If you are not tied to loyalty to any of the brand name hotel chains or if you are looking to stay at hotels which are not part of any hotel chain then Expedia might be a place to go to book your next hotel stay. The reason being the Expedia Rewards which have improved over the period of time and can provide good value for rewards on stays which otherwise would not be rewarded.
Expedia Rewards has 3 different membership tiers which is Blue Member, Silver Member and Gold Member. All Expedia Rewards members start as Blue member where they save 10% or more on select hotels and enjoy Hotel Price Guarantee till midnight before the stay. The Silver tier of members earn 10% more in points and get extra's such as free WiFi, free Breakfast or Spa credits whereas the Gold tier members earn 30% more in points and have all the other benefits of Silver tier.
Expedia has two co-branded credit cards from Citi where currently you can earn 20,000 or 50,000 Expedia Reward points after meeting minimum spend and which would instantly give you Silver or Gold tier status respectively.
Earning Expedia Reward Points:
As a Blue member you earn 2 points/$ spent on hotels, car, packages, things to do and cruises which is effective earning of 1.41% and 2 points/$10 spent on Flights giving effective earning of only 0.141% on Flights. If you use Expedia App you earn twice those points effectively making the return as 2.85% and 0.285% respectively.
Silver member earn 10% bonus on the base points making the earning as ~1.574% while Gold member earn 30% bonus on the base points making the earning as 1.857%. (Except flights which earn's 1/10th of that rate).
Redeeming Expedia Reward Points:
The good news is that you can start redeeming your points even if you do not have sufficient points for paying the entire cost. The only exception to this is booking flights where you need to have sufficient points to cover the cost of entire flights (including taxes and fees). Alternatively Expedia has what they call VIP Access hotels where you can redeem your points for participating hotels at twice the value. So instead of redeeming 140 points for $1 you would redeem only 70 points for $1 of value.
VIP Access hotels:
Although classified as VIP Access hotels these can vary in price and does include lot of budget hotels. Expedia uses certain (non-revealed) criteria to classify them as VIP Access, but you will find lot of budget properties which are VIP Access as well.
Here is a little trick you can use. When you are searching VIP Access hotels for your destination after your initial search, under the "Property Type" check box for "VIP Access" and sort by price for you selected hotel rating. You will see a list of hotels and a default selection on the top where it applies your available points. Click on "Remove points" option and you will see the list change with now lower priced hotels which have "VIP Access" bookable. You can select the one which fits your stay criteria and eventually apply the points on the payment page after you select "Pay Now". Below are the two snapshots of search with and without "Remove points" options.
As you can see disabling the apply points after the search shows cheaper hotels by price showing up which did not came up earlier. You can now check out your other criteria for hotel selection and make your reservation of the VIP Access hotel to get best value of your Expedia Rewards points. Hopefully you can take advantage of Expedia Reward points for your next hotel reservation.
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Small miles for big travel
You have heard about the ways to earn those big bonuses for credit card signup or for doing any of the airlines partner activity. But at times you would fall short by few miles (0 to 100 miles) to reach that award redemption and the best available option would seem to be "purchasing" the miles from the airlines. Since the airlines only allow you to buy miles in multiple of 1000 and that too they have additional fee associated with it, it is better to know few other tricks which could be useful at times. In this post I would like to show you few ways of filling up those "small" miles need.
Audience Rewards: Audience Rewards is one of the ways to earn miles/points if all you need is few miles. Every week they publish a trivia which earns their own show points as well as partner airline/hotel miles/points. Answering these trivia takes 2-3 minutes and could earn 10 to 18 points. The beauty is that you need not be an expert to answer these questions as you can find the answers at Inacents blog. The link to the blog is here. Currently you can earn miles for US Airways and Delta Airlines, earn points for Starwood Preferred Guest and also earn BestBuy Reward Zone points. This could also be useful to get some activity on the mileage account so as to avoid expiration of the miles.
Opinion Place: Opinion Place is where you can take surveys and earn Amazon or PayPal Credit. But the hidden gem of this program is that could also choose to earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles. The only caveat is that you need to be qualified for the specific survey which depends on few factors like your interest, liking etc, but once you qualify you can earn anywhere from 75 to 150 AAdvantage miles and at times 225 miles per survey. Although it could take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes to do the survey, it could be worth if you want to protect your miles from expiring or are short by few miles for that next award ticket.
E-miles: E-miles is another place where you could earn e-miles currency which can be redeemed for partner miles or points. The biggest drawback is that since you earn in e-miles currency you can only redeem them for actual airlines miles or hotel points when you reach 500 or multiple of 500 e-miles. Also you can only redeem for the partner airline/hotel program you specified while joining the e-miles program. You earn 5 to 10 e-miles for doing activities like watching a video or enrolling for e-miles vendor programs or just answering few questions. You could earn quick e-miles if you are ready to spend some money on some of their vendors. It is a useful program as you could choose any earning partner from multiple partners while enrolling.
e-Rewards: e-Rewards is another program that awards e-Rewards currency for doing surveys. The advantage of this program over e-miles is that it allows redemption of its currency for any of the large number of airline partners or hotel partners. The trick here is if your primary intent is to earn airline miles you should enroll through any of their hotel partners or vice-verse. This way although you are limited to redeem e-Rewards points towards the hotel partner you used during enrollment you are free to redeem e-Rewards points on all the available airline partners. Since, this is invitation only program, you must enroll in any of their partner airline/hotel programs to receive the invitation (Although this is generally the case you can use the links from "New girl In the air blog" to enroll).
HOTEL POINTS TO MILES
One of the way’s to accumulate miles in the airline frequent flyer program is to collect points in one of hotel programs which allow point conversion to miles. Most often than not the conversion ratio from points to miles is bad but still there are few exceptions to this. So, why would you want to transfer points to miles?
Let’s look into more details about the good hotel programs purely from points to miles conversion perspective.
Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG): SPG is one of the few programs which provides great transfer value:
Wyndham Rewards (WR): WR is another program which provides great transfer value:
Apart from Starwood Preferred Guest and Wyndham Rewards there are bunch of other hotel programs which could potentially earn higher miles at times due to lucrative seasonal promotion offers. Some of the hotel programs which are useful for points to miles conversion are listed below.
Hyatt Gold Passport
This is a good opportunity to get 2000 points for $1. Whether you are collecting points to have a free stay at any of the Wyndham brand hotels or simply collecting points to convert them to miles. Register at greatfunonline using this link. You can cancel the membership within 30 days of membership with no additional fees. Points should post in 4-6 weeks . Make sure you have Wyndham rewards membership [click here to become member] before you register for greatfunonline promo. You can redeem points for free hotel stay starting from 6000 points and transfer to airlines from 8000 points [8000 points is 3200 miles for most transfer partner airlines]. Enjoy!
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