Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Expedia Rewards is getting worse for most – 2022 shake-up revealed

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

In September, Expedia announced that all of its reward schemes – including Expedia Rewards, Hotels.com Rewards and eBookers BONUS+ – were to be merged into one programme. Vrbo, Travelocity and Orbitz would also be included.

This was bad news for Hotels.com Rewards members, because the scheme is currently very generous – you get a 10% return on your ex-VAT spending.

I was expecting that all of the Expedia loyalty programmes would cut their rewards to the level of Expedia Rewards. I was wrong – Expedia Rewards is getting worse for most members. If Hotels.com Rewards ends up being merged into this programme it will be gutted.

What is happening to Expedia Rewards?

The changes to Expedia Rewards, which take effect from 1st February, are outlined here. Click the link at the end of the first paragraph.

To add confusion, the redemption rate is changing from ‘140 points are worth £1’ to ‘100 points are worth £1’.

Expedia will expire 28% of the points in your account on 31st January. If you previously had 140 points (worth £1 in the old scheme) you will end up with 100 points (worth £1 in the new scheme).

There are also changes to how you qualify for Silver and Gold status which – due to the impact of the status bonus – make comparing the old and new schemes even more complex.

How will the earning rate change?

Hotels, flight and hotel packages, excursions and car hire:

  • Currently earn 2 points per £1 (1.4% return)
  • Will earn 1 point per £1 from 1st February (1% return)

Flights:

  • Currently earn 1 point per £5 (0.14% return)
  • The earning rate does not change on 1st February, but the return increases to 0.2% now that you only need 100 points to save £1

You will continue to earn double base points when you book with the mobile app.

Status bonuses are changing

At present:

  • Silver members get a 10% point bonus
  • Gold members get a 30% bonus

Going forward, this is changing:

  • Silver members will get a 100% points bonus on hotels, flight and hotel packages, excursions and car hire, taking their total return to 2%
  • Gold members will get a 200% points bonus on hotels, flight and hotel packages, excursions and car hire, taking their total return to 3%.

However …. Silver and Gold members will no longer receive a status bonus on flight bookings.

Expedia Rewards review

The criteria for earning Silver and Gold status are also changing

Going forward, the criteria for earning Silver and Gold status will also change. This was previously based on hotel nights or total spend.

It is now based on something called a ‘Trip Element’:

  • Silver status will require 10 Trip Elements in a calendar year
  • Gold status will require 25 Trip Elements in a calendar year

A ‘Trip Element’ is defined as: 

  • a flight (one Trip Element per person on the booking)
  • a hotel stay (one Trip Element per room per night)
  • an accommodation rental (one Trip Element per night)
  • a car hire (one Trip Element per booking)
  • an activity (one Trip Element per ticket)

For most people, qualifying for status will be harder:

  • Silver previously required seven hotel nights – you will now need 10 nights unless you add in some flight, car or activity elements too
  • Gold previously required 15 hotel nights – you will now need 25 nights unless you add in some flight, car or activity elements too

You will note that not all ‘Trip Elements’ are created equal. We may see a lot of people booking activity tickets via Expedia as an easy way of picking up Trip Elements, given that you earn per ticket and not per booking.

Conclusion

Expedia Rewards is making it very difficult to compare their old and new schemes. In general:

  • non-status members are worse off unless they only use Expedia for flight bookings, in which case they will be better off
  • Silver members are better rewarded on non-flight bookings BUT Silver status will become harder to earn, and Silver members will be worse off on flight bookings
  • Gold members are substantially better rewarded on non-flight bookings BUT Gold status will become substantially harder to earn, and Gold members will be worse off on flight bookings

It was always the case that anyone putting enough hotel nights through Expedia Rewards to earn status would be better off booking the same rooms via Hotels.com, which is a sister company.

Even with these changes, a Gold member of Expedia Rewards will only receive 3% back on hotel bookings (4% if booking via the Expedia app) vs 10% back with Hotels.com Rewards.

The big question now is how Hotels.com Rewards will be integrated into this structure. Is Expedia serious about using the same reward structure for Hotels.com? If it is, it will kill its appeal for its heaviest bookers.

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

PS, Remember that booking hotels via Expedia will also stop you earning hotel points and elite night credit. Your status benefits are also unlikely to be respected.

You WILL earn airline miles and status points when you book flights via Expedia – it makes no difference to booking directly with the airline. However, Expedia adds booking fees which usually makes it more expensive than a direct booking.


Hotel offers update – November 2021:

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

Want to buy hotel points? There is currently a special offer running with Hilton Honors (100% bonus to 7th December), Marriott Bonvoy (45% bonus to 8th December) and World of Hyatt (30% discount, equivalent to a 43% bonus, to 30th December).

Comments (22)

  • Andrew says:

    With the 3X boosts that Expedia sometimes run, they’ve proved very valuable for booking independent US hotels in the past.

    Having a quick look at the UK and US Rewards structure, my head hurts trying to work out which side of the Atlantic it’s better to put my bookings through. I *think* the UK structure is marginally more generous as 1pt=1c and 1pt=1p but both US and UK schemes give 100pts per App booking.

  • Steve says:

    Having struggled monumentally to get refunds for bookings made via Expedia last year compared top those made directly with hotels chains and airlines, I’m honestly struggling to see any benefit of using OTAs compared to booking directly, especially for hotels where status benefits are not invariably recognised and status points unearned. At the moment, easy refunds and dealing directly with the end provider have a significantly greater priority than a free night somewhere which has minimal value in the scheme of things.

  • memesweeper says:

    In contrast to others, I’ve found hotels.com to be helpful and efficient dealing with corona-related cancellations.

    Nonetheless I only booked with them because of the free night reward. If this Expedia plan is indeed rolled across to hotels.com then I’ll be booking with one of the Priceline family of OTAs, or direct.

  • mr_jetlag says:

    I’m a longtime hotels.com booster so hopefully they don’t gut the programme. If the rewards rate remains 9/10% regardless of the mechanics then fine, but recently have been booking direct to take advantage of promos.

  • Greenpen says:

    I am a fan of Hotels.com as I do not travel for work and it gives me great flexibility. I have used them for about ten years and had few a few problems relating to free nights posting that were solved very quickly by a real person answering the phone..

    However, last month I had a booking in Spain where the Gold special offer was free parking. The hotel disputed this so I contacted Hotels.com customer service. Well, contact is not really the correct word; initially I had to go through an automatic system that was pointless for solving anything other than simple questions about what should happen. The live chat was also useless; you get someone who I guess is dealing with multiple cases at the same time and the wait between your typing and the reply is lengthy. They also claimed to have telephoned the hotel but this was refuted by the hotel. They refused to call back when they had sorted the problem and told me I would have to start the whole process again when I rang later. The service was useless.

    I gave up trying to solve the problem until I returned to the UK. The hotel on check-out then offered me the free parking so I would not be leaving feeling annoyed about them. All’s well that ends well, but Hotels.com seems to have gone down over the years. They still offer a decent loyalty scheme and a huge range of hotels at competitive prices. But any further changes to their loyalty programme and I’m out!

  • PJJ says:

    Anyone use the Avios.com hotel booking site on B.A. ?
    15 Avios per £ back presuming you value an Avios a 1p = 15%
    Prices seem reasonable compared to others
    1 thing I do notice is that they are Non-Refundable, not good at this time
    Do rewards get paid promptly ?

    • jj says:

      I’ve often used the Avios com. The cancellation policy varies by hotel; in my experience, most rates are cancellable, though, although the wording around cancellations is often remarkably complex and difficult to understand. Payout has always been prompt.

      If you don’t have or aren’t chasing hotel status, it’s a great option. Many hotels will give a 10% discount if you book direct, but the discounted rates aren’t usually cancellable and the Avios are worth more than 10%.

  • Bob says:

    What is Avios.com hotel booking site on B.A. ?
    Isn’t Avios.com closed?

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.