With Expedia Taking Over the Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal, Will Prices Be Going Up?

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Expedia Takes Over Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel: Have Prices Gone Up?

Expedia Takes Over Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel: Have Prices Gone Up?

This week we covered news that Expedia is Taking Over Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal, starting with the Chase Freedom Travel Portal. A comment from one of our readers that he found large price discrepancies between the portals surprised us and we decided to do some digging. Our goal is to find out whether the Expedia powered Freedom portal is showing different prices than searches in the other Chase travel portals that haven’t been taken over by Expedia yet. We did in fact discover some price discrepancies. (Before booking through the portal, you should check out our GuideChase Ultimate Rewards Points: Should I Transfer Points to Travel Partners or Book Through Portal.

Related: Chase Ultimate Rewards Points Guide: Earning, Redeeming and Sapphire, Freedom and Ink Brands

Comparing Flights, Hotels and Car Rentals

Car Rentals

I was quite surprised by the results of my search for a car rental. I made sure to use the exact same criteria and a few different options to be sure my results were consistent. Despite the fact that the Sapphire portal had more companies to choose from, the prices in were significantly higher for the same exact booking! In fact, the same reservation for the same car class would cost you 15% more when booked through Freedom. When coupled with the added discount when using points it adds insult to injury.

Expedia Takes Over Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel: Have Prices Gone Up?


CLICK HERE to compare this and other travel rewards credit cards


Hotels

I did a search for Hong Kong from September 4-6th and narrowed it down to 5 star hotels only. The results between both search engines were pretty consistent in terms of price. However, there were many more hotels included in the Chase Freedom (Expedia powered) portal than the Chase Sapphire Preferred Booking Portal. Additionally, there were a couple of price differences but less than $15/night difference.

Example showing Freedom portal having a hotel that the Sapphire portal did not.

Expedia Takes Over Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel: Have Prices Gone Up?

Slight Price Difference showing Sapphire portal $13 more per night.

Expedia Takes Over Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel: Have Prices Gone Up? Expedia Takes Over Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel: Have Prices Gone Up?

Flights

There doesn’t appear to be any price differential in flight pricing. Instead, the major difference between the two portal is how the search results are populated. I actually found the Sapphire portal to be more intuitive when search for flights. The pics below are illustrative of the premise that you have to be much more careful when narrowing down flights by attributes. You’ll notice the cheapest Delta flight was around $225, but after I selected my filters it showed the absurd price of $995. In contrast, the Sapphire search showed alternate options.

Expedia Takes Over Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel: Have Prices Gone Up?

Expedia Takes Over Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel: Have Prices Gone Up? Expedia Takes Over Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel: Have Prices Gone Up?

Conclusion

It’s definitely cool that Expedia is powering the Chase Freedom travel portal, especially since it gives us a ton more options and inventory. However, I don’t see much of a point in booking through the Freedom portal since you don’t get any extra value from your points, you lose out on portal rewards and cash back from Expedia’s own rewards program. This will definitely be a huge upgrade when it’s expanded to the premium travel portals as well.

Here’s a list of UR points earning cards (click on each for our review)


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8 COMMENTS

  1. Why would this be an ‘upgrade’? More expensive rental car prices and reduced flight options in the Freedom portal? What did I miss?

  2. I could tell you without checking that car rental prices were going up. The travel portal consistently has price 10% or more lower than priceline, Travelocity, Expedia. I don’t know why their prices were different, but the portal rarely matched the other three, but those three almost always have the same prices.

    Car rental was my biggest use of the travel portal for cash bookings. This will be a serious loss of value. Between this and losing Korean Air, I will seriously consider moving my spend to Amex.

  3. “Despite the fact that the Sapphire portal had more companies to choose from, the prices in were significantly higher for the same exact booking! In fact, the same reservation for the same car class would cost you 15% more when booked through Freedom”

    Isn’t the first sentence saying the Sapphire portal is more expensive and the second sentence the Freedom portal is more expensive?

  4. Hate this new Freedom site compared to the old one. Worse pricing along with a less intuitive experience. AMEX here I come.

  5. The availability between the two portals is so different for an upcoming trip to Paris that it makes the Sapphire Reserve site embarrassing in comparison. Wish they’d hurry up with the conversion so that I could make use of points on even one recommended hotel!

  6. It is really nonsensical. Unless there’s some special algorithm for which hotels take the higher value points? The lack of inventory in the CSR portal is very striking.

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