Is Expedia Legit? Can It Get Me a Good Deal?

Expedia's the real deal and offers a loyalty program, but as an online travel agency, cancellations can be tricky.
Carissa Rawson
By Carissa Rawson 
Updated
Edited by Meghan Coyle

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Expedia is an online travel agency (OTA) that might come up in your search when you’re searching for travel deals, including flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises, vacation packages and activities. In 2023, Expedia launched a loyalty program called One Key, allowing travelers to earn and redeem rewards across its three most popular brands: Expedia, Hotels.com and Vrbo.

Let’s take a look at how Expedia works and whether it’ll save you money.

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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.

1. Use a travel credit card to get rewards

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

If you aren’t already using a credit card to book your travel, you ought to be. In addition to earning bonus points on your purchases, some credit cards provide travel insurance free of charge as long as you use the card to purchase the trip.

When booking your trips, use a credit card that maximizes earnings on travel. This includes options such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which earns 3 Chase Ultimate Rewards® points per dollar spent on all travel.

NerdWallet values Chase points at 2.2 cents each if you take advantage of transfer partners. That means you’ll be getting a 7.8% return when using this card to book travel, including bookings made on Expedia.

2. Sign up for One Key Rewards

If you book any travel with Expedia, it’s worth it to sign up for One Key, the site’s free member rewards program. As a member, you’ll receive 2% OneKeyCash for each $1 you spend on travel as well as elite status based on each travel segment booked. One Key is a unified program for Expedia, Hotels.com and Vrbo, so the loyalty perks can be earned and redeemed across all three programs.

By signing up for One Key, you become a Blue member, which — according to Expedia — allows you to save at least 10% on more than 100,000 hotels globally. As you move up the tiers in status, your savings and benefits increase with higher discounts.

Triple-dip your reward earnings by stacking your credit card bonus points and One Key rewards by using a shopping portal when booking.

You can also opt to get an Expedia credit card if you really want to pledge your loyalty to the brand.

3. 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.

4. 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.

But is Expedia car rental insurance a good deal? Not usually — rather than paying extra for this benefit, use a travel card that offers complimentary rental car insurance. This includes options such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, among many other cards. Terms apply.

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 2024, including those best for:

Travel Cards from Our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-5x

5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

Points

Intro offer

60,000

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Points
Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1.5%-6.5%

Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Cashback

Intro offer

$300

Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
4.7
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

2x-5x

Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Miles
See more travel cards
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