2019 Expedia Credit Card Review – WalletHub Editors
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The Verdict: The Expedia®+ Card from Citi is a decent, if complicated, option for people with excellent credit who travel often and tend to book their accommodations on third-party comparison websites — particularly Expedia.com. It’s flexible in the sense that you won’t have to commit to a particular travel provider, but it’s also restrictive in that getting the most bang for your buck necessitates not only booking all of your travel through Expedia, but also limiting your accommodation and redemption options to certain deals offered on the site.
Yes, you will earn 10,000 bonus points for charging at least $1,000 to the card within the first three months of account opening, redeemable for up to $100 toward a hotel reservation, and a $50 statement credit after your first eligible Expedia purchase greater than $50 within 3 months. But you only reap maximum value if you choose one of Expedia’s designated +VIP Access hotels. Similarly, the card’s ongoing rewards provide 3 points per $1 spent on “eligible” Expedia purchases, but that excludes certain hotel and rental car reservations, among other limitations. You will earn 1 point per $1 on all others purchases.
When it comes to the Expedia®+ Card’s fees and rates, there are both positives and negatives to be found. On the one hand, it doesn’t charge an annual fee, which is great news for everybody, but especially for people who don’t spend or travel enough to warrant paying for plastic. On the other hand, this card does not offer 0% introductory interest rates or a competitive regular APR, which makes it ill-suited for financing and everyday spending.
As a result, the Expedia®+ Card from Citi could earn a spot in your credit-card arsenal, but it’s certainly not for those with an aversion to fine print. To learn more, including how the Expedia®+ Card compares to its sibling, the Expedia®+ Voyager Card from Citi, continue reading below.
- $150 In Initial Bonuses: Your first trimester as a cardholder will pay off if you charge at least $1,000 to your card during that timeframe. This total is not Expedia-specific, which means most people can easily meet the threshold with everyday expenses. Doing so will score you 10,000 bonus points that can be redeemed for $100 toward reservations at a +VIP Access hotel. Plus, you'll get a $50 statement credit after your first purchase greater than $50. You can easily search for +VIP Access hotels on Expedia’s website.
Up To 3 points per $1 Spent: The Expedia®+ Card from Citi rewards you with 3 points per $1 in “eligible” Expedia purchases and 1 point per $1 everywhere else. Points are redeemable for a range of options, including hotel reservations, airfare or even donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Unfortunately, you won’t get much bang for your buck with most redemption methods. For example, 25,000 points would be worth just $125 unless redeemed for a +VIP Access hotel reservation, in which case it would be worth $250.
Assuming you use the Expedia®+ Card to make the average person’s $32,010 in annual plastic-eligible purchases, spend your entire $1,186 travel budget on Expedia and redeem only for +VIP Access hotel reservations, you would earn roughly $775 — including the initial bonus and 10% bonus for +silver status members (see below) — in the first two years of use, according to our calculations.
Complimentary +silver Status: You’d ordinarily need to book seven nights’ worth of hotel reservations or spend $5,000 through Expedia to earn +silver status and the assorted benefits that accompany it. But you don’t need to bother if you have the Expedia®+ Card from Citi, as such standing within the rewards program is a perk of membership.
Silver status scores you “exclusive amenities” such as spa discounts and free drinks at many +VIP Access Hotels, 250 bonus points for each stay at a +VIP Access Hotel and a 10% bonus for points earned on all eligible hotel bookings — among other benefits. You just need to make sure you’re logged in to your Expedia account whenever you book travel, or else you won’t receive +silver benefits on that purchase.
- No Annual Fee: You can think of a rewards card that doesn’t charge an annual fee as providing a yearly bonus. After all, not having to pay for your plastic is basically the same thing as receiving an equivalent amount of rewards but better because there’s no lag time or any constraint on where you can use the savings. And with no annual fee to worry about, you will be free to keep your account open for as long as possible, which figures to benefit your credit score given the emphasis placed on the length of your credit history.
Counterintuitive “Eligible” Expedia Purchases: As already mentioned, you will only earn this card’s maximum rewards rate on certain Expedia purchases. The breakdown, which you can see below, certainly isn’t as clear as one would hope and necessitates that you approach booking very carefully.
Eligible Expedia Purchases Ineligible Expedia Purchases Flights Non-Expedia Rate Hotels Expedia Rate Hotel* reservations paid for in full at time of booking Expedia Rate Hotel reservations paid for at time of stay, not at time of booking Vacation Packages Car rentals not part of a Vacation Package Activities listed under “Things To Do” on Expedia.com Cruise bookings
* Qualifying hotels are noted in search results on Expedia.com.
3% Foreign Transaction Fee: It’s a big world out there, and roughly 28% of Americans travelled abroad in 2018. You have to figure that a considerable number of them used credit cards on their journey, considering there are roughly twice as many credit cards in circulation as debit cards. And if you include everyone in the U.S. who buys from internationally based merchants, that figure would be even larger.
That’s why the Expedia®+ Credit Card’s 3% foreign-transaction fee should be taken seriously. Much like you would have to hold a card offering rewards only on domestic travel in lower esteem than one with worldwide benefits, you have to penalize a travel card that charges extra if you want to visit most places in the world.
- Points Expire Due To Inactivity: If you don’t earn or redeem rewards for 18 months, any unused points remaining in your account at that time will expire. That underscores the importance of frequent redemption and only getting a travel rewards card if you travel often. The Expedia®+ Card from Citi certainly isn’t the only offer to leverage such unfortunate fine print, but rewards expiration is a practice that does seem to be waning market-wide.
Above-Average Regular APR: Pretty much everyone who gets approved for the Expedia®+ Card from Citi has excellent credit. But that won’t necessarily save you from having to pay interest on any balance that you carry from month to month at a rate more befitting of someone with fair credit. Depending on just how excellent your credit is, your regular APR could be between 16.49% - 24.49% (V).
The high end of that range could be above the 23.17% average for “fair-credit” credit cards, according to WalletHub’s latest Credit Card Landscape Report. And even if you receive the lowest option, you might find yourself paying more than the 14.45% average for “excellent-credit” credit cards.
Other Things To Consider
No 0% Intro APRs: Ideally, you shouldn’t need or want to finance travel plans because such leisure activities should not demand debt to be affordable. So in that respect, this particular shortcoming might not bother you that much. But when you consider that this card could be used for more than just travel spending through the prism of our recent heavy-handed approach toward debt, things become more problematic.
At the very least, the absence of a 0% introductory rate will ensure that the Expedia®+ Card from Citi can only play a complementary role in some people’s credit-card strategies.
- Help Graduating To +gold Status: Usually, you would need to spend $10,000 or book 15 nights through Expedia to qualify for +gold benefits, but your Expedia®+ Card from Citi figures to make things a bit easier. You start with +silver status (which normally requires spending $5,000 or staying seven nights), thus bringing the requirements for +gold qualification down to $5,000 spent or eight nights stayed. Plus, for every $2,500 in purchases charged to your card each calendar year, you will be credited with one elite qualifying night.
- Citi Cardholder Benefits: Expedia is this card’s headliner, but the fact that it’s issued by Citi also provides some perks. For example, you’ll have access to Citi Private Pass for exclusive entertainment opportunities, Citi Price Rewind for discounts on recently purchased items and a dedicated concierge service.
Compared To The Competition
Expedia®+ Card from Citi
Expedia®+ Voyager Card from Citi
Orbitz Credit Card
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
|Annual Fee||$0||$95||$0||$0 for 1st yr, $95 after|
|Rewards Bonus||20,000 points||25,000 points||$100||50,000 miles|
|Rewards Rate||1 - 3 points / $1||1 - 4 points / $1||2 - 5% Cash Back||2 miles / $1|
|Purchase Intro APR||Not Offered||Not Offered||Not Offered||Not Offered|
|Transfer Intro APR||Not Offered||Not Offered||Not Offered||Not Offered|
|Regular APR||16.49% - 24.49% (V)||15.99% - 23.99% (V)||17.73% - 26.74% (V)||17.49% - 24.74% (V)|
|Editors’ Rating||3.4 / 5||3.7 / 5||4.2 / 5||5.0 / 5|
|Details, Rates & Fees||Learn More||Learn More||Learn More||Learn More|
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