We love a good hotel stay, from a seamless booking process to the welcoming check-in, plush robes and great customer service that transports you from regular life to a vacation mindset, even if you are just booking a staycation.
However, hiccups in booking, bad cancelation policies or a room that doesn’t live up to pictures can ruin a vacation, especially after doing your best to research and plan. That’s why we wanted to go through the entire booking process on Expedia, from beginning to end, mapping out how to pick a property, on-site features, cancelation policies and the experience at the hotel itself.
While every property and destination are different, the Expedia process is pretty straightforward, with easy-to-read hotel descriptions and amenities and a rewards points system we will get into later. Read on for the real-time review and then get ready to book your next hotel — abroad or a staycation like we did.
What is Expedia and who is it for?
The first answer is more complex, but the second is easy – Expedia is for every type of traveler.
What is Expedia? The online booking platform is a one-stop-shop for booking hotels, flights, car rentals cruises and even experiences once you arrive at your destination. For the purposes of this review, we used Expedia to book a hotel, but the options really are endless and for every type of traveler.
Every type? Yes, indeed. Expedia can be used for luxury travel and packages that include all-inclusive resorts, fancy cars and even cruises. It can also be used to compare prices on budget hotels and find deals on flights.
To use the service, all you need is an email address to sign up, and then opt to use the website or download the mobile app for easy access when on the go.
Looking for flights can be a traveler’s worst nightmare, as there are an abundance of airlines to choose from and prices changing ever hour. Expedia knows this all too well, and so they created a page just for this.
Using the Flight section of the site, enter your origin, destination and dates like you would on any other site and then await the results from more than 400 airlines. If you have a preferred airline, you can filter by your top choices as well as your preferences for direct, layovers, flight times, baggage restrictions, seat selection and more.
Need to book a flight but have time to compare prices to snag the best? Then the Expedia price tracking feature is for you, using AI to predict the best time to book and sending you a notification once prices do indeed drop.
The best part of this style of booking is that you can browse, book and pay all on the same site, without having to switch tabs or lose your trip while comparing other site’s prices.
Next up, make sure you have a place to stay upon arrival. Head to the Stays section of the site to start browsing hotels, in the same manner as booking a flight from above. Once you enter your destination, the filters are a bit different, allowing you to sort by star-rating, guest-rating, amenities, accessibility and even by family-friendly, LGBTQIA+ welcoming and business-friendly, should you need to book a work trip.
Want to know how to stay like a VIP? Good news, as with Expedia, you can become a very important traveler the moment you sign up. More information on rewards later, but note that properties marked as “VIP Access” denote properties with exceptional ratings that also come with additional perks the more you book with Expedia.
When booking a hotel, you will receive your confirmation code via email from Expedia, and then your booking will be sent over to the hotel for a seamless check-in. For assurance, you can also call the hotel directly to confirm they have your stay, using the confirmation codes via email.
Need wheels once you touch down? Book your car rental on Expedia, too, now that you know the drill. This service is just as user-friendly, and even lets you toggle on a filter to use AARP rates and other discount codes. You can also choose to use the same pick-up and drop-off location, or mix and match if your trip turns into a roadtrip.
Using this Expedia service, you are presented with the actual car that is available to rent at the location, date and time of your choosing. Their comprehensive fleet includes cars of all sizes, makes and models, spanning compact and economy cars, mid-sized and standard, luxury and convertibles and so much more. You can also sort by your favorite rental company, including Hertz, Alamo, Avis and others.
How does the Expedia rewards program work?
It’s actually quite simple! To start, all you need to do to join is create an account — which you already did if you have booked with Expedia before. You automatically qualify for the Blue rewards tier, that allows you to collect points for every dollar, double points when booking through the mobile app and unlocks an extra 10% savings or more on select hotels.
As you continue to stay and travel with Expedia, move up to the Silver and then the Gold tier, to unlock two to three points for every dollar spent, plus other perks like spa credits, free breakfast, late check-out and room upgrades. In addition to the perks, the points can then be redeemed for their dollar evaluation, being used to book future travel and stays.
Does Expedia offer travel insurance?
Travel safe and travel smart, knowing every leg of your journey can be insured.
When booking a hotel, flight or even car rental, there is an option to add on travel insurance. The price will be based on the price of your booking, or subject to change from destination to destination. However, you are always able to see the price before you book, should that influence your decision to insure the trip or rental.
The insurance coverage also varies, so it is recommended to read the fine print to see what is covered, such as lost baggage, medical emergency reimbursement and the like.
What is Expedia’s cancelation policy
We get it, emergencies and accidents happen — no worries here.
Expedia has many properties and bookings with very generous cancelation policies, but note that they do vary location and property. When looking for a hotel, for example, be sure to use the “free cancelation” or the “no change fee” filter to avoid any issues should you think you may need to alter or cancel your trip.
For flights, be sure to read the fine print, as most flights are fully refundable if you cancel within a specific time, typically 24 hours. If the flight needs to be changed or canceled due to COVID-19, there is still hope if not within the 24-hour timeframe, and can contact Expedia to see your options for refunds or flight credits.
Our review of Expedia.com hotel booking
Why travel when you could make your hometown into the ultimate vacation spot? That’s what I chose to do when booking my NYC staycation on Expedia. After spending too long in my apartment, I decided to head into the city for a one-night booking at my favorite Soho hotel — The Dominick.
I knew I only wanted to stay one night, and so after entering in the dates of my stay, I was able to see which rooms were available with ease. You can also get a great idea of the layout and the view from your room right on the site, using the room option section to decide. Since New York is a city of skylines, I opted for a city view that 100% matched the photos.
When booking you can also see the amenities, for which I also chose the Dominick specifically. The Sisley Spa, housed on the seventh floor, is a dream, with a sauna, steam room, Hammam room and a salt chamber to name the rooms I tried. You can book this at the front desk, or via ResortPass, for a seamless day of contactless luxury.
Once I arrived, my booking was in their system already, and I didn’t even need to pull out my phone or any booking paperwork. I was able to ask the concierge for everything I needed, such as check-out time, but was also able to access that information myself on the Expedia app, should you prefer DIY service.
As usual, the stay itself was impeccable, complete with takeout for dinner and cable TV — the hallmarks of a great hotel stay in my book. Customer service was top notch as well, and I received the same (amazing) treatment as I would have if I booked my stay directly with the hotel, as opposed to a third party booking site. I felt comfortable asking the concierge about early check-in and late check-out, as well as getting a rundown of the amenities available to me like free coffee in the morning and use of the business center to write this very article.
While I never want to check-out, when the time came, I was able to gather my things and leave my key at the desk, never needing to open the Expedia app again — aside from leaving a five-star rating for my stay on my train home, back to reality and ready to book again.
- Extremely easy to use the desktop and app version of the site for hotel research, booking and reviews afterward
- Plenty of user reviews to help guide your decision, in addition to typical star-ratings
- Able to use rewards points and earn them with every stay, rental and excursion
- Your booking is immediately sent to the hotel, so they are expecting your arrival without extra calls or paperwork
- Option to sort by free cancelation at many locations
- Option to sort by pet-friendly, accessible, desired amenities and more
- Easy and relatively contact-less check-out
- Some rates may only be available on the hotel’s direct site
- Recommended to confirm with the property, just to be sure your booking is ready when you arrive
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