Guide: Earning and Redeeming Expedia Reward’s Points
Expedia is one of the world’s largest online travel agencies. Users can book a wide range of travel through the site including vacation packages, flights, hotels, rental cars, rail, cruises, activities and more. Over the last few years I’ve become increasingly interested in 3rd Party Booking sites with rewards programs because I’ve found it fairly easy to get decent prices on luxury hotel brands even without booking directly.
The main question for me is whether these independent rewards programs offer enough value to displace the benefits of elite status in a few main loyalty programs.
Highlights of Expedia rewards program
Hotel Price Guarantee: As long as you book as a signed-in Rewards member you get Expedia’s pretty awesome Hotel Price Guarantee. If you find a better rate on your hotel reservation up until the midnight before your stay, they’ll refund the difference.
VIP Access hotels Perks:
- Your points are worth double when booking.
- Gold members get free room upgrades when available.
- Silver and Gold members get 250 extra points and
- Amenities vary from property to property, and might include free breakfast, complimentary drinks or parking, spa or dining credits, free wi-fi, and more.
These VIP deals after only 7 or 15 nights is very generous compared to traditional hotel loyalty programs.
Expedia Rewards Details
Expedia Rewards is a free program available to all users that gives reward points and benefits to anyone who signs up based upon their Expedia Reward’s Tier Level. Expedia Rewards has 3 tier levels:
- Blue tier status- earned by joining
- Silver status- earned by spending $5,000 on eligible bookings or staying 7 nights in a year.
- Gold status- earned by spending $10,000 on eligible bookings or staying 15 room nights in a year.
Expedia Rewards Member Benefits
- Blue Status:
- Lower member prices
- Points worth double at VIP Access hotels
- Hotel Price Guarantee
- Silver Status: All of the benefits included with Blue Plus
- Free perks at VIP Access hotels
- 250 extra points for booking a VIP Access hotel
- 10% more points when you book
- 24/7 expedited customer service via dedicated silver member line
- Gold Status: All of the benefits included with Silver Plus
- 30% more points
- Free room upgrades when available at VIP Access hotels
- 24/7 expedited customer service via Gold member line
How Are Points Earned and How Much Are they Worth
Eligible bookings earn 2 points for every $1 spent on hotels, cars, packages, things to do and cruises, and 1 point for every $5 on flights. The eligible spend is the price paid including any expedia booking fees and points used but excludes government taxes and fees in addition to any discount off the final price. Here’s an example for clarity.
Points can be redeemed for .0071 cents a piece against the total amount owed or for double at any VIP hotel. You can also redeem points at the lower rate for coupons towards travel packages.
Based on these redemption options, your minimum return on spend (other than flights) is about .014 cents on the dollar and since you also earn rewards when you redeem points it’s more like .019 cents per dollar. From now until the end of the year, you earn double points when booking through the Expedia App, which brings the return to about 3.8%. Even better, if you use your points at a VIP Access hotel, they’re worth double. This means at the top end of the redemption value, your return on spend is 7.6% at the lowest membership level.
- Expedia is generally available on several cash back portal sites. Sometimes the cash back is as high as 10%.
- Expedia runs promotions often to save on hotel bookings
- Additionally, the charge will code as travel so if you have a travel rewards card, you’ll earn bonus points there as well.
Expedia Rewards Card from Citi
The Expedia Credit card isn’t terribly exciting, it offers an extra 3 rewards points per dollar on eligible bookings through Expedia and 1 point elsewhere. The card also gives the cardholder automatic silver status and one elite night credit for every $2500 in spend throughout the calendar year. You’re way better off with a card that earns a bonus for travel related spend since Expedia will be included under travel.
OTA’s are a really good option for travelers with who don’t have a strong brand preference. Expedia’s prices are on par with direct bookings and regularly run money saving promotions. While Expedia is a great choice for hotel bookings, the lackluster rewards rate earned on flights makes it a waste to book airfare through the portal.