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While people around the world are staying home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, many travelers are faced with the extra task of cancelling work trips, long weekends with friends or summer excursions. While it’s difficult for anyone to say definitively when travel bans and stay at home orders will lift, there are steps savvy travelers can take today to come out ahead whenever their next trip calls. If you’re rethinking travel right now, here’s five things you can do now to save on travel later.  

1. Claim any refunds or vouchers for travel through May 31, 2020

No one looks forward to cancelling an allimportant work trip or a much-needed vacation, but it’s still important to claim any refunds or vouchers available to you. The good news is that online travel companies like Orbitz have negotiated cancellation policies with their travel partners. Customers with a hotel reservation booked through the site can cancel online from their account, chat with a Virtual Agent, or fill out a cancellation form and receive a full refund or voucher for the cost of their hotel—even if they booked a non-refundable rate. The biggest thing for travelers to keep in mind is most policies only apply to travel happening through the next 30 days or so. If your trip isn’t until June or July, please wait before you cancel or get in touch with your travel provider.  


2. Take advantage of flex policies

Travel companies often issue flex policies when there’s a major disruption impacting a large number of travelers. The most common example is during major weather events like hurricanes. The policies vary, but most allow travelers to change their travel plans—even if they booked a non-refundable package or Basic Economy ticket—without fee or penalty. Depending on the destination and type of travel, you may be able to change or rebook for a future date now at a fraction of the normal cost.  


3. Check to see if you can keep your loyalty rewards and status

Just because you can’t travel right now doesn’t mean you should lose your loyalty status (or perks). Check to see if your travel rewards program lets you keep your benefits during this unprecedented time. Right now, travelers enrolled in Orbitz Rewards won’t lose any Orbucks—aka travel dollars good toward hotels—that were set to expire in March or April: The validity of those Orbucks has been extended for 6 more months so they can be used toward a hotel stay whenever members are ready to travel again. Additionally, status benefits have been reinstated for all three tiers of the rewards program—Silver, Gold and Platinum—through 2021. 


4. Earn travel rewards without going anywhere at all

Now may be a good time to enroll in a rewards or loyalty program—even if you don’t have plans to travel anytime soon. Programs like Orbitz Rewards offeconvenient ways to save on future travel when you support local restaurants or purchase everyday essentials. For example, members who sign up for the Orbitz Rewards Dining program earn Orbucks (travel dollars equal to $1) when they order takeout or delivery directly from their favorite participating restaurants. And when you sign up for the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card, travelers earn even more when they order in (up to 7% back at participating Orbitz Rewards Dining restaurants and bars) and 2% back on everyday purchases, not to mention up to 10% back on travel with Orbitz. 


5. Save money—and time—when you download travel apps

It may sound counterintuitive, but this is a great time to download mobile apps from your favorite travel sites. Many online travel agencies like Orbitz offer real-time travel alerts, and new ways to cancel or change travel plans in the app. Plus, with Orbitz, there’s an extra incentive to download: Orbitz Rewards members earn the most cash back—up to 5%—when they book flights, packages and hotels in the app versus on desktop 

A final tip for anyone trying to cancel travel with Orbitz: Call center representatives are currently focused on customers with trips in the next few days. So if your trip isn’t set to begin soon, wait to call and try one of our online cancellation tools instead. Right now travelers can login and cancel from their itinerary, start a virtual chat or use a cancellation form for travel booked through May, 2020.

Tagged: Feature

Note: Orbitz compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Orbitz Travel Blog Editors

Orbitz Travel Blog Editors

We're the editors of this travel blog, brought to you by Orbitz!

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