Updated October 23, 2015

Orbitz Credit Card Review: 2% Rewards with No Annual Fee

Travel-related credit cards have a reputation for high annual fees, confusing reward structures, blackout dates, and frequently unrealized paybacks. There's a new card on the market, from online travel site Orbitz, which goes against that grain. When used as intended, the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card can provide travelers some serious breaks on their vacation budgets.

The Gist

Every time you use the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card – either on Orbitz.com or anywhere Visa is accepted – you get a certain percentage back in the form of Orbucks (one Orbuck equals one dollar). You can earn as much as 10% back when booking hotels if you use the Orbitz Rewards Visa card on Orbitz’s mobile app. Order over your desktop computer and you don’t get as much (just 5% on hotels and 2% on flights). You can spend the Orbucks you earn toward the purchase of a qualifying hotel stay.

Orbitz sweetens this deal by giving you 2% in Orbucks every time you use the card toward non-Orbitz purchases. This makes the card stand apart from other loyalty cards or rewards cards that usually give only 1% on regular purchases. Other cards that might give 2% often come with a high annual fee, while the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card has no annual fee.

The APR on this card ranges from 13.99% to 22.99% variable, depending on the user’s creditworthiness.

Who It’s Good For

This rewards card is geared toward travelers. By limiting the “cash back” to a currency that can be used only on Orbitz.com, the company is trying to keep its customers tied to the site for all their vacation needs. If you favor Orbitz over other online travel sites and are either a frequent traveler or go on vacation at least once a year, then this could be a useful card for you. It’s good especially for savvy credit card users who like to use their rewards for travel.

In that sense, this card can work for those once-a-year travelers. According to Orbitz, the average family that buys four plane tickets and stays six nights at a hotel spends $2,780 on the site. By using the mobile app and the card, the family would get back $223 in Orbucks for that booking alone (10% back from the $948 spent on the hotel and 7% back from the plane tickets that cost a total of $1,832, according to Orbitz’s figures). As long as they’re good about paying off their balance every month (so that they’re not negating the value of their Orbucks by paying interest), travelers can see an upside by using this card.

Why We Like It

We love the 2% on general purchases. Most rewards cards provide only 1% in rewards. If you keep this card toward the top of your credit-card rotation, you could easily rack up Orbucks to get a nice, relaxing weekend at a hotel or make a dent in the cost of the one trip you take a year. You could also tap your rewards the next time you book travel and literally reward yourself with an upgrade to a higher rated hotel. We’re also impressed with the fact that this card does not charge an annual fee and has no foreign transaction fee.

The Drawbacks

The rewards can only be used on Orbitz. That’s the point of the card after all – Orbitz wants you to keep coming back to the site – but it could distract you from other credit card rewards programs that, depending on your priorities and spending habits, could be more rewarding for you. Also, any Orbucks you accrue will expire if you do not use the credit card at all during a 12-month period. For that reason, you should get this card only if you plan to use the card fairly frequently on everyday purchases.

Perks for Savvy Card Users

The savviest users of the Orbitz Rewards Visa card will see higher Orbucks in their account, especially if they prefer to use their smartphone or tablet to book their flights and hotel stays. The company is giving its rewards members a $50 statement credit after they spend $200 on the site, and it will give $25 (in the form of Orbucks or a promo code) to those who refer a friend or family member to the program.

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Comments about Orbitz Credit Card Review: 2% Rewards with No Annual Fee

  • Dr G.
    on October 26, 2015 1:26 PM said:

    I use the orbitz visa card regularly, and I got this year, 5 free nights in Bangkok, 2 free nights in Los Angeles, 4 free nights in Houston, 3 free nights in Koh Samui. Keep in mind they are only 3 star hotels but the rewards adds up quick. Next year I will get 3 free nights in Hong Kong, 2 free nights in Shenzhen, 1 free night in New Delhi. The orbitz site also guarantees the lowest price for hotels when you pay for them or they will match the lowest price and give you $100 credit towards your next booking of hotels. It's a great way to extend your vacation by saving on hotels.

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