This post's overview:
- 1 A bit of background about Expedia
- 2 What is Expedia Rewards Program?
- 2.1 Who is eligible for Expedia Rewards Program?
- 2.2 How many points can you earn on Expedia? Which products are eligible?
- 2.3 The tiers of the Expedia Rewards program. How to get Expedia Gold status.
- 2.4 What are trip segments/elements?
- 2.5 Pro’s and Con’s of Expedia Rewards
- 3 Does Expedia Gold status really work? Our experience being Expedia Gold Member for almost 4 years
- 4 Summary of Expedia Rewards & Gold Status review – is it really worth it?
In this post, I will discuss with you the pros and cons of Expedia Rewards. Is it really worth it? And more importantly, does Expedia Gold status really work? It promises you room upgrades and other perks, but in reality, do you get them?
Hi guys, if you’re new to this blog, my name is Liza and I’ve been travelling a lot during the last 5 years (while working full-time). I managed to visit over 100 countries and in the last 6 years, I was mostly booking hotels on Expedia. One of my family members worked for the company, so we enjoyed a nice discount for all the hotels I booked, which was nice. It wasn’t long until I achieved a Gold Status on Expedia. So since roughly May 2018, I have Expedia Gold status and I must say that I did get quite a few perks. Let’s talk about it later in more detail.
Before we jump to the Expedia Rewards Program review, let’s clarify a couple of things first (in case you’re new to Expedia Rewards), e.g. what is this program, who’s eligible, how does it work and how to reach gold status. If you already know all that, fabulous! Just jump to the section that interests you most from the table of contents below.
A bit of background about Expedia
Expedia is one of the world’s biggest travel booking websites or online travel agents (OTAs). Expedia is part of wider Expedia Group that also includes Hotels-dot-com (surprise surprise, Hotels com is part of Expedia, but even though their inventory is the same, the management is different and so is the loyalty program), Hotwire, Trivago, eBookers, Cheap-O-Air and more. If you want to read about all the companies under the Expedia Group umbrella, you can click here.
Expedia doesn’t only sell hotels – it sells flights, packages, cruises (in the USA only), cars and trains (in some countries). It has separate websites for multiple countries, so if you’re booking on Expedia in Canada, you need to type Expedia dot ca. Same goes for the UK and all the other countries. Sometimes it creates confusion.
What is Expedia Rewards Program?
Expedia Rewards Program is something Expedia introduced a few years back and it didn’t get as popular as Hotels com program. Before I decided which one to use, I’ve read tons of positive reviews about Hotels com loyalty program and pretty much none about Expedia. However, for the reason I mentioned above, I used (and still use) Expedia a lot and I must say I’m very happy with Expedia rewards and think that it’s worth it.
Expedia Rewards is a program that lets you earn points on all Expedia bookings, offers you lower prices (as you’ll be eligible for member-only deals), lets you get more perks as you progress to the next tier and lets you use the points to book more products on Expedia.
In 2021, they slightly changed the rules of the program (it was a bit better before in my opinion).
Who is eligible for Expedia Rewards Program?
Expedia Rewards doesn’t exist in all the countries, where Expedia works, but it does exist in most countries in Europe, in the USA (of course) and Canada. Anyone is eligible for Expedia Rewards. All you need to do is sign up – and you will automatically get the initial tier or the Blue Tier.
How many points can you earn on Expedia? Which products are eligible?
As I mentioned before, you can earn points for all your Expedia bookings. You get more points for some bookings and fewer points for the others. You earn around 3 points per $1 (£1 or 1 EUR) spent on hotels, package holidays, cars, activities and cruises. For flights, you get 1 point per $5 spent.
You get double points if you book a VIP hotel, one of selected 4* or 5* hotels that have a special relationship with Expedia and as Expedia says on their website “are known for superior service and great reviews from our members”, which is not always the case, but generally, they aren’t bad at all.
Also, you get 4 points per $1 spent, if you use the Expedia app to book your holiday. I think, in France, it was even 6 points at some point, but that was a temporary promotion.
The tiers of the Expedia Rewards program. How to get Expedia Gold status.
There are tiers of Expedia Rewards program and they depend on two factors (you need to fulfil either of them): nights stayed and money spent. As I mentioned above, you get the blue tier by default.
As a blue member, you just get a discount as a logged-in member (if there is any discount) and you earn points on all your Expedia bookings.
Once you either get 10 eligible trip segments per year, you get progressed to the Silver tier. That’s something they recently changed, as before, activities and car rentals didn’t count towards the tiers.
Silver status lets you get some small perks at VIP hotels like free breakfast or an early check-in and gets you 1 more point per $1 spent.
Finally, if you stay collect 25 trip segments or elements, you reach the Gold status – the most prestigious status of Expedia Rewards. As a gold member, you get some nice perks at VIP hotels, you get free room upgrades at VIP hotels (when available) and 2 more points per $1 spent.
What are trip segments/elements?
When Expedia first introduced “segments” or “elements”, it was a bit confusing. However, later they clarified what counts as a trip element. In case of flights, car rentals and activities you get one element per ticket. In case of hotels and vacation rentals – one element per night. In case of packages, well, the rules of the previous elements apply (e.g. 1 for flight ticket and 1 for each night). If you bought a package that consists of a flight, 3 nights at a hotel and a car rental, you will get 5 segments in total! Hope that makes sense
So many people get curious about the promise of free upgrades in VIP hotels, does it actually work and do you ever get upgraded?
Pro’s and Con’s of Expedia Rewards
Let’s briefly talk about pro’s and con’s of Expedia Rewards and I promise, just after that I’ll tell you about our experience being Expedia Gold Member.
So the pros of Expedia Rewards:
- It’s pretty straightforward
- It lets you earn credit card rewards and air miles together with Expedia points
- You can get more points when booking on the app
- It really works in some countries – you get free upgrades and perks
- You can pay for your hotels or other trip elements with Expedia rewards points
Cons of Expedia Rewards:
- The points aren’t worth much, an average customer only earns $40 worth of points in a year (I guess I’m not an average customer because I always earned way more)
- You don’t get your status for life and you need to book a lot every year to maintain Expedia Gold Status
- Expedia Customer Service is bad (although you never need to use it for points related issues)
- VIP hotels aren’t present in all the cities around the world.
- The service you get is not consistent – some VIP hotels are really amazing and provide you with excellent customer experience while some other ones haven’t even heard of the VIP programme despite being a VIP hotel. Recently, Expedia started admitting some really underwhelming 2* hotels into their VIP scheme and I feel like it might harm the scheme in the long term
Does Expedia Gold status really work? Our experience being Expedia Gold Member for almost 4 years
Alright, now let’s finally talk about Expedia Rewards Gold Status and whether it works. As I mentioned before, Expedia promises that you get some nice perks and free room upgrades upon availability. But do you really get that?
We had Expedia Gold status for the last 5 years and during this time, we stayed at VIP hotels roughly 15 times. That was always in different countries, from Mexico to Japan. So I guess the approach to VIP hotels also is different everywhere. In these 15 cases, I think we got some perks four or five times (this was mainly a free small bottle of wine, a bowl of fruits or late check-out). Expedia usually confirms this before your trip and sends you a separate email.
However, out of 15 VIP hotel stays, we got a room upgrade at least 6 times. We got room upgrades in Rosewood in San Miguel de Allende, in Hotel Presidente in San Jose, Costa Rica (where we also got a free cocktail and food) and in Villa Olmi in Florence.
The room upgrades we had were pretty significant and very nice. Rosewood gave us the room that was twice more expensive, while Hotel Presidente simply gave us their best room. The room in Villa Olmi was also fabulous.
Spending Expedia Rewards points
One thing that made the program not as good as it was, when Expedia changed their Rewards program rules was the fact that they abolished the fact that the points are worth double in the VIP properties. That was almost a dealbreaker for us, as we used to collect points for a while and then treat ourselves by booking a VIP category property, e.g. when our points were worth £70, at a VIP hotel that would be £140. Even though you get more points by booking VIP hotels now, they aren’t worth as much as they used to be.
Summary of Expedia Rewards & Gold Status review – is it really worth it?
To summarise, I must say that for us using the Expedia Rewards program is totally worth it. As we have a discount for hotels and packages, Expedia often ends up being cheaper than other OTAs. However, if we didn’t have a discount, I would be comparing prices with Booking com and booking on the website, where the same hotel is cheaper. It’s not always cheaper on Booking, so I would still end up booking with Expedia a lot. If you like staying at nice hotels, you really get better treatment as Expedia Gold member, not mentioning the room upgrades that happened to us in 30% of the cases.
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