Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Jan 14

Orbitz: My top choice for online travel sites

One of the mistakes that I make is assuming that readers always read through these posts in chronological order.  Most just start from the top and go backwards.  Thus, I’d suggest reading the Expedia post below before reading this one.

Bottom line: Orbitz is by far the better program.  It’s not even close.  Here are some of the keys:

  • Flights: Earn 1% on flight purchases.  You can earn up to $50 per year this way (i.e., no more than $5,000 in spend on flights per year).  You’ll also earn your airline’s frequent flyer points.  Taxes and fees are excluded.
  • You earn 3% on hotel bookings, but that number goes up to 5% if you book on a mobile app.  For 5%, I’d consider giving up the hotel points that you would have gotten if you’d booked on the hotel’s direct site.  But be sure to check on Big Crumbs or Mr. Rebates for a possible rebate first.  That way, you could get both a rebate and hotel points.
  • Packages: Earn 1%.
  • Earn through the referral program.  You both win.  If you refer somebody, they will get a $25 promo code for their first hotel and you’ll get $25 in Orbitz bucks (Orbucks) when they complete their first hotel stay of at least $50.  For those who choose to sign up and pick up the extra reward, my referral code is here.  Many thanks.
  • One downside: Orbucks expire 12 months after you earn them.  In other words, don’t horde them.

Elite Status

Orbitz has two levels of elite status, Star and SuperStar, which are achieved after four and 12 nights, respectively.   The first level gets you priority customer service access (handy when your flight gets cancelled) and extra benefits at hotels.  The second gets you concierge service.  Not a big deal, but it helps.

The bottom line is that you should definitely consider booking airfare and possibly hotel rooms (after checking for potential rebates at cash back sites) through Orbitz.  There’s some big upside.

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