The Expedia®+ Card from Citi is a travel rewards credit card with no annual fee and a solid rewards program that favors people who frequently use Expedia’s travel booking program. It also boasts a very good sign-up bonus and automatic membership in Expedia’s frequent traveler program.
The Citi Expedia+ Card competes with some other travel rewards cards. Some are branded cards, such as Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard and Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express.
Others are general-purpose travel rewards cards not tied to a specific airline or hotel brand. These include Citi ThankYou Premier Card and BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card. Most of the cards with which the Expedia+ Card is directly comparable carry annual fees ranging from $50 to $100, though a handful have no annual fees.
When you spend at least $1,000 within three months of signing up, you receive 15,000 Expedia+ bonus points. That’s good for a $200 credit at more than 1,000 +VIP Access hotels (which are Expedia partner properties managed by various hotel brands) worldwide.
Earning Expedia+ Points
This card earns an unlimited 3 Expedia+ points per $1 spent on qualifying Expedia purchases, including hotels, airfare, travel activities, and travel packages. Non-“Expedia Rate” hotels, cruises, and car rentals not included in larger travel packages are all excluded. However, all other purchases, including the Expedia exclusions, earn an unlimited 1 point per $1 spent. As long as you earn or redeem points during any given 18-month period, they don’t expire.
Redeeming Expedia+ Points
You can redeem your accumulated Expedia+ points for hotel, airfare, and vacation package purchases through Expedia’s travel portal, or, if you prefer, over the phone with an Expedia agent.
You need at least 3,500 points (worth $25 when redeemed at regular hotels and $50 when redeemed at +VIP Access hotels) for hotel redemptions and can pay the balance with cash. However, you need enough points to cover the entire cost of a flight (usually more than 8,000 points) for airfare redemptions. For vacation packages, you can redeem for vouchers worth up to $300 (and down to $25, or 3,500 points) at one time. These vouchers are deposited into your Expedia account for future use.
There are no blackout dates on any redemption method, though hotels, flights, and especially vacation packages are all subject to availability.
Complimentary Expedia +Silver Status
As long as your account remains open and in good standing, you qualify for Expedia’s +silver status. +silver benefits include 10% bonus on Expedia+ base point earnings, 250 bonus points for every stay at a +VIP Access hotel, and dedicated Expedia concierge service in select destinations (including Hawaii, Orlando, and New York City).
Upgrade to Expedia +Gold Status
You get one qualifying night toward Expedia +gold status for every $2,500 you spend. You can also earn qualifying nights when you stay at Expedia-booked hotels. Your spending and night earnings reset at the end of each calendar year. +gold benefits include 30% bonus on Expedia+ base point earnings, flexible check-in and check-out, and complimentary room upgrades where available.
There is no annual fee. Foreign transactions cost 3% of the total transaction amount. Balance transfers and cash advances both cost the greater of $5 or 3%, while late and returned payments both cost $35.
Citi Private Pass
Expedia+ cardholders have access to Citi’s Private Pass feature, which offers exclusive or discounted access to musical performances, sporting events, movie screenings, celebrity chef dinners, and more.
Additional Travel Benefits
This card’s travel-related benefits include lost baggage insurance (up to $3,000 per person), complimentary loss and damage car rental insurance when you charge the rental in full to your card, and complimentary accident insurance on global travel.
This card has a number of non-travel benefits too. These include Citi Price Rewind, which reimburses you up to $300 per item ($1,200 per year) if Citi finds a lower price on a purchased item within 60 days; and complimentary one-year extended warranties on items whose original warranties expire in five years or less.
This card requires excellent credit. Any significant dings on your credit history are likely to disqualify your application.
- No Annual Fee. Unlike many competing cards, the Citi Expedia+ Credit Card doesn’t have an annual fee. That’s good news for cardholders who don’t often travel enough or spend heavily enough to offset such a recurring levy.
- Accelerated Redemptions at +VIP Access Hotels. Though Expedia+ points are typically worth $0.00625 at redemption, their value is doubled when redeemed at +VIP Access hotels. That results in a better redemption rate than some general purpose travel credit cards, including Barclays Arrival Premier® World Elite Mastercard®, which values points at a flat rate of $0.01 apiece.
- Points Don’t Expire. As long as your account sees some activity in any 18-month period, your Expedia+ points don’t expire. This is great for cardholders who don’t want to feel rushed to redeem their points before they’re ready.
- Comes With Complimentary Expedia +Silver Status. This card comes with complimentary Expedia +silver status, which confers a 10% bonus on Expedia+ base point earnings and includes dedicated concierge service in select destinations. Many no-annual-fee travel rewards credit cards don’t offer complimentary preferred customer status, and even some annual fee cards (such as Wyndham Rewards Visa Signature, which has a $69 annual fee) forgo this benefit.
- No Cash Redemptions. You can’t redeem your accumulated Expedia+ points for cash. This is a big drawback for customers who prefer flexible travel rewards credit cards. If cash redemptions are high on your priority list, opt for a more versatile card such as Chase Sapphire Preferred Card ($95 annual fee).
- Moderate Point Earning Rate. This card earns 3 points per $1 spent on most Expedia purchases and 1 point per $1 spent on everything else. This rate isn’t competitive with many other branded travel rewards cards, which often earn 5 or more points per $1 spent on travel purchases. Since Expedia+ points are worth about $0.007 when redeemed for flights and non-+VIP Access hotels, and double that when redeemed for +VIP Access hotels, this rate often doesn’t measure up in dollar terms either. Some airline and hotel rewards credit cards, including those with faster point-earning rates than the Expedia+ Card, consistently value points above $0.01 at redemption (and sometimes much more).
- Has a Foreign Transaction Fee. This card has a 3% foreign transaction fee, a major drawback for regular international travelers. Most competing cards, including the Expedia+ Voyager Card ($95 annual fee), don’t charge foreign transaction fees.
- Subpar Airfare Redemptions. If you want to redeem your Expedia+ points for airfare, you need to have enough points to cover the full cost of your flight – usually at least 8,000 points, and sometimes much more. For cardholders who don’t spend heavily, it can take years to earn the requisite points for a single flight.
- Can’t Redeem for Car Rentals. The Citi Expedia+ Credit Card doesn’t allow you to redeem accumulated Expedia+ points for car rentals that aren’t part of a larger vacation package. This is a big drawback for travelers who don’t want or need to book an entire vacation package simply to get around easily in their chosen destination, as well as for travelers who only need a car for a portion of a planned trip. Some general-purpose travel rewards cards, such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Card, allow à la carte car rental redemptions.
- Requires Excellent Credit. This card’s strict credit requirements put applicants with middling credit at a disadvantage. If you don’t have a great credit score, but still want the benefits of a travel credit card, try the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card instead.
The Expedia+ Card from Citi isn’t the most generous travel rewards card around, nor is it good for booking certain types of travel – particularly car rentals, which you can’t use your points for. However, it’s not a bad option for people who use Expedia regularly and wish to be paid back over time for their loyalty. More broadly, it’s a good card for travel rewards novices who’d like a taste of the niche’s possibilities without paying annual fees, dealing with wildly complex airline and hotel rewards programs, or traveling exclusively with one particular airline or hotel brand.