February 18, 2020

Orbitz: What You Need to Know

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Orbitz is a well-known online travel agency that offers discounted flights, hotel stays, rental cars, and more. Find out below if those deals are actually worth your time.

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Pros and Cons of Orbitz

What we like about Orbitz

  • Best Rewards of Any OTA :Orbucks, which have a 1:1 conversion rate with U.S. dollars, can be redeemed to pay for hotel stays.

  • Insider Prices: The free level of Orbitz' membership program allows users to access exclusive, discounted hotel rates.

  • Price Guarantee: If customers find cheaper travel accommodations with the exact same itinerary within 24 hours (even longer for packages and hotels) after booking, Orbitz will refund the entire difference.

  • Variety of Offerings: Orbitz offers more types of travel bookings than most other OTAs.

  • Orbitz App: Travelers who use the app have access to more deals than listed on the site. Booking through the app also gives customers extra rewards points.

What we don't like about Orbitz

  • Third-Party Booking: Customers have to book through the Orbitz site, which means they are often unable to earn brand-specific loyalty points for hotels, cruises, and rental cars.

  • Difficult to Search Multiple Dates/Locations: The search tools only allow users to see prices on dates three days before and after their travel date. It's not possible to search for multiple locations at once.

  • Same Prices as Most Other OTAs: The Expedia Group owns both Orbitz and multiple other OTAs, most of which offer similar, if not exactly the same, prices as Orbitz.

  • No Price Comparison Tool: There's no way to view other travel sites' prices alongside Orbitz' listings.

  • Website Difficulties: Sometimes listings won't load when clicked on. This especially seems to occur with the opaque "bargain deal" listings.

Can you actually save money with Orbitz?
You'll save the most money through vacation packages (which bundle hotels, flights, and more). You can save by redeeming rewards points to pay for your booking.

In this article:

Orbitz Rewards
Flights
Hotels
Rental Cars
Vacation Packages
Vacation Rentals
Cruises
Activities
Special Features
Customer Service
Price Guarantee
Refunds
VIP Hotels
Orbitz Flight Protection Plan
How It Compares

What Is Orbitz?

Orbitz is an online travel agency (OTA) that offers discounts on travel accommodations. Unlike metasearch sites, such as Google Flights, customers can book directly through the Orbitz website.

Through Orbitz, you can book:

  • Hotels
  • Flights
  • Vacation packages
  • Rental cars
  • Vacation rentals
  • Cruises
  • Activities

Orbitz is owned by the Expedia Group. This means that many of their deals are similar to or exactly the same as those on Expedia, Hotwire, and Travelocity, among others.

Even if you're in the early stages of travel planning, Orbitz is helpful for creating and organizing your wish list. After making an account, you can save specific listings to your favorites list and return to them later. Your Orbitz account also shows your booked trips, itineraries, and confirmation info, all in one place.

Is Orbitz safe?
With Orbitz's Price Guarantee, customers should feel safe booking through this online travel agency.

Orbitz Rewards: Credit Card, Insider Pricing, and More

Orbitz has one of the most easily accessible and lucrative rewards programs among OTAs. The Orbitz Rewards program allows customers to earn free travel by points in the form of "Orbucks."

Each time you book through Orbitz, you'll earn Orbucks that you can use to book and pay for future hotel stays. You can redeem Orbucks for a 1:1 exchange with U.S. dollars on most Orbitz bookings.

Earn Orbucks by:

  • Booking hotels through the Orbitz app, which earns you 5% on the cost of your hotel stay

  • Booking hotels through the Orbitz website, which earns you 3% back

  • Booking flights or vacation packages, which earns you 1% back

  • Bonus opportunities—throughout the year, Orbitz offers special deals to earn extra Orbucks

You can redeem your Orbucks at over 350,000 hotels nationwide. Plus, you don't have to worry about blackout dates.

When you book a flight or a package that includes a flight, you can earn both Orbucks and frequent flier miles for that airline if you're a member of that airline's reward program.

Orbitz Rewards Tiers

Orbitz Rewards has three tiers:

Silver - This is the starting tier; benefits include:

  • Insider Prices (exclusive deals for members only)
  • A dedicated customer service line
  • Ability to earn Orbucks when booking for other people
  • Ability to stack rewards on top of other deals and discounts
  • Chance to airline miles on top of Orbucks

Gold - Requires 4 or more nights in a hotel in one calendar year; benefits include:

  • All the benefits of the Silver Level
  • VIP hotel benefits like free Wi-Fi and free breakfast
  • Priority access on the dedicated customer service line

Platinum - Requires 12 or more nights in a hotel in one year; benefits include:

  • All of the Silver and Gold benefits
  • Complimentary upgrades at VIP hotels
  • A free TSA Pre-Check membership
  • Up to $50 Orbucks credit for luggage fees, seat upgrades, activities booked on Orbitz, airport or in-flight Wi-Fi, in-cabin pet fee, and ground transportation booked on Orbitz

No matter what, it's worth registering for an Orbitz Rewards account just to gain access to the Insider Pricing. These are additionally discounted prices on hotels that are only available to registered members.

Orbitz Rewards Credit Card

Comparable to other travel rewards cards, the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card gives users the ability to earn additional Orbucks. It has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee.

Card users earn:

  • 10% back when booking hotels from the Orbitz app
  • 8% back when booking hotels on the website
  • 6% back when booking flights
  • 5% on all other Orbitz bookings
  • 2% on all other purchases

The card also comes with other great benefits like:

  • $100 credit when you spend $1,500 in the first 90 days
  • 7% back through the Orbitz Rewards Dining program
  • Complimentary Orbitz Rewards Gold Status
  • An emergency cash advance
  • A replacement card if yours is lost or stolen
  • Travel insurance coverage
  • Lost baggage coverage
  • Rental car collision and theft coverage
  • Access to signature events
  • Visa Signature Concierge service

Orbitz Rewards Dining

The Orbitz Rewards Dining program helps you earn Orbucks just for eating at your favorite restaurants.

After enrolling in the Orbitz Rewards Dining program and registering a credit or debit card, you'll earn up to 5% in Orbucks every time you use that card at one of the restaurants. The program has over 11,000 restaurants, so you have plenty of opportunities to earn extra Orbucks.

Orbitz Flights

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It's simple to search for and book flights through Orbitz.

How to Book a Flight With Orbitz

Follow these steps to book your flight:

  1. On the Orbitz home page, click the Flights tab at the top.

  2. Enter your departure city, arrival city, travel dates, and number of tickets. Select a one-way, round-trip, or multi-city flight.

    You can also filter by nonstop flights, refundable flights, preferred airline, and fare class.

  3. Hit Search. The listings are organized by the best flights, shortest flights, and cheapest flights.

    If your travel plans are flexible, check the options above the list to see if you can find better prices by flying on different days.

  4. Pick your departure flight first and then the return flight. The flight options provide information about layovers, flight times, aircraft, and estimated baggage fees (if applicable).

  5. Customers can then book flights and pay directly through the Orbitz website.

Many of Orbitz' airline listings are "basic economy" tickets, which are often the cheapest.

Depending on the airline, you may have to pay extra baggage fees in order to bring carry-on or checked bags, choose your seat, and access other perks.

Every Orbitz listing will state what is and isn't included in the price, but you'll have to buy extras through the actual airline's website.

Orbitz Bargain Fares

On occasion, Orbitz will offer further discounted airline tickets called Bargain Fares. These opaque listings don't reveal all of the flight's information until after booking.

If a Bargain Fare is available for your trip, it will be listed first on the list after searching. You can book it the same way you would a regular flight ticket through Orbitz.

Before you book, you will be able to see:

  • The total price of the ticket: This does not include any extra fees the airline may charge for baggage or other services.

  • A departure time window: You'll only see a potential departure window, such as "6 a.m.–10 p.m."

  • A possible number of layovers: Such as "0–2 stops."

You won't be able to see:

  • The actual airline: You may also have to change airlines during a layover.

  • Any additional fees: Such as those for carry-on or checked baggage or seat selection.

Once you purchase the ticket, you'll be able to see all of the information that was omitted in the listing. All Bargain Fares are non-refundable after purchase.

Orbitz Flight Terms

All of Orbitz' bookings come with specific terms from the airlines themselves. Those terms outline the changes you can and can't make to your ticket. Once you book a flight, you'll find all of the details in the itinerary section of your account.

If you need to change or cancel a ticket with a budget airline, such as Spirit or Frontier, you'll need to contact them directly. You can go through Orbitz to make changes to bookings through regularly priced airlines.

Orbitz Hotels

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Finding discounted hotel rooms through Orbitz is easy. Just make sure you read the listings carefully to know exactly what you're booking. Keep reading to find out what to look for.

How to book a hotel with Orbitz

Here's how to book your hotel:

  1. Click the Hotels tab at the top of the Orbitz homepage.

  2. Enter your destination, travel dates, and number of adults and children.

  3. Click Search. You'll then be taken to a list of hotels, each of which has a rating based on guest reviews.

  4. Sort the search results by using the filters to the left of the list. You can also select a map view.

  5. Click on a hotel to see information about it, including amenities, location, room types, local information, reviews, and hotel policies.

  6. Once you've found a hotel you like, choose a room type. Make sure to check if there are any additional fees listed in the bottom section.

  7. Apply any Orbucks you would like to use. Then, book and pay for your hotel directly through the Orbitz website.

Note that some hotels charge additional fees, such as resort fees, after you book through Orbitz. These are often charged when you get to the hotel. Find out if a hotel charges these fees by looking closely at the important information about your booking section on the payment page.

Make sure to log into/create your Orbitz account before booking a hotel in order to earn rewards points.

Orbitz Hotel Terms
Hotel bookings may be labeled as non-refundable, which means no refund will be given no matter the circumstances, or as a free cancellation, meaning you can cancel up to a certain time before check-in.

Some hotels in the Orbitz system also allow you to Reserve Now, Pay Later, meaning you'll book a hotel now and pay for it when you check-in.

Rental Cars

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Rental cars can be added to your hotel, flights, and vacation packages, or you can search for just a rental car.

How to book a rental car with Orbitz

Follow these steps to book your car:

  1. Click the Cars tab at the top of the Orbitz homepage.

  2. Enter the pickup city, drop-off city (if different from pickup city), pickup date and time, and drop-off date and time into the search box.

  3. Filter by car type, company, and applicable discount codes, if you'd like.

  4. Click on a car to see more details and request additional accessories.

  5. Choose and book your vehicle directly through Orbitz.

Orbitz Rental Car Terms
Rental car cancellation policies vary per each reservation. Some will offer a full refund if canceled before a certain amount of time prior to the booking. Most prepaid rentals are non-refundable. You can find the specific terms on each individual listing.

Vacation Packages

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Orbitz vacation packages combine different travel bookings into one easy-to-purchase bundle. Instead of booking everything separately, you can save time and money by booking hotel, flights, rental cars, and more as one.

How to book a vacation package with Orbitz
If you choose to add any extra bookings, such as a hotel in addition to a flight, when making another reservation, you will see bundled package search results.

Here's how to book a vacation package:

  1. Click on the Packages tab at the top of the Orbitz homepage.

  2. Enter your departure city (or just destination city if searching for just hotel + car), arrival city, dates of travel, number of hotel rooms, number of travelers, and preferred airline class.

  3. The search results list hotel options first, but the price shown is for everything (flights, hotel, car, and any fees and taxes). Click on a listing for more information.

  4. After you choose a hotel and room, you'll have the option to upgrade your room at an additional cost.

  5. After the hotel, select your flights and then your rental car.

  6. When you're done making selections, you'll book and pay directly through the Orbitz website. If you have Orbucks to apply, you'll do so here.

Just like when booking a hotel, make sure to check and see if there are any additional fees to be paid at the hotel. Make sure you sign into your Orbitz account in order to earn rewards points on your booking.

Vacation Package Rates
One of the best ways to save money with Orbitz is through their vacation packages.

For example, a traveler from Indianapolis visiting Miami in February can get round-trip airfare and 4 nights at the prestigious Fontainebleau Miami Beach for $1,002 per person.

When booked separately, 4 nights at the Fontainebleau and the same round-trip airfare is over $300 more.

Orbitz Vacation Package Terms
The cancellation/refund terms vary per each individual reservation for vacation packages. Legally, all flights must allow free cancellation within 24 hours after booking.

Hotels and rental cars are different per each booking and some may require you to contact Orbitz customer support in order to cancel. You can see the individual policies in each listing.

Vacation Rentals

Orbitz also offers the ability to search for vacation rentals to those looking for more non-traditional accommodations.

How to book a vacation rental with Orbitz

Here's how to book a vacation rental:

  1. Click on the Vacation Rentals tab at the top of the Orbitz homepage. Enter your destination city, travel dates, and the number of guests.

  2. Click Search to see a list of boutique hotels, apartments, townhomes, and single-family homes, as well as some extended stay hotels.

  3. Vacation rental results show a rating out of 5 and provide information about the rental, such as the number of bedrooms and how many guests the property sleeps.

  4. Once you find a listing you like, click Reserve to begin payment. Check for any extra charges you may have to pay.

  5. Book and pay directly through the Orbitz website.

How to Rent Out Your Home on Orbitz
If you're a vacation rental owner, Orbitz can help you too. Orbitz is free to join and allows rental owners to post their properties on numerous websites, including Travelocity, Expedia, Hotels.com, Orbitz, and more. Each property is marketed to over 200 booking sites in more than 70 countries.

Orbitz Vacation Rental Terms

The cancellation/change fee varies per each rental. Make sure to see all of the specific details in each listing.

Cruises

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Cruise lovers will appreciate Orbitz's cruise search function.

How to book a cruise with Orbitz

Here's how to reserve a cruise:

  1. Click on the Cruises tab at the top of the Orbitz homepage. Enter your destination, estimated departure and return dates, and number of adults and children.

  2. Search to show options from all the major cruise lines, as well as some smaller river cruise lines.

  3. When you click on a search result, you'll see the price, departure port, itinerary, cruise line, and ship name. You'll also see any other discounts or extras, such as onboard credits, free drinks, and complimentary shore excursions.

  4. Once you've found a cruise you like, choose a cabin type and pick your cabin number, if applicable.

  5. Enter your and any other travelers' information, and then book and pay directly through the Orbitz website.

Orbitz Cruise Terms

Depending on the cruise, you may be able to cancel or make changes up to 90 days before the trip. Make sure to check each cruise's specific rules before booking.

Activities

You've booked the flight, the hotel, and the rental car. But what should you do once you arrive at your destination?

The Orbitz activities search function shows different activities and events popular in that area. You provide the destination city and travel dates and Orbitz shows activities you can purchase tickets for through the website.

For example, if you're traveling to Miami, you can purchase tickets for the Miami Seaquarium, Little Havana Cuban Food Tour, and the Thriller Speedboat Ride.

Special Features

When using Orbitz, customers are treated to special features that make booking travel easy and convenient and also saves money.

Deals
On the Orbitz deals page, you'll find last-minute deals and weekly specials on flights, hotels, vacation packages, and more. Recently, these deals included hotels under $99, flights under $150, and kids-stay/eat-free deals. The deals change frequently, so check back regularly to see the latest specials.

App
Users who download the Orbitz app will find additional deals and more opportunities to earn Orbucks. The app has all the same search functionalities as the website.

You can also access your itineraries right in the palm of your hand. You'll receive notifications for flight delays and other travel issues that apply to your itinerary.

Travel Blog
Visit the Orbitz travel blog for inspiration on where to visit next. The blog posts cover all manner of travel and provide fun ideas, helpful resources, and tons of great information to help you plan your next trip.

Some of the blog posts are location-specific, while others offer more broad travel information.

Customer Service

The Orbitz customer service website answers most customer questions and is nicely organized by topic. If you still have a question after consulting the FAQs, you can call the 24/7 customer service line or submit your question or request through the online system.

Orbitz Customer Service Numbers:
  • Hotels: 1-844-663-2276
  • Vacation Packages: 1-844-663-2280
  • Cruises: 1-844-730-9892
  • Flight Cancellation Plan: 855-266-4973
  • Flight Protection Plan: 855-266-4974

Price Guarantee

With Orbitz's Price Guarantee, if you find a cheaper flight, package, rental car, or activity price within 24 hours of booking, Orbitz will refund you the difference. The guarantee also covers hotel bookings. If you find a lower price up to 2 days before your check-in date, Orbitz will also refund you the difference.

The booking has to fit several criteria before it qualifies:

  • At least $50 USD, excluding taxes and fees
  • Trip dates are the same
  • Lower price must be on an English website
  • Lower price quoted in U.S. dollars
  • Room type the same
  • Cancellation policy the same

To get a refund, find your Orbitz itinerary number and submit your claim online through the Orbitz website.

Not all airline bookings are covered by Orbitz' Price Guarantee. You can find out if your booking is or not by clicking on Details & Baggage Fees on the listing.

Refunds

Orbitz allows refunds to the original form of payment, including the return of Orbucks. Refunds can take up to 24 hours to process, plus up to 7 days for your financial institution to process and post to your account.

Most car rentals and activities allow for a full refund no matter when you cancel. Cruise bookings require you to cancel up to 90 days before departure to receive a refund.

You'll receive a receipt email that includes the refund amount, as well as how and when you'll get the refund.

Be sure to check the fine print before you book anything on Orbitz. Some flights are eligible for cancellation within 24 hours, while many are non-refundable. Depending on the hotel, you may be able to get a full refund if you cancel before the hotel's own deadline.

VIP Hotels

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Each of the properties in Orbitz's worldwide network of VIP hotels is hand-selected for their extraordinary customer service and perks.

Orbitz Rewards Platinum members can receive free room upgrades at any VIP hotel. Look for the VIP hotel logo when searching for accommodations or visit the VIP hotel page for a list of hotels divided by areas of the world.

Other perks of VIP hotels include:

  • Welcome gifts
  • Priority check-in
  • Free parking and ground transfers
  • Fitness and business center access
  • Resort credits
  • Free spa treatments, laundry, and Wi-Fi
  • Complimentary food and drink

Not all VIP hotels offer all these perks to all Orbitz Rewards members.

Orbitz Flight Protection Plan

Working with AIG's Travel Guard, Orbitz offers two types of flight insurance for airline bookings. The Flight Cancellation Plan is good for domestic flights within the continental U.S. This plan allows for reimbursement for the trip's total cost if you cancel or shorten the trip.

The Flight Protection Plan covers flights outside the U.S., including those to Alaska and Hawaii. It includes all the benefits of the Flight Cancellation Plan, as well as:

  • Medical assistance
  • Coverage for accidental death
  • Coverage for loss, theft, or damage to baggage and personal belongings

To book the insurance, add the insurance to your flight at checkout or return to your itinerary within 24 hours of purchasing. If you have to use the insurance, use AIG's Travel Guard Claim website and follow the easy instructions.

As long as you haven't filed a claim, you can cancel your flight insurance before the start of the trip up to 15 days after booking.

How Orbitz Compares

Expedia owns Orbitz, and so the two websites are fairly similar. Both allow you to search for hotels, flights, car rentals, vacation packages, cruises, things to do, and a combo of hotels, cars, and flights.

Orbitz and Expedia offer comparable prices and each has its own deals section. However, the Orbitz Rewards program is more robust with several tiers and perks.

Expedia also owns Travelocity, Hotels.com, Hotwire, and Trivago, so Orbitz is also similar to those online travel agencies.

Bottom Line

Orbitz has easy-to-use search tools to help you plan your next vacation or trip. Book each part of the trip separately or use the vacation package and bundle options to create your own vacation package.

With the Price Guarantee and a robust customer service program, users can be assured they're getting a great price and quality product.

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Kayak is one of the best ways to find cheap travel deals for flights, hotels, cars, cruises, or vacation packages. Learn how to use it to find the best possible deal for your next trip in our guide.

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