Expedia may have begun as a small company at the dawn of the Internet Age, but it has exploded as one of the most popular online travel agents out there. Funded by Microsoft, Expedia was started by Rich Barton in 1996. It quickly became synonymous with travel as people began learning how to navigate the digital world. From little minnow to big fish, here's why Expedia is a fan favourite for travel lovers.
- Why is Expedia so popular?
- How to use Expedia
- Perks of using Expedia
- The downsides
- How has Expedia improved over the years?
- What’s New for Expedia in 2022?
- F.A.Q’s About Expedia.ca
Why is Expedia so popular?
In the early days of the Internet, booking travel arrangements online often required visits to multiple websites. People frustratingly tried to track down the best deal on flights, hotels and must-see tourist attractions. Booking travel arrangements for just one or two people was challenging. But families trying to plan getaways often had a very tough time. Trying to coordinate the schedules of multiple people was a pain point, especially if they didn’t live in the same city.
Expedia brought everything together on one easy-to-use website. It streamlined the process of booking travel arrangements and changed the travel industry forever. The website quickly gained a reputation for being an easy solution to travelling woes. Expedia has always been easy to use, even for first-time users.
In addition to making travel planning easier, Expedia is also known for its amazing deals. Expedia is famous for its great prices on last-minute flights or vacation packages. The site can often offer travellers prices below what the airline charges. They get exclusive deals given by the airline then pass those deals on to their customers.
In fact, Expedia has now become so popular that some banks have begun partnering with Expedia. Eligible bank customers can earn reward points that can be claimed for travel awards and exclusive deals. TD, for example, offers 5 different credit cards that are eligible for the Expedia for TD program. The partnership lets customers use their rewards points to book cruises, vacation packages, flights, and more.
How to use Expedia
Booking travel and accommodations through Expedia is easy. Start by visiting Expedia’s homepage. At the top of the page, you’ll see options to book:
- Things to do
‘Stays’ is automatically selected for you, so let’s assume you need to book a room. In the top right-hand corner, you will be able to enter how many rooms you are looking for and how many people you’re travelling with. If you find the same room listed elsewhere for a better price, Expedia may refund you the difference.
Clicking the ‘going to’ tab will produce a drop-down menu of popular destinations to choose from. You can also manually enter your destination. Finally, input your check-in and check-out dates.
To add a flight, you must select the box under the destination box and enter the city or airport information. If you need to add a car rental, tick ‘add car’. If you're adding a car, there's no need to enter information yet. Expedia will prompt you later on during the booking process.
To book a flight, click ‘flight’ and follow the prompts. Enter your travel details such as:
- where you’re leaving from
- where you’re going
- whether you need a round-trip, multi-city or one-way ticket
- your travel dates.
Once you’ve found your flight, click ‘select’.
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Need to schedule a rental car? Click on ‘cars’ and enter either a city, airport or address to schedule a pick-up and drop-off along with dates and times. Americans with an AARP membership can tick the box for discounted rates. If you have a discount code, you can enter that here as well. You can also tell Expedia if you have a preferred rental car company, and Expedia will only show you which rentals they have available.
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Clicking on ‘Packages’ will automatically add a stay and a flight to your search options. All you need to do is enter where you’re leaving from and where you’re going. Choose a class of flight from the drop-down menu on the right. If you don’t need accommodations for your entire trip, you can tell Expedia which dates you would require a room by ticking the box beneath the ‘leaving from’ field.
Things to do
Need some ideas on how to spend your time on your trip? Click ‘Things to Do' and enter the destination. Expedia will give you a list of popular activities and places to check. Recommendations are based on things like review scores, the distance from your location and the availability during your travel dates. You can apply your own filters and preferences on the left, search for an activity by keyword or choose a category from the menu at the top of the page. You can also search for tickets to specific events on the main search page.
Finally, you can find cruises through Expedia too. Just choose from a list of destinations and enter approximate departure and arrival dates. You can filter by departure ports, and cruise lines and even search for specific ships.
Expedia is a third-party travel agent. Therefore, all reservations are finalized through Expedia and payments will be made through its secure portal.
Perks of using Expedia
There are several good reasons to use Expedia to book your next vacation that go beyond just using it for convenience. For starters, using Expedia can save you quite a bit of money, especially on accommodation. Expedia generates most of its revenue through hotel bookings. They buy up hotel rooms at discounted prices and then pass those savings onto their customers.
Expedia also has a great reputation for being a reliable and trustworthy third-party booking agent. You don’t need to worry about your accommodations falling through or being scammed by false reservations.
A flexible payment plan
To help make travel even more affordable, Expedia also offers payment plans through its partnership with Affirm. Affirm is a company that offers short-term loans for purchases made online. You will need to be approved first. But if you are, you can pay for your trip in smaller monthly installments rather than paying for everything upfront. Note that this option is only available through their .com website, not Expedia.ca
One thing Expedia is known for is its flexible cancellation policy. You can cancel your booking within 24 hours of making the reservation with no added cost to you. But even beyond that, cancelling anything made through Expedia can easily be done through its website or by contacting customer service. You will often be entitled to a partial and full refund for any cancellations, depending on the cancellation policy of the airline or hotel.
Potential cancellation penalties
Note that while Expedia does not charge a fee for cancellations, that doesn’t mean that the hotel or airline won’t. Be sure that you fully understand the cancellation policy of whatever company you’re booking with to avoid losing money. You can add a ‘fully refundable’ search filter, if you wish, to ensure that you’re only booking with a company that offers a refundable cancellation policy. In many cases, if a refund can’t be issued a credit can be applied to a future booking.
You can also get comprehensive travel insurance from Expedia that protects against risky situations that can ruin your trip. You don't have to worry about issues beyond your control. Flight cancellations, lost baggage, a family emergency or illness and even bad weather insurance can all be added on to your booking for a fee.
Learn More: Get the Best Price on Travel Insurance
Expedia gives its customers even more ways to save through its price match guarantee program. Rewards members can add price-match to any booking for an additional fee of anywhere from $5-$30. If you find the same booking somewhere else for a cheaper price, Expedia will refund you the difference. In some cases, they may offer you a free travel voucher. However, the price match guarantee only applies if you find a cheaper flight within 24 hours of booking with Expedia.
Finally, Expedia lets you collect points that can later be used towards future trips through their Expedia Rewards Program. The more often you use Expedia to book travel and accommodation, the higher your status in their Program rises. The higher your status, the more discounts and exclusive offers you can benefit from, like late checkouts or free breakfasts. Unlike reward programs offered by airlines or hotels, the Expedia Reward Program lets you collect points regardless of who you book with. You can benefit regardless of who you book with.
Expedia is a safe and legitimate company that has been around for a long time. It is in good standing with Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau, so even if its reviews are a bit of a mixed bag, there’s no reason not to trust Expedia.
That’s not to say that Expedia is perfect. There are some downsides to using Expedia.
Not always the best deal
One reason is that booking directly with the airline or hotel can sometimes be cheaper than booking through Expedia. In addition, some hotels offer discounts and perks only to direct bookings. If you are making a booking and looking for better value, you may want to compare before making a final decision.
Travel insurance on a credit card
And while the cancellation policy offered through Expedia is an attractive feature, it might not be entirely necessary. Many travel credit cards offer automatic insurance simply by using them to pay for the reservation, and since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, many travel insurance companies have updated their policies to make them more comprehensive than ever before. So, if cancellation insurance is your driving factor in using Expedia, it might be worth it to take a closer look at what type of insurance you might already have access to.
Getting a refund
Not only that but getting your refund after cancelling a trip can sometimes be tricky, since you need to get the refund through the airline or hotel itself, not through Expedia. If you are eligible for a refund, it can take days or weeks or recoup your losses as you have to track down the specific service provider and request your refund on your own.
Additionally, the low price you see on Expedia is not always what you end up paying after taxes and fees are tacked on. For example, this 7-day Alaska cruise does not include taxes, port expenses, fees or a fuel supplement charge, which sometimes applies to cruise vacations.
Some airlines also charge a booking fee for tickets booked through online travel agents like Expedia. Even if a deal looks great on the page, once you get the checkout, you might be met with hundreds of dollars of additional fees you weren’t expecting, which is extremely frustrating. Google Flights, on the other hand, shows you what you’ll pay inclusive of all taxes and fees.
Other rewards programs
Last but not least, Expedia Rewards is a great way to earn rewards points, but it's not the only way, and it might not even be the best way. Many hotel chains and airlines offer loyalty programs that are much more rewarding than what Expedia offers. Not only that, the reward points you can earn through your travel credit card are often worth more than the points in Expedia’s Reward Program, and it’s easier to accumulate travel points through your credit card, too.
How has Expedia improved over the years?
As Expedia grew, it made a few changes to gain the loyalty of its users and make it easier to use. In 2014 it gave customers the opportunity to leave real-time reviews, letting customers leave their first impressions the night of their check-in. This has been an incredibly helpful way for hoteliers to make improvements while their guests were still checked in, rather than days later when it was too late to do anything to improve the experience.
Last minute deals
Expedia also offers massive discounts for last-minute travellers, so it catered to those users by launching its mobile app. The app made it possible for customers to find last-minute deals even if they didn’t have access to a computer, and many found it easier to stay organized because Expedia kept their travel documents readily accessible. It also delivered push notifications to alert them of changes to their flight itinerary and reminded them to check-in.
Expedia has skyrocketed in popularity due to its partnerships with major hotel chains around the world, but property owners and small businesses can also partner with The Expedia Group and take advantage of Expedia’s search traffic to attract guests to their accommodations. By joining the Expedia Group, you list your property for free and easily connect your own reservation system to the Expedia Group so potential customers have accurate and up-to-date information on things like reviews, your availability and rates.
Expedia gathers data by polling travellers from around the world to find out where people want to go, what they value, and what kind of experiences they want to have while they travel and uses this information to release its yearly Travel Trend Report. This report, published annually by Expedia, identifies and predicts travel trends for the year ahead.
Bundling travel services
Following the Covid-19 pandemic, Expedia turned its marketing strategy around by focusing on value for customers instead of just volume of bookings, such as combining hotel, flight and activity costs into a single price, updating its website to include a virtual agent and began providing health and hygiene information on hotels.
Travel updates, news & information
Latest press releases can be accessed via the Expedia Newsroom. Travellers can get the latest news and research on all things related to travel and tourism, like a ‘summer travel cheat sheet’ which tips travellers off on what the cheapest times to fly are. It has localized sites in 33 countries, which makes planning travel from and within your home country easier, faster and more convenient.
What’s New for Expedia in 2022?
In February 2022, Expedia made some upgrades to its reward program, introducing a new status earning system and making some adjustments to the way customers can earn points.
Very basically, what Expedia has done is combine all of their reward schemes, including those of their subsidiaries, into one program.
Upgrading your status as an Expedia Rewards member to Silver or Gold status used to be based on either the total amount spent, or the number of nights spent in a hotel, but that’s no longer the case. Now, customers will need to add Trip Elements to their packages in order to move up a tier.
A Trip Element is just a part of your booking. Flights, hotels or accommodation rentals, cruises, rental cars and activities all count as Trip Elements. So, for example, a flight with a hotel stay of 3 nights and 1 booked activity would earn you 4 elements (1 element per night booked at a hotel). You need to use 10 trip elements per year to maintain a Silver Status and 25 per year to maintain a gold status.
Clearly, Expedia’s reward system is not the most lucrative, but if it’s a booking platform that you use often, it’s worth understanding how their point system works.
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F.A.Q’s About Expedia.ca
After you’ve completed your booking, Expedia will automatically send you an email that includes your itinerary and, importantly, a confirmation number. The confirmation number is how you check-in and access your boarding pass. When you check in at the airport, you will need to present your photo ID and the confirmation number to the agent to access your boarding pass.
Expedia customer service can be reached 24 hours a day by calling their toll-free number. Alternatively, you can get answers to your questions via their virtual agent. If their virtual agent can’t help you, it will connect you with someone who can.
Expedia customer service can be reached via their toll-free number at 1-(877)-818-7423.
Expedia has booked hundreds of thousands of flights, accommodations, and vacation packages since its launch, if not more. Its success is due to a stellar reputation, so you can trust that anything you book through Expedia is legit.
Expedia’s servers are encrypted and secure. You can rest assured that your sensitive personal and financial information is safe with Expedia.
Customer support agents at Expedia can be reached 24/7 by calling their toll-free number. After connecting, select ‘1’, then enter your itinerary number if you have one, or select ‘4’ to wait for the next available agent. Call times vary, but most questions can be answered by their virtual agent.
Expedia does not charge for changes made to flights, hotel reservations, or car rentals – but that doesn’t mean the airline, hotel or car rental agency won’t charge you a fee for changes made to a booking. Your itinerary can tell you everything you need to know about the company’s policy on changes.
Expedia.com is owned by the Expedia Group. The parent company of the Expedia Group is Liberty Media.
The Expedia Group is the parent company for several online travel agents, including Hotwire.
You can cancel any flight made with Expedia for a full refund within 24 hours of booking the ticket. Beyond that, whether or not you get a full or partial refund depends on the airline. Some airlines let you cancel up to a certain point, like 24-48 hours before your flight, for example. Others might let you cancel but charge you a fee, while some airlines only let you hold a credit for a future flight instead of a monetary refund.
To cancel a trip made through Expedia, you’ll first need to log into your account. Click on My Trips. Choose the flight, hotel, vacation package etc. from your itinerary and click cancel. You will be prompted to confirm the cancellation.
You cannot upgrade your seat through Expedia. Any upgrades or changes to flight tickets must be done through the airline after the booking has been made.
About The Author: Arthur Dubois
Passionate about personal finance and financial technology, Arthur Dubois is a writer and SEO specialist at Hardbacon. Since his arrival in Canada, he’s built his credit score from nothing.
Arthur invests in the stock market but doesn’t pay any fees because he uses National Bank Direct Brokerage online broker and Wealthsimple’s robo-advisor. He pays for his subscriptions online with his KOHO prepaid card, and uses his Tangerine credit card for most of his in-store purchases. When he buys bitcoins, it’s with the BitBuy online platform. Of course it goes without saying that he uses the Hardbacon app so that he can manage all of his finances from one convenient place.
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