slashes value of rewards in revamp

Everything you need to know

If you are a Hotels. com fan then no doubt you’ll have heard that its rewards programme is changing. So what does it mean for you and will your current rewards be affected? 

We’ll tell you all you need to know about your existing rewards and what will be happening to them.

What is happening to rewards?

Some time between July and October this year, rewards will be changing to a scheme called One Key, which is a loyalty programme for Hotels. com, Expedia and Vrbo all rolled into one.

With the current rewards, when you complete 10 nights, you get a credit towards a future booking for the average cost of those 10 nights (excluding VAT and fees). 

This means that you are receiving 10% back on your spend (excluding VAT and fees). Unfortunately, under the new One Key scheme, you’ll only get the equivalent of 2% back.

With the new scheme, however, you won’t have to wait for 10 nights to redeem your rewards, as you’ll be able to use your rewards as you receive them and for more than just hotel stays, including options such as flights and car hire.

How it’s changing

Reward schemeEarning rewardsSpending rewards
Hotels.com1 night free for every 10 booked (worth 10% of spending before taxes and fees)Have to stay 10 nights before you can exchange for a free night stay
One KeyEarn 2% back on bookings at Hotels. com, Expedia & Vrbo (0.2% on flights)Spend rewards as you earn them on all aspects of travel at Hotels. com, Expedia & Vrbo 

How will this affect my existing rewards?

The good news is that your existing free night rewards won’t expire. They will be converted into One Key’s rewards, OneKeyCash, at their existing value and the expiry date will remain the same.

So if you have a reward night worth £100 this will be converted to £100 in OneKeyCash under the new scheme.

If you haven’t earned a reward night, the stamps you have collected towards a reward night will be turned into OneKeyCash based on their existing value, i.e. each stamp will be worth 10% of the cost of that particular night excluding VAT and fees. So a £200 stay will turn into £20 credit on One Key.

What will happen to my tier status?

Existing Hotels. com members will have their eligible activity counted towards their One Key tier status. To calculate this they will either take your calendar year 2023 activity or your activity from January 1, 2024 to the date you join One Key, whichever is higher.

It’s worth noting, that rising through the One Key tiers will be much easier and require less trips than with the Hotels. com tier system. You can read more about the tiers in our One Key review.

Can I still earn rewards before the change?

Importantly, the reward is earned when you stay, not when you book. So you can make Hotels. com bookings for stays up to the end of June (or until you become a One Key member) that will still reward you a 10% return. 

But since we don’t know exactly when the change to One Key will happen, it’s impossible to say whether your future bookings will earn the current 10% or the new 2%.

Once the changeover happens, you will earn OneKeyCash for all eligible nights in a booking, where the stay is completed on or after the date you become a One Key member, including any nights booked beforehand.

Will I be better off spending my rewards now or transferring them to One Key?

The value of any existing rewards in your Hotels. com account will be worth the same in One Key, although you’ll be able to spend your One Key rewards (OneKeyCash) on other travel options, not just hotel stays. 

Earning rewards is obviously worth more in Hotels. com (an average 10%) than One Key (2%) so you are better off building up your rewards before the transfer to One Key comes into effect (some time between July and October). So if you are planning on taking a trip in the coming months, you’ll earn more in Hotels. com rewards if you take the trip before the changeover occurs. Any excuse to book a getaway!

Expedia Rewards are changing too

When it comes to Expedia Rewards, these are also moving over to One Key. There’s little change, although you may be better off with the move. 

Where you earned 1 point for every £1 spent on eligible stays, car hires, activities and packages (which worked out as 1%), with One Key, you’ll be earning 2% in OneKeyCash for every £1 you spend. 

And where Expedia Rewards members earned one point for every £5 spent on eligible flight bookings, with One Key, members will earn the same 0.2% in OneKeyCash per £1 spent on eligible flights – but thanks to the lower spend threshold to trigger the cashback, you’ll likely earn a little more.

Your Expedia Rewards points will be converted to OneKeyCash when you become a One Key member. Until then, you will continue to earn Expedia Rewards points on eligible travel completed before the date you become a One Key member.

Do I need to do anything to my, Expedia or Vrbo accounts?

When One Key launches, existing Expedia and Hotels. com Rewards members will be automatically moved to the new programme. New members will be asked to set up an account or log in to your existing account and to accept terms and conditions.

3 thoughts on “ slashes value of rewards in revamp

  1. I will be cautious in taking that view as currently we do not earn anything until a booking is made but I see your point though! Have you joined the facebook group – this is worth a discussion there!

  2. Hi! Great succinct review. I hadn’t laid attention to the emails from and your clear abridged review helped me get a good overview of all important changes. Thank you!

  3. Before we all rush to cancel everything, I wrote to saying:

    At present, I have a number of bookings through you before the end of October, the latest date you say will be safe on the current scheme.
    However, all of them were made with the booking screen saying that the booking would earn the 1 night value in the current scheme. I assume that my contract with you for those bookings means that you will honour that and not renege on it when your new laughable scheme comes in.
    Please confirm that this is the case so that I do not need to cancel and rebook elsewhere those outstanding stays.
    Thanking you in anticipation.

    They replied:

    Secondly, till the launch of OneKeyCash, you will earn stamps for each reservation. After OneKeyCash is launched, all the bookings that were already booked will start to earn OneKeyCash with the value of stamps. Bookings made after the launch of OneKeyCash will earn Onekey with a value of 2% for each eligible booking.

    My reading of this is all bookings made prior to the actual changeover day will be honoured at the notional 105 cash value of each of them. So it looks like we should hang on for now. Perhaps this is a cunning marketing ploy to encourage bookings like a closing down sale!

    Do you agree with that interpretation.


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