If you already spend most of your travel bucks through Expedia—but don’t spend enough on travel to justify a card with a high annual fee—this card might be a good fit. You’ll get an automatic bump to Expedia’s “Silver” reward status and modest perks (including discounts on select Expedia hotel bookings and a 10% points earning boost on Expedia purchases). Even though there’s no annual fee, you can still earn plenty of rewards points to spend on travel through Expedia. But you won’t get the service that more premium-level cards come with, such as travel credits or airport lounge access.
No annual fee
Lots of travel redemption options
Silver rewards status
Not all Expedia purchases count
Few ancillary benefits
Rewards points expire without account activity
- No annual fee: For a travel rewards card with no annual fee, this card offers a fair bit of benefits.
- Lots of travel redemption options: You can book a wide range of travel on Expedia—flights, hotels, cruises, tours, car rentals, and more. Unlike many other travel rewards programs, you’re not just limited to one airline or one hotel chain.
- Silver rewards status: Normally you need to stay seven nights in a hotel or spend $5,000 per year to get Silver status with Expedia, which is good for booking discounts and hotel perks, but this card automatically bestows it upon you.
- Not all Expedia purchases count: Paradoxically, some popular Expedia purchases don’t count toward earning extra Expedia Rewards points. These include cruises, car rentals booked outside of a travel package, vacation rental properties, non-Expedia-rate hotels, and Expedia-rate hotels that you pay for when you check in.
- Few ancillary benefits: Many travel rewards cards come with extra perks, like auto rental collision insurance or trip delay insurance. The Expedia Rewards card doesn’t come with any of these.
- Rewards points expire without account activity: If you don’t earn or use your Expedia Rewards points, they’ll expire after 18 months.
Expedia Rewards Card From Citi’s New Cardholder Bonus
The Expedia Rewards Card’s new cardholder bonus should be fairly easy for most people to earn. Spend at least $1,000 on anything within the first three months (even non-Expedia purchases) and you’ll get 15,000 Expedia Rewards points.
To offer a bit of flexibility during the pandemic, you may have more time to earn your new cardholder bonus, if you haven’t already earned it. For more information, see “Credit Card Deals Help You Earn and Use Travel Benefits During COVID-19”.
Expedia values its points at about 0.7 cents each, which means the bonus is worth only about $105 toward most Expedia purchases. The bonus value essentially doubles—up to $210—if you redeem the points for a booking with one of Expedia's 3,500 VIP Access hotels, but it's still a meager offer. You can get a much better bonus from other travel rewards cards, even other no-annual-fee cards.
Earning Points & Rewards
One of the drawbacks of this card is that maximizing points is not as simple as it should be. You’ll earn 3 points per $1 spent on Expedia when you pay with this card, and this translates into an effective cash-back rate of 2.1%. The catch is that certain types of Expedia purchases don’t count toward this higher rate, specifically:
- Vacation property rentals
- Non-Expedia Rate hotels
- Expedia-Rate hotels that are paid for at check-in
- Car rentals booked outside of a travel package
Everything else, including flights, activities, and travel packages, will earn the higher bonus rate. But for some people, those exceptions might be a deal-breaker, especially if you like using Expedia to book cruises or vacation rentals.
For all purchases that don’t earn 3 points per $1, you’ll earn at a much-reduced rate—just 1 Expedia Rewards point per $1 spent. This translates into an effective cash-back rate of 0.7%.
Expedia Rewards points expire after 18 months if you haven’t used them to book travel or earned any more points. If you use your Expedia Rewards Card frequently you won’t need to worry about this since any points you earn are credited to your account six to eight weeks after you make your purchase. But if you plan on shelving this card, you’ll need to take this factor into account.
It’s pretty simple to use your rewards to pay for travel on Expedia. All you have to do is search for the booking you want to make. On the checkout screen, you’ll see an option for “Use my points.”
The value of your Expedia points depends on what types of travel reservations you book. In most cases, your points will be worth about 0.7 cents each when used for travel on Expedia. If you use points to book a stay with an Expedia VIP Access hotel, the point doubles, making them worth up to 1.40 cents each. In that case, it will take about 70 Expedia Rewards points to redeem $1 towards Expedia purchases. So if you wanted to shave $100 off of your VIP Access hotel booking, you’d need to enter about 7,000 points on the checkout screen.
If you don’t have enough points to pay for the whole reservation, or you want to save some points for later, you can enter the number of points you want to redeem and your balance will be adjusted accordingly.
For flights, you’ll need to cover the entire fare amount with points—you can’t use points to pay for part of the cost. You can only use them to pay for the whole fare.
To see how the Expedia Rewards Card From Citi’s points stack up, check out our in-depth analysis of what credit card points are worth.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
Aside from making sure you earn the new cardholder bonus and using the card for all of your Expedia purchases, you can make your points stretch further by using them to book one of Expedia’s VIP Access hotels. When you book these specific hotels, your points are worth double, allowing you to wring twice the value out of your points.
Expedia Rewards Card from Citi’s Other Features
- Concierge for booking event tickets, travel, and other services
- Sports, music, and event ticket presales, plus VIP access at some events
Citi’s customer service doesn’t stand out as especially wonderful or particularly bad. You can expect solidly average service from Citi, according to a 2019 J.D. Power survey of credit card satisfaction. The bank ranked sixth of 11 in the survey, scoring 799 points (out of 1,000). The industry average score was 806. However, Citi still does provide some nice perks, including a monthly free FICO score, a handy mobile app, and online customer support chat that you can access by logging into your account.
Citi offers a plethora of helpful security features, going above and beyond the norm. In addition to fraud alerts and zero liability for fraudulent purchases, there’s a card lock feature and account alerts. Citi also offers help with resolving any cases of identity theft, whether it happens with your Citi card or not.
Expedia Rewards Card’s Fees
You’ll pay about the same fees with the Expedia Rewards Card as you will with most other travel cards. Previously, Citi charged a foreign transaction fee with this card. However, it has since removed the fee.