One Key to rule them all: Expedia rewards program launches July 6

SEATTLE — Expedia’s new unified loyalty program, One Key, will debut in the U.S. on July 6.

Jon Gieselman, president of Expedia Brands, said the company has had a long history of using separate loyalty programs among its brands. Gieselman spoke during the Explore 23: Connect conference at Expedia headquarters here.

“They had their own currencies, their own rules, and some of our brands didn’t have loyalty programs,” he said. In short, loyalty programs among Expedia brands have had “a great deal of inconsistency over the years.”

None of the programs worked together, Gieselman said. But that is poised to change with the launch of One Key, a unified rewards ecosystem among all Expedia brands.

One Key was designed to reward not just the most frequent travelers, but to reward everyday travelers who wouldn’t normally qualify for status or rewards from a supplier, as well.

“The point of a loyalty program is so that customers can actually enjoy their rewards,” Gieselman said.

One Key will use one kind of rewards currency, OneKeyCash. 

Particularly exciting, Gieselman said, is that alternative accommodations provider Vrbo is included in the program.

How travelers can earn OneKeyCash

There are several tiers of One Key members: blue, silver, gold and platinum. Customers qualify for the tiers with “trip elements,” or a flight, a night’s stay in a hotel or vacation rental or a rental car day. Blue status is achieved with up to four trip elements; silver, 5-14; gold, 15-29; and platinum, 30 plus.

“So the way you should think about this, as an example, is, if you took a roundtrip flight with your spouse and stayed three nights in a hotel, you’re incidentally silver,” Gieselman said, with five trip elements.

Tiers must be earned on an annual basis. Each tier offers different discounts on travel products (suppliers can opt into the program) and OneKeyCash earned.

The fact that customers can “double dip” and earn OneKeyCash in addition to rewards on other loyalty programs is just another benefit, according to Gieselman.

Expedia partners without their own loyalty program will be able to offer enhanced offers through One Key if they wish. The program could also be used to drive membership to other supplier loyalty programs, Gieselman said.

Hari Nair, Expedia’s global senior vice president and general manager of lodging partners, said higher-tier members are more likely to spend more on travel, and travel more. Participants in One Key can offer discounts or perks to travelers.

Nair added that suppliers can choose the level of discount they offer and the dates they are offered for; they can also add blackout dates.

One Key is expected to roll out to additional markets in 2024.

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