Kayak Vs Expedia Comparison

Do you ever wish that planning and booking your next vacation could be easier? Vacations are supposed to be a time to relax - planning them shouldn't be stressful! Kayak and Expedia are two booking websites that aim to simplify and streamline the vacation planning process.

Both of the services come with free mobile apps. Using the app might give you access to exclusive deals and rewards that you wouldn't get through the website. In terms of available choices, there are tons of travel booking deals available at highly discounted rates through both systems.

Kayak
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Expedia

So which will work best for you? It really depends on how you prefer to plan your vacations. I've broken down some of the most helpful aspects of each service's features and offerings.

Overview of Kayak and Expedia

Shared Features

  • Booking of hotels, flights, cruises, and car rentals.
  • Various deals based on bundling and advance booking.
  • Phone apps allow you to make bookings from anywhere.
  • iOS and Android compatible apps.
  • Exclusive deals available through apps.

Unique Kayak Features

  • "Explore" feature lets you find destinations based on budget.
  • Train booking.
  • Travel guides.
  • Typically cheaper options when booking international vacation deals.
  • Option to export bookings to Gmail inbox.
  • Organization of non-Kayak travel plans through the Kayak app.
  • Ability to set app alerts for new deals you might be interested in.

Unique Expedia Features

  • Booking of vacation rental and activity packages.
  • Frequently cheaper bundling options for hotels and flights.
  • Expedia+ Rewards program with three membership levels.
  • Double rewards points after downloading and using the app.
  • App shows city map with locations marked when hotel booking.
  • Itinerary app feature sends travel updates about things like delayed flights.

Vacation Planning

Kayak

Kayak vs Expedia

The Explore feature from Kayak lets you compare many different potential destinations based on your budget and travel timeframe. This is great for those who aren't sure where they want to travel.

The Guides section also helps with vacation planning. Other users compile travel guides with unique information about the places they've been, which can give you ideas for things to do and places to go.

Expedia

Kayak vs Expedia

The Things to Do booking section allows you to book activities like tours and events in your destination area. If you want to have a day-by-day plan for different experiences during your trip, this feature is a great way to find out what's available.

Winner: Kayak

Kayak offers the best options when planning a vacation and ideas from the ground-up. However, to create more concrete travel plans, the activities booking section through Expedia is super convenient.

App Functionality

Kayak

The Kayak app allows for searching and booking of cars, hotels, and flights from your Android or iOS device. There are multiple exclusive deals available for app users that you won't get through online website booking. Using the interface is fairly easy.

Kayak vs Expedia

One convenient feature is that you can export your booking information to your Gmail account, which may help you keep track of your itinerary. You can also organize every aspect of your travel plans, including plans that weren't booked through the Kayak interface!

To import your bookings, you'll just use your Gmail account. Alternatively, the booking confirmation email can be forwarded to a Kayak account for trip management. Once your information is imported, you can build and save the trip itinerary.

You can also set the app to give you alerts when there are new deals on flights to your preferred destination.

Expedia

Expedia's rewards program gives you double points when you download and use the app. The app has the same booking and platform functionality as Kayak's, along with the same propensity for exclusive deals.

Kayak vs Expedia

One helpful aspect of the app is how easy hotel booking is. When you search hotels in an area, you'll be displayed a map with the hotel locations labeled. That makes it visually easier to determine where the most convenient location is for your trip plans. This can make the app a little more user-friendly for hotel booking.

Also available is an itinerary feature. When you embark on your journey, this feature will update you about baggage claim carousels, departure gates, and any delays or changes in your flights.

Winner: Kayak

Kayak pulls ahead because of the app's ability to organize travel plans that were booked through other services, plus the alerts on deals. However, Expedia's itinerary and hotel searching features also make it a competitive app in terms of user-friendliness.

Rewards Programs

Kayak

Kayak doesn't have a full rewards program. You won't earn points or discounts for every booking you make through the site. But it does have a program called the Open Table Dining Rewards system.

Kayak vs Expedia

Every time you make a restaurant reservation, you receive certain rewards points. As the points add up, you can then exchange them for discounts on your next hotel stay. Anywhere from $20 to $80 may be discounted.

The system is fairly straightforward. For every 1,000 points you earn, you can get your hotel stay discounted by $20. The cap is at 4,000 points, or $80.

Expedia

Expedia has a rewards program called Expedia Rewards. As soon as you download and begin using the mobile app, you earn double the points. There are also rewards that kick in as soon as you join without needing to earn points beforehand.

Kayak vs Expedia

There are three tiers of membership: blue, silver, and gold.

Blue members get immediate benefits upon joining the rewards program. Certain hotels are discounted an extra ten percent for members. You'll also earn points with each booking to claim for later rewards. The Hotel Price Guarantee feature means Expedia will match any lower prices found up until midnight prior to your stay.

Silver members upgrade when they stay in hotels for seven nights or spend at least $5,000 per year. When you meet this threshold, you'll get spa credits and free breakfast at VIP Access hotels. There are also ten percent more points upon booking.

Gold members are those who stay in hotels for fifteen nights or spend at least $10,000 per year. When you stay at VIP Access hotels, you'll get free room upgrades whenever they become available. Bookings will also get you thirty percent more points.

Winner: Expedia

Expedia's entire system allows you to earn rewards points for bookings. The different tiers of rewards member each get access to multiple benefits. By contrast, Kayak only has minor hotel discounts in exchange for dinner reservations.

See Full Review of - Kayak | Expedia

Pros and Cons of Kayak

Pros

  • The Travel Guides section lets you read real accounts of unique experiences had by other travelers, so you get a great idea of ways to make your vacation special.
  • The Explore feature lets you find potential domestic and international vacation destinations by typing in your budget, length of stay, and whether or not you're seeking nonstop flights.
  • The app allows you to set deal alerts, organize your itinerary, export your bookings to Gmail, and even save travel plans booked through other companies.

Cons

  • The service doesn't have options to book activities or vacation rentals, although it can book trains.

Pros and Cons of Expedia

Pros

  • The service includes a rewards program that lets you earn points and exclusive deals every time you book through them.
  • The mobile app includes a map with the hotel locations pinpointed when you book, which makes selecting the most convenient hotel much easier.
  • The service allows you to book activity packages and vacation rentals in different areas, which can streamline the vacation experience for those who like a pre-planned itinerary.

Cons

  • There are less options for exploring different vacation choices and reading about other people's experiences, so it's not the best booking service for travel planning.

Final Thoughts: Which is Better?

Both of these booking services offer a large range of vacation options. They tend to be neck-and-neck when comparing the lowest prices - Expedia often performs better with packages inside the United States, but Kayak is more reliable with inexpensive international travel plans.

Expedia is best for those who already have a concrete idea of their destination. By booking flights and hotels in a bundle, you get access to deeper discounts. The site will also let you book vacation rentals and activity packages in your area of choice.

Kayak works best for those who are still planning their vacation. The Explore option is an ideal way of finding out what destinations are available based on your vacation time and budget. In addition, the app is great for alerting you to deals and organizing travel itinerary - even if you didn't book the deals through Kayak itself.

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