Orbitz Formalizes VIP Customer Program: “Priority Access”

Just as Expedia has formalized its VIP customer program, so too now has Orbitz.

Expedia has done more to promote theirs, I actually knew that I was an Expedia ElitePlus member. They’ve also offered up clear criteria on re-qualification ($10,000 in Expedia spend in a year or 12 hotel nights — clearly hotels are a profitable product ofr Expedia). And there are a few value-added benefits, however miniscule.

Orbitz on the other hand offers a dedicated customer service line and waiver of its own fees, just like Expedia. They offer free Hertz #1 Club Gold (easily obtainable elsewhere free) and occasional discounts such as this one which I imagine would be useable by anyone:

Save $50 on a 3-night hotel
stay or a 3-night flight + hotel package — in any destination!
Use Promo Code: OPAHPP50

Promo code Terms and Conditions

Book a qualifying hotel or flight + hotel package between April 11, 2008, and September 30, 2008 for 3 or more nights for travel between April 11, 2008, and December 1, 2008 via Orbitz and instantly receive $50 off your purchase through the use of the promotion code. To display qualifying hotels or packages, click “I have a promotion code.” and enter the promotion code, then look for hotels or packages marked with the icon “COUPON.” Limit one discount per hotel room and one promotion code per booking. Discounts are not redeemable for cash for any reason. Any attempt at fraud will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Void where prohibited, taxed or restricted. Orbitz reserves the right to change or limit the promotion in its sole discretion

There are also a few marketing come-ons, like attempts to sell baggage delivery service, the Entertainment Book, and Priority Pass.

In many ways the Orbitz program is substantially similar to Expedia’s, albeit a little less formal (no published requalification period or criteria) and less marketed (an email letting me know about the program would have been nice).

Now, I’ve been a ‘vip customer’ of both booking sites for a long time. They both had dedicated phone numbers and email addresses, and provided the fee waivers (of their own extra fees for changes to tickets only, not airline fees). So these programs really aren’t improvements over their old offerings, and in fact if I had to speculate they’re probably being offered more broadly than the old status so perhaps there’ll be a dilution of service offered.

Interestingly I only noticed a little text link on the upper right hand of my screen yesterday that said “Priority Access member – View benefits” otherwise I would never have known that Orbitz formalized the program. Either that, or announcement emails were caught by my spam server (although I usually check over there fairly thoroughly and would likely have noticed an email from a travel provider announcing elite status!).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I actually did receive an email from Orbitz about this. It wasn’t much, but did outline the benefits I’d receive which are exactly as you’ve described here.

    I got the same from Travelocity, but haven’t tried the service. Heck, I don’t even remember the last time I used Travelocity.

  2. Not sure how long I have been a “priority access member” but when I had to make a change to my flight, the site offered up the priority customer service phone number. I had to use the # several times, and i NEVER waited on hold for more than 60 seconds. I don’t care if everyone gets the same treatment, the service was terrific. I hate waiting 10 minutes on hold to speak to a human.

  3. my husband and our son have a trip schedule from LA CA on the 19th of this month to Cabo San Lucas Mex, but our son ahs not yet receaved his passport and he need to leaave from Seattle WA on the 18 to meet with his dad in LA. what can we do (we already called the passport office and all they say is that it’s in process) and how late can they cancel.
    Thank you
    Sandra Gnos

  4. This article seems outdated, but I’ll comment regarding the newest Orbitz perks program:

    I feel like I’m in a Twilight Zone episode.

    I’m an Orbitz Platinum Member and trying to access the “1-800 Gold member line.” I’ve been on the phone for over an hour and have been left on hold, disconnected, bounced around to other departments and even bounced out to Expedia, but no one in Orbitz can give me any info on the “1-800 Gold member line.”

    Googling it hasn’t helped either.

    Frustrating first-world problems!

    The whole reason I was trying to access the “1-800 Gold member line” was because I was trying to get information about the TSA Pre-Check Platinum benefit. I called normal customer support and was left on hold by the representative for over 20 minutes after being told to hold on for a minute, and the second time they just disconnected me after asking about the TSA Pre-Check benefit. No one seemed to know anything about it, so I thought I’d seek out the services of the “1-800 Gold member line,” which seems to not exist.

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