Expedia introduces One Key, unifying loyalty programs for Orbitz, Hotels.com and Vrbo

May 4, 2022

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Editor’s note: Due to a miscommunication from Expedia Group, this article previously stated that Orbitz would not be included in One Key. It has since been confirmed that Orbitz will be included. The article was updated at 6:10 p.m. EST.

Last fall, the Expedia Group announced plans to unify and expand its loyalty programs across its family of brands, which includes Expedia, Hotels.com, Orbitz and vacation rental site Vrbo. The Seattle-based company said that this move would form what will be “the most complete travel rewards offering in the industry.”

Details are still light, but now we know the new program’s name and have a general idea of when it will officially launch.

In addition to the new loyalty program, the Expedia Group is progressively rolling out new products aimed at making planning, booking and taking trips easier.

Here’s what we know so far.

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Expedia’s new loyalty program

The new loyalty program will be called One Key and will launch in 2023, which is slightly later than originally planned. The unified program will continue to be free to join.

The new program will serve more than 154 million current loyalty members, according to Expedia. One Key will bring together four existing programs — Expedia Rewards, Hotels.com Rewards, Orbitz Rewards and eBookers Bonus+ — and will for the first time offer customers rewards through brands like Travelocity and Vrbo that had no loyalty programs before.

All Expedia Group brands will participate, including far-flung brands like eBookers from the UK and Wotif from Australia.

Related: Ranking the best online travel agency rewards programs

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Members will be able to earn and redeem rewards across all types of products, including flights, hotels, vacation rentals, car rentals, cruises and activities. However, we don’t know yet what the earning and redeeming structure will look like.

Expedia’s existing loyalty programs are currently all very different. For instance, with Expedia Rewards, you’ll generally earn two points for every $1 you spend with the program for hotels (1.4% return), cars, packages and things to do and 1 point per $5 spent on flights (0.14% return). Orbitz Rewards offers 1x on flights and packages (1% return) and 3x on hotels, vacation rentals and activities (3% return). Meanwhile, Hotels.com Rewards offers the most unique earning structure: a reward night for every ten nights you stay.

Whether One Key will offer better or worse value than the existing programs is still unknown, but as with any program change, there will likely be winners and losers. Personally, I don’t see Hotels.com Rewards’ “stay 10 nights, get one free” structure sticking around, given that the new program will need to factor in airfare and other products.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

It’s also unclear what elite status tiers might look like with the new program.

For instance, top-tier Orbitz Rewards Platinum members currently get perks like up to $50 in Orbucks reimbursement for expenses like seat upgrades or bag fees, a TSA PreCheck fee credit and free room upgrades and early check-in at VIP Access properties. Meanwhile, top-tier Expedia Rewards Gold members get higher earnings and similar perks at VIP Access properties but no reimbursements for incidentals or TSA PreCheck credit. Hotels.com offers its top-tier Gold members similar benefits at VIP Access properties, as well as guaranteed two-hour late check-out and a free upgrade to Avis Preferred Plus.

Related: Online travel agency vs. booking direct: Your guide to the best way to book your next hotel

Other new features

In addition to the new loyalty program, Expedia is rolling out new products that should make planning, booking and taking trips easier.

The new features will include a price match promise for airfare, price tracking and predictions, trip boards, smart shopping views and self-service for cruise and flight changes.

(Photo by David Slotnick/The Points Guy)

While these are nice features to have, they aren’t revolutionary by any means. Expedia already offers a price match promise add-on for select flights in the U.S., where travelers are automatically refunded the price difference if their flight price decreases. Meanwhile, Capital One offers this feature for free through its new travel portal. Similarly, price tracking and predictions are already available through the Capital One portal and sites like Google Flights and Google Hotels.

Related: Battle of the credit card travel portals: What’s the best for booking flights?

Bottom line

Expedia’s unified ‘One Key’ loyalty program is launching in 2023. It will be available across all of the group’s brands and products, but otherwise, there are presently more questions than answers.

Details relating to the earning and redeeming structures and elite status tiers are yet to be announced. But one thing is for certain: You’ll still be giving up on earning hotel points and perks if you book through an online travel agency like Expedia. However, you should be able to stack the One Key loyalty program with airline frequent flyer programs to “double-dip” on your earnings. Being able to earn and burn rewards on vacation rentals through Vrbo will definitely be welcome.

Featured photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy.

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