|by Sean O'Neill||Frequent Flier Miles, Loyalty Programs, Online Travel Agencies||17|
The program adds earning opportunities, with rewards for booking air travel for the first time, as Budget Travel was the first magazine to report.
The online agency recently revealed its reward chart.
The bad: Users earn a point for every dollar spent on flights, hotels, and activities. That's unimpressive. The redemption rate is much better for the programs of Hyatt, Starwood, and Priority Club—assuming you frequently stay at the same hotel chain repeatedly on your trips.
The good: Users earn 2 to 4 points for every dollar spent on hotel and flight vacation packages, depending on the size of the package. That's a much better deal. This plan amounts to a 4 to 8 percent rebate for booking packages.
In another hassle, you have to collect at least 3,500 points (earned after spending about $3,500) before you can redeem them for a coupon, which will be worth—wait for it!—$25 off your next hotel stay.
On the bright side, a $25 coupon is more than Expedia was offering before—and it's far more than its competitors are delivering still.
Another perk: Unlike frequent flier programs, Expedia's program allows you to earn points for all of the the travel you purchase for yourself all of your family members.
There are some ways to game the system:
Go to Ebates first and then log into Expedia to earn additional separate rewards—a favorite trick of the rewards blog A View from the Wing. Also, if you pay with a credit card that offers bonus points for travel (like a Bank of America Worldpoints card) you can earn points in two ways for the same travel purchase.
It's even more appealing to use a Mastercard through end of August 2011, because of a promotional. Expedia Rewards members can rack up double base points when booking an Expedia Special Rate hotel or hotel package that is paid with a Mastercard.
Sign up for Expedia Rewards for free.
MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL