Top Picks For You

This New Rewards Program Might Be Good for You (or It Might Make You Really Angry)

If you're a fan of's rewards program, you probably won't like this.

Expedia has rolled out a new loyalty program for its three travel brands—Expedia,, and Vrbo—in a move that allows travelers booking through the online travel agency to combine travel rewards for all types of travel into a single rewards account.

The program, One Key Rewards, is the first to include a vacation rental platform like Vrbo, and is now live in the United States; Expedia has plans to launch the program globally in 2024. A spokesperson said in a statement that the program is designed to reward travelers who travel often—but not often enough to earn elite status with airline or hotel programs.

How Does It Work?

Members earn 2% in OneKeyCash, the rewards currency of the program, for eligible hotels, vacation rentals, activities, packages, car rentals, and cruises. On airfare, members earn 0.2% in OneKeyCash. OneKeyCash can be used on a dollar-for-dollar basis toward the purchase of most pre-paid travel products, with the exception of airfare, which requires the member to have enough OneKeyCash to cover the entire cost of the airfare transaction.

The program has its own elite program, which gives travelers points toward status with “trip elements,” so travelers who book multiple elements—air, car, hotel, vacation rental, activities, or airport transfers worth more than $25 before taxes and fees—in a single trip will earn status points on all parts of their journey in the same program.

Continue Reading Article After Our Video

Recommended Fodor’s Video

But What About the Old Program?

Members who had previously enjoyed the rewards program may find their rewards less generous. That program offered members a free stay after 10 nights at the value of the average rate across the 10 nights—essentially a 10% rebate on the rate paid. And it wasn’t just a free night at a certain value—it was essentially a voucher for the average. So, if you stayed at 10 hotels and paid $100 per night for each, you’d get a voucher for $100.

The value of “stamps,” as they were previously called, have transitioned to the OneKeyCash program on a dollar-for-dollar basis. If you had $100 in rewards in, you’ll now have $100 of OneKeyCash. But the generous earnings of the previous program are now gone. Hotel stays now earn 2%, instead of 10%.

The new program, however, while earning at a lower rebate, notably allows earning on a wider range of travel products, so travelers booking more than just hotels with Expedia will see more rewards accumulated into a single account.

What Type of Traveler Benefits?

It’s also worth noting that OneKeyCash is earned on top of any rewards that travelers will earn directly from their travel, such as airline or hotel loyalty points. The program could be considered an “umbrella” program, for travelers who book through Expedia channels rather than directly with the provider. Many of the benefits of individual loyalty programs still apply.

For hotel loyalty points, however, travelers will want to ensure they pay close attention to whether the rates booked are pre-paid or pay-at-hotel, as the former may be ineligible for loyalty points and benefits with some hotel programs.

So, travelers earn at a lower rate, but the benefits of the program are more stackable—and members can earn for items not always included in hotel or airline programs, like excursions, activities, and airport transfers. Another standout is the ability to earn loyalty points on vacation rental bookings, which is still relatively rare in that industry. The takeaway here is that travelers who prefer to book all the components of their travel on a single site will reap benefits, and also earn for trip components that don’t normally accrue points.

What Type of Travelers Should Avoid the Program?

Travelers should be aware that booking through online travel agencies such as Expedia can sometimes alter their experience when dealing with the end provider of their travel arrangements. Many airline and hotel agents are limited in the changes they can make to a reservation booked by an online travel agency. The biggest difference is for ancillary purchases like seat assignments, airline or hotel room upgrades, and airline schedule changes.

Nevertheless, for the travelers who are the primary targets of the One Key Rewards program, many of the features of the program may ultimately prove beneficial—unless they’re fans of the program’s rebates, or prefer to have significant control over their reservations in the event of changes and ancillary purchases.