Between the best travel rewards cards and customer loyalty programs for just about every service you’re likely to use, you can easily rack up points and miles from multiple sources with a single trip.
It’s no surprise that Expedia, one of the largest online travel agencies (OTAs) on the internet, offers a rewards program. Expedia Rewards’ wide-ranging opportunities to earn points and ability to stack rewards with other programs is what makes this a program that anyone who travels should check out.
Here’s a look at how Expedia points work and how to use your Expedia points to optimize your travel earnings.
What are Expedia Points?
Expedia Rewards is the online travel agency's customer loyalty program. For every dollar you spend on hotels, rental cars, vacation packages, cruises, and excursions, you earn two Expedia points. For flights, you earn one point for every $5 you spend. If you use Expedia’s app for booking through the end of 2019, you double those earnings.
Like many frequent-traveler programs, Expedia offers elevated tiers that deliver more benefits to those who spend more with it. Members can earn Silver or Gold status by booking a minimum number of hotel stays or spending a certain amount of money with Expedia in one calendar year.
When you make a booking, your points will go into a pending status. Upon completion of travel and processing of payment, the points will be added to your account.
|Type of Booking||Points Confirmed and Added to Account|
|Flights||30 days after travel completion|
|Vacation packages||30 days after travel completion|
|Hotel (paid at time of booking)||30 days after travel completion|
|Hotel (paid at time of stay)||35 days after travel completion|
|Car||Up to 90 days after travel completion|
|Cruise||Up to 45 days after travel completion|
|Activities||30 days after travel completion|
What you get from Expedia Rewards
Expedia Rewards members get special member pricing opportunities, which can include discounts above 50% and an additional 10% off on select deals. You can also get a Flight + Hotel coupon worth at least $25, and if you have enough points to pay for an entire flight, you can use them when you check out.
When booking hotels, you’ll have the option of choosing a VIP Access hotel, a select group of hotels worldwide that Expedia has compiled based on member reviews. If you use your points at one of these hotels, they’ll be worth double.
Expedia Rewards members can also be assured that they’re paying the lowest price for their hotel stay. With their Hotel Price Guarantee, Expedia allows you to file proof of a lower price for your room up until midnight the day before your stay. Once approved, you’ll receive the difference, ensuring you’re getting the best price.
In addition to all of this, you can continue to earn points and miles with your existing frequent-flyer accounts and travel rewards credit cards. Expedia gives you the option to enter membership numbers for airline loyalty programs, so you get credit for the flights you book through its site. When you pay with a rewards credit card, you can also earn rewards from your credit card’s program, making this a win-win-win situation.
How much are Expedia points worth?
Points can be used to pay for bookings or reduce the cost of your Expedia adventures; 140 points is the equivalent of $1 that can be put toward hotel stays, flights, vehicle rentals, attractions, and excursions. If you earned 1,000 points, you’d have about $7 that could be used toward a booking.
How to use Expedia points
Booking travel with your Expedia points is a fast and straightforward process. To start, simply log into your Expedia account and search for hotels, flights, rental cars, or excursions as you normally would. Once you've found the option you want to book, proceed to checkout and click "Use my points" under payment options. If you'd like, you can also split the cost of your travel between Expedia points and your credit card.
Expedia Rewards tiers, explained
Expedia Rewards has three tier levels, each with different benefits, perks, and requirements. If you earn a higher status, it’s good from the day it’s awarded to your account and for the following full calendar year. It will expire on the following February 28 after that year is done. Here’s a look at the three levels of Expedia Rewards:
When you enroll in Expedia Rewards, you automatically enter the Blue tier. In addition to earning points that you can use for discounts or free bookings, you also get member pricing with a discount of 10% or more with select hotels, plus a price guarantee. This ensures Expedia will match a lower hotel price for your stay if you’re able to find a better deal after you book.
All members have the option of booking at VIP Access hotels, which are part of a select group Expedia has curated based on member reviews. When you book with these hotels, your points are worth double, which makes them a good value when you’re trading in your rewards.
This is the first premium tier level. If you book at least seven nights at a hotel or spend $5,000 in eligible bookings with Expedia within a calendar year, you’ll gain Silver status. The hotel rate needs to be at least $50 per night for it to count toward your total.
At the Silver level, you enjoy all the same benefits you did as a Blue member. You’ll also get a 10% boost to your points earnings and 250 points that can be used for stays and upgrades at VIP Access hotels. These hotels also offer special amenities for Silver members, which vary from property to property but can include free Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast, and spa credits.
If you have to call customer service, you’ll get priority routing to an agent. Silver members get additional special offers exclusive to their tier and can access a concierge service in Hawaii and Orlando through Expedia Local Expert, which can translate into discounts on lots of activities and services.
This is the highest tier in the Expedia Rewards program. You get everything you would in the other two tiers, plus some posh extras. Gold members get a 30% boost in points earnings, as well as unlimited free room and floor upgrades at VIP Access hotels, depending on availability. Customer service calls are given express priority from an exclusive team of dedicated Expedia Rewards Gold travel specialists — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
To earn Gold status, you must stay for 15 nights in a hotel with a rate of $50 per night or higher, or spend $10,000 in eligible purchases within a calendar year.
If you’re looking for a faster way to earn Silver or Gold status with Expedia, you could apply for the Expedia Rewards or Expedia Rewards Voyager Card from Citi. With the Expedia Rewards Card, you can enjoy Silver status so long as you remain a member and your account is in good standing. If you’re approved for the Voyager Card, you’ll get Gold status, with the same conditions.
How Expedia points can work with credit card rewards
The Expedia Rewards program is a great one for stacking rewards if you have a travel rewards credit card or participate in travel customer loyalty programs.
In your Expedia account, you can enter and save all of your membership information for the various programs you participate with. There’s an extensive list to choose from, including Marriott Rewards, American AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles, United Mileage Plus, Hilton Honors, Budget, Avis, and more.
When you make your reservations, you’ll be able to collect points or miles with the programs you’ve registered with your account. If you pay with a travel rewards card, the issuer should recognize the purchase as a travel expense, and you’ll be awarded points according to your cardholder agreement.
Expedia also has partnerships with American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Points. If you participate in these programs, you can link your eligible credit cards to your Expedia account. Each program has its own terms and limitations, so it's a good idea to check with your credit card issuer to see what the current rate is for using your points in this way, as other redemption methods may offer more value. Either way, you’ll earn Expedia Rewards points for transactions you pay for with American Express or Citi points.
Here are some more details on each of these programs:
American Express Membership Rewards
Amex Membership Rewards points can be used to pay for all or part of a flight’s cost, as well as for a car rental, an activity, a package, or prepaid hotel bookings with a Pay with Points option. You have to use the linked American Express card to pay for the transaction, and the number of available points you have to spend should appear at checkout. The full amount of the purchase will be charged to your card, and then a statement credit will be issued within two to four business days to account for the points you used.
Here are some American Express rewards cards that earn Membership Rewards you could use on Expedia:
- American Express Green Card: This card earns 3X points on eligible travel and transit purchases, and at restaurants worldwide; and 1X points on all other purchases, and has a low annual fee of $150 (See rates and fees).
- American Express Gold Card: This card earns 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year) and at restaurants worldwide, 3X on flights booked directly with airlines or on Amextravel.com, and 1X on all other eligible purchases. It has a middle-of-the-road annual fee of $250 (See rates and fees) and comes with a lot of perks for travelers and foodies.
- The Platinum Card from American Express: This card earns 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare and hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases. This is the premier luxury travel card from Amex.
Citi ThankYou Points
Citi ThankYou points can only be used for Expedia Rate hotel bookings, whether for the full amount or only a partial payment. These hotels will have a label that says “Expedia Rate.” When you’re ready to make a purchase, choose the “Pay online now” option. At checkout, select “ThankYou Points” as your payment method and designate the number of points you wish to apply. Any remaining balance will be charged to your linked Citi card.
Here are some of the best travel credit cards from Citi that earn ThankYou Points you could use on Expedia:
- Citi Double Cash Card: This card earns you amazing cash back — up to 2% cash back — but your rewards can also be converted to ThankYou Points.
- Citi Premier Card: This card earns 3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations, and on air travel and hotels; and 1X points on all other purchases, and has a low annual fee of $95.
- Citi Prestige Card: This card earns 5X points on airline purchases and at restaurants; 3X points on hotels and cruise lines; and 1X points on all other purchases, and it comes with a number of travel perks and benefits.
Expedia Rewards FAQs
Do Expedia points expire?
Points will expire if you don’t have a qualifying purchase or redemption on your Expedia account for 18 months.
Can I earn American Express Membership Rewards at the same time as Expedia points?
If you book travel on Expedia and pay for it with any linked American Express rewards card, such as the American Express Green Card, you can earn both Amex Membership Rewards and Expedia points for the same travel purchase.
Can I transfer Expedia points?
You can’t transfer Expedia points to a third party. But if you can prove that you were a victim of fraud in regards to your account, you may be able to transfer points to a new account that you open. You do have an option to donate points to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to help fund cancer research. Every 3,500 Expedia points is worth a $25 donation.
Can I pay with a combination of Expedia points and cash?
Yes, for certain purchases. When you choose to use points, you can apply all or a portion of your balance for most purchases. If you’re using points to book a flight, you must pay for the entire flight with points, including taxes and fees.
How many Expedia points do you need for a hotel room?
That would depend on how much the hotel room costs. If you were able to get a member rate for $55 per night, you’d need about 8,400 points to cover the booking and any taxes or fees that may be charged.
You can also use Citi ThankYou points to pay for hotel rooms on Expedia. You would need to have a linked Citi credit card, such as the Citi Double Cash Card, to take advantage of this partnership.
As far as travel rewards programs go, Expedia’s isn’t too bad. It allows for stacking rewards, so savvy travelers can get the most benefit from booking through Expedia. Its member perks may be a little light, but for someone who travels for business, earning an elite status would be relatively easy and the benefits a nice bonus. When you pair the Expedia program with credit card offers from Amex or Citibank, then you have even more options when it comes to earning and using bonus points.
In all, it’s worth taking a few minutes to sign up for the program if you’re planning on booking through Expedia any time in the next year. You may just get some deals and ideas that spark the travel bug in you.