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Can an online travel agency offer a more rewarding way to book than hotel loyalty programs? Orbitz.com competes for your business by offering perks for loyal users plus a lot more hotels to choose from. For the occasional traveler, especially, Orbitz can be a good choice, while frequent travelers may be better off earning perks with traditional hotel loyalty programs. Here’s what to consider when deciding whether Orbitz.com should be your go-to booking site.
Choose from tons of properties
With around 385,000 properties, Orbtiz is vastly bigger than even the largest hotel chain, Marriott, which has over 7,000 hotels around the world. Orbitz’s sheer number of properties means you get more options than you would by booking directly through a hotel group. This comes in handy if you feel limited by the selection of options from a certain hotel chain in a particular destination.
Earn rewards for every dollar you spend
Orbitz Rewards is a simple alternative to more complicated loyalty programs. Once you’ve joined the program you will begin earning rewards called "Orbucks" each time you book travel through Orbitz.com. Each Orbuck is worth $1 off your future hotel stays.
Orbucks earning rates depend on the type of travel and booking method.
Orbucks earning rate
Flights and vacation packages
Book a $200 flight, earn 2 Orbucks
Hotels, vacation rentals and activities
Book a $200 hotel stay, earn 6 Orbucks
Hotels and vacation rentals booked through Orbitz app
Book a $200 hotel stay, earn 10 Orbucks
Book through the Orbitz app to get an additional 2% back.
When you're ready to redeem your Orbucks to book a hotel, apply them at checkout when booking through Orbitz. There are no blackout dates, and you can apply partial credits if you don’t have enough to cover the entire cost of the booking.
Enjoy elite perks sooner
Similar to traditional hotel loyalty programs, Orbitz offers elite status tiers that give you a few additional perks. But don’t expect the same red carpet treatment you’d get from top-tier elite status in a hotel loyalty program. Here is what you can get at each Orbitz Rewards status level.
When you join Orbitz’s loyalty program, you’ll automatically get Silver status, which doesn’t provide any extra perks.
After completing four nights in a year you reach Gold status, which gets you free Wi-Fi and breakfast at VIP Access properties. To enjoy these perks, you have to book a property that Orbitz categorizes as VIP Access. You can filter your Orbitz search results to display only these properties.
Orbitz’s top tier status level is Platinum status, which you earn after completing 12 nights a year — far fewer than you’d need to reach top-tier status in a traditional hotel loyalty program. For example, to get Ambassador status in the Marriott Bonvoy program, you need the equivalent of 100 nights a year plus $20,000 spent with the program. For Diamond status in the Hilton Honors program, you need the equivalent of 60 nights a year.
Naturally, the benefits of elite status in Orbitz Rewards aren’t as lucrative. With Orbitz Rewards Platinum status, benefits can include free room upgrades and early check-in at VIP Access properties, a $50 Orbucks credit that reimburses you for paid airline seat upgrades and baggage fees, and a fee credit worth $85 when you enroll in TSA Precheck.
» Learn more: Travel loyalty program reviews
Double up on rewards with an Orbitz credit card
You’ll earn even more Orbucks when you have the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card. Receive a $100 statement credit when you spend $1,500 with your Orbitz Rewards® Visa® in the first 90 days of account opening. And the annual fee is $0.
Use the card to book travel through Orbitz to earn an additional 5% back in the form of Orbucks. This means you will earn 10% back on hotels booked through the Orbitz app (5% from the credit card and 5% from being a member) and 6% back on flights (5% from the credit card and 1% from being a member).
Save money with insider prices
Orbitz Rewards members get discounts with Insider Pricing. Just sign in to your Orbitz account and keep your eye out for hotels marked “Insider Price.” You’ll also get free cancellation on Insider reservations.
The bottom line
Orbitz Rewards is a good option if you like simplicity and don’t mind giving up some luxuries that come with traditional hotel loyalty programs. You’ll enjoy straightforward earning and redemption options, plus you’ll get a few extra perks along the way when you earn elite status.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card