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

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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.

Expedia Rewards

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 – February 2023:

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?

  • Hilton Honors is offering a 100% bonus when you buy points by 7th March. Click here to buy.

Comments (21)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Liam says:

    Gutting that the much superior eBookers bonus+ becomes this.

    Stopped using hotels.com ages ago as return on eBookers, alongside their consistent offers, made it the best site opened by Expedia.

    13-16% return vs the 3% you say now. They would have to run some very big bonus offers to interest me

    • John says:

      Agree, ebookers is/was superior to hotels.com rewards with the discount codes and bonus+ earnings. Shame if that changes to this!

  • Stu says:

    Hotels have, in the past 18 months, dished up by far the worst service of any company I’ve had the misfortune of dealing with. As an example, I used a double rewards night offer on a booking in Greece, so I should’ve earned 8 ‘stamps’ instead of 4, but only 4 stamps were credited. It took 3+ hours and umpteen phone calls, being passed from department to department, being cut off etc, before someone finally took ownership and credited my stamps. So much for ‘gold’ membership … it means nothing in terms of service.

    I’ve benefited hugely from their rewards, having earned 21 free nights over the years and this year alone, I’ve collected 42 stamps with another 33 pending.

    If Hotels rewards disappears or becomes even remotely less favourable, I’ll shift my business elsewhere, it’s that simple.

  • CarpalTravel says:

    They need to tread really careful with Hotels.com here. For me it’s USP has been a big pull. Reduce that even slightly and they will become irrelevant to me and I’ll simply look elsewhere else book direct.

  • Terry Butcher says:

    Detest Expedia, and its spin offs, more than I can say.

    I used them once and there was a problem with the booking. Hotel involved, quite correctly, said that my contract was not with them but with Expedia and so I could not engage in legal dispute directly with the establishment. Expedia appeared to be based overseas which made the legalities far more complex than needed.

    Their customer service left a great deal to be desired. Added to which, many of the so-called discounts they offer, or simply the removal of the VAT which we would normally pay and, in some cases, be able to claim back.

  • Godfrey Wardle says:

    Yesterday Hotels.com extended my Silver status (again) for another year and carried forward my three reward stamps until 30 June 2022. No mention of the Reward scheme changing or being devalued.

  • ChrisC says:

    I have about £60 quid of points at the moment.

    Guess I’ll be using those before the end of January to get full value out of them.

  • peter says:

    Cheapest Activity earns the same amount of trip elements as hotel night £200+ 🙂
    Gold status can be achieved with £50 (cheapest hostel I can find).
    Anyway, looks like the last article about Expedia on HfP..

    • Rob says:

      There is a minimum charge required for most items before they are treated as a Trip Element – I didn’t bother mentioning it to keep the article simple.

      • Froggee says:

        Ah – this makes sense – I spent £1.08 of my Expedia rewards staying in a classy place in Cambodia to extend my £120 of Expedia points. I was wondering why it shows my spend as £1 but I haven’t stayed any nights on the counter. Now I understand. I really should just use these points before they disappear but it never seems like the best option and I’m not seeing any boost rewards just now either.

  • 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.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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