Orbitz like many other competitors (most of which are just an Expedia skin nowadays) offers it’s customers a range of discount and benefit options via status tier when using their engine frequently.
VIP 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 (guaranteed) even at the time of booking.
Basically what you have to do is contact a hotel in advance or just let them surprise you whenever you reach the property (can be a bad surprise as well).
I decided to give a couple VIP properties a try and when you book these you have to look out for the designator in the hotel description which also shows up in the search results.
As I had a very late arrival in Tokyo the other day I was looking for a simple hotel to just stay a few hours and the Shinjuku Washington Hotel came up which is a simple Japanese style business hotel with super tiny rooms. I’ve stayed there previously and the price can range from super cheap to relatively expensive for such a no frills place. Good thing is that it always works with the many coupon codes Orbitz has. And it’s one of their VIP Hotels and this means as per their own description:
Gold and Platinum Members may enjoy special amenities, services, and free room upgrades when available.
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.
These are the tiers Orbitz has:
To be completely honest I wasn’t expecting anything when I booked this and considering I had a reservation with an early check-in at the Hyatt next morning there was very little I could get out of whatever amenity they’d give out unless it’s a room upgrade (I booked a small single room with a double bed).
Turned out the Orbitz VIP benefit at the Shinjuku Washington Hotel would be a 1PM Late Check-Out that was offered without pushing for it. Usually this hotel is VERY strict about their 11am check out policy which is really annoying. And they aren’t alone with that, most of the small Japanese business hotels have this policy.
So far I’ve stayed at a couple VIP Hotels in different countries and the benefits were either non-existent, had to be pushed for or ended up being mediocre. A late check-out is nice especially at a property that usually never grants them but being an elite member with most chains for over a decade I’ve become accustomed to a 2-4 pm late check-out anyway. However it isn’t always possible to stay at chain hotels because they make no sense financially (I won’t book a $250 Hotel in Tokyo for a 7 hour stay) or the location simply doesn’t work.
I’ve covered Orbitz Rewards previously on LoyaltyLobby (see here & here) where I outlined different reasons why it can make a lot of sense to use their loyalty program to the customers advantage, especially for relatively infrequent travelers. It’s worth it to consider going for it as an ‘extra insurance’ that can come in handy many times per year. Just be prepared to push for the benefits or at least actively ask for them if nothing is forthcoming on it’s own.