Orbitz Bookings: Reminder To Consider Going For Orbitz Rewards Status When Booking Independent Hotels


As I coincidentally hit Orbitz Platinum again yesterday we want to remind our readers that it can be worth it focusing on a particular Online Travel Agent (OTA) when making isolated hotel and travel bookings.

Orbitz Rewards like many other competitors (most of which are just an Expedia sleeve nowadays) offers it’s customers a range of discount and benefit options when using their engine frequently.

I tend to book many hotels that are either independent or local chains which don’t have their own loyalty program so it doesn’t hurt to book these properties via an OTA such as Orbitz or Expedia. What I like about Orbitz is their constant flow of discount codes (most of the time 15% off) while you can still earn their loyalty currency ‘Orbucks’ which is 3% of the hotel purchase on the website and 5% via the mobile app.

That alone amounts to a 20% discount on all hotel bookings I do for hotels such as TOKYU Stay in Japan or various independent properties.

To enjoy these benefits you sign up for Orbitz Rewards (access here) where you also earn a tiered status depending on your nights booked with them.

The status from Gold onward allows the member to enjoy certain VIP benefits at some hotels which can be anything or nothing and is unfortunately nowhere noted even at the time of booking. I did get a nice suite upgrade though when I booked a Porto Bay hotel in Portugal last month.

I just hit my 12th night and while I was dropped to Gold status for 2 weeks the account is now back to Platinum.

One of the benefits is that Orbitz will reimburse you up to $50 a year in baggage fees if the flight was booked through the website as well. I wrote an article a few months ago (see here) how I successfully claimed that benefit.

What can be quite useful is the Elite Hotline if you have an issue with a hotel that needs to be rectified. Often the customer service agent is able to help or if not offer you $50 in Orbucks as compensation. Having Platinum status helps here!

Another good thing is that the Best Rate Guarantee reimburses the customer in Orbucks which are adding to the account balance and can be used collectively. For example if you do 5 BRG’s and receive $250 total in Orbucks you can then use the entire amount to offset one hotel booking. Other websites issue one coupon per BRG that can’t be combined with others.


While the VIP property benefits are very vague and anything but guaranteed I recommend to concentrate your hotel bookings through one particular channel such as Orbitz if a third party booking is an option.

Overall I find booking with them a very positive experience and claiming the benefits a painless, straight forward process. These Orbucks are as good as cash to me as I often use Orbitz to book independent (non-chain) hotels at destinations where I don’t want to go out of my way just to stay at a chain hotel or where there are simply none available.

I think all benefits considered it’s a good deal to pool such bookings on an OTA that offers such a loyalty scheme especially if there are always some good discount codes available that bring down the rates by up to 15%.

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  • Bartek

    What I don’t like about Orbitz Rewards is the system of benefits for gold members (and for platinum, as I assume, too). The list of benefits is only exemplary and not guaranteed. You never know, what benefit you’ll get because it depends on hotel. Furthermore, Orbitz doesn’t know it too. Each time I asked about benefits in certain hotel, they had to contract reception in order to check it out. For me the most important benefit is complimentary breakfast. Unfortunately, so far they’ve never confirmed this benefit. Only some minor benefits were available. Once they even were not able to get in contact with the hotel (4* in Japan) so couldn’t give me any information about benefits for OR gold there.
    Nevertheless, I must admit that -15% discounts and Orbucks make Orbitz competitive booking platform in case of independent hotels.

  • Sergey Fedorov

    I have used Orbitz quite much previously, however nowadays find that their pricing is uncompetitive in most of the cases. Cheaptickets with ongoing 16% off, Expedia with Citibank discount or Agoda with Citibank discount make a better deal, and in certain cases MakeMyTrip absolutely rocks. I am still Orbitz Platinum, I think, though never had anything noticeable from it.

    • Are you able to yield a better result than 20% with above sites? Gotta check it out. Cheaptickets is (afaik) also an Expedia sleeve.

      • Sergey Fedorov

        Cheaptickets is Expedia (after it purchased Orbitz), yes. However Expedia prices do vary between their US-skins (Orbitz and Cheaptickets) and between US Expedia and various regional versions of Expedia. I haven’t found any rule regarding hotels, but for flights it always makes sense to check Expedia of the departure country. Say, Expedia MY, Expedia SG and Expedia TH gave their local discounts (applied automatically at payment page, no need for a code) which made them the best value (besides, Google Fights doesn’t see these prices).

        Since Agoda is not a part of Expedia, their prices may widely differ (no consistent pattern, but recently I tend to choose Cheaptickets/Expedia over Agoda slightly more frequently, I suppose). Also their selection of properties is different, and as for Asia, it is normally much wider. Availability also differs and I found it better with Agoda (doesn’t mean it gonna be the same for everyone).
        Agoda allows to earn miles on their booking via their program PointsMAX and it can be combined with targeted discount codes from “Agoda Promo Inbox”, however you cannot combine miles earning with Citibank 7% off discount (and I assume, other proprietary discounts from Amex, Bangkok Bank etc.) anymore.

        MakeMyTrip is a tricky option, varying from being very overpriced to extremely discounted. You may get about 50–60% off with them, but the problem is their promo codes are unpredictable and limited to five bookings at a time (per account). Typically this works for non-expensive hotels with 2–3 nights per booking – this allows you to get the price *much* better than any competitors. With expensive properties and one-night bookings it tends to be less attractive choice of OTA (though you still may end up better off, especially using their PayPal payment option and not credit card directly). Also discounts may vary between their website and app (and promo codes also may vary). However the app doesn’t have PayPal payment channel, so probably in most cases you are better using website. Have to note, that their customer support is an offense to humanity (well, can’t expect much from Indian customer support anyway). If something goes wrong, I doubt they will be helpful. At the same time I have had numerous stays booked via MMT during past 2 years and had an unpleasant issue only once (a minor one).