Orbitz Rewards Visa Review: High Rewards, but Super-Complex Terms

NOTE: THIS CARD HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED. You can earn up to 9% back on eligible hotel bookings with Orbitz — but it depends on how you book. Plus, rewards are redeemable only for hotel stays, and only through Orbitz.

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Our Take

3.6

NerdWallet rating 

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 high rewards rates — and you're comfortable with prepaying for bookings and redeeming only for hotel stays — maybe give it a chance.

Comenity Capital Bank Orbitz Rewards Visa Card Credit Card

Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

17.49% - 26.49% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High rewards rate
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Rewards only redeemable for hotel stays
  • Complex rewards rates

Alternate Pick: Simple, flexible rewards

Discover it® Miles
NerdWallet rating 

Discover it® Miles

1.5 miles per dollar, no hassles

These rewards are easy to earn ... and understand: 1.5 miles per dollar on every purchase. Plus, you can redeem those miles for any travel expense — flights, hotels, etc.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$95

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

11.99% - 22.99% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

15.99%-22.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 14 months and 10.99% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 14 months

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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Full Review

» This review is out of date

This card has been discontinued by the issuer. See NerdWallet's best credit cards for travel or hotels for other options.

If you’re a diehard fan of Orbitz and its loyalty program, the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card can boost your rewards. But for everybody else, this card’s complex rewards system probably requires too much effort and will lead to frustration.

Like a few other co-branded travel cards, the complexity comes from awkwardly weaving together rewards earned via the credit card and rewards earned via an existing loyalty program. The card has 10 different rewards rates based on what you’re buying with it — and sometimes based on whether you purchase using the Orbitz app or via its website in a browser. And those rewards, while potentially generous, are also limiting:

  • One of the highest rewards rates is for hotel reservations, but only if they’re prepaid.

  • Rewards expire in a mere 12 months unless you use the card to reset the clock.

  • Rewards can be used only on one type of travel expenditure on Orbitz: hotel bookings.

On the plus side, the card has an annual fee of $0, and its rewards for non-bonus categories — the “everything else” category — is the equivalent of a healthy 2% back on spending.

But before you apply for this card, consult NerdWallet’s roundup of best travel rewards credit cards, or our picks for best airline or hotel cards. Many travel rewards cards have some built-in complexity, but the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card takes it to the stratosphere.

Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card: Basics and benefits

Card type: Travel.

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: Receive a $100 statement credit when you spend $1,500 with your Orbitz Rewards® Visa® in the first 90 days of account opening.

Ongoing rewards:

Rewards earned on the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card are called "Orbucks," and they come on top of the Orbucks 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.)

Read below for specifics, but generally, here are the rates you can earn through that combination:

  • 9% back (in Orbucks) on eligible prepaid hotel stays and activities booked on the Orbitz mobile app.

  • 8% back on eligible prepaid hotel stays and activities booked on Orbitz.com.

  • 7% back on eligible flights and travel packages booked on the Orbitz app.

  • 6% back on eligible flights and travel packages booked on Orbitz.com.

  • 5% back on all other qualifying Orbitz purchases.

  • 2% back on all other purchases. (Rental-car bookings and non-prepaid hotel bookings are not bonus categories. They earn this 2% “everything else” rate of rewards.)

Orbucks can only be used to book hotel stays on Orbitz. Each Orbuck equals $1 when redeeming it for a hotel booking. Orbucks expire unless you use your card at least once every 12 months.

Interest rate: The ongoing APR is 17.49% - 26.49% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Balance transfer fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of the balance transfer, whichever is greater.

Other perks:

  • Automatic Gold status, which can get you free Wi-Fi and breakfast at certain hotel properties.

  • Travel protections, including lost and stolen baggage coverage and accident coverage.

  • 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. You also get a six-month Clear trial membership and $60 off automatic renewal.

How the rewards program works

For bonus categories, part of your rewards rate is earned from the Orbitz loyalty program, and part is earned from the Orbitz credit card. The card gives you 5 extra percentage points (in Orbucks) on top of what you'd earn via the rewards program, in four bonus categories:

  • Prepaid hotel bookings.

  • Flight bookings.

  • Package bookings.

  • Activities, like city tours and museum tickets.

The card also adds 2% back in Orbucks on “everything else."

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 whether you book through the Orbitz mobile app or on the web at Orbitz.com.

Here's how the rewards break down:

Type of booking via Orbitz

Orbitz Rewards Program

With the extra 5% from the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card

Prepaid hotels and activities

• 4% via app • 3% via Orbitz.com

• 9% via app • 8% via Orbitz.com

Flights/prepaid packages

• 2% via app • 1% via Orbitz.com

• 7% via app • 6% via Orbitz.com

Cruises and other qualifying Orbitz purchases

None

5%

All other spending on the card

N/A

2%

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 9% rewards rate: 5% in Orbucks from your card and another 4% from Orbitz's loyalty program. That potentially makes this card valuable if you book this way frequently.

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 by keeping in mind you can only use Orbucks toward hotel bookings on Orbitz. There are flat-rate cash-back cards that earn 2% cash back, which is a much more useful currency.

No annual fee or foreign transaction fees

The Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card has an annual fee of $0, so even if you don't use it often, you can still come out ahead on rewards. As with any self-respecting travel card, it doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, making it a good card to use abroad.

Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card: Drawbacks and alternatives

Complexity and restrictions

Earning the highest tier of rewards — 4% back in Orbucks from the loyalty program and 5% back in Orbucks from the card for a total of 9% — requires effort. Not only do you have to remember that math, you have to book your hotel stay via Orbitz's mobile app and prepay for your stay using the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card.

It might be easier to book travel on a desktop computer — but your earnings rate would decrease. And paying upfront for your hotel can be unpalatable if your travel plans change and you have to go through the hassle of getting a refund. Or maybe you're trying to book something far in advance and don't have the money saved 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 out NerdWallet's best travel credit cards.

Limited redemption options

Although you can earn rewards with this card on any purchase, 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 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: Receive a $100 statement credit when you spend $1,500 with your Orbitz Rewards® Visa® in the first 90 days of account opening. 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, such as the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card or the Discover it® Miles.

For more information about credit cards that can help you with hotel stays, visit NerdWallet’s roundup of best hotel credit cards.

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.