Clues on Sunday’s Expedia Rewards Redemption Chart Devaluation

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 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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Welcome to the relentless and inexorable define of the value proposition in the travel loyalty game (notice I didn;t say industry). Even warhorses like us are just about out of tricks to maximize benefit. Fuel surcharges, taxes, decreased earning AND increased burning, substantial program changes with no/minimal notice, upgrade lotteries requiring high fare buckets AND no certainty of clearance for most, ala cartization of upgrades, lounges, E+ seats as further competition where $$ can trump status. Low business class fares, frequent specials make award space avails that much more scarce as well. High spenders on credit cards and top-tier status folks are really the sole survivors at the moment.

    Again, there is still some room for playing and winning, but the ‘house’ has slowly but surely done an effective job stacking the deck…even against some of us mileage ‘card-counters’!!!

    Like drinking, the FFPs new mantra is soon, if not now- KNOW WHEN TO SAY WHEN. I am getting precariously close to that tipping point.

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