Like airlines and hotels that confer elite status on big-spending customers, Expedia is offering two new Mastercards that give perks to loyal customers.
It’s all part of a “broader transformation,” says David Doctorow, Expedia’s chief marketing and strategy offer, that begins with the company’s efforts to personalize the travel experience and overhaul its loyalty program, which it did in July. “Historically, customers have been treated as transactions. We’ve become evangelists for treating travelers like people.”
How do Expedia customers get the people treatment? By signing up for one of two new co-branded Expedia-Citi credit cards. That’s how.
The Expedia+Voyager Card from Citii ($95 annual fee) come with Expedia +gold status, which means users get automatic upgrades, when there’s availability, at more than 1,400 +VIP Access hotels, which average more than four stars.
Cardmembers accrue Expedia+ rewards bonus points — one point per dollar spent on non-travel purchases, two points for dining and entertainment, and four points for Expedia flight, hotel, activities and vacation-package bookings.
Travelers also earn Expedia+ rewards points on airline, hotel, activities and select cruise line bookings.
Travelers can therefore “double-dip” when collecting loyalty points from Expedia and the supplier if a member of the airline or hotel loyalty program, Doctorow says.
He points out, though, that in contrast to the Expedia loyalty program those supplier programs can be “inconvenient” if the hotel location is out of the way or the flight is at a convenient time.
Expedia and Citi are also introducing a no-annual fee Expedia+ Card from Citi Benefits, which offers bonus points after $1,000 in purchases within three months of getting the card, and they are redeemable for $200 in coupons at +VIP Access hotels and $100 coupons at other properties.
The two new MasterCards are replacing a different Expedia-Citi co-branded Mastercard, which is being discontinued.