Booking.com and Expedia Group are the two largest online travel agencies worldwide, known for their hotel booking services. Together, they offer more than 2 million properties in over 200 countries and territories worldwide, making them a go-to choice for travelers around the globe.
Although the business model of Booking.com and Expedia is similar, there are some noticeable differences between the two platforms. For example, Booking.com has a modern and user-friendly interface, while Expedia's is more traditional and text-heavy. Also, Booking.com offers transparent pricing and a loyalty program, which have received high praise from their customers. In this blog post, we are going to unpack the Genius Level Reward Program and how you can save some money when booking your next hotel room. Let's roll.
Booking.com Genius Program
Like other hotel programs, the Booking.com Genius rewards program is also based on a "the more stays you book, the more you are rewarded" mechanism. According to Booking.com, there are various benefits, such as:
- Discounted rates
- Free room upgrades
- Free breakfast
Getting to the first Genius Level 1 only takes two (2) stays within two (2) years to unlock. And unlike many other hotel reward programs, the Genius membership lasts for life. This means you will always get additional benefits when you book a Genius rate.
In addition to the rewards and discounts, Booking.com's Genius program offers each member a personalized experience. You will receive recommendations based on your travel preferences and past bookings, making finding the perfect hotel for your next trip easier.
The Genius Levels
Booking.com has three levels: Genius Level 1, Level 2, and since 2022 Level 3, with the following benefits:
As mentioned above, to unlock Genius Level 1, you must complete two stays within two years. And with five (5) stays within two years, you have already reached Genius Level 2. Finally, after completing 15 visits, you reach the highest level, Genius Level 3. This sounds very reasonable compared to the requirements in many other chain hotels like Accor, doesn't it?
Genius Level 3 (new since 2022)
In January 2022, Booking.com introduced Genius Level 3. This latest level offers exciting new benefits that could make the program even more valuable for frequent travelers. One of the main benefits of Genius Level 3 is the 20% discount on participating properties. This is a significant increase from the previous maximum discount of 15% at Genius Level 2.
Another new feature of Genius Level 3 is priority support. This means that customers with this level can access a dedicated support team to help them with any issues or questions they may have. This support is available 24/7 and can be accessed directly from the Booking.com app or website.
Additionally, Genius Level 3 customers can access a live agent for any questions or changes they need to make to their bookings. This personalized support can be a game-changer for travelers who want to ensure their trips go smoothly.
As for the future, it's unclear if there will be a Genius Level 4, but given the program's success, Booking.com may expand it even further. Compared to other loyalty programs, there is certainly room for more, and it will be interesting to see how the program evolves in the coming years. In the meantime, travelers can continue to enjoy the benefits of the Genius program and explore new properties while earning rewards along the way.
A hotel must be qualified to participate in the Genius Program. In addition, to receive the Genius Discount and other benefits from the Genius Rewards Program, a hotel must have a minimum of three guest reviews and a review score of at least 7.5. You can also find more details at the Booking.com Partner Center.
The question that often pops up is, can you still get qualifying nights and/or points for other hotel chain rewards programs? Most likely not! If you add your loyalty number to the booking, you may still get perks such as free internet or room/suite upgrades on top of the Booking.com Genius benefits. But you will not collect points or qualified nights on the stay. But each hotel chain/brand has different rules.
Booking.com Genius compared to Hotels.com Rewards
Until recently, Hotels.com, which Expedia owns, had its own loyalty and rewards program. For anyone who did not want to commit to a specific hotel brand or did not do enough nights to earn a decent status or rewards, the Hotels.com loyalty program was probably the best option. It was attractive and straightforward: after completing 10 nights, customers received a credit towards a future booking for the average cost of those 10 nights, which equated to a 10% discount on spending.
Simply put, you are receiving a 10% discount on your spending. But, unfortunately, Hotels.com will transition to One Key beginning on July 6, 2023. And with this change, you will only receive 2% of your ex-VAT spending at Hotels.com as OneKeyCash. So, compared to the previous benefits, the rewards are being devalued by 80%.
However, there is also some good news. With the combined new rewards program, you can unlock new and exciting benefits across Hotels.com, Expedia, and Vrbo. Learn more about One Key here.
Some closing thoughts
Booking.com and Expedia are the top two online travel agencies worldwide, giving travelers access to over 2 million properties around the globe. Booking.com's Genius Rewards Program offers a range of benefits, including discounted rates, free room upgrades, and complimentary breakfast, among others. However, the benefits are only available at select hotels, and hotels must meet specific criteria to participate in the program. Nevertheless, I have saved money with my Genius Level 3 membership, and I highly recommend checking out the Genius Program on Booking.com.
On HotelGyms.com, we compare prices from multiple travel agencies, so you can book directly with your preferred platform, whether from the Expedia or Booking.com family. You can even book directly with Marriott, IHG, and Caesars for those who are loyal members of those hotel chains. Unfortunately, we can not display the Genius prices yet on HotelGyms.com yet - only Booking.com can show them after login. But once you are redirected to Booking.com, you will enjoy reduced prices and all the additional benefits.