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Orbitz Rewards: a review of Orbitz’s rewards program
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If you frequently use online travel agencies to book your travel, you definitely should not pass up looking into Orbitz Rewards. Orbitz launched its loyalty program, Orbitz Rewards, back in 2013 in an effort to keep up with competitors like Expedia, Hotels.com, and Travelocity. Through the program, you can earn and redeem Orbucks, which is the points currency that Orbitz uses that can be redeemed for travel-related activities and more.
Members can also achieve elite status in the Orbitz Rewards program, which gives additional perks and benefits such as exclusive deals and a dedicated customer service line. Read on for more details and a full review on why you should consider joining this rewards program.
How Orbitz Rewards works
How Orbitz Rewards works
|How to earn points||5% back in Orbucks when you book your hotel through the Orbitz mobile app.5% back in Orbucks when you eat at restaurants within the Orbitz Dining Program.
3% back in Orbucks when you book your hotel on Orbitz.com on a desktop.
1% back in Orbucks when you books flights and vacation packages through Orbitz.
|Blackout dates||None, you can redeem Orbucks at any time.|
|Rewards Status tiers||Three: Silver, Gold, Platinum|
|How to earn Rewards Status||Silver – automatically given upon signing up.Gold – stay 4+ qualifying hotel room nights in a calendar year.
Platinum – stay 12+ qualifying hotel room nights in a calendar year.
|Priority customer service||Yes.|
|Hotel room upgrades||Yes, for Platinum members only when booking at VIP Hotels.|
|Flexible hotel check-in||No.|
|Exclusive travel offers||Yes.|
|Credit card partnership||Offers the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card.|
Earning points with Orbitz Rewards
In the Orbitz Rewards program, members can earn Orbucks (Orbitz’s version of points) for booking on Orbitz.com. Sounds simple, right? Well, not so fast. We’ve found that Orbitz has a lot of rules and technicalities for earning Orbucks, which you typically do not see in other online travel agency rewards programs. We’ve broken out the ways you can earn Orbucks and the various rules below.
When you book a flight on Orbitz, you’ll earn 1% back in Orbucks on the total flight cost (minus any fees like checked bags or priority boarding). So if your flight costs $1,000, you’ll earn 10 Orbucks. Orbitz Rewards caps the amount of Orbucks you can earn within a given year on flights. If you’re a Silver member, the max is $50, Gold is $100 and Platinum is $400.
Orbitz allows you to “double-dip” by earning Orbucks and airline frequent flyer miles. This means you get credit for the same flight purchase in two different programs. If you line things up correctly, you can even “triple-dip,” earning Orbucks, airline frequent flyer miles, and credit card points.
Booking hotels through Orbitz.com will also earn you Orbucks. How many Orbucks you earn for a hotel booking is determined by whether you book on the Orbitz mobile app or on the Orbitz.com website on a computer. When booking on the mobile app, you’ll earn 5% back on hotels. On the regular desktop site, you’ll only earn 3% in Orbucks. So if your hotel booking costs $800 in total, you’d earn $40 Orbucks if you booked on the mobile app and only $24 on the regular site. That’s a 16 Orbuck difference! There is no maximum cap per year that you can earn in Orbucks on hotels.
Orbitz also offers vacation packages, in which you can purchase a combination of flights, hotels, and rental cars together for a better rate. Similarly to how you earn Orbucks with flights, you also get 1% back in Orbucks for booking a vacation package with Orbitz. Luckily, there is no maximum earning cap for Orbucks with vacation packages.
Orbitz Dining Rewards
Orbitz recently launched a dining rewards program, in which they offer 5% back in Orbucks when you dine at more than 11,000 restaurants, bars, and clubs in the Orbitz network. Plus you can earn a bonus 5 Orbucks when you spend $25 in the dining network in the first 30 days after creating your account. To sign-up, visit the Orbitz Dining Rewards website.
And here’s some final fine print for earning Orbitz Rewards Orbucks
- It’s really important to understand that Orbucks expire exactly twelves months after they are earned. So you have a year to redeem your Orbucks. And once they expire, there is no getting them back.
- You can earn Orbucks by booking via your Orbitz Rewards account, regardless of who completes the travel. So if you book a flight for your spouse using your Orbitz Rewards account, you’ll earn Orbucks for their flight.
- You will not receive points for canceled bookings or bookings made when not signed in to your Orbitz Rewards account.
- Multiple individuals may not combine separate accounts.
- Third-party taxes and fees will not count towards earning Orbucks.
Although you can earn Orbucks in a variety of ways, you can only redeem your Orbucks on hotel bookings. Once you have enough Orbucks saved up, Orbucks can be applied towards a future hotel reservation on eligible hotels on Orbitz.com. Orbitz advertises that they have over 350,000 eligible hotels worldwide for members to use Orbucks on. It’s also helpful that there are no blackout dates for redemption, meaning you can choose to redeem your Orbucks any day of the year.
Orbitz will use your Orbucks that have the earliest expiration date, which is nice so you don’t have to worry about doing this yourself. It’s also important to note that you cannot redeem Orbucks on “book now, pay later” hotels.
How to redeem your Orbucks
To redeem, you’ll need to be signed into your account. When you do a hotel search for a specific date pattern and location, you’ll notice some options have the purple Orbitz ‘O’ logo. If a hotel has this logo next to it, it means it’s eligible to use your Orbucks on. If not, you won’t be able to use your Orbucks to pay for the reservation.
Once you select a hotel, you’ll have the option to use your Orbucks to pay for the entire or partial amount of the reservation. You’ll only be able to pay for the full reservation if you have enough Orbucks to do so. Your Orbucks are worth $1 each. So if the total cost of the reservation is $500, you’ll need 500 Orbucks to pay for the entire booking. After you pay for the hotel booking, the amount of Orbucks you used will be deducted immediately from your overall balance.
Earning Orbitz Rewards status
Orbitz Rewards has three levels of elite status that it offers members. And these levels are much easier to achieve than competitors like Expedia Rewards and Hotels.com Rewards. That’s because the number of nights it takes to earn the top two levels is less than what the other two programs require. The bottom level is called Silver and is automatically given to anyone who signs up for the program. The middle tier is Gold, which requires that you book and stay four nights in hotels booked through Orbitz in a calendar year. The highest level, Platinum, can be achieved with 12 nights per the calendar year.
As with all rewards programs that offer elite status, Orbitz Rewards offers different benefits to each status level. Here’s the breakdown of benefits by each tier:
|Exclusive deals with Insider Prices||X||X||X|
|Dedicated Orbitz Rewards customer service line||X||X||X|
|VIP Hotel benefits (such as free wifi & breakfast, waived resort fees, etc.)||X||X|
|Priority access on dedicated Orbitz Rewards customer service line||X||X|
|Complimentary room upgrades at VIP Hotels (subject to availability)||X|
|$50 Orbucks reimbursement for two checked bags||X|
|TSA PreCheck enrollment fee waiver ($85)||X|
Orbitz Rewards credit card partnerships
Orbitz has teamed up with Visa to offer the Orbitz Rewards Visa credit card to complement its rewards program. If you already use Orbitz frequently to book your travel, you should definitely consider applying for this credit card as it amplifies the amount of Orbucks you can earn. Plus there is no annual fee, which is a huge benefit. Check out the key benefits of the Orbitz Rewards Visa card below:
|Orbitz Rewards Visa Card|
|Annual fee||$0 – no annual fee.|
|Earning points||10% back in Orbucks when you book eligible hotels on the mobile app, or 8% on desktop.7% back in Orbucks at qualifying restaurants within the Orbitz Rewards Dining program.
6% back in Orbucks on all flights.
2% back in Orbucks on all other purchases.
|Sign up bonus||$100 statement credit when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days.|
|Status earned||Automatically earn Gold status.|
|How to apply||Apply here.|
How does earning Orbucks work with the Orbitz Rewards Visa card?
When you own the Orbitz Rewards Visa card, you’ll earn Orbucks for all purchases made on the card. How many Orbucks you earn depends on what type of purchase and potentially how the purchase is made. All purchases made on Orbitz bookings earn 5% back in Orbucks and all other purchases earn 2% back. These percentages are in addition to what you already make as an Orbitz Rewards member. So here’s how much you’ll actually make in Orbucks when you use the Orbitz Rewards Visa card:
- Hotels booked on the Orbucks mobile app: 5% for using the Orbitz Rewards card + 5% for booking a hotel on the mobile app = 10% back in Orbucks total
- Hotels booked on the Orbitz website: 5% for using the Orbitz Rewards card + 3% for booking a hotel on the website = 8% back in Orbucks total
- Dining at restaurants in Orbitz Rewards Dining network: 5% for dining within the Orbitz Rewards Dining program network + 2% for using the Orbitz Reward card on a non-booking purchase = 7% back in Orbucks total
- Flights booked on Orbitz: 5% for using the Orbitz Rewards card + 1% for booking a flight on Orbitz = 6% back in Orbucks total
- All other purchases: 2% back in Orbucks total
Orbitz Rewards Visa Card benefits
Owning the Orbitz Rewards Visa card gives you access to exclusive benefits just for being a cardholder.
- Earn automatic status: you’ll automatically get complimentary Gold status in Orbitz Rewards.
- Orbucks don’t expire: the Orbucks you earn through credit card purchases will never expire.
- Card coverage: if your card is lost or stolen, you can get an emergency cash advance or replacement card.
- Baggage coverage: get up to $3,000 back (when you book with your card) if your bags are lost or stolen bags.
- Accident coverage: you’re covered in case of accidental death and dismemberment.
- Rental insurance: rental car collision and theft coverage is included when you use your card to pay for a rental.
Plus since the Orbitz credit card is a Visa Signature card, you’ll get access to the following Visa Signature benefits:
- A six-month free CLEAR trial membership and a special $60 off upon automatic renewal.
- Free room upgrades at Visa Signature luxury hotels, and exclusive discounts at top retailers.
- Access to sports tickets, wine tastings, and more.
- Complimentary Visa Signature Concierge service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Overall summary of Orbitz Rewards
If you are a frequent Orbitz customer, then Orbitz Rewards is the online travel agency rewards program for you! You’ll get rewarded, in the form of Orbucks, for all flight, hotel and vacation packages bookings made on Orbitz.com. Unfortunately, you won’t earn Orbucks for other types of bookings like car rentals, cruises, and activities. Once you have enough Orbucks, you can use them to cover the full or partial cost of a future hotel reservation. However, this is what we consider one of the downsides of the program. You can only use your Orbucks on hotel bookings and not other bookings like flights, car rentals, vacation packages, etc.
If you stay enough nights on hotel bookings through Orbitz, you’ll earn elite status in the program. Earning Gold or Platinum status will provide a basic set of benefits, similar to what Expedia and Hotels.com offer their elite members. We think you can really get the most value out of Orbitz Rewards by owning the Orbitz Rewards Visa card. With this card, you’ll earn more Orbucks and get an additional set of perks like earning automatic Gold status and no expiration date on your Orbucks.
In conclusion, we don’t think the program offers as much value as it’s competitors, Expedia Rewards and Hotels.com Rewards. However, if you’re already a frequent Orbitz customer, it makes sense to join their free rewards program and start reaping the benefits today. If you are interested in reading more about other online travel agency rewards, check out our articles on Expedia Rewards and Hotels.com Rewards.