Expedia Changes Partnership with ThankYou Rewards

For several years our family has slowly been accumulating ThankYou Rewards points.  ThankYou Rewards points have never been a primary focus because they typically only offer a decent rate of return for points.  However, one of the things we always enjoyed is the rewards flexibility.  You can use your points for anything from gift cards to travel.  Well, at least you could.

Expedia just announced it will no longer partner with ThankYou Rewards.

Since we have over 70,000 ThankYou Rewards points, we had a lot of questions.

Here’s the official statement from the Expedia website:

On December 1, 2010, Expedia and Citi® ThankYou® Rewards are discontinuing their relationship, and Expedia is starting a new travel rewards program. (Look for more details at the beginning of 2011!) This means you’ll no longer earn ThankYou Points for booking travel on Expedia unless you use your Citi PremierPass® / Expedia ® World MasterCard ® credit card. However, ThankYou Rewards will continue to exist and your ThankYou Points will continue to be available for redemption on ThankYou.com.

I guess that is good news for us and basically means we will be largely unaffected by the change since we do have a Citi PremierPass card.  However, it has already been primarily replaced by the Starwood AMEX which offers more rewards value for each dollar spent.

The biggest change for Citi PremierPass holders is:

Beginning December 1, 2010 you’ll no longer be able to earn up to 3x ThankYou Points when you book eligible travel on Expedia with your Citi PremierPass / Expedia World MasterCard—instead you’ll earn 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent. No other card benefits are changing, so you’ll continue to earn ThankYou Points for the miles you fly and purchases you make at other retailers when using your card.

Questions, Questions, Questions

Like any good company, Expedia has put together a page that address the frequently asked questions.

The first question I thought of was – am I going to be able to continue using my points to make bookings through Expedia?  My momentary fretting was put at ease when they said:

Can I still redeem ThankYou Points for travel?  Definitely! Travel offerings Powered by Expedia are available either online at www.ThankYou.com or through the ThankYou Service Center.

The news isn’t all bad news as Expedia is making the change in conjunction with its plans to start its own travel rewards program.  That, of course, is good news as Expedia does have competitive non-opaque hotel booking rates.  In addition, they typically are able to compete with the airfares posted by other online travel booking sites.

In my opinion, the most important question is the one that is yet to be answered – Can I convert my ThankYou Points into the new Expedia rewards program points?

Expedia vaguely replies:

We are working on this and should have an answer in the coming months. Please check back soon for further information.

The good news is that you do have some time to get your travel plans in place if you want to get one last trip in before Expedia stops offering Expedia rewards points.  In the FAQ section, the question is posed – Will I earn ThankYou Points on my Expedia itinerary booked in 2010 but traveled in 2011?

Yes, if you book prior to December 1, 2010. All eligible Expedia itineraries booked prior to December 1, 2010—regardless of when you’re traveling—will earn ThankYou Points.

Well, there you have it.  I’ll reserve my judgment regarding the changes until we find out more details about the new Expedia rewards program.

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