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Travel Tip: Loyalty Programs for Online Travel Agencies

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Loyalty_cardsThere are loyalty programs everywhere you look: airlines, hotels, and now, even online travel agencies are competing to get your repeat business.

Hotels.com has a basic program called Welcome Rewards, where you earn one free night for every ten nights at a participating hotel.

Orbitz has a points-based system, where one point—they call them Orbucks—is worth $1. You collect when you book hotels, flights, and vacation packages, and use those points on future travel.

Now, Orbitz has kicked up the loyalty concept with its own credit card. The Orbitz Rewards Visa has some perks—no annual fees and no foreign transaction fees.

Expedia also has a basic loyalty program, which earns you points for every dollar spent on flights, hotels, activities, and packages. You redeem points just like cash—so no blackout dates.

Expedia also has its own branded credit card, the Citi Expedia World MasterCard.

Now, I have no problem with free loyalty programs and collecting those benefits.

But a co-branded credit card can really lock you in—even psychologically. No amount of points is worth giving up my freedom to shop around, both online and over the phone.

For more information, visit the mileage & reward programs archives.

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