Expedia Rewards: a review of Expedia’s rewards program

What is Expedia Rewards?

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Expedia Rewards allows you to detach from a specific hotel or airline rewards program and still reap rewards benefits such as free airfare and free hotels. Photo by Sai Kiran Anagani on Unsplash

As the sun rises on a fresh batch of your newly accrued vacation days from your employer, you realize the opportunity to jet set to a warm and sunny getaway is only a few clicks and credit card away. You immediately go to a place you have gone in the past to compare prices for airlines and hotels to find a competitive deal, and that place at some point was likely Expedia.com. Expedia is one of the largest online travel agencies (OTAs) in the world, and along with providing price comparison and trip booking, they also offer a great rewards program that completely free to join and provides travelers with the opportunity to earn points to be redeemed for free airfare and hotel coupons.

Expedia Rewards is the current loyalty program offered by Expedia, and the program is centered around two main features — earning points and earning elite status. If you are booking through Expedia for trips and aren’t sign up for this program, this review will provide you with the reasons why you could be missing out on free airfare and hotels by not joining if you a new or loyal Expedia customer. Read on for more details and a full review on why you should join this rewards program.

How Expedia Rewards works

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Expedia Rewards works by giving you rewards points when you book travel on Expedia.com for things such as airfare and hotels. Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

Benefits
How to earn points Earn 2 rewards points per $1 spent on hotels, packages, cars, activities, and cruises booked through Expedia.Earn 1 rewards point per $5 spent on flights booked through Expedia.
Rewards accelerators +silver members earn +10% more points.+gold members earn +30% more points.
Blackout dates None, you can redeem points at any time
Rewards Status tiers Three: +blue, +silver, +gold
How to earn Rewards Status +blue – automatically given upon signing up.+silver – earn after spending $5,000 on eligible bookings OR staying 7 qualifying hotel room nights in a calendar year.

+gold – earn after spending $10,000 on eligible bookings OR staying 15 qualifying hotel room nights in a calendar year.

Priority customer service Yes, for +silver and +gold members only.
Hotel room upgrades Yes, for +gold members only when booking at VIP Access hotels.
Flexible hotel check-in Yes, for +gold members only when booking at VIP Access hotels.
Exclusive travel offers Yes, for +silver and +gold members only.
Credit card partnership Offers two credit cards through Citi, the Expedia Rewards Card and the Expedia Rewards Voyager Card.

Earning points with Expedia Rewards

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Expedia Rewards allows you to earn points on travel you would have done anyway. Photo by Michael Mims on Unsplash

The basic premise of Expedia Rewards it that whenever you book on Expedia.com, you can earn points. You get two rewards points per $1 spent on hotels, packages, cars, activities, and cruises. You can also “double-dip” by earning one rewards point per $5 spent on flights and airline frequent flyer miles. Effectively, this means you get credit for the same flight purchase in two different programs. If you line things up correctly, you can even “triple-dip,” earning Expedia Rewards points, airline frequent flyer miles and credit card points. Also, if you book using the Expedia Mobile App, you can earn double points on flights, hotels and more. Finally, you can also earn either 4x or 3x points if you have one of the Expedia Rewards credit cards.

Screenshot of Expedia Rewards Activity web page

Track your progress in your user dashboard to see the requirements for reaching the next Expedia Rewards status tier

You’ll earn points upon 30 days after the completion of your travel. So if you book a round-trip flight, you should see points reflect in your account within 30 days of your return flight date. If you book a hotel stay, you should expect to see your points reflect in your account within 30 days of your check-out date.

If you don’t have any activity in your Expedia account within 18 months, your points will automatically expire. Meaning you must earn at least one point or redeem at least one point in your account at least one time in an 18 month period.

And here’s some final fine print for earning Expedia Rewards points:

  • You can earn points by booking via your Expedia Rewards account, regardless of who completes the travel. So if you book a flight for your spouse using your Expedia Rewards account, you’ll earn points for their flight.
  • You will not receive points for canceled bookings or bookings made when not signed in to your Expedia Rewards account.
  • Multiple individuals may not combine separate accounts.
  • Third-party taxes and fees will not count towards earning points.

Redeeming Expedia Rewards points

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Redeeming Expedia rewards for free travel empowers you to worry less about cost and more about adventure. Photo by Philipp Kämmerer on Unsplash

You can redeem Expedia Rewards points through a number of ways including booking flights, hotels, vacation package coupons, rental cars, and activities. Each category has slightly different rules and methods of redemption, so make sure to review the details before you decide on how to use your Expedia Rewards points. You can currently use your points to redeem the following:

Flights

You must have enough Expedia Rewards points to cover the entire cost of the flight booking, including all taxes and fees. If you don’t see the option to apply your points during checkout, you don’t have enough for the entire flight.

Hotels

You can use your Expedia Rewards points to pay for either the full cost or the partial cost of booking a hotel on Expedia.com. If you redeem your points at a VIP Access hotel, your points are worth double the value compared to non-VIP Access hotels.

Rental Cars

You can redeem your Expedia Rewards points to pay for either the full cost or partial cost of a rental car. However, this only applies to “Pay Now” reservations. “Pay Now” means Expedia collects the payment for the rental car at the time of booking.

Vacation Packages

Your Expedia Rewards points can also be redeemed for coupons that you can apply to the cost of a Flight + Hotel vacation package through Expedia. Upon redeeming your Expedia Rewards points for a ‘Rewards coupon,’ you’ll be given a coupon code. This code will be deposited directly into your Expedia account (located on the coupons page within “My Account”). You can use these Rewards coupons to purchase a Flight + Hotel vacation package on Expedia.com. You have to book both the hotel and flight to qualify, and you also must pay at the time of booking.

“Things to Do”

Expedia Rewards points can also be used to pay for the full cost or partial cost of activities and “things to do” reservation booked through Expedia. However, this only applies when Expedia collects the payment at time of booking.

Donate to Charity

If you’re feeling charitable, Expedia also offers the option to donate Expedia Rewards points to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Earning Expedia Rewards status

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Elite status in Expedia Rewards means more earning potential and more benefits. Photo by Jordan McQueen on Unsplash

Expedia offers three levels of status: +blue, +silver, and +gold. The basic level, +blue, is automatically given to anyone who signs up to Expedia Rewards. The next level up is +silver, which can be earned either by spending $5,000 on eligible bookings or by staying seven qualifying hotel room nights in a calendar year. The highest level is +gold, which you can earn after spending $10,000 on eligible bookings OR staying 15 qualifying hotel room nights in a calendar year. Once you earn +silver or +gold status, your benefits extend from the day that you qualify to February 28 of the following year.

One note is that hotel bookings less than $50 USD won’t count toward qualifying for +silver and +gold.

Here’s the breakdown of benefits by each tier:

+blue +silver +gold
Price match guarantee
No blackout dates when you redeem for Expedia travel
Exclusive travel offers  
Free amenities like spa discounts and free drinks at select VIP Access hotels  
Bonus points accelerator +10% +30%
250 bonus points for VIP Access hotel bookings
Priority customer service
Exclusive concierge benefits in Hawaii, Orlando, and 5 other top destinations via Expedia Local Experts
Room upgrades and flexible check-in and check-out (subject to availability)
Dedicated customer service

Expedia Rewards credit card partnerships

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Expedia Rewards credit cards are a great way to supercharge earning potential. Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

Many rewards programs will partner a credit card to provide even more explosive earning potential to a rewards program offering. In this case, Expedia is no exception and has partnered with Citi Bank to offer two Expedia credit cards. The two credit cards are the Expedia Rewards Card and the Expedia Rewards Voyager Card. Both are designed to help you earn points and status faster. However, there are some significant differences in benefits and annual fees, So let’s compare the two:

Expedia Rewards Card Expedia Rewards Voyager Card
Annual fee $0 – no annual fee $95
Earning points 3 points for every $1 spent on eligible Expedia purchases, including flights, hotels, activities, and travel packages.1 point for every $1 spent on other purchases. 4 points for every $1 spent on eligible Expedia purchases, including flights, hotels, activities, and travel packages.2 points for every $1 spent on dining at restaurants and entertainment.

1 point for every $1 spent on other purchases.

Sign up bonus Earn 15,000 bonus points after $1,000 in purchases within 3 months of account opening. Earn 25,000 bonus points after $2,000 in purchases within 3 months of account opening.
Status earned Automatically earn +silver status Automatically earn +gold status
Other benefits None. $100 annual travel fee credit5000 anniversary bonus points

No foreign transaction fees

How to apply Apply here. Apply here.

So which of the two Expedia Rewards cards should you get?

If you are a frequent and loyal Expedia customer than you most likely can justify the $95 annual fee from the Expedia Rewards Voyager Card. In terms of rewards earning potential, it undoubtedly can provide more earning value for all of your Expedia.com purchases, and also bonus points if you can hit the $2,000 spend threshold. A key benefit to the Expedia Rewards Voyager Card is that it provides you with complimentary +gold status. This means that you will start off at a higher status which will also offer additional earning potential and you can essentially bypass all lower status tier requirements and jump straight to the top! Lastly, the $100 annual travel fee credit will help balance out the $95 annual fee, and other benefits like the 5000-anniversary bonus points and no foreign transaction fees are excellent additions to the card designed with the Expedia customer in mind.

Overall summary of Expedia Rewards

Overall, Expedia offers some good unexpected value in terms of benefits and our assessment of the Expedia Rewards program is that it is excellent for two kinds of people. First, it’s best for those who already use online travel agencies (like Expedia) to book their travel. Second, Expedia Rewards is excellent for those savvy rewards program veterans who want to “double-dip” with their airline frequent flyer programs. The most loyal Expedia customers will undoubtedly reap the most benefit from joining this program, and this is a no-brainer to sign up for because it’s free.

There are however a few important details to note, for booking hotels, you can’t “double-dip” with hotel rewards programs. That’s because most hotels do not grant credit for hotel stays in their rewards programs for bookings made through online travel agencies or external booking sites. We instead recommend booking your hotels directly through the hotel (and earning points through their loyalty program) or using Hotels.com and earning Hotels.com Rewards.

In conclusion, the best way to take advantage of Expedia Rewards is to stick to only booking flights, rental cars, cruises and, in some cases, vacation packages (as long as it’s a good deal) AND to also get one of the Expedia Rewards Cards so you can earn extra points when you book on Expedia.com. If you are interested in reading more about other online travel agency rewards, check out our articles on Orbitz Rewards and Hotels.com Rewards.

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