On November 8, I posted that Expedia was reducing earning rates in their program and increase redemption prices as well.
We learned the reduced earning rates, key for me is that airfare earns only 1 point every two dollars spent instead of one point per dollar.
But on the redemption side we only were told that new reward redemption rates go into effect on November 22, but no clues as to what those would be. When loyalty programs tell you changes to an award chart are coming, but refuse to give details, you can usually guess those changes won’t be good. (In the recent case of British Airways, even the things they did say such as that 97% of routes would remain the same or become less expensive were highly misleading, as they were referring only to non-stop routes in and out of Heathrow.)
For folks with point balances — and I have quite a stash myself — there’s only a little over a day left to redeem at existing pricing.
No need to go by my intuition about what will happen on November 22nd, though, a reader passes along a bit of a rambling, confusing e-mail from Expedia on the upcoming changes to award redemption:
For redemptions before November 22, 2011, we will base the flight redeem rate approximately 100 points per dollar while for redemptions starting November 22, 2011, flight redeem rate will no longer be for a dollar for dollar ratio. We will base the flight costs upon the price of the flight at the time of booking. For every USD1.00 in flight cost, customers will need approximately 125 points. Hotel redeem rate is variable and we base the rate on coupon values that start at 7,000 points for a USD50.00 hotel coupon. Your rewards points will not expire as long as you book and complete qualifying travel on Expedia.com or redeem points for a travel reward at least once every 18 months
The price of air redemptions are going up 25%. The lowest hotel reward redemption (3500 points for $25 discount) goes away, the new entry level reward redemption is a $50 coupon which goes up in price from 6000 points to 7000 points (17%).
What we do not yet know anything about is what happens to the value of higher-level hotel redemptions. I’ve been saving up to hit 50,000 points for a $1000 hotel discount. I’ll have to wait until the changes are in place to know how bad they are.