Lonely Planet Writer

Buy now, pay later - Expedia introduces installment payments on hotel bookings

There’s great news for holidaymakers struggling to pay for hotel reservations upfront, now that it has been announced that bookings over $200 can be paid in monthly installments on travel site Expedia. This will come as a welcome relief to those who may not be in a position to instantly pay the full amount and would like to spread out the cost of their payments, and it comes after online lender Affirm announced it would offer its services on Expedia.

The St. Regis Dubai will feature an infinity pool on the 50th floor.
The St. Regis Dubai will feature an infinity pool on the 50th floor. Image by The St. Regis Dubai

Affirm, run by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, allows consumers to buy goods immediately and pay for them in three, six or twelve-monthly installments. In addition to its namesake travel site, Expedia also owns Orbitz, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Hotwire and HomeAway. It will begin offering a flexible-payment option on Expedia.com, where travellers can book now but pay in installments, with different fees applied depending on the length of the repayment period.

ABBA's Benny Anderson's Hotel Rival in Stockholm
ABBA’s Benny Anderson’s Hotel Rival in Stockholm Image by Rival

While many people have welcomed the news that payment costs can be spread for travellers, others have questioned whether customers would be willing to repay the amount owed once they were back from the holiday? After all, tangible goods can remain useful after they have been paid for, while experiences are fleeting and all that remains are memories. Others say that it’s a great option and will make seeing the world a little bit easier to manage.