The New One Key Loyalty Program from Expedia: How it Works and What to Know

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Expedia recently launched a new unified loyalty program called One Key, combining and replacing the previous separate programs of Expedia Rewards and Rewards. This new program aims to provide a streamlined rewards experience across Expedia’s family of travel booking brands.

For travelers who frequently use Expedia, or Vrbo for bookings, One Key offers a straightforward way to earn rewards across all brands. Here is an overview of how the program works and key things to know about One Key.

Earning Rewards with OneKeyCash

The new One Key program introduces OneKeyCash, which members earn on eligible bookings made through Expedia, and Vrbo. OneKeyCash functions as cashback that can then be applied towards future travel purchases with these brands.

The earning rate for OneKeyCash is 2% back on hotels, car rentals, activities, cruises, vacation rentals, and packages. For standalone flight bookings, the earn rate is 0.2% back. However, you get 2% back on flights when booked as part of vacation packages.

The 2% earn rate on hotels, cars, and other travel provides a decent baseline amount of cashback. But it is lower compared to Rewards’ prior structure that provided 1 free night for every 10 paid nights booked. Meanwhile, the 0.2% flight earning rate is quite small compared to what frequent flyers can earn by booking directly through airline mileage programs.

One advantage of One Key is that it combines all rewards earned across Expedia Group brands into one shared OneKeyCash balance. The person who makes the booking will earn all of the cashback rewards, regardless of who the actual travelers are. This structure aims to simplify earning rewards points for group and family travel.

Redeeming OneKeyCash Rewards

When members are ready to redeem their accumulated OneKeyCash, there are a few flexible options:

OneKeyCash can be applied towards new hotel, car, and activities bookings in any amount, even if you don’t have enough to cover the full purchase cost.

For flight bookings, you need to have enough OneKeyCash available to cover the entire ticket fare and fees.

OneKeyCash can also be used to offset the cost of existing “Pay Now” reservations already made, again in any amount for hotels, cars, etc.

Any traveler can redeem the OneKeyCash as long as the original booker authorizes its use.

Essentially, OneKeyCash acts as simple cashback that travelers can use to save money on future Expedia travel purchases. There are no blackout dates or capacity restrictions to worry about when using OneKeyCash.

One Key Elite Status Tiers

On top of earning OneKeyCash on bookings, One Key also offers elite status tiers that unlock additional benefits. There are 4 membership levels:

Blue: Automatically earned when signing up

Silver: Earned after getting 5 “trip elements” in a calendar year

Gold: Earned after getting 15 trip elements in a calendar year

Platinum: Earned after getting 30 trip elements in a calendar year

Trip elements include hotel nights, flight tickets, rental car days, cruise nights, and qualifying activity tickets. Each element must be worth a minimum of $25 before taxes to count toward status.

As you reach higher Elite tiers, you can unlock perks like bonus OneKeyCash at VIP Access hotels, room upgrades when available, discounts on member rates, and dedicated Platinum support. However, these elite benefits are relatively minimal compared to the elite tiers offered by full-service hotel loyalty programs like Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy.

What Happened to Previous Rewards?

If you already had existing rewards with Expedia Rewards or Rewards, they were automatically converted to OneKeyCash when the new program launched:

Expedia Rewards points transferred 1:1 as OneKeyCash (100 points = $1) Reward Nights converted 1:1 based on cash value Stamps converted at 10% of their value to OneKeyCash

This conversion was designed to ensure no loss of rewards value with the program changeover.

Pros and Cons of One Key

Here are some key pros and cons of the One Key program:


  1. Simple 2% earn rate on most bookings
  2. Consolidates rewards across Expedia brands
  3. No blackout dates or capacity limits on rewards
  4. Easy cashback redemptions


  1. 0.2% flight earn rate is lower than many airline programs
  2. Elite status offers minimal benefits
  3. Can’t earn hotel points or status through Expedia

For travelers focused on ease and simplicity, One Key provides a straightforward way to earn cashback on Expedia purchases. However, hotel loyalists likely will do better booking direct with hotels and earning hotel rewards. Evaluate each booking to pick the best rewards option.

How Can You Maximize Your One Key Rewards

Here are some tips for getting the most out of One Key:

  1. Consolidate any existing Expedia/ accounts to combine OneKeyCash.
  2. Book packages with flights to earn 2% instead of 0.2% on airfare.
  3. Target VIP Access hotels to earn bonus cashback as an elite member.
  4. Use it when booking travel for others since you earn all the rewards.
  5. Stack OneKeyCash with a travel credit card to earn additional points/miles.
  6. Take advantage of discounts and upgrades at VIP Access hotels as an elite member.

How One Key Impacts Earning Potential

With One Key consolidating Expedia’s rewards structure into one unified program, there are some notable changes in potential earnings to be aware of compared to the previous programs:

The straightforward 2% earn rate on hotels, cars, and activities is easy to understand. However, it is lower relative to Rewards’ prior model of 1 free night for every 10 paid nights.

The flight earn rate of 0.2% is significantly lower than what frequent flyers can earn by booking directly through airline mileage programs.

You can no longer earn hotel loyalty points or elite credits when booking Expedia partner hotels, as those programs incentivize direct bookings.

On the plus side, One Key introduces the ability to earn rewards when booking vacation rental stays through Vrbo, which previously had no associated rewards program.

Bottom Line

While not perfect for every situation, One Key is an easy way for Expedia travelers to earn cashback rewards. For hotels, carefully compare against earning hotel points and status. But for flights, cars, activities and vacation rentals, One Key is a solid option.

The new One Key program consolidates rewards across Expedia’s major travel brands into one simple, straightforward loyalty program. While it has some limitations, it can provide an easy way for Expedia users to get rewarded on bookings.

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