The battle for loyalty between online travel agencies (OTAs) and hotel brands continues apace, with Expedia UK launching its Expedia+ loyalty program (or "programme" in the Queen's English) in the United Kingdom. The launch follows on the debut of the program in Ireland last year. Expedia+ offers some welcome options - but will UK road warriors find the program up to snuff?
The program offers points on flights and car rentals, as well as hotel stays. Details include:
- Three tier levels: +blue, +silver (£5,000 spend or 7 hotel nights) and +gold (£10,000 spend or 15 hotel nights)
- 2 points per £1 spent on hotels, flight and hotel packages, excursions and car hire
- 1 point per £5 spent on flights
- 1 point per £1 on flight and car packages
- +Silver members earn a 10% point bonus, +Gold members earn a 30% bonus
- Soft benefits for +Gold members include room upgrades and flexible check-in and check-out times.
- 3,500 points = Expedia gift voucher worth £25
As Headforpoints.com points out, the earn rate for this program is a little weak. Money quote:
["Expedia+] is pretty underwhelming. You would need to spend £1,750 on hotels to get £25 back which is a rebate of a little under 1.5%. The most attractive part of the scheme may be the hotel benefits, but these are only valid at a selection of hotels branded +VIP. Bearing in mind that Hotels.com and Expedia share the same ownership, it is a bit surprising that Expedia+ isn’t anywhere near as generous as Hotels.com Rewards."
As Expedia is a Nectar partner, members can also double-dip by earning Nectar points alongside their Expedia+ points. That ability makes participation an exeptional no-brainer for Nectar members. The program also promised personalized deals and partner offers - and as with every loyalty program, effective data usage is just as important as a compelling funding rate.