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Expedia’s One Key Rewards Program [How It Works, Benefits]

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Katie Seemann
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Katie Seemann

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Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, F...
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Expedia’s One Key Rewards is the new loyalty program that is shared between Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo. Introduced in July 2023, this rewards program creates a single platform to earn and use rewards across these 3 key travel websites within the Expedia Group family.

In this article, we’ll go over details about the One Key Rewards program, including how to earn and use rewards, the benefits of status, and how these 3 programs — Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo — can work together for you.

What Is One Key Rewards?

One Key Rewards Program for Expedia Hotels.com and Vrbo
Expedia’s One Key Rewards program also works for Hotels.com and Vrbo. Image Credit: Expedia

One Key Rewards is the loyalty program shared by Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo. It replaced any previous loyalty programs these websites had when it was introduced in July 2023. Now, you can seamlessly earn and use rewards across these 3 platforms.

While this is great news for fans of Vrbo, which previously didn’t have a loyalty program, frequent users of the popular Hotels.com Rewards program, which offered a free night for every 10 stayed, may not be as happy.

One Key Rewards is not being used by any other Expedia Group brands, including CarRentals.com, Cheap Tickets, Ebookers, Hotwire, Orbitz, Travelocity, Trivago, and Wotif.

Hot Tip:

If you had a U.S.-based Expedia or Hotels.com account before One Key Rewards was introduced in July 2023, your account should have been transitioned automatically. Vrbo customers must log in to accept the terms and conditions before a One Key account will be created.

What Is OneKeyCash?

OneKeyCash is the currency used within the One Key Rewards program.

Members earn 2% in OneKeyCash for every dollar spent (excluding taxes and fees) on eligible hotels, vacation rentals, activities, packages, car rentals, and cruises. Unfortunately, the earning rate for eligible flights is poor — just 0.2% in OneKeyCash for every dollar spent.

One Key members who have status within the program (more on that below) can earn up to 6% in OneKeyCash when staying at VIP Access properties booked through Expedia and Hotels.com.

VIP Access properties meet consistently high quality and service standards, as deemed by Expedia Group.

Earn OneKeyCash on Expedia.com
In this example, for someone with status, you’ll earn 5% back in OneKeyCash on these hotel bookings. Image Credit: Expedia

The account that makes the booking is the one that will earn OneKeyCash, regardless of who is traveling. For example, if you make hotel and flight reservations for yourself, a spouse, and kids, all of the OneKeyCash earned from the trip would be deposited into your account.

This could be a beneficial feature if you often make travel arrangements for friends and family.

OneKeyCash can be earned on both “Pay Now” and “Pay Later” bookings.

For Pay Now bookings, OneKeyCash will be awarded within 3 days of the trip completion. For Pay Later bookings and all Vrbo bookings, OneKeyCash will usually be credited to the account within 45 days after trip completion, although it could take up to 90 days.

OneKeyCash rewards do not expire as long as you’ve made an eligible booking or redeemed rewards in the last 18 months.

Status Discounts

In addition to earning OneKeyCash, status members can receive discounts of 10% to 20% on select hotels and up to 30% when booking a hotel and flight together.

How To Track Your Rewards

You can easily track your One Key Rewards online through Expedia, Hotels.com, or Vrbo.

After logging into your account, click on your name or profile picture icon, then click on View rewards activity.

How to view One Key Rewards activity
You can easily track your rewards online. Image Credit: Expedia

As long as you use the same email address across all 3 websites, all of your rewards for Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo will be tracked using a single account.

One Key Rewards Status

Status within the One Key Rewards program is determined by trip elements. You’ll earn 1 trip element for each of the following:

  • Activity ticket (theme park tickets, a private tour, etc.)
  • Car rental day
  • Cruise night
  • Flight ticket (one-way or round-trip)
  • Ground transportation ticket (round-trip; airport shuttles, transfers, etc.)
  • Hotel room night
  • Vacation rental night

Each trip element must be worth at least $25, not including taxes or fees, to qualify.

There are 4 levels of status within the One Key Rewards program — Blue, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Each tier is determined by the number of trip elements you have earned in a calendar year.

SCROLL FOR MORE
 BlueSilverGoldPlatinum
Requirements0 to 4 trip elements5 to 14 trip elements15 to 29  trip elements30+ trip elements
Earn OneKeyCash on eligible stays, flights, car rentals, and moreYesYesYesYes
OneKeyCash bonusNoneEarn 50% more OneKeyCash on stays at VIP Access properties on Expedia and Hotels.comEarn 2x OneKeyCash on stays at VIP Access properties on Expedia and Hotels.comEarn 3x OneKeyCash on stays at VIP Access properties on Expedia and Hotels.com
Member savingsSave 10% or more on over 10,000 hotels worldwideSave 15% or more on over 10,000 hotels worldwideSave 20% or more on over 10,000 hotels worldwideSave 20% or more on over 10,000 hotels worldwide
Get access to free price tracking for flights on the Expedia AppYesYesYesYes
Traveler support PriorityPriorityPlatinum VIP
Get an extra perk when staying at select VIP Access properties  (such as food and beverage extras) YesYesYes
Room upgrades when available at VIP Access properties  YesYes
Price Drop Protection at no extra cost on eligible flight bookings made on the Expedia app  YesYes
Receive up to $100 off hotels to upgrade your stay and celebrate the launch of One Key (using a one-time Expedia discount of 10%)   Yes

Once you earn a status level within One Key Rewards, it will be valid for the rest of the calendar year in which you earned it, plus the following calendar year.

Bottom Line:

There are 4 levels of status within the One Key Rewards program. Status is based on the number of trip elements (hotel night, cruise night, car rental day, etc.) earned in a calendar year.

How To Use OneKeyCash

Once you have earned OneKeyCash, you can apply it to Pay Now bookings and eligible vacation rentals at checkout.

To use OneKeyCash for flights, you’ll need enough to cover the entire flight cost, including taxes and fees. Anything extra, like checked bags or seat assignments, must be purchased after booking the ticket, as they can’t be covered with OneKeyCash.

OneKeyCash is non-transferable, but you can use it to book travel for another person.

Hot Tip:

You can apply OneKeyCash to Pay Now bookings and eligible vacation rentals at a rate of 1:1 ($1 OneKeyCash will be worth $1 at checkout)

What Happened to My Hotels.com and Expedia Accounts?

If you previously had a Hotels.com Rewards or Expedia Rewards account, you should have been transferred over to a One Key account automatically.

Any confirmed Hotels.com stamps or reward nights (from the U.S.-based website) were automatically converted into OneKeyCash. A $100 reward night became $100 OneKeyCash. Each stamp turned into OneKeyCash at 10% of the value of the stamp.

Expedia Rewards points earned from the U.S.-based site were automatically converted into OneKeyCash at a rate of 100 Expedia Rewards points to $1 OneKeyCash.

The latest expiration date between your Hotels.com and Expedia accounts was applied to your OneKeyCash balance.

Your new One Key Rewards status for 2023 is based on your qualifying activity in 2022 and any qualifying activity in 2023 up until the launch of One Key in July.

Beginning in 2024, your One Key Rewards status will be based on your qualifying activity (trip elements) from the previous calendar year.

Best Credit Cards To Use With One Key Rewards

The 3 brands that participate in One Key Rewards — Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo — will all code as travel on your credit card statement. Therefore, to earn the most points, you’ll want to use a card that includes travel as a bonus category.

These cards all earn 3x points per dollar spent on all eligible travel purchases, including online travel agencies like Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo:

Another card, the Citi Premier® Card, earns 3 points per dollar on airfare and hotels (not vacation rentals) purchased through online travel agencies like Expedia and Hotels.com.

Is Expedia’s One Key Program Worth It?

To determine whether or not the One Key program from Expedia is worth it, we’ll need to look at what you would potentially be giving up by using it.

If you’re booking a hotel with its own loyalty program (such as World of Hyatt or Hilton Honors), using One Key Rewards will negate any benefits you may be eligible for through that hotel program. For many travelers, especially those with elite status, that’s a deal-breaker.

However, if you have no hotel loyalty or are booking an independent hotel without a loyalty program, One Key could be a good way to earn rewards on your booking.

If you’re planning to book a Vrbo rental, using One Key Rewards could absolutely be worth it since there’s no other loyalty program used with that platform.

VRBO families gathered outside
The One Key Rewards program will be a nice perk for travelers who enjoy booking vacation rentals through Vrbo. Image Credit: Vrbo

Booking a flight using One Key Rewards won’t affect any frequent flyer miles you may earn or any airline elite status. However, the earning rate on flights through One Key is so low (0.2%) that going through a third party may not be worth it (customer service matters may be a bit more complicated when you don’t book directly).

While earning 0.2% in OneKeyCash is definitely better than nothing, you should consider how many points you could earn through other portals.

For example, you could earn 10 points per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars and 5 points per dollar spent on flights with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card through the Chase Travel portal. Similarly, you can earn 10 miles per dollar spent on hotels and rental cars and 5 miles per dollar spent on flights with the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card through Capital One Travel.

Bottom Line:

If you value a hotel brand’s loyalty program or have hotel elite status, booking through One Key may not be worth it. However, if you have no hotel or airline loyalty or prefer booking independent hotels and vacation rentals, One Key may offer a convenient way to earn rewards for different types of travel in 1 spot.

Final Thoughts

One Key Rewards is a new, unified loyalty program that covers Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo. Launched in mid-2023, this rewards program allows travelers to earn and use rewards across all 3 platforms under a single account.

The information regarding the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the American Express® Green Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Expedia own Hotels.com?

Yes, Hotels.com is owned by Expedia Group, which owns other popular travel websites, including Expedia, Vrbo, Travelocity, Hotwire, and more.

Does Expedia own Vrbo?

Yes, Vrbo is owned by Expedia Group, which owns other popular travel websites, including Expedia, Hotels.com, Orbitz, CheapTickets, and more.

What is Silver status on Expedia's One Key Rewards program?

Silver is a lower-tier status within Expedia’s One Key Rewards program. It’s earned after collecting 5 trip elements and comes with benefits such as bonus OneKeyCash on VIP Access properties, a 15% discount on select hotels, and priority support.

What does VIP Access mean on Expedia?

VIP Access hotels are available through Expedia and Hotels.com. These locations offer elite members more perks like up to 6% in OneKeyCash earnings and savings of up to 20%.

What are Expedia Rewards points worth in OneKeyCash?

Expedia Rewards points earned from the U.S.-based site are worth $0.01 each. They will be automatically converted into OneKeyCash at a rate of 100 Expedia points to $1 OneKeyCash.

What are trip elements on Expedia?

Trip elements are the metric by which One Key status is determined. Each night in a hotel, vacation rental, or cruise ship equals 1 trip element. Additionally, every one-way flight, car rental day, activity ticket, or round-trip ground transportation ticket also equals 1 trip element.

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About Katie Seemann

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, Forbes Advisor, and Fortune Recommends.

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