Several readers have emailed over the past few days about Orbitz and Travelocity no longer being a part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards mall.
- I’ve written for years that one of the easiest passive ways to earn points is to go through a shopping portal to make purchases you’re going to make anyway.
- And over the past couple of years some of the best, most lucrative shopping portal offers have come through the Chase Ultimate Rewards mall.
- Plus, Chase points are among the most valuable (in my opinion along with American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints) because of the variety of programs you can transfer the points to.
I especially liked that going through the Chase portal earned 2 points per dollar with Travelocity, on top of the points you’d earn paying with your credit card (e.g. Sapphire Preferred would earn 2 points per dollar on top because the purchases were travel).
And I liked Orbitz because:
- It tends to be the best online travel agency for pricing complex multi-airline itineraries
- It introduced its own rewards program which created triple and quadruple dipping opportunities.
Unfortunately neither participates in the shopping portal any longer. For airfare all that’s listed is:
I actually like the Expedia booking interface best of all the online travel agencies. But they aren’t as good at pricing as Orbitz (which uses ITA for airfare searches) and they gutted the Expedia Rewards program.
Some people like buying airfare from airline websites directly. Airlines no longer incentivize that, and I find that online travel agencies can be more flexible in constructing and pricing itineraries. Plus those sites give you opportunities for multiple layers of earning, and without giving up any mileage or status-earning ability.
Fortunately Orbitz can still be found at BigCrumbs, at Ebates, and at MrRebates — although none of their offers are especially lucrative outside of hotel bookings. Travelocity participates with these sites as well, albeit in a similar manner.
On the whole, and especially for air, the Expedia offer through the Chase Ultimate Rewards shopping portal, looks most attractive to me at present.
For hotels you have Expedia, Hotwire, and also Hotels.com which participates with a variety of sites and lets you earn points through the shopping portal, in their rewards program, and for your credit card spend.
I do not use it myself because while Hyatt and Marriott will honor elite benefits of Hotels.com bookings, the other major chains generally do not. And in all of those cases you aren’t entitled to points accrual in the hotel program or credit towards elite qualification when booking through Hotels.com.
Nevertheless, for the hotel guest not earning status, the hotels.com program combined with a shopping portal and a credit card that bonuses the spend it can be a good option.