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ebookers is closing down on 4th September

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Remember ebookers? Founded in 1998 as Flightbookers, the UK’s first online travel agent, it was quoted on the UK stock market at one point. In 2005 it was bought for $350m by Cendant, which took a $120m writedown on it soon afterwards due to poor trading.

ebookers was eventually taken over by Travelport and later spun off as part of Orbitz. In 2015 Expedia paid $1.5 billion for Orbitz.

ebookers had finally found some stability, although it was continuing to lose market share to rivals.

ebookers to close

And now, it’s over.

Expedia has announced that ebookers UK will close on 4th September.

The website and app will divert to Expedia for new bookings and the BONUS+ loyalty programme will be closed.

You will still be able to modify or cancel your existing reservations on the ebookers site after 4th September.

The official announcement is here.

What happens if you are a BONUS+ member?

To quote from the ebookers website:

  • You can continue to earn and use BONUS+ rewards and your membership benefits on ebookers UK until 4th September 2024.
  • On 4th September 2024, we will automatically transfer any remaining BONUS+ rewards over at their full value in OneKeyCash to an existing One Key account if you have one on Expedia, Hotels.com or Vrbo, or into a new One Key account on Expedia if you do not already have one.
  • In your One Key account, we will place you in the One Key equivalent of your current BONUS+ tier and reset your rewards expiration date to 18 months so you have even more time to use them as OneKeyCash.

Your OneKeyCash can be redeemed on Expedia, Hotels.com or Vrbo.

ebookers to close

What happens to your BONUS+ tier status?

Status in BONUS+ was based solely on hotel nights booked via ebookers.

One Key will take your ebookers hotel nights booked in 2023 or in 2024 to date, whichever is higher, and use this to set your One Key tier:

  • Blue – 0 nights
  • Silver – 5 nights
  • Gold – 15 nights
  • Platinum – 30 nights

Your room nights stayed in 2024 until 4th September will be carried over to 2025 to give you a head start on earning status for 2026.

What happens to your existing BONUS+ benefits?

These will end on 4th September so you will need to use up, for example, any outstanding airport lounge visits by then.

Conclusion

ebookers told us in a statement:

We have been transparent in the past that our strategy has been to simplify our portfolio. In the UK, we wanted to ensure travellers received the best experience possible and given the small presence of ebookers UK, we decided that those travellers would get the best experience on Expedia. Based on that approach, we made the decision to sunset ebookers and its BONUS+ program in the UK on September 4. 

It is important to note that travellers can continue to earn and use BONUS+ rewards and membership benefits on ebookers UK until September 4. Expedia will honor BONUS+ member benefits and rewards through One Key (coming soon to the UK) and any existing and upcoming reservations/trips will not be disrupted. On September 4, we will automatically transfer any remaining BONUS+ rewards over at their full value in OneKeyCash to an existing or new One Key account. In each One Key account, we will place the One Key equivalent of the traveller’s current BONUS+ tier and reset the rewards expiration date to 18 months so travellers have even more time to use the rewards as OneKeyCash.

Whilst it would seem logical to focus on its global brands, which include Expedia and Hotels.com, the stand-alone costs of keeping ebookers alive cannot have been high. They are clearly higher than the profit generated, however.

Whilst Expedia Group clearly hopes that it will retain some ebookers customers – and it will for a while, if only because they will have some OneKeyCash to spend – others are likely to leak to Opodo, Booking.com etc.

You can find out more on this page of the ebookers website.


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Comments (20)

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  • AndyC says:

    No loss, as far as I’m concerned. They were great until the pandemic. Attempting to get (valid) refunds from them was made as difficult as possible, with several fast ones being pulled as they tried to evade their obligations. Although we were lucky securing all our refunds eventually, we’ve avoided them like the plague ever since!

  • pigeon says:

    This seems very odd…

    Indeed you can licence a white-label version of Expedia, set up your own online travel agency very quickly. So actually running eBookers must cost them basically 0. See https://partner.expediagroup.com/en-us/solutions/build-your-travel-experience/white-label-template

    Only reason I can think of they want to increase Expedia market share, hoping they’ll get the bulk of ex-eBookers. Still, seems odd.

  • Voldemort says:

    Waiting to see how Expedia spins this news to make it look like they reinvented the wheel…

  • Ironside says:

    I worked for them briefly when they must have been only a couple of years old. Great bunch of people, and the job came with the uplifting feeling that we were at the cutting edge of technology and travel … which at the time we were. It felt like a mature dot-com startup – a rare thing in those days.

    And yet despite fond memories I never used them as a customer. There were always better deals elsewhere. Sad to see them go, though.

  • Daniel says:

    I did think something was up when they announced the onekey consolidated program and didn’t list ebookers despite them being the same group.

    Then my ebookers platinum status got reset to gold, only acknowledging one (recent) night stay.

    Have currently contacted CS to get them to revert it before transfer else no point me being loyal to onekey brands. Still waiting for a helpful reply.

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