I covered Expedia’s new rewards program when it launched in beta at the end of January. And then I complained that they were sending out bonus offers without telling you how much the points you’d be earning were worth!
Now that Expedia has publicly launched the program, they’ve made public their award chart. Redemptions of points for flights is coming. But in the meantime you can redeem points for coupons good towards the payment of pre-tax cost of Expedia’s “Special Rate” hotels.
Here’s the reward chart and the dollar value of each redemption option:
Points Hotel Coupon Value Per Point 3,500 25 0.007 6,000 50 0.008 10,000 100 0.010 14,000 150 0.011 18,000 200 0.011 22,000 250 0.011 29,000 350 0.012 32,000 400 0.013 35,000 450 0.013 38,000 500 0.013 40,000 550 0.014 42,000 600 0.014 44,000 650 0.015 46,000 700 0.015 47,500 800 0.017 49,000 900 0.018 50,000 1,000 0.020
Since most standalone travel earns just one point per dollar it’ll take a long time / a lot of spend to earn rewards. But it’s still a 1% – 2% rebate on your travel spend with Expedia, which is better than other similar offerings at the moment. (It’s worth noting that packages earn 2 to 4 points per dollar, and thus 4% to 8% rebate.)
And thus it’s a reason to consider booking with Expedia over Orbitz or airline websites (be more careful especially booking hotels with Expedia, since not all hotels offer points earning or elite benefits on stays booked through sites like Expedia’s).
You can generally double and triple dip here, I use eBates usually to earn cash back on my Expedia bookings. And I’ll still earn miles on the airline tickets booked there. Airline sites rarely ever offer mileage bonuses for online bookings anyway, though some will offer cash back through the various shopping portals.
Good move for Expedia to offer this, even though it’ll take a long time for most folks to get much through the program and especially for the higher tiers. They give “VIP status” to members who spend $10,000 in airfare on the site in a year, but that’ll only give you $100 towards a hotel. A VIP qualifying through airfare spend would take 5 years to accumulate enough points for the top level reward. Still, since it’s more or less an add-on (the previous program, linked in with Citi’s Thank You Points, didn’t offer anything on airfare-only bookings) it’s a real plus.
I should note that it’s less valuable than Hotels.com’s program for rebates on hotel spend. But with Expedia you earn through hotel and airfare. Further, holders of the Travelocity Amex can get up to 10% cash back for their Travelocity spend. Though Expedia’s points are in addition to credit card rewards. Overall, I’m just glad to see the baby steps that the online booking services are making into the loyalty space!