If you often book through Expedia, then you’re probably familiar with Expedia+ Rewards. It’s a loyalty program that basically works like any other of a kind. Members enjoy exclusive benefits based on their elite status – and the more money you spend, the higher status you earn.
Citi and Expedia partnered to offer you the Expedia+ Voyager card with which you’d be able to earn more Expedia+ points, and get those travel rewards much faster.
• Earn 4x Expedia+ points per each $1 spent on Expedia purchases.
• Earn 2x Expedia+ points per each $1 spent on dining and entertainment (restaurants, including bars, lounges, discotheques, night clubs, and fast food restaurants; sports promoters, theatrical promoters, movie theaters, amusement parks, tourist attractions, record stores, and video rental stores).
• Earn 1x Expedia+ point per each $1 spent on other purchases.
• Earn 25,000 Expedia+ bonus points when you spend $2,000 within the first three months (worth $350 when redeemed at a +VIP Access hotel).
• $100 Annual Air Travel Fee Statement Credit
• Anniversary Bonus: You will receive 5,000 bonus points when you spend $10,000 on the card within the prior year.
• Expedia+ gold status.
• Citi Private Pass: Access to presale tickets and VIP packages to many awesome events.
• Personal Citi Concierge Service.
• Apple Pay.
• Citi Price Rewind: If Citi finds a lower price than the one you paid, you will receive the difference.
• Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance.
• Worldwide Car Rental Insurance.
• Lost Baggage Protection.
• Baggage Delay Protection.
• Trip Cancellation & Interruption Protection.
• Trip Delay Protection.
• Extended Warranty.
• Damage & Theft Purchase Protection.
• Annual fee: $95.
• APR on balance transfers & purchases: 14.74% to 22.74%.
• Balance Transfer and Cash Advance Transaction Fees: $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
• Late Payment & Returned Payment Fees: Up to $35.
• No foreign transaction fees.
What We Like
The $100 Annual Credit
For a card with an annual fee lower than those on premium travel credit cards, offering this type of benefits is worth every praise. Many airlines do offer free checked bags on their co-branded credit cards, but you won’t find a hotel credit card that offers $50+ just like that.
The $100 credit can be used for airline incidentals, such as checked bags, in-flight entertainment or refreshments, in-flight Wi-Fi (Boingo Wireless and Gogo Inflight Internet), but only when you fly the following airlines: AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, United, US Airways, and Virgin America Airlines.
You can also cover the application fee when you apply for the Global Entry or TSA Pre✓.
Expedia+ gold Status
If you are a member of Expedia’s loyalty program, then you know that +gold is the highest tier level you can earn with Expedia+ Rewards. In my opinion, the difference between +blue, +silver, and +gold levels is not that important, but at least you don’t have to spend $10,000 or stay 15 nights to reach +gold if you get this card.
Furthermore, +gold status comes with great benefits, including free amenities and room upgrades at select +VIP Access hotels, bonus points, dedicated customer service, and exclusive travel offers.
With the Expedia+ Voyager Card, you can actually much more points. As per the website:
What We Like Less
The Anniversary Bonus
I don’t actually see the point of this bonus. Apparently, to earn 25,000 bonus points, you need to spend $2,000 within a three-month period, but to earn those poor 5,000 points, you need to spend $10,000?! Isn’t that how much you’d have to spend to earn +gold status? And with the $95 annual fee, which is pretty close to how much you’d get in air travel credits, I guess you’re basically paying for the benefits as if you weren’t a cardholder! Yes, there is the signup bonus, but you’d better spend those $2,000 on hotel stays instead of earning points to get $350 – and that only if redeemed for +VIP Access hotels.
Whom is this card good for?
Expedia fans should definitely get this card, assuming they also join the Expedia+ Rewards program, because the card was designed as an additional tool that will help you earn more points and redeem Expedia+ rewards faster. If you’re a frequent traveler who is not attached to any particular airline or hotel brand, and aren’t afraid of “booking-through-OTAs risks” (but I do think Expedia has become a more professional business after all), then the Expedia+ Voyager might be your next favorite credit card.
Who should not get this card?
If you prefer to book directly, then forget about the Expedia+ Voyager card, and get a credit card that is issued in partnership with your preferred hotel and/or airline brand. Or, if you spend a lot of money each month, especially on travel, you might want to consider a premium travel credit card. Anyway, the Expedia+ Voyager card is specifically designed for Expedia users, and if you’re not one, there is really no point in getting this plastic.
Which card should I get if I don’t like this one?
There are many travel credit cards for you to choose from, including the ones I’ve listed below. Note, however, that it all depends on your needs and preferences, so it’s up to you to decide!
1. The Platinum Card from American Express
This is one of those premium credit cards that cost a fortune, but when you sum up all it’s got to offer, then you’ll see the annual fee is definitely worth it. With the Platinum card, you will be able to earn Membership Rewards points, which are redeemable for many travel and non-travel rewards, but also very flexible in that you can transfer them to your favorite loyalty or frequent flyer program, which is more than helpful if you’re looking to amass a bunch of points/miles quickly.
This card is especially good for frequent flyers, because not only will you earn 5x points on flights booked with airlines or through American Express Travel, but you will also have access to more than 1,000 airport lounges, and receive a $200 air travel credit you can use for in-flight purchases, and a $100 Global Entry/TSA Pre✓ application fee credit. This, of course, does not mean that this card is worthless when it comes to hotels: When you stay at The Fine Hotels & Resorts, you will enjoy exclusive benefits and amenities worth $550, and when you stay 2+ nights at The Hotel Collection, you will receive a $75 hotel credit and a room upgrade. Another incredible thing is that you will enjoy Gold status with both Starwood and Hilton!
Answer this question: Do you like to travel in style, and don’t mind spending extra dollars to do so? If yes, this card should be in your wallet!
2. Capital One Venture Rewards
The Venture Rewards is a go-to card of many, many travelers, because of its flexibility, simplicity, and pricing! The $59 annual fee is waived for the first year, and there are no foreign transaction fees at all – and we all know how important this is for those who spend more time onboard than at home! How does the card work? You will earn unlimited 2x miles per every $1 you spend on purchases: 100 miles = $1. You can redeem your miles whenever, however, and wherever you want – no caps, no limits, no restrictions, nada! Plus, there’s a signup bonus as well. When you spend $3,000 miles within the first three months, you will receive 40,000 miles, worth $400 in travel redemptions!
According to the BLS, the average income in the U.S. by household in 2015 was $69,629, or $5,802 per month – or $4,665 after taxes. Say you spend at least $3,000 each month (but per data, people spend more), with the Venture Rewards card, you’d earn 72,000 miles. That’s $720 for you to spend on travel. You can go with Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, JetBlue, United… Your wish, your command. See now why so many people are loyal to this card?
3. JetBlue Cards
If you don’t travel outside the U.S. that much, and don’t usually stay at hotels, then you should consider the no-annual-fee JetBlue Card. I know that Barclay’s customer service isn’t the greatest, but the airline is one of the best in the U.S., so getting the JetBlue card is definitely worthwhile. With the card, you will earn 3x points on JetBlue purchases, 2x points at restaurants and grocery stores, and 1x point on everything else. There’s also a signup bonus of 5,000 points when you spend $1,000. You can redeem your points for Jet Blue flights at any time, because there are no blackout dates.
Furthermore, you are free to select your preferred seat, while enjoying 50% off eligible in-flight purchases (sorry, not Wi-Fi). And even though I said this card was mostly for those who don’t travel outside the U.S., you should know that there are no foreign transaction fees on this card, so you can use it abroad without paying extra.
On the other side, if you do want more benefits, then go for the $99 JetBlue Plus. It offers 30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 within the first three months, 5,000 bonus points as your anniversary bonus, and 6x points on JetBlue purchases. As a cardmember, you will receive 10% points back when you redeem them for award flights, 50% off eligible in-flight purchases, one free checked bag for you and up to three travel companions flying on JetBlue flights, and a $100 statement credit if you purchase a vacation package through the JetBlue website and use your card to pay for it.
No foreign transaction fees means you can use your card everywhere where it is accepted! Additionally, if you spend $50,000 in a year, you will enjoy Mosaic benefits as well, such as dedicated customer services, two free checked bags, extra bonus points, free alcohol onboard, early boarding, and expedited security line. Usually, to earn Mosaic status, you’d need to fly 30 segments and earn 12,000 base flight points within a year, or just earn 15,000 base flight points within the same period. This should be hard to earn if you fly a lot but fly short flights, though. If you fly with stops, then it’d be even easier to reach Mosaic, but with the JetBlue Plus card, you aren’t required to fly at all, just spend money as you usually would.
The Expedia+ Voyager card is a pretty good product, offering both hotel and airline benefits, such as the $100 annual air travel credit, which, although airline-specific, is still a great perk, and +gold status, which is more beneficial for hotel guests because most of the benefits offered with this status are for hotel bookings. Overall, it’s good enough to attract travelers anyway! So, unless you really hate Expedia and would never even consider visiting the website, or you prefect booking directly, then you’ll be fine with this credit card. Note, however, that there are better options – and only apply for this one if you think it matches your needs.
One more thing I’d like to add: I’ve booked through Expedia before, and I haven’t had any issues. If I were the one having to decide whether to get the card or not, I would have to pass it. Not because I think it’s a bad credit card, but because I like to have more options when making travel plans.