Advertiser Disclosure

The Orbitz Rewards Visa Credit Card: Stellar Rewards Means Stellar Stays

With so many websites offering free financial tools, it can be hard to know whom to trust. At NerdWallet, we spend literally 1,000s of hours researching partner offers and following strict editorial integrity to match you with the perfect choice. We even share how we make money so you can enjoy our expert advice and researched recommendations with total clarity and confidence.

Orbitz Rewards Visa Card Editor's Rating: 3.3 / 5

Shopping for a hotel credit card can be challenging. It seems like every card on the market requires you to stay with the same chain over and over again to earn a decent amount of points. Plus, figuring out how to use those points is always a hassle. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a card that allows you to rack up big rewards and gives you the option to stay at nearly any hotel you want?

Enter the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card. Now you can earn Orbucks for every dollar you spend and use them to book any hotel available through Orbitz’s site. Interested in learning more? Let’s dig into the details.

At a glance
Annual fees annual fee is $0
Foreign transaction fee None
Rewards program Orbucks – one Orbuck equals one dollar (see earning structure below)
Signup bonus Get $100 statement credit after you spend $1500 in the first 90 days. (provided as a statement credit)
Verdict: If you frequently book hotels through Orbitz, this card is a great choice
Good for:
  • Someone who books hotels through Orbitz
  • Someone who wants to earn big rewards and is comfortable using mobile apps
  • Someone who doesn’t want to be stuck booking with one hotel chain
  • Someone who wants a travel card that doesn’t carry an annual fee
Bad for:
  • Someone who doesn’t stay in hotels often
  • Someone who wants a travel card that allows them to redeem for airline tickets
  • Someone who always stays with a particular hotel chain (see details below)

In this article:

The Orbitz Rewards Visa Card: the basics
About the Orbitz Rewards program
Where the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card shines
Where the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card falls short
Should I consider a co-branded hotel credit card?
If you want to redeem for airline tickets, there are other options
Is the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card right for you?

The Orbitz Rewards Visa Card: the basics

When it comes to hotel rewards cards, the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card is one of the Nerds’ favorites. A quick glance at the card’s features makes it easy to see why.

It’s important to understand that the rewards rate you’ll earn with this card depends on whether you book with Orbitz’s mobile application or your desktop computer. Orbitz Rewards members who use the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card when booking travel can now earn:

  • 8% on hotel reservations (5% Visa reward + 3% desktop booking reward)
  • 6% on airline tickets (5% Visa + 1% desktop)
  • 6% on travel packages (5% Visa + 1% desktop)
  • 2% on all other purchases

But if you book with the mobile app you’ll earn:

  • 10% on hotel reservations (5% Visa reward + 5% mobile booking reward)
  • 7% on airline tickets (5% Visa + 2% mobile)
  • 6% on travel packages (5% Visa + 1% mobile)
  • 2% on all other purchases

To put this into perspective, let’s say you booked a $500 hotel stay through Orbitz using your desktop computer. You’d earn $40 in Orbucks from this transaction with the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card. But if you booked with the card using the mobile app, you’d earn $50 in Orbucks. A $10 difference might not seem like much, but if you stay in hotels several times per year, this can really add up.

About the Orbitz Rewards program

In 2013, the Orbitz Rewards program was rolled out. The company used consumer insights to create a frequent traveler program that really shines.

The Orbitz Rewards system is generous: Sign up for free and earn Orbucks every time you book a flight, hotel, or vacation package through Orbitz’s site. Members who book on their desktop computers will earn 3% for hotel reservations, 1% on flights, and 1% on vacation packages. If you book through the mobile app, your earnings will be bumped up to 5% on hotels and 2% on flights.

The great thing about the Orbitz Rewards program is its simplicity. The earning structure is straightforward – you’ll earn a percentage of every dollar you spend on booking travel through Orbitz back in the form of Orbucks. Each Orbuck equals one dollar, so it’s easy to understand how much you’ve racked up in rewards. Plus, you don’t have to wait to redeem. If you book a hotel on the site, you can use the Orbucks you earned to turn around and buy your plane ticket right away.

It seems that consumers are responding favorably to Orbitz’s loyalty program. As of April 2014, there were two million Orbitz Rewards members. Also, Orbitz reports that members upgrade their hotel stays to 4 or 5 star resorts 20% more frequently than non-members.

The Orbitz Rewards Visa Card takes the Orbitz Rewards program one step further by allowing customers to earn extra Orbucks through spending done with the card.

Where the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card shines

There are a lot of features that make the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card really stand out:

Rewards rate: Undoubtedly, the best thing about the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card is its rewards rate. Assuming you book with the mobile app, you’ll be earning a full 10% on your Orbitz hotel bookings, 7% on airline reservations, and 6% on travel packages. This is a truly stellar yield on your travel spending – at the time of publication, there’s not another card on the market that consistently offers this rate of rewards. Granted, only 5% can be attributed to the card itself (you’d get the rest as a regular Orbitz Rewards member), but even so, the return is outstanding.

In addition to the sky-high returns you’ll get on your vacation bookings, you’ll be earning 2% on your regular spending. The industry standard is 1%, so with the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card you’ll be raking in Orbucks at double the typical rate.

Fees: Another exceptional feature of the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card is that it lacks the fees that are common in travel rewards cards. It’s typical for travel credit cards to charge $50-$100 or more in annual fees, and some even carry a foreign transaction fee. The Orbitz Rewards Visa Card’s annual fee is $0 and it charges no foreign transaction fee, making it a rare gem on the travel credit card market.

Flexibility: Orbitz offers a wide range of flight and hotel options you’ll have to choose from. With the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card you can earn rewards by booking any flight, hotel or travel package (in addition to the 2% you’ll earn on other spending). This provides a lot more flexibility than the co-branded travel cards that force you to stick to one airline or hotel chain to earn and redeem rewards.

Stack-ability: All travel hackers value a card that allows you to stack one deal on top of another for ultimate saving or earning. This is yet another way the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card card delivers. Because you’ll use Orbitz’s site to earn and redeem your rewards, you can also be earning frequent traveler miles or points through the airlines and hotels you choose.

For example, let’s say you book a $500 American Airlines flight with your card on the Orbitz app. You’ll earn $35 in Orbucks and AAdvantage miles if you’re a member of American’s frequent flier program. This double-dipping will lead to more travel savings in the long run.

In addition, you’ll be able to earn and redeem your Orbucks in conjunction with other promotions Orbitz is running. For instance, if the site is running a 15% sale on hotel bookings, you’ll be able to take advantage of the discount and use your Orbucks to reserve your hotel room. This could add up to a pretty cheap (or maybe even free) hotel stay!

Where the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card falls short

The Orbitz Rewards Visa Card has a lot going for it, but there are some drawbacks to consider before applying.

The most serious strike against the card is that rewards can only be redeemed for hotel stays. You can earn Orbucks by booking flights, vacation packages, and through your regular spending. But when it’s time to cash them in, you can only use them to book a hotel.

Obviously, if you don’t stay in hotels frequently, this card is probably not for you. Before signing up for it, consider your travel habits. If you fly a lot but typically stay with friends or book with Airbnb, a different travel rewards card might be a better choice (see below for our suggestions).

Another potential drawback of the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card is that you’ll be tied to booking all of your travel through Orbitz if you want to earn the highest rewards rate. If you really like Orbitz this isn’t a problem. But if you like to have the flexibility to book directly through an airline or hotel chain, you might feel constrained with this card.

Should I consider a co-branded hotel credit card?

Since the rewards earned with Orbitz Rewards Visa Card have to be used to book hotels, you might be wondering if getting a co-branded hotel credit card is a better option.

Co-branded hotel credit cards are cards that are issued through a bank in partnership with a specific hotel chain (like Hyatt, Hilton or Starwood). With these types of cards, you’ll be able to redeem points only with that hotel brand, or possibly a few select partners.

One benefit that these cards have over the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card is that they usually carry a large sign-up bonus. For example, with the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express you’ll get one: Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints® after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Terms Apply. That’s enough for a weekend getaway at a some Category 5 hotels, depending on their location.

Also, many co-branded hotel cards offer other freebies that the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card doesn’t. Things like free breakfast and Wi-Fi, late checkout, and free nights on your card member anniversary are common perks.

But it’s important to remember that most hotel credit cards carry an annual fee. For example, the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express  and the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card have them. The Orbitz Rewards Visa Card’s  annual fee is $0, so that’s an important consideration.

Plus, with a co-branded hotel card you’ll be stuck redeeming with one hotel chain. If there’s one brand of hotel that you always stay with, this might not be a bad thing. But if you want to be able to choose from a host of hotel options when booking your vacation, the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card is a better pick.

If you want to redeem for airline tickets, there are other options

The Orbitz Rewards Visa Card is unique in that you can earn Orbucks on your travel and regular spending, but you can only redeem your rewards for a hotel stay. If you’re interested in a card that will allow you to earn big and redeem on a broader range of travel expenses, the Nerds have a few other suggestions.

If you spend a lot on dining and travel, one of our favorites is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. With it, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent on dining and travel and one point per dollar spent on everything else. Since the Nerds value each Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card point at 1.25 cents when they’re redeemed for travel, you’re earning 2.50 cents per dollar spent on dining and jet-setting.

Plus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card allows you to use Chase’s travel tool (which is similar to Kayak) to book hotels, airline tickets, and cruises. The site offers a ton of options when it comes to hotels and airlines – you’re not limited to just one or two. You can also transfer your points to a participating frequent travel program at a 1:1 ratio. This provides a lot of flexibility.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has a pretty stellar sign-up bonus. You’ll Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. But  keep in mind that the card does have an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95.

If you’re a budget traveler who values flexibility, another great travel card is the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®. With it, you’ll earn 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases, all the time. Each mile is worth one cent, giving you a 2% earning rate. When you redeem your miles, you’ll also get a 5% of your redeemed miles refunded to you.

The great thing about the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® is that you can book your travel however you choose – through an airline, hotel chain, budget travel site, etc. – and pay yourself back with your miles. Just use your card to pay for your trip, then redeem your miles for a statement credit. This means you can find the best deal out there and use your miles to bring the cost down even further.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® comes with a sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $500 travel statement credit. It charges an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $89.

›› MORE: NerdWallet’s Best Travel Credit Cards

Is the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card right for you?

All in all, the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card is an outstanding hotel rewards credit card. Racking up Orbucks is easy due to the card’s high rewards rate and you can redeem on any hotel offered through Orbitz’s site.

The main factor to consider when deciding whether or not to sign up for this card is how often you stay at hotels. If your travels often include a hotel reservation, this card offers a lot of value. If not, you’re better off going with a different travel rewards card.