.
- Chance to earn three points at VIP Access properties.
- Hotel price guarantee (conditions apply).
Membership discounts can save you a little on your accommodation, but the main benefit of the Green tier is the ability to earn Expedia points on every purchase. I mostly only see 10% off when it comes to membership rates, although there are up to 19% off London retail hotels for 2023.
For each booking made with an Expedia Rewards membership, you will receive the following “Trip Elements”:
- 1 per plane ticket.
- 1 per hotel room per night.
- 1 per night vacation rental.
- 1 for each booking.
- 1 per night cruise cabin.
- 1 for each activity ticket.
Each trip element requires spending at least $25, which isn’t hard to accommodate for the purchases above.
After earning 10 Trip Factor in 12 months, you will achieve Silver member status. You will then receive double base points for every subsequent booking; this means you will get 2 points for every $1 for booking hotels, cars, packages and things to do (3 points for every $1 when booking on the app) as well as 2 points for every $5 spent on flights (3 points for every $1 when booked on the app). You can also get a complimentary breakfast or spa credit when available at VIP Access hotels.
Once you’ve earned 25 Trip Factor in 12 months, you’ll gain Gold member status (so 15 Trip Factor is higher than Silver). At this level, you’ll get three basis points for every subsequent booking, meaning 3 points for every $1 on hotel, car, package and to-do bookings (4 points for every $1) when booked on the app) as well as 3 points for every $5 spent on flights (4 points for every $5 when booked on the app). You can also get late check-out and free room upgrades when available at VIP Access properties.
These points can only be earned on bookings when you’re signed in to your Expedia Rewards account on a computer, mobile device, or app. Points won’t be added back if you forget to sign in, so don’t forget to do this step before you make your reservation. Points will appear in your account 30 to 90 days after the end of your stay; you earn nothing if you cancel the trip.
Redeem Expedia Rewards Points
The acquisition is very simple. For every 140 Expedia Rewards points redeemed, you’ll save $1 on future bookings — so each point is worth about 0.7 cents; this means 1,000 points is worth about 7 dollars. No need to look for reward availability — you can exchange your points for anything.
Here’s another look at it: Using the $2,000 hotel and flight booking example above, the 2,400 points you earn from the booking would be worth about $17. Compared to saving 10% on every hotel room with Hotels.com (11th overnight free), earning only $17 worth of a $2,000 booking isn’t that great—it’s less than 1% off instead of 10%. The beauty of this program is that you can use your points for flights, car rentals and experiences instead of just hotels. It’s just that the earning rate in this program is really low.
Your points will not expire unless you go more than 18 months without earning or redeeming any of them.
Note: You can also redeem American Express Membership Rewards or Citi ThankYou points when traveling with Expedia and this will still earn Expedia Rewards points.
Will Expedia Rewards continue into 2023?
In 2021, the Expedia Group announced plans to consolidate and expand loyalty programs across its entire range of brands, including Expedia, Hotels.com, Orbitz, and vacation rental site Vrbo. . The Seattle-based company says the move will form what will be “the most complete travel bonus offered in the industry”.
The new loyalty program will be called One Key and will launch a little later than originally planned in 2023 (though as 2022 draws to a close, there’s no launch date yet). The unified program will be free to join.
The new program will serve more than 154 million existing loyal members, according to Expedia. One Key will bring together four existing programs — Expedia Rewards, Hotels.com Rewards, Orbitz Rewards and Ebookers Bonus+ — and will offer customers rewards for the first time through brands like Travelocity and Vrbo that previously did not have a loyalty program. All Expedia Group brands will participate, including brands as far away as Ebookers from the UK and Wotif from Australia.
When One Key launches in 2023, it is likely to be later this year, as there is no launch date as of November 2022.
When to use Expedia Rewards
If you plan to stay often at major hotel chains like Hilton Hotel, Hyatt, Marriott and Radisson, I believe it’s still best to book directly with those properties and win hotel elite status, benefits, and points. The top spot in the hotel program is incredibly valuable, and you can easily get thousands of dollars a year in benefits.
It’s best to use Expedia when looking at remote destinations where chain assets may not be available. For example, it helps if you want to book a small hotel or a unique business, or you know you will be staying once at a chain that you will never (or almost never) use. again. In addition, if you are a “freelance agent” who is not loyal to any particular hotel chain or program and will never stay long enough to earn elite benefits with a loyalty program specific to each hotel, Expedia can be a great way to get some of the benefits (like up to 10% off) at a variety of unaffiliated properties.
Remember, if you are looking to book luxury accommodation, it is best to use Virtuoso agency or Hotel + Resort Amex Fine and compare the benefits you’ll get against any future vacation savings with Booking.com.
If you book enough big hotel chains to carry an elite position and earn hotel points, Expedia Rewards may not be right for you. Remember that for bookings made with online travel agents like Expedia, in most cases you won’t earn hotel points or elite credit, and properties don’t need to be. must respect your existing elite status (although some still do). I also found the upgrade to be less generous and the room layout poor when booking through online travel agencies compared to direct booking.
Expedia Rewards will be incorporated into the new One Key platform next year, though details are still scarce.
Separately, discounts of up to 10% on select properties with a great Hotels.com Rewards program combined with poor points earning rates don’t seem appealing. Taken together, it’s a good loyalty proposition, albeit a rather convoluted one. I like the simple, clear value of Hotels.com’s loyalty program. However, if you book in bulk for different types of travel (hotels, flights, car rentals and experiences) and can get Silver or Gold, you may find some real value when it comes to focusing on the Expedia Rewards loyalty program.