Expedia is an online travel agency that might come up in your search to find deals on all types of travel, including flights, hotels and rental cars. But how does it compare to other booking options? Is Expedia a good deal or more reliable compared to booking with other OTAs, let alone versus booking directly with a travel company?
Let’s take a look at how Expedia works and whether it’ll save you money.
How does Expedia work?
Because Expedia is a travel agency, its website or app’s travel search features will return you results from multiple companies. For instance, if you search for a hotel in Miami, Expedia will display options from brands like Marriott, IHG, Hilton and Hyatt, and even boutique hotels.
Booking on Expedia is much faster than going to each company’s individual website, since it can be a good way to compare prices from multiple options at once.
How to find and book travel on Expedia
Like other OTAs, you’ll book travel using Expedia’s website or app.
If you’re on a computer, once you’re on the site’s homepage, you can enter your search details. Expedia allows you to book hotels, flights, rental cars, cruises, vacation packages and even things to do.
Once you’ve completed your searching, you’ll be taken through the booking process. As an OTA, Expedia acts as the intermediary between you and the actual travel operators.
Nerdy tip: Many hotels and rental car agencies have restricted the ability to earn points or elite status credits when using an online travel agency for bookings. This does not generally apply to airlines, so you can usually still earn miles for flights booked through OTAs.
This means that if you were looking for a stay and chose to book a Marriott hotel through Expedia, Expedia would take your booking, head on over to Marriott to confirm availability, then process your reservation. It’ll then pass on those reservation details to the Marriott hotel.
Is Expedia reliable?
You might be cautious of go-betweens or third-party booking sites, but Expedia is a legitimate, well-known online travel agency that’s been around for years. Microsoft originally launched the Expedia website in 1996. These days, Expedia is part of the larger Expedia Group, which includes brands such as Hotels.com, Orbitz, Hotwire, Travelocity, Vrbo and CarRentals.com.
All this is to say that Expedia is a reliable company. This isn’t some shady, fly-by-night operation.
However, you’ll always want to be careful when booking with a third party. It may be harder to change or cancel your reservation, and it might be wise to confirm any reservations directly with the travel operator. You’ll want to be sure that the details of your travel are correct and the reservation was actually made.
Ways to get a good deal on Expedia
Expedia can offer cheap travel deals across the spectrum, but it doesn’t just stop at your booking. There are a few other ways to help pump up the savings on your vacations.
Use a travel credit card to get rewards
If you aren’t already using a credit card to book your travel, you ought to be. Travel credit cards can also offer benefits such as complimentary travel insurance and the ability to earn bonus points on your purchases.
NerdWallet values Chase points at 1.9 cents each if you take advantage of transfer partners. That means you’ll be getting a 5.7% return when using this card to book travel, including bookings made on Expedia.
Sign up for Expedia Rewards
If you book any travel with Expedia, it’s worth it to sign up for the site’s free member rewards program. As a member, you’ll receive a 10% or more discount on select hotels, as well as the ability to earn reward points toward future travel.
You can also opt to get an Expedia credit card if you really want to pledge your loyalty to the brand.
Take advantage of Expedia’s best price guarantee
Expedia has its own best price guarantee when booking hotels, which will refund you the difference in cost if you find a cheaper price elsewhere. There are restrictions for this process — the cheaper option must be identical to Expedia’s offering, and you must be able to provide proof. If you’ve found a lower price, submitting a claim for a price match can be a good way to save money on your hotel bookings.
However, before you go ahead with your Expedia booking, you’ll want to check the prices for hotels when booking directly. This is because major hotel chains such as Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott often not only match a lower price you found elsewhere, but they’ll also provide up to a 20% to 25% discount on the entire stay or bonus points.
Skip rental car insurance if you already have coverage
As we mentioned above, Expedia offers the ability to rent cars. Along with the booking, you can also opt to include extras, such as additional drivers and rental car insurance.
Expedia is legit
Expedia has grown to become one of many large travel brands under the Expedia Group designation. While booking travel via an OTA can save you money, you’ll always want to double check your reservations with the travel provider and only book reservations that you are fairly confident that you’ll keep. Canceling can be a huge headache.
However, when stacked together with multiple ways to earn rewards, Expedia can be a great way to save some money on your travels.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for: