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 Guide: Chase Ultimate Rewards Points: Should I Transfer Points to Travel Partners or Book Through Portal.
Comparing Flights, Hotels and 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.
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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.
Slight Price Difference showing Sapphire portal $13 more per night.
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.
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)