Review: Is the ebookers BONUS+ loyalty scheme worth joining?

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This is our review of the ebookers BONUS+ loyalty scheme.  Is it good enough to persuade you to book your flights and hotel on ebookers?

In 2018 we reviewed Expedia’s loyalty programme, Expedia Rewards, just to learn that it was a huge disappointment.

Compared to Hotels.com (who share the same ownership) and their simple and straight forward Hotels.com Rewards programme (get 1 point per night, get a free night for every 10 points based on your average spend) Expedia Rewards is anything but convincing.

There is actually a third major UK travel booking brand under the same ownership: ebookers.

ebookers has recently teamed up with Dragonpass to offer airport lounge access as a new loyalty benefit for its BONUS+ programme.

We thought this was a good excuse to review the ebookers BONUS+ loyalty programme to see whether it is as disappointing as Expedia Rewards or as good as Hotels.com Rewards.

How does ebookers BONUS+ work?

ebookers BONUS+ launched in 2014.  It originally reimbursed you with a 3% rebate on your hotel bookings, 2% on your ‘flight and hotel / car’ package trips and 1% on flight tickets.  This was ‘paid’ in BONUS+ points that could be used towards future bookings.

The programme has since evolved with the addition of tier benefits.

ebookers rewards programme bonus plus

Your BONUS+ points earned now depend on what you book and where you book as you can see here:

how much you save with ebookers bonus plus

Note that you can earn BONUS+ points in addition to frequent flyer miles with flight tickets.  You won’t receive hotel loyalty points or status benefits when booking a hotel with ebookers – you only get your BONUS+ points – so it is best used when booking non-chain properties.

There is a cap on how much you can earn per year from flight bookings.  This is set at £60 for Silver members, £120 for Gold members and £240 for Platinum members.  There is no cap on what you can earn from hotel or ‘flight and hotel’ bookings.  If you have substantial flight spend, it makes sense to also book 12 hotel nights via ebookers in order to access the higher £240 flight rewards cap.

There are also additional tier benefits depending on the BONUS+ category you’re in.

What are the ebookers BONUS+ tier benefits?

When you first sign up you are a Silver member.  After four hotel nights you become Gold and after 12 nights Platinum.

Flight bookings do not help you to move tiers, which is a sign of how unprofitable these are for online travel agents!

Tier progression is based on the number of nights you do per CALENDAR year, so this is the right time of year to start thinking about whether the programme works for you.

The tier benefits are:

Silver

  • Earn up to 5% rewards on travel, depending on whether you book via website or app
  • Priority phone line
  • ‘Insider prices’

Gold (four hotel nights)

  • Silver benefits
  • Airport lounge access with DragonPass (one lounge pass per year)
  • BONUS+ reimbursement on airline luggage fees (once a year, value up to £20)
  • BONUS+ reimbursement for wifi when travelling (once a year, value up to £15)

Platinum (12 hotel nights)

  • Gold benefits x 2 (luggage and wifi reimbursed twice a year, two airport lounge passes per year)
  • Free room upgrades
  • ‘Happiness Promise’ (they will pay for another hotel if you arrive and find the property is not as promised)

The DragonPass benefit is the key one, I think, unless you tend to pay baggage fees.  DragonPass is a third party airport lounge network which lets you get reduced or free lounge entry at airports around the globe.

If you don’t have airport lounge access via your airline status or ticket class, or via Priority Pass (free with Amex Platinum) or Lounge Club (free with Amex Gold) then this is an interesting deal.

The DragonPass network is as big as the Priority Pass one and has an useful extra benefit for anyone who is UK-based – DragonPass gets you into the Plaza Premium lounge in Heathrow Terminal 5 (review here), whilst a Priority Pass card does not.

The average DragonPass lounge costs around £20.  It covers most independent lounges globally so you won’t have trouble using your free pass.  Add in £35 of value for the airline luggage and wifi benefits and you’re looking at about £55 of value.  That’s not a bad return for booking four – potentially cheap – hotel nights with ebookers to get to Gold level.

Conclusion

ebookers BONUS+ is worth a look, especially if you book a lot of non-chain hotels where you aren’t sacrificing any benefits from not booking direct.

The DragonPass lounge pass after just four hotel nights is a decent bonus if you don’t already have lounge access via other means, and the reimbursement for luggage and wifi can come in handy.  If you currently use Hotels.com Rewards, you might want to consider moving four low value nights to ebookers instead.

You can learn more about ebookers BONUS+ here.

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Comments

  1. The lounge access is not new, it has just shifted from LoungeBuddy to DragonPass. This was hugely disappointing as I’m certain the very lucrative glitches (that I hinted at on HFP several times) which resulted in up to six lounge visits per year have not survived the switch. I’ve never made use of any of the other benefits so cannot comment on those. One time I got limited time £25 bonus credit applied to my account. Their room rates can fluctuate wildly, sometimes there are good bargains to be had and at other time rates are as much as 50% higher than elsewhere so care is needed. I normally put 12 nights at independent hotels through ebookers per year for the lounge visits but will probably pass now given that only two are likely available.

  2. mr_jetlag says:

    interesting as I’ve been Hotels.com Gold for a number of years and 10% rebate is good, but this potentially trumps it if your average room spend is below £80/ night (£32/4 nights at Hotels, £35 lounge+wifi at ebookers).

    • When it was LoungeBody they provided a link to allow you to book your lounge access. That link was worth £45 (got that gem from LoungeBuddy CSA) so that you could book a lounge up to that price. However, ebookers never stated that it had a specific value, only that it was good for one access. However, I was using a cheap (but well above average quality) lounge in Asia for my Air Asia flights that was £15/visit so I decided to try booking a second, and a third visit and it worked, so I got 6 x lounge visits for 12 nights as platinum. The benefit in terms of value remained the same though as I would only have been able to make one visit to a £45 lounge.

  3. Hi, is there any third party booking sites that would allow you to collect hotel loyalty points please? Thank you.

    • No.

      Only exception is Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts for Platinum cardholders and The Hotel Collection for Gold cardholders. All other Amex Travel bookings do not earn.

      And, of course, anything you book via our deal with Emyr / Bon Vivant is qualifying.

  4. I was platinum last year, and when I enquired about how to use the old lounge buddy setup was told it was only if you used them on a flight booked through ebookers. Was that not the case? Didn’t really need them anyway but was looking to see if my parents could make usem

    • Matt reported the same but I am not sure if that was just wrong information or a change in policy. I used my last LoungeBuddy access on 28 December. I have been a member for four years and never once was I refused the lounge access despite only ever booking hotels with them. I think I requested the link to book my December access in October so may have changed since then.

  5. John G says:

    Where this is better than hotels.com is that you can still earn bonus+ if you use a voucher code. You can usually always get at least 12% off using a code if booking a hotel outside the major chains.

    • You can also use your bonus+ credit any time, youdon’t have to wait until you have ten stays.

    • B Coyle says:

      Agreed this is my go to booking portal in general, always a little surprised in does not get a better press from the travel blogs. Major chains usually booked directly in order to receive benefits, then use ebookers for everything else (usually min 12% discount code, plus 5% bonus+ credit).

  6. I’d have though the free luggage benefit would be of more interest to the average HFP reader? Know it’s a bug bear of mine, having to pay to check in bags when we go skiing, either flying in Y or on a LCC, whereas longer haul trip to warmer places in J see us with insane baggage allowances that we never use.

    • You could be right, that same thought crossed my mind yesterday when I reread it. I think because I never pay for luggage I underestimate the value.

  7. Can anybody tell me how you actually redeem bonus+ points. There is zero information on the website about how you redeem any of the bonuses. I can’t help but feel it’s a deliberate ploy. Not impressed with that at all.

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