Published: Mon 01 July 2019
While traveling through Europe, I logged into my Expedia.com account and
something odd happened: instead of being logged in, the Expedia system decided
to redirect me to Expedia.ch and created a new account. Oddly, it copied all my
credit card details, account information, frequent traveller details, and
individual travellers to this new (unwanted) account. After this glitch, I ended
up with two accounts with the same username and the same password: one for
Expedia.com, the other for Expedia.ch. This is likely some form of GDPR
violation as the data of multiple Europeans including their passport information
was copied to a different company (Expedia.com and Expedia Switzerland are two
independent companies that should not have access to each other's data).
Most of the time when I logged in, I ended up in my Expedia.com account that had
all my travel details, my previous itineraries, my reservations, and my points.
But every now and then, I ended up in the empty Expedia.ch account clone which
was annoying. Additionally, I received unwanted emails from the clone Expedia.ch
So I set out to delete the obsolete Expedia.ch account which ended in an interesting
Odyssey in 30 acts. What started as a software bug turned into a huge customer
service fail that resulted in 30+ interactions with customer service, them losing
all my data and all my collected points, and offering me 3000 points and 75$ for
my issues as compensation in the end.
Instead of keeping an account and my data private, Expedia created a fake
account. Instead of deleting the fake account, Expedia deleted both accounts.
Instead of them reactivating my wrongfully deleted account I had to create a new
account. Instead of adding points to the new account, Expedia deleted the new
account again. After 30+ interactions over two months with the massively
incompetent support, I lost about 10,000 points, my status, but received $75 and
3000 points (about $100 total) in compensation. Go Expdia!
So, in conclusion, I would strongly recommend against using Expedia. If you
have to, try to use points as quickly as possible. Keep emails and proof of
interactions. If you can, move to a competitor. Unfortunately,
there are not many alternatives apart from Expedia due to a massive amount of
consolidation in the travel portal business. The main alternative appears to be
booking.com. But first read on about the individual acts and interactions with the
Act 3: Expedia.ch: May 23
I received a reply that, due to data privacy laws, accounts cannot be
deactivated over email. The email also mentioned that I should call a phone
number in Germany. This is when I learned that Expedia.ch accounts are handled
by Expedia.de. So I called, and described the situation, again.
Act 4: Expedia.de: May 28
After a short waiting period, I got a competent call center agent who walked me
through the deactivation process of the dead account. He mentioned several times
that it was odd that he could see bookings from the Expedia.com account but
assured me that the German team has no access whatsoever to the Expedia.com
account and deleting the Expedia.ch account will not influence or disturb the
Expedia.com account. In any case, he assured me that if an account had active
bookings this account could not be deleted under any circumstances and that the
system would not allow it.
He went ahead and deleted the Expedia.ch account and told me I would get a
I did never receive a confirmation mail. Instead, both my accounts were deleted.
Let me repeat: both the dead unwanted account and my active account with points
and several active reservations were deleted.
Act 5: Expedia.de: May 28
I called again and complained that my account had just unwillingly been deleted.
He checked and saw that both accounts have been deactivated and assured me that
this should not have been possible.
The agent told me that he would look into the case and fix it. My hopes were up
and I thought that the German agents are helpful, able, and would remedy the
situation. With my hopes up we ended the call.
Act 6: Expedia.de: May 28
I received a voice mail from the previous agent who explained that they could
not do anything from Expedia.de as my account was at Expedia.com and that they
cannot access those accounts.
He mentioned that there is a mediation service as part of the European service
center that I should contact. He sounded genuinely unhappy about the situation,
which, unfortunately, did not help me much.
So, I followed his advice and contacted the mediation service, and explained the
whole situation, again.
Act 14: Expedia.ch: June 1
I received an email from Expedia.ch that they require the two Expedia account
numbers for further investigation. As Expedia has deleted my accounts and, when
trying to login, claims that there are no accounts associated with my email, I
responded that I don't have the account numbers. Interestingly, my two open
bookings are still tied to my phone number and the agents (both CH/DE and USA)
can look up my account information using my email address. I therefore told them
to leverage my email to look up my account.
Act 15: Expedia.ch: June 1
Expedia.ch responded that they located my account and requested deletion (of the
CH account) again. I responded that I'm no longer worried about deletion of my
Expedia.ch account but that my Expedia.com as part of collateral damage due to
their broken system. I'll await their answer.
Act 16: Expedia.ch: June 2
I received a reply from Expedia.ch stating:
"May we kindly ask you to contact Expedia.com customer support as we can only
handle bookings from Germany, Austria and Switzerland."
The reply again shows that they did not understand the situation, i.e., that
their deleting the Expedia.ch account caused the deletion of the Expedia.com
account that was somehow linked due to a bug in their system.
I replied explaining the situation, again. Let's see what they do.
Not that I started feeling like Don Quixote a long time ago, but the feeling
Act 18: Expedia.ch: June 3
I received a GDPR request from Expedia Germany that asks me to confirm my right
to be forgotten. Interestingly, several agents told me that they can see all
data from my "deleted" Expedia.ch account and always made sure to say it was
deactivated and never said deleted. So I'm a little confused what they mean with
this GDPR request and what will happen if I react to it. Due to the previous
mess with the intermixed and interconnected accounts, I'm slightly worried what
will happen if the account is not just deactivated but really deleted. Only time
(and the next several acts) will tell.
Interestingly, this GDPR request brings up another question. As my data was
copied from Expedia.com to Expedia.ch without my consent, copying all my
personal data along with the personal data of 3 other travelers, I start to
wonder if this is a severe GDPR violation.
Act 21: Expedia.ch: June 11
Later in the afternoon I received a series of emails that I apparently changed the
email on my Expedia.com account. After a couple of these emails and a name
change from Mathias Payer to GSO and an updated email of
stopped receiving any more emails.
A couple of minutes later, I received an email from Katrin Rothe from Expedia.de
regarding a GDPR request. She explained that linked accounts will automatically
be deleted together and that reactivating accounts is not possible.
Her statements clearly contradicted several other previous statements and
reassurances that a) accounts with active reservations cannot be deleted, b) the
different Expedia entities are different and that the two accounts are
independent, and c) that the account could be reinstantiated.
She instructed me to create a new account and they would 'reinstantiate my open
points'. So I created a new account. I also asked her about the state of my
reservations for next week which have already been paid and that I can no longer
I'm about 12-14 hours of emails, debugging, and pleading into this customer
service nightmare. Looking back I should have just given up after the first
interactions with the incompetent support but there was always this glimmer of
hope and the sunk cost fallacy. Given the massive amount of effort on my end for
a bug on their end, I feel that they have to compensate me for this issue (that
is fully on their end).
Act 23: Expedia.??: June 13
As Expedia is no longer replying to my emails and I can no longer access the
reservations through Expedia, I've reached out to the hotels directly to double
check if my (already paid) bookings are still active.
One hotel replied in 10 minutes, the other after 4 hours. This is an amazing
difference compared to my experience with Expedia.
Act 26: Expedia.ch: June 18
A day after the end of the previous reservation and the day of the start of the
second reservation, I received a note from Expedia Germany asking about my
rewards balance and resending me the two reservations. Which seems a little late
considering that the first reservation is already over and we have checked into
the second hotel. It's also odd that they ask me about the points balance of my
previous rewards account.
The service agent mentioned that she'll look into a compensation for my
experience. I'll be waiting for more news.
Act 28: Expedia.ch: June 23
As my account has been deleted again and I did not receive any notification in
another week -- despite promises from both .com and .ch support to contact me,
I've sent another reminder to Expedia.ch, inquiring why my newly created account
from early June has been deleted again.
I honestly don't know what these guys are doing and how they stay in business.
Act 29: Expedia.ch: June 29
After another couple of days of waiting (and giving up with Expedia), I
received another email from Expedia priority support. The agent confirmed
that my second account was 'accidentially' deleted as well and encouraged
me to open another account and confirmed that a) this new account will
not be deleted again (lol), b) that they will reassign me the open points
from my previous account, and c) that they offer me 75 EUR for my
Looking at the massive amount of time I have invested into their broken system,
this results in an amazing hourly pay of about 5 EUR. Thanks Expedia!
I responded and am waiting for them to actually follow up. Let's see if they
also reinstantiate my 'Gold' status.
My plan is now to spend the money/points I received on my next booking and
then never to use Expedia again. Maybe I'll even try to delete my account
again for some extra fun!