Expedia and Citi Thank You Network are severing ties on December 1.
Currently Expedia’s prepaid hotel bookings and air and hotel packages earn Thank You Points, and Expedia offers a co-branded credit card issued by Citi which earns bonus points for Expedia purchases. That earning goes away for purchases December 1 and thereafter.
Expedia promises a new rewards program in early 2011. We’ll see what they have in store. To date they haven’t been especially aggressive.
Hotels.com doesn’t have an especially rewarding program, but will give you a free night for every 10 booked — the idea being you can book through them and not be tied to specific chains (or specific chain booking sites) and still earn rewards. Sure, those Hotels.com nights can only be redeemed based on your
least expensive nightaverage hotel rate, but it’s something.
Expedia doesn’t reward air-only bookings, which is what I’ve used them for most often. And they don’t reward hotel bookings outside of their lucrative ‘special rate’ offerings. So the Thank You Points was something, an outsourced reward for some bookings, but hardly a driver.
Expedia has an elite program as well, but there’s no real benefits to it other than a higher priority customer service number. When they launched they at least offered to cover the fee for Mileage Manager, which tracks frequent flyer and frequent guest accoutns, tracks expiration dates, and assists with award bookings. That was dropped after a year, and they really just promise ‘special offers’ (aka ‘useless spam’).
Hopefully Expedia’s loyalty rewards re-think will actually be creative, rather than just a way of cutting costs by not having to buy points from Citibank. Anyone with knowledge here, much appreciated.