Review: Is the Expedia Rewards loyalty scheme worth joining?

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This is our review of the Expedia Rewards loyalty scheme.

Expedia introduced its loyalty scheme Expedia Rewards (originally called Expedia+) to the UK market several years ago.

It has not set the world on fire.  In fact, you may not even know it exists.  Whilst you can collect points on flights and car rentals as well as hotel stays, the actual rewards still aren’t that great despite various changes since the launch.

Is Expedia+ loyalty scheme worth joining?

What is Expedia Rewards?

There are three tier levels: Blue, Silver (£5,000 spend or 7 hotel nights of £50+) and Gold (£10,000 spend or 15 hotel nights of £50+).  You move through the status level based on your £ spending or room nights, not the number of points you earn.

Once you have earned Silver or Gold status, your benefits extend from the day that you qualify through the next calendar year to 28th February of the following year.

For example, if you achieve Silver in June 2020 you would keep your status for the rest of 2020, all of 2021 and until 28th February 2022.

How do I earn Expedia Rewards points?

You earn 2 points per £1 spent on hotels, flight and hotel packages, excursions and most car hire

You earn 1 point per £5 spent on flights

You can earn points for ALL travel booked through your Expedia account, irrespective of whether you travel yourself

You can collect double points when you book with the mobile app

You cannot collect points on insurance or train bookings.

Status members get an additional points bonus:

Silver members get a 10% point bonus

Gold members get a 30% bonus

Status members also get special benefits at selected hotels. Gold members receive room upgrades at selected hotels and flexible check-in and check-out times.

What can I do with my points?

Not much.  This is a revenue-based redemption programme.

You can redeem as few or as many points as you want against your next hotel, package or car hire booking.  You cannot redeem your points against a flight-only booking.

The rate is weak.  140 points gets you £1 off.  The rate is the same irrespective of whether you redeem 7 points or 7000.

This is pretty underwhelming. You would need to spend £1,750 on hotels to get £25 back which is a rebate of a little under 1.5%.  You’d need to spend £700 on flights to get just £1 back!

Get double points via the mobile app obviously makes a substantial difference.  Your rebate on hotels would increase to 3%.

Does Expedia Rewards stop me earning air miles and hotel points?

No, with airlines.  You will always earn airline miles and status points when you book flights via Expedia.  It makes no difference to booking directly via the airline.  On the downside, Expedia adds booking fees which usually makes it more expensive than a direct booking unless the airline has given Expedia a special deal.

Yes, with hotels.  None of the major hotel loyalty schemes let you earn hotel points or elite night credit if you book through an online travel agent such as Expedia.  Hotels are also told not to honour your elite benefits although some may do so unofficially.

Expedia Rewards review

Is Expedia Rewards worth joining?

The most attractive part of the scheme may be the hotel benefits, but these are only valid at a selection of hotels branded VIP Access.  The majority of your stays won’t get you any additional goodies.

Bearing in mind that Hotels.com and Expedia share the same ownership, it is a bit surprising that Expedia Rewards isn’t anywhere near as generous as Hotels.com Rewards, which we love.  This article explains why we like Hotels.com Rewards.

Despite this loyalty scheme not being very attractive, it is obviously still more rewarding than no loyalty scheme at all so you might as well take the points if you are making a booking.  There is no minimum redemption – I have just 36 points and the website says I can save 26p on my next booking!

You can find out more about Expedia Rewards on its website here.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

ENDS 29th JUNE: Amex Gold has a 20,000 point bonus and you have six months to earn it - should you apply?
Did IHG Rewards Club make a mistake with dynamic reward pricing? The best hotel redemptions have been pulled ....

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Comments

  1. ChrisC says:

    Is the sentence about hotels recognising status correct?

    Shouldn’t it be “Hotels are also told NOT to honour your elite benefits though some may do so unofficially” ?

    I do collect Expedia Rewards. The benefits may not be spectacular but better than a slap with a cold halibut. I use Expedia mainly for hotels outside of IHG and buying activity passes.

    It’s not mega money but it helps. That plus cash back can boost total earnings if you look at it in the round.

    • Would you not be better off with hotels com? Better earning rate for hotel stays.

      • pauldb says:

        I find ebookers BONUS+ (another sister company) even better – combination of cash back (or often a voucher code for non-chain) and loyalty % is even higher. And you get a few perks like lounge passes.

          • ChrisC says:

            Thanks for that. Wasn’t aware of the ebookers scheme so will take a look at that to see what it can do for me.

            I only book a couple of ‘off plan’ hotels a year (if that) so hotels.com may not be right for me based on how many nights you stay – it could take a couple of years to earn even a single reward night.

            Expedia works for me because I tend to buy attraction paaes – city passes / museum entry etc – rather than flights and hotels

        • After many years of reserving flights and hotels through Ebookers (and getting to Bonus+ as well as attaining Platinum membership status) it has been quite galling to be on the receiving end of their desperately inefficient customer service, where even Covid-19-related offered refunds have been dishonoured and E-mails ignored. In future, I’m definitely going to be booking direct, i.e. no more travel agents, thank you very much!

    • Good spot, thanks

    • It’s correct. If you want free breakfast, upgrade, lounge access, points and not the worst room in the hotel (depending on what status you have with the chain) then you need to book directly.

      You really should switch to Hotels.com Rewards though, because it is a guaranteed 10% back and pays out every 10 nights.

      • But Hotels.com requires you to stay 10 nights before you get the reward, and it’s more complicated than Expedia’s x% back. That means Expedia can go after the very large pool of very infrequent bookers and lock them in as they keep coming back to spend their credits.

  2. Marco says:

    If remembered correctly, the points have 2x value if redeemed on a “VIP Access” hotel.
    Also, HSBC premier credit card holder can redeem a year of Gold membership (probably renewable as long as the partnership continues). Note the mobile bonus is only applicable to the base points, not the status bonus.

    • Yes, was going to mention this. So if you can get a bonus on the mobile bookings and a bonus on the VIP redemptions, then the rebate must be significantly higher. I find Expedia have access to some rooms that even hotels don’t display themselves (was very useful in Vietnam last summer) and I saved about £50 off a hire car at Chirtsmas as a result.

      • And to add, Expedia have some cracking car hire rates, too. Often a 60-70% discount on booking direct especially at peak times.

    • Haven’t HSBC dropped the Expedia+ Partnership?

      Lowly HSBC Jade customers got an email mentioning this a while ago.

  3. memesweeper says:

    For flights you may as well book direct unless they have access to special deal pricing (which does happen sometimes). 1.5% back really isn’t worth it for the problems adding an agent to the mix in the event of flight changes/problems versus booking direct with the airline.

    For hotels the pricing and offers on hotels.com are almost always exactly the same, but with far better rewards. They also have silver/gold exclusives for higher spenders.

    For other things, like car hire, it can be worth it, simply because it’s better than nothing. But like Ebookers and Accorr’s, this scheme is so weak it doesn’t deliver loyalty — which is surely the point of a loyalty scheme.

    • I think it probably does a great job of driving loyalty amongst the large number of people who only make a few bookings a year. Expedia get more info on the customer for up selling, the interface is easy to use and the points are free money. I don’t think the majority of the world is obsessed with reward yield percentages on spends. These folk will book 5-10 nights a year, use Expedia because it has a good interface, then be left with a bit of a discount for the next trip, which of course the book with Expedia, again driving loyalty.

      • memesweeper says:

        You are right that a good (or even a familiar) interface drives loyalty as much as a loyalty scheme.

  4. Eugene says:

    One other consideration is that in this Covid world where we may get lockdowns at short notice for our destinations, the refund policy becomes important. In my experience so far, flights and rooms I have booked directly got repaid far faster than through these travel agents. Still waiting on one or two of them despite jumping the hoops. it will have to be a pretty large chunk of change I am saving to take me to their doors for the foreseeable.

  5. Andrew says:

    My usual view is to always book direct with the airline or hotel/chain – unless there’s a good reason to make an exception to that rule. For a while almost every Flight & Hotel deal with a United flight from EDI had hold luggage included as an “Expedia Special Fare” – there are fewer of those around now.

    The key thing to look out for is the Expedia Reward promotions. There are often targetted offers for both earning and spending. I’ve had 10x points earning offers on Activities.

    My best redemption was when I’d accumlated £55 of points and had a quadruple points offer. I booked a double double room at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel (an Independent Historic Hotel in the heart of Boston). This took the booking down to £20 payable to Expedia and $25+Tax “Facilties Fee” paid at check-in. Exceptionally good value at any time in Boston.

  6. Fiona says:

    I do use expedia from time to time. I always research so I go with expedia as it’s the cheapest at the time.
    I had to get 2 refunds from them- one during to covid. Both were hotels and both were refunded quickly and easily.
    It’s a no brainer though- if Expedia has the best deal, then the rewards are a bonus. I have had some pretty amazing hotel deals through them

  7. I like Expedia Rewards, I am Gold. I like the ability to redeem points immediately on a booking. One other thing to remember is that you also earn Nectar points on all bookings via Expedia in addition to the Expedia points. You can also redeem Nectar points on bookings, not that i ever have.

    I also find that often airfares are pretty close or the same as booking direct even when taking into account their booking fee.Plus I often book a flight and hotel together or hotel and car which makes it a holiday booking with additional ABTA protection and is often an additional discount to paying separately.

    Their VIP hotels often give me upgrades to better rooms. It means I am not tied to any particular chain and just book based on best location, rate and facilities in whichever hotel takes my fancy.

    Another thing is Expedia is useful for buying airline tickets or paying for hotels which don’t accept Amex. I booked flights on Bangkok Airways, which only accepts Visa or Mastercard if you book directly, via Expedia. They were able to ticket them using Thai Airways code share and I paid on my Amex.

  8. Mikeact says:

    I’m surprised at the positive amount of comments on here, which is fair enough, but not for me. In my opinion, Hotels.com is far superior all round for our travels.
    But as for booking airline tickets, why on earth would you want to do that ? My neighbour is struggling with a refund for a Virgin flight she booked through Expedia. I did tactfully try to advise not to, a few months back, but she was convinced that Expedia would ‘look after her’ if things went wrong.
    I learned my lesson years ago, out in S America… the airline concerned were not interested in my predicament….’you need to go back to your booking agent’. Great advice…when you’ve got time difference as a challenge, and it’s a Sunday back in the UK!

  9. Linda says:

    Check out Travala.com for a crypto based rewards points. There is a finite supply, value generally for the most part increases as demand increases, and you save 2-5% on all bookings + earn 2-5% back in their token. Which is also liquid so can be sold on an open market for cash.

    Prices are competitive anyway and besides the 2m hotels they have, they are working with flight suppliers. A decent next gen platform maybe…

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