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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