Expedia Group is taking the bold move of launching a consolidated loyalty program streamlining how you earn and redeem travel rewards on Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo. There are several loyalty tiers that can help you earn more and be eligible for exclusive discounts.
To kick it off, they invited me to New York City for the big celebration, which included staying at the swanky Gansevoort Meatpacking and a party at the top of the Standard Hotel.
There were some celebs there including the GOAT of Snowboarding, Shaun White (photo above) and entertainment mogul and chairman of Expedia Group, Barry Diller.
But you probably don’t care about all that stuff. You want to know what this new rewards program will do for you. So here’s a closer look at Expedia One Key.
What is Expedia One Key?
One Key is the new travel loyalty program that officially launched on July 6, 2023. It merges the existing Expedia and Hotels.com rewards programs and allows travelers the opportunity to earn perks from Vrbo bookings as well.
It’s free to join and it can be easy for occasional and frequent travelers to accumulate rewards and advance the loyalty tiers.
The loyalty program is currently available in the United States but will be rolling out worldwide soon providing more ways to earn travel rewards and discounts.
Win Free Travel For a Year
To help celebrate One Key’s launch, one traveler can win $60,000 in OneKeyCash rewards to travel for free for one year. The grand prize deposits as a $5,000 monthly credit for 12 months. The rewards cash can be used for any eligible travel on Expedia, Hotels.com, or Vrbo.
You can enter this giveaway by following these steps:
- Follow the @expedia, @hotelsdotcom and @vrbo on Instagram, and
- Answer in the comments on one of the three competition posts: What trip would you most like to unlock and why and include the hashtags #OneKey and #contest in your comment.
Entries are accepted between Tuesday, July 18 at 8:01am PT/11:01am ET and will end on Friday, July 21 at 11:59pm PT/Saturday, July 22 at 2:59am ET. Here is a link for the contest rules.
One Key Loyalty Tiers
There are four loyalty tiers—Blue, Silver, Gold, Platinum. The member benefits increase incrementally with a higher tier status.
New members start at the entry-level Blue tier, which includes a minimum 10% savings thanks to Member Prices at thousands of hotels worldwide and the ability to earn OneKeyCash rewards currency for future award trips.
Members can advance to the next level by completing “trip elements” which are various travel purchases across the three Expedia Group platforms.
An trip element is a different travel purchase worth $25 or more in US dollars and includes:
- Eligible flight
- Hotel room night
- Vacation rental night
- One round-trip ground transportation ticket (airport shuttles, transfers, etc.)
- One activity ticket (private tour, theme park ticket, etc.)
For example, a round-trip flight, five nights in a vacation rental, and five car rental days equals 12 travel segments. That’s enough to reach the first elite status level (Silver).
Below is a summary of how many segments you need for each loyalty tier:
- Blue: Zero segments
- Silver: 5 trip elements within a year
- Gold: 15 trip elements within a year
- Platinum: 30 trip elements within a year
Here are some of the additional benefits available to loyalty club members.
VIP Access Properties
In addition to saving least 10% at over 10,000 hotels worldwide, additional on-site benefits are available within the VIP Access portfolio on Expedia and Hotels.com. These curated properties consistently receive the highest guest reviews on the travel booking platform and satisfy a standard of quality.
Some of the benefits include:
- Earn bonus OneKeyCash on stays
- Complimentary extra perks (food and beverage discounts, free bottle of wine, etc)
- Complimentary room upgrades when available
- Early check-in
- Late checkout
Price Drop Protection
A noteworthy benefit for Gold and Platinum members is Price Drop Protection on eligible flight bookings through Expedia. Users can receive automatic refunds when the fare price drops after the booking date.
The new rewards currency is OneKeyCash which is redeemable for upcoming trips on the three platforms.
The standard earn rate is 2% back per $1 on eligible hotels, vacation rentals, activities, packages, car rentals, and cruises. Eligible flights will earn 0.2% back.
Earn Up To 6% Back at VIP Access Properties
Elite members can earn bonus rewards on stays at VIP Access properties on Expedia and Hotels.com.
It’s possible to earn up to 6% back at participating properties and enjoy extra perks:
- Silver: 3% back and an extra perk at select properties (i.e., food and beverage access0
- Gold: 4% back, an extra perk, and complimentary room upgrades when available
- Platinum: 6% back, an extra perk, and space-available room upgrades
Your cash becomes available in your rewards wallet approximately three days after completing the trip using the “Pay Now” booking feature. It can take from 45 to 90 days after the trip completion if you opt for the “Pay Now” payment method.
You can also earn and use OneKeyCash on eligible bookings at Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo.
You are able to redeem your travel rewards on US dollar “Pay Now” bookings and vacation rentals.
Regarding award flights, you need enough cash to cover the entire flight cost including fees and taxes. It’s also possible to book flights in someone else’s name. Your award currency cannot be put towards optional extras such as checked bags or seat upgrades.
Your rewards are non-transferable and cannot be redeemed for cash.
Consolidating multiple loyalty programs into a single platform can be beneficial if you alternate between Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo for the best travel deal. This merger makes sense as all three platforms are part of the Expedia Group umbrella and it helps make award travel more accessible for individuals and families.