Expedia partners with hotels to upgrade top customers

BELLEVUE, WASHINGTON Online travel agency Expedia has quietly begun rolling out a nifty perk for members of its Elite Plus loyalty program.

At designated properties, Elite Plus members are automatically being upgraded on arrival whenever a higher-grade suite is vacant, and are also offered late-checkout. Such perks are commonplace among major hotel chain loyalty programs, but it is a novel concept for OTAs, mainly because it requires the cooperation of the hotels themselves.

Under the Expedia program, the perk—which has been on offer since October—is available at more than 100 hotels, mainly in Florida but also in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Participating hotels are denoted by a “VIP Access” icon on their Expedia listings.

Elite Plus is an invitation-only program. Members are required to book at least US$10,000 worth of travel or stay at least 15 hotel nights per year to retain membership.