Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
& Kellie Jez
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Expedia has been around for a while, and we’re sure most of you have used it at least once to search for a flight.
But do you really know all that Expedia has to offer? And are you really saving money when you book through Expedia?
Let’s dive deep into this site to answer all of your questions and show you everything Expedia can do for you!
While you can use Expedia to book lots of different things, flights are probably what comes to mind first. You can access the flight search by clicking Flights in the main search bar at the top of the page.
Booking a flight on Expedia is a simple process.
First, plug in your departure and arrival cities, dates of travel, and the number of passengers. You can also specify preferences such as ticket type (economy, premium economy, business class, first class), one-way, round-trip, or multi-city.
The search results page will include sorting and filtering options to the left of the screen.
If you have some flexibility and would like to see prices for different dates, click on Flexible dates right above the search results. This is a great tool to see if you can save some money by adjusting your travel dates (the lowest price options will be highlighted in green while the most expensive will be in red).
The prices you see are per person for a round-trip flight, and they include taxes and fees (except for any baggage fees the airline charges).
Once you have found the departure flight you like, click Select to continue with your purchase.
Next, you will be prompted to choose your return flight. Notice the flights that show a +$0 round-trip price — these are the options included in the price you were quoted.
Some flights could have a higher price, which will be added to the original price. Again, click on Select once you have chosen your flight.
You will then be prompted to bundle a hotel with your flight to save money — more on this in the Packages section below.
From here, you can confirm your flight details and add upgrades if you wish. Double-check your price on the right side of your screen. If there are any booking fees for your purchase, they will be listed here.
Click the blue Check out button to proceed. Then you can fill out your payment and traveler information to complete your purchase.
Hot Tip: Expedia offers free cancellation within 24 hours of booking your flight!
As you are completing your booking, you may be asked if you want to purchase travel insurance. Purchasing additional insurance is a personal decision, so be sure to do what you are comfortable with. However, make sure you are an informed consumer first.
There are many travel rewards credit cards with travel insurance so you may not need an extra policy. Cards including the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card come with perks such as trip cancellation insurance and lost luggage insurance.
So if you are purchasing your flight with the right credit card, you could already have all of the insurance you need.
Hot Tip: For a full run-down of the types of insurance offered by credit cards, check out our guide to credit card insurance. And for the times you think you might need to purchase additional coverage, be sure to refer to our guide to buying the best travel insurance.
Does booking your flight through Expedia save you money? Let’s take a look.
We searched for a round-trip flight from Columbus, Ohio to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and compared the cheapest option on Expedia to other OTAs and the airline’s website.
We did a second search, from Atlanta, Georgia to Paris to see where we could find the lowest price, and again, the same price was found on all of the sites.
In these situations, it’s best to decide what type of rewards you want to earn (Expedia Rewards vs. Orbitz Orbucks vs. airline miles for example), so you know the best place to book.
To start your hotel search on Expedia, just click on Stays in the main search bar. Input your destination, travel dates, and the number of travelers and rooms, then click Search.
You’ll be able to filter your search results using the map or various features including amenities, price, or property type listed on the left side of the screen.
Each search result will show you the price per night.
The search results will also give you some other information at a glance, including the cancellation policy and any special amenities the hotel might offer (like free breakfast or a resort credit).
Click on a selection to see more information, including room types and prices. The price shown is always for a base-level room. If you want a premium room or suite, your price will increase from what is initially shown.
Once you have selected your room, click on the blue Reserve button to continue. Then you can fill out your traveler and payment information.
Pay special attention when booking all-inclusive resorts or other types of properties that charge by the person. Be sure you are booking for the correct number of people!
Hot Tip: When searching for accommodations on Expedia, you’ll find vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts, condos, and villas in addition to hotels and resorts.
Just as when booking a flight, Expedia will try to sell you hotel booking protection, aka insurance. So, what does it include, and do you really need it?
The first thing you need to know is that this insurance will vary depending on the state you live in. Go here to access the policies for each state.
While there are definitely situations when purchasing extra insurance is a good idea, often you will have some degree of coverage from your credit card, so double-check your benefits before considering an additional purchase.
You might notice that some properties offer special member pricing. All you need to do to access these prices is to create a free Expedia account.
After a comparison of prices before and after creating an account and logging in, the member prices were indeed lower.
For the properties checked, the savings ranged from $18 to $58 per night. So, it’s definitely worth creating a free account if you plan to book a hotel through Expedia!
Now let’s see if Expedia can save you money when booking a hotel. Here are our search results for a week-long stay in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for 2 people:
|Hotel Name||Price on Expedia||Price on Hotel’s Website|
|Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa All-Inclusive||$3,695||$3,692|
|Eden Roc at Cap Cana||$6,528||$6,528|
|Barceló Bávaro Palace All Inclusive||$1,469||$1,714|
Expedia matched (or almost matched) or beat the prices for all 3 of the hotel examples. Plus in each instance, Expedia offered a more flexible cancellation policy.
When you are booking a chain hotel such as Hilton or Hyatt, it usually makes sense to book through the hotel’s website even if the price is the same. Hotels booked through Expedia won’t earn hotel points, and any elite status you have may not be recognized.
If you’d like to book a combination of a flight, hotel, and/or rental car, check out the Packages section of Expedia.
You will see search results that look familiar — you can sort and filter your list just as you do when you search for a hotel or flight separately. The thing that is different is that the price listed is per person and includes all portions of your trip (hotel and flight, for example), plus taxes and fees.
After you choose your hotel, you will be prompted to choose a flight.
When reviewing the second part of your package, you might notice that there are different prices. If the price is negative, your trip cost will go down; if it is positive, the cost will go up.
Continue to select the rest of your flights and any other portions you bundled with it. Right before you finalize your payment, you will have the opportunity to upgrade your flight or add things like airport transfers and activities.
While not a guarantee, during our research, we’ve found that package deals can be where the biggest savings are.
Let’s take a look at some examples for a week-long hotel stay and round-trip flights for 2 people:
|Trip Destination||Expedia Package Deal||Flight Price if Booked Separately||Hotel Price if Booked Separately||Cost Difference Booking a Bundle and Save Deal|
|Austin, TX to Seattle, WA||$2,010||$513||$1,467||+$30|
|Columbus, OH to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic||$2,443||$1,018||$1,865||-$440|
|NYC to Paris, France||$3,363||$1,549||$1,947||-$133|
While you can see that you don’t always save money when booking a Package deal, there is the potential to save quite a bit — as much as $440 from these examples!!
To book a rental car through Expedia, select the Cars tab in the top menu bar.
You’ll need to input your pick-up and drop-off locations and dates, and you can also specify your preferred rental company or input a coupon code by clicking the I have a discount code dropdown arrow.
Your search results list will default to Expedia’s recommended choices. To change the list to sort by price, just select Total Price in the sort options right above your search results.
To narrow your list, use the filtering options at the left side of your screen. You can filter your results by options including car type, price, and even payment options.
Before completing your booking, you’ll be able to double-check the details of the reservation and request extras such as a navigation system or child car seat.
Hot Tip: You might notice that there are 2 different prices listed: per week/day and total price. Pay attention to the total price — this will be the higher of the 2, which includes all days and taxes and fees.
Next, you will need to fill out your payment information and decide if you want to add insurance.
You can feel confident declining the insurance if you have a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which comes with primary rental car insurance. This benefit covers any loss, theft, or damage to the rental car, as well as towing.
There are many credit cards with rental car insurance, so check your wallet before purchasing an extra policy.
Keep in mind that these policies don’t apply to all car types (luxury sports cars are generally not included) and can vary by card, so be sure to double-check the specifics for your card.
In comparing prices between different online travel agencies, we have come to this conclusion: there is no single place where you will find the best prices every time.
Here is what we found when searching for a week-long economy car rental in Punta Cana:
|Website||Price for 1-Week Car Rental|
|Fox Rent A Car||$95.47|
|Payless Car Rental||$93.14|
|Priceline||$79.57 (pay at the time of booking)|
In this example, Priceline offered the lowest price, but you had to pay for your reservation upfront. All of the other prices were for reservations that you could pay at the time of rental. So if flexibility is important to you, Expedia would be a good option here.
The search feature for Expedia cruises is pretty simple. First, click on Cruises in the main menu bar. Input your destination, month of departure, and the number of travelers, then click Search.
If you choose a popular destination like the Caribbean, there will be a lot of choices, so you will want to use the filtering options to narrow your results by things like cruise length, departure port, or cruise line.
You will also have the option to sort your list of results by price (listed per person), departure date, and length of cruise.
Each cruise result will display basic information and the price per person.
Next, you’ll choose your cabin type. This can be a bit overwhelming if you have never cruised before! You will have options including interior cabin, ocean view, balcony, and suites. Then there are even more options in each of those categories.
You will also be able to see if there are any special offers that come with each room type — these offers are usually from the cruise line and not exclusive to Expedia.
Hot Tip: Read the description of your room very carefully — many categories of rooms sound similar. An ocean view room usually just has a small porthole (often with obstructed views). Large ships can have balcony rooms overlooking the atriums in the center — so if you want a balcony that faces the ocean, be sure to book an ocean view balcony, not just a balcony!
When pricing out several cruises, we found that most of the time, the price was the same on Expedia as it was on the cruise’s website and other online travel agencies.
While the base prices tend to be the same across most websites, you’ll often find that the extra perks and benefits like ship credit or free specialty dining can vary by website, so it’s always best to check a few before booking.
If you collect Expedia Rewards points, it might make sense to book through Expedia. Otherwise, you might want to book directly with the cruise line or see if any other sites offer any extras.
Either way, make sure you are using a credit card that earns bonus points on cruise travel when booking direct or a card that earns points on general travel when booking through Expedia to earn lots of points for your purchase.
Hot Tip: Booked your cruise but not sure how to prepare? Check out this ultimate cruise packing guide with tons of tips and advice.
You can use Expedia to book activities at your destination, too. Just go to the Things to Do tab in the main menu, enter your destination and dates of travel, and then click Search.
You will likely have lots of results, which you can filter by criteria including activity type and budget.
Each result will give you some basic information about the activity, including the price per person and the name of the tour company. Remember, it’s always a good idea to check what the prices would be if you booked direct.
Click on any result to get more information, check availability for your dates, and complete the booking.
Hot Tip: You can earn or redeem Expedia Rewards points when booking activities through Expedia.
When pricing out a few activities, we found that the prices were all over the map:
So, again, there is never a right answer here. Expedia is often a good choice for booking things to do during your vacation, but it never hurts to do a quick check on the tour operator’s site.
If you’ve got some flexibility, check out Expedia’s featured deals under the Deals tab under the More travel dropdown menu.
The deals are broken down by location and are usually only available for specific dates, so it’s good to have some flexibility if you’re looking to save the most money.
When you click on each deal, you should be taken to a search results list with your chosen deal at the top, but we found that wasn’t always the case. Sometimes we could see the deal, but sometimes it was nowhere to be found.
You can find Expedia coupon codes in a few different places.
First, you can try the Expedia coupons page. Coupons are not always available, but it’s good to check before making a purchase.
You can also check some of the popular coupon sites. Here are some links to check out the next time you are using Expedia:
One Key is the rewards program shared by Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo. It allows you to earn points called OneKeyCash on eligible hotels, vacation rentals, flights, car rentals, and more across the 3 brands.
Members receive 2% in OneKeyCash for every dollar spent on eligible hotels, vacation rentals, activities, packages, car rentals, and cruises. Unfortunately, the earning rate for flights is poor — just 0.2% in OneKeyCash for every dollar spent on eligible flights.
Members can also receive discounts of 10% or more on hotels and up to 30% when booking a hotel and flight together.
Just as with most frequent flyer or hotel rewards programs, One Key offers different levels of status. Status levels are determined based on how many trip elements you collect. You’ll get 1 trip element for each hotel or vacation rental night, each flight, each car rental day, each cruise night, and each activity ticket.
|Requirements||0 to 4 trip elements||5 to 14 trip elements||15 to 29 trip elements||30+ trip elements|
|Earn OneKeyCash on eligible stays, flights, car rentals, and more||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|OneKeyCash bonus||None||Earn 50% more OneKeyCash on stays at VIP Access properties on Expedia and Hotels.com||Earn 2x OneKeyCash on stays at VIP Access properties on Expedia and Hotels.com||Earn 3x OneKeyCash on stays at VIP Access properties on Expedia and Hotels.com|
|Member savings||Save 10% or more on over 100,000 hotels worldwide||Save 15% or more on over 10,000 hotels worldwide||Save 20% or more on over 10,000 hotels worldwide||Save 20% or more on over 10,000 hotels worldwide|
|Get access to free price tracking for flights on the Expedia App||x||x||x||x|
|Traveler support||Priority||Priority||Platinum VIP|
|Get an extra perk when staying at select VIP Access properties (such as food and beverage extras)||x||x||x|
|Room upgrades when available at VIP Access properties||x||x|
|Price Drop Protection at no extra cost on eligible flight bookings made on the Expedia app||x||x|
|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%)||x|
VIP Access Hotels are a group of over 3,000 properties that offer higher standards and consistently get rave reviews and ratings.
All members earn 2% OneKeyCash when booking VIP Access properties and Silver, Gold, and Platinum members get extra perks.
Expedia offers special deals and benefits when you book through its mobile app (iOS and Android). You can earn double Expedia Rewards points on every booking through the app and save up to 30% by booking a mobile-exclusive deal.
If your trip is booked through Expedia, you will also get notifications on changes or delays and will be able to access your itinerary.
Expedia used to offer 2 co-branded cards, the Expedia® Rewards Card from Citi and the Expedia® Rewards Voyager Card from Citi, however, they are no longer available.
AARP Members get an extra 10% off the following hotels:
AARP members will get a $50 prepaid Visa gift card when booking a vacation package that includes a flight.
AARP members receive a 5% cash rebate (up to $350) on eligible group hotel bookings in 9 or more hotel rooms.
As an AARP member, you are eligible for up to 30% off select car rentals at participating Avis and Budget locations and 5% off at Payless locations, as well as free upgrades and 1 free additional driver.
AARP members can receive up to $100 in extra onboard credits on select cruises. The amount will be determined by the cost of the cruise.
Reservations can be made through the AARP Travel Center or by phone at 800-675-4318.
Expedia is a huge online travel agency that offers lots of different products and services, including flights, hotels, car rentals, and cruises. While it isn’t a slam dunk for the lowest price every time, there are deals to be had.
One Key offers points-earning capabilities to get even more value out of every booking you make through Expedia.
Whether or not Expedia is your go-to travel search site, it’s worth taking a look at when booking your next trip.
Expedia Rewards was Expedia’s loyalty program until mid-2023 when it was replaced by One Key.
Expedia Rewards points are worth 1 cent each. Until February 1, 2022, they were worth 0.7 cents each.
You’ll earn OneKeyCash each time you purchase an eligible hotel stay, vacation rental, rental car, flight, and more across 3 brands — Expedia, Hotels.com, and Vrbo. Members receive 2% in OneKeyCash for every dollar spent on eligible hotels, vacation rentals, activities, packages, car rentals, and cruises and 0.2% in OneKeyCash for every dollar spent on eligible flights.
No, Expedia doesn’t offer a credit card anymore. The Expedia Rewards card and Expedia Rewards Voyager card are no longer available.
Expedia vacation packages can be a good deal, but not always. Most of the time, bundling 2 or more things together (like a hotel and flight) will save you money, but it’s best to do a price check before you make a purchase.
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