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Orbitz vs Despegar for hotels Bookings

Orbitz Despegar
Overview Overview

The first and most important thing to note about Orbitz is that it’s owned by Expedia. In fact, is basically is Expedia. In case you haven’t noticed the two company’s website are almost (but not quite identical). While originally started as a company to compete against Expedia, it was ironically purchased by them in 2015. As Expedia did with most of the other sites it purchased, Orbitz slowly became more and more similar to it’s parent, until what we are left with today is basically Expedia in a different skin, and slightly more aimed at the North American market.

Despegar is the largest online travel agency on Latin America. It’s mainly available in Spanish, however it does have an English version as well, although it’s mainly based at the US, and people traveling between the two regions. That being said, it is indeed possible to book accommodation anywhere in the world so we’ve included it in our comparison.
Features Features
For a full list of features we recommend you take a look at our article on Expedia as the functionality between the two different websites is almost the same. One thing that is different however is their loyalty program. Orbitz has one of the better loyalty programs in the industry, rewarding you with 3% of your booking price in the form of their virtual currency. Book with their mobile app to get an even bigger 4%. In addition to that you start off as a Silver member, but booking just 4 nights in a year will get you Gold membership where you can unlock perks like free breakfast and Wi-fi as hotels. Booking 12 or more nights within a year and you’ll be upgraded to Platinum which allows you to reimburse up to $50 for things like seat upgrades on flights, you get TSA Pre thrown in, as well as further potential hotel upgrades like room upgrades and early check-in. Both prepaid and pay-at-hotel type bookings are offered which it always handy. This will of course depend on the individual property, some will offer both payment types and others will only offer one. The Despegar booking system allows you to leave special requests, however you can only pick from a set selection, you can’t write your own. On the booking page they have a particularly interesting feature where you can be kept up to date about any changes to your booking through SMS or even Whatsapp.
Pricing & Fees Pricing & Fees
Like other Expedia Group companies, there are no booking fees charge for hotels. And also, unlike their flight offering which often charges a payment fee depending on your payment type, there’s no payment fees when it comes to hotels. The pricing, generally speaking, is exactly in line with Expedia. While you might find some special deals from time-to-time that are Orbitz-only, the vast majority of pricing is exactly the same, right down to the last cent. The pricing is generally speaking quite good across the board, although it’s generally possible to find a cheaper price on other sites if you look hard enough, however you always know that Orbitz will still be around tomorrow, unlike some of the brands where you can save a few dollars. From out testing we found that Despegar had good pricing in Latin American, especially in Mexico. It also had reasonable pricing in the southern United States, particularly for the lower end of the market. When it comes to other overseas destination however, we didn’t find their pricing particularly competitive.
Availability Availability
As with Expedia, availability on Orbitz is excellent, generally speaking. You’ll find the exact same hotels are available shared across all the Expedia Group platforms, which allows them to have good coverage in most corners of the globe. Naturally, their coverage is best in their home market, but is generally still very good elsewhere as well. Coming soon
Accessibility Accessibility
You can book hotels through Orbitz’ website, mobile website, or mobile app (both iOS and Android available). In terms of language options, Orbitz is very basic, only supporting English and Spanish, a clear nod towards it’s target market of North America. Despegar has a mobile app available on both Android and iOS, while it also has desktop and mobile versions of its website. As already mentioned Despegar is aimed at the Spanish speaking market, so it’s mainly accessible in Latin America. They do also have an English version too, however they don’t support any other languages at this stage.
Payment Methods Payment Methods

In terms of Credit and Debit cards, Orbitz offers a wide variety of options. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, UnionPay, Diners, Discover and JCB are all accepted on their platform. In addition to that you can also pay via PayPal as well as Click-to-Pay. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear that their app or website offers any other 3rd party options like Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Despegar accepts major credit and debit cards, and in some cases you can also pay with a bank transfer. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are all accepted. Besides prepaid hotels they also offer pay-at-hotel options for some hotels.
Reputation Reputation
Orbitz is a long-standing company owned by one of the biggest travel companies in the world. This alone is worth something in an industry where new companies seem to pop up and disappear overnight. As with Expedia, their customer service has a reputation for being a bit hit-or-miss, but in most cases it’s unlikely you’ll have a to use them anyway, especially if you’re booking hotels with free cancellation. In Latin American Despegar is the biggest and most trustworthy local player. Outside of this region though they have little to no reputation.
Customer Service Customer Service
As with other Expedia Group companies, Orbitz can be difficult to contact. While they do have a contact information on their website, they deliberately make you work to find it in order to reduce their call centre volume. If you search hard enough though you can indeed find a phone number you can call. Before that stage though you’re probably going to be directed to their chatbot. Fortunately, the chatbot is more than capable of taking care of regular tasks such as cancelling and changing your booking, so if you don’t require talking to a human this is a quick and efficient option. Despegar provides customer service through a single phone number, which incurs no cost if you’re calling from a landline. As an bonus extra, they also offer VoIP calling through their app. This will particularly come in handy when you’re traveling and only have a Wi-Fi connection.
Summary Summary
Generally speaking, unless they have a special deal at the time you’re going to book, booking with Orbitz doesn’t make a huge amount of sense and we’d probably stick to their parent. They do have a relatively good amount of “cashback” through their loyalty program when booking hotels online, so if you’re travelling frequently for work or leisure it’s a good way to eventually earn some free nights. For the English-speaking target audience of this website, Despegar probably doesn’t rate near the top of your list of travel site choices. While their offering is pretty solid, the limited availability outside of Latin American means that unless you’re traveling to this area, it probably isn’t a real option. If you area however, and particularly if you’re traveling on a tight budget, they might be worth a quick look.