The bottom line: If you prize simplicity in a travel rewards program, forget about this card. But if you're willing to jump through a few hoops to earn the best rates — and you're comfortable with prepaying for bookings and redeeming only for hotel stays — maybe give it a chance.
Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card
15.99% - 24.99% Variable APR
Recommended Credit Score
- Earn an extra 5% in Orbucks on Orbitz bookings - that's up to 10% total!
- Earn 2% back in Orbucks on all other purchases
- Get a $100 statement credit
Pros & Cons
High rewards rate
No annual fee
No foreign transaction fee
Rewards only redeemable for hotel stays
Alternate Pick: Simple, flexible rewards
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
2 miles per dollar, no hassles
These rewards are easy to understand: 2 miles per dollar on every purchase. Plus, you can redeem those miles for any travel expense — flights, hotels, etc. There's a terrific sign-up bonus but also an annual fee: $95.
The rewards on the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card can seem dazzling at first. The card gets you an extra 5% back in Orbucks — Orbitz's rewards currency — on eligible Orbitz bookings and 2% on all other purchases. But its restrictions on both earning and redeeming can greatly diminish the card's luster.
Because of how the card’s bonus categories are defined, for example, hotel bookings through Orbitz need to be prepaid to qualify for the top rewards rate. And although the Orbitz site can be used to book airfare, lodging, cruises, and rental cars, your Orbucks can be used only toward qualifying hotel stays. That means the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card is a good choice for only a narrow band of travelers: Orbitz loyalists who are OK with making prepaid bookings and using their rewards solely toward free nights. For travelers who don’t fall into that category, other cards offer greater flexibility and value.
Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card: Basics and benefits
Card type: Travel.
Annual fee: $0.
Sign-up bonus: Get $100 statement credit after you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days.
5% in Orbucks on qualifying Orbitz bookings, including prepaid hotel bookings, flight bookings and package bookings. (Rental car bookings don't qualify for 5%; instead, they earn 2%.)
2% in Orbucks on all other purchases.
These rewards are in addition to what you'd normally earn as an Orbitz member. More on that later.
Interest rate: The ongoing APR is 15.99% - 24.99% Variable APR.
Foreign transaction fees: None.
Balance transfer fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of the balance transfer, whichever is greater.
Automatic Gold status, which can get you free Wi-Fi, breakfast and waived resort fees at certain properties.
Travel protections, including lost and stolen baggage coverage, accident coverage and rental car insurance.
Cardholders who qualify for additional Visa Signature benefits will also receive free room upgrades at Visa Signature luxury hotels, exclusive discounts at top retailers and access to select sporting events and other experiences.
How the rewards program works
The card earns rewards equal to a percentage of your spending, and those rewards are paid in the Orbucks currency. Rewards earned on the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card come on top of what you earn by being a member of the separate Orbitz Rewards Program. (Program membership is free, but if you're not already a member, Orbitz will ask you to join in order to apply for the credit card.)
Adding to the complexity, when you book travel through Orbitz with your Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card, you'll earn rewards at different rates based on:
What kind of travel you book — hotel, airline, car rental, etc.
Whether you book on the web at Orbitz.com or through Orbitz's mobile app.
Here's how it breaks down:
All other purchases with the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card earn 2% back.
There's no limit to the number of Orbucks you can earn with the card, although reward caps on airfare spending do apply to base earning through the rewards program. (These caps depend on your program status: Silver, Gold or Platinum.)
Orbucks that you earn on purchases won't expire if you use your card at least once every 12 months.
Why you might want the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card
high rewards rates
When you use this card to prepay hotel bookings through Orbitz on the mobile app, you'll get an impressive 10% rewards rate: 5% in Orbucks from your card and another 5% from Orbitz's loyalty program. That potentially makes this card quite valuable if you book this way frequently — especially since it has an annual fee of $0.
Even if you don't use the card for qualifying Orbitz purchases at all, you still get 2% back in Orbucks on all other purchases. That's also noteworthy, considering that travel cards with bonus categories generally only offer the equivalent of 1% back on all purchases that fall outside of bonus categories.
Just temper your excitement at those kinds of rewards by keeping in mind you can only use Orbucks toward hotel bookings.
No annual fee or foreign transaction fees
The Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card doesn't charge an annual fee, so even if you don't use it often, you can still come out ahead on rewards. It also doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, making it a good card to use abroad.
Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card: Drawbacks and alternatives
Restrictions on earning rewards
Earning the highest tier of rewards — 5% back in Orbucks from the loyalty program and 5% back in Orbucks from the card for a total of 10% — requires some effort. Not only do you have to book your hotel stay via Orbitz's mobile app, you also have to prepay for your stay using the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card.
It might be easier to research travel options on your desktop computer — but your earnings rate would decrease if you booked that way. And paying upfront for your hotel can be unpalatable, especially if your travel plans change and you have to go through the hassle of getting a refund. Or perhaps you're trying to book something far in advance and don't have the money saved up yet. You can put it on your Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card, but you'll accrue interest if you can't pay the entire bill right away. For a card with fewer restrictions on earning rewards, check NerdWallet's best travel credit cards.
Limited redemption options
Although you can earn rewards with this card on anything, you can redeem rewards for only one thing: hotel bookings through Orbitz. If you were hoping to save up for a discounted flight or a cruise, you're out of luck.
If you still love the idea of a co-branded card with an online travel agency, but are daunted by the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card's redemption restrictions, take a look at the Priceline Rewards™ Visa® Card. This card is aimed at those who regularly use the online discount travel agency and want to earn rewards quickly toward future travel. The card earns 5 points per dollar for every eligible purchase, which includes cruises, Name Your Own Price purchases, Express Deal purchases, Pay Now bookings and trip protection products. All other purchases earn 1 point per dollar. Redemption time is where the Priceline Rewards™ Visa® Card really shines. All eligible purchases of $25 or more that post to your account within 120 days will earn points worth 1.5 cents each when redeemed for statement credit. And, you'll also get a 10% points rebate back in your account on all travel purchases and redemptions made with the card, not just those made through the Priceline site.
Modest sign-up bonus
The Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card offers the following: Get $100 statement credit after you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days. That's nothing to sneeze at, but it's small compared with offers from comparable travel cards that can double or even triple that amount.
For example, the $0-annual-fee Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card offers the following sign-up bonus: 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
For more information about credit cards that can help you with hotel stays, visit NerdWallet’s roundup of best credit cards to have.
Is the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card right for you?
The Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card can offer solid value — but only if you're willing to jump through hoops and accept that you can only redeem for hotel stays. If that's not you, this isn't your card.
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