Is the Orbitz Rewards Visa Card Worth It?

For individuals comparing no-fee travel rewards credit cards, some may be wondering, “Is the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card worth it?” There are many cards out there without annual fees, but they’re not created equally, and they don’t all carry a lot of value or the same perks. The Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card can be a worthwhile option as long as the cardmember fully understands its benefits.

Here’s what you need to know about the card to decide if it’s the right fit for your needs.

Valuable perks of the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card

Compared to other no-fee travel credit cards, the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card offers potentially more value, especially for individuals who frequently book hotel stays through Orbitz.

Here are some of the top perks of this card:

  • A $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.

  • Earn Orbucks on all purchases made through Orbitz.

  • As an Orbitz Rewards Program member, earn up to 9% on hotel stays booked through the Orbitz mobile app.

  • Included $3,000 lost and stolen baggage coverage when booking with this card.

  • Included accident coverage for death and dismemberment.

  • Get a replacement card or emergency cash advance if your card is lost or stolen.

  • Complimentary Orbitz Rewards Gold status.

The more you use your card to book Orbitz hotel stays, the more Orbucks you’ll earn, and the more you can redeem your collected Orbucks. The redeeming ratio is 1 Orbuck = $1 off a future hotel stay.

A note on the welcome bonus

It’s important to highlight that this card doesn’t offer an impressive sign-up bonus: Receive a $100 statement credit when you spend $1,500 with your Orbitz Rewards® Visa® in the first 90 days of account opening. That low bonus amount is normal for a no-fee card with such a low minimum spend requirement.

Take these steps to get even more value

Using your Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card strategically by taking steps like these will allow you to maximize its value.

Join the Orbitz Rewards program

If you’re not already a member, join the Orbitz Rewards Program. As you spend and earn Orbucks, you’ll simultaneously be pursuing the next level of elite status, Platinum. It only takes stays for 12 nights in a year to reach this tier. At the Platinum level, you’ll have access to perks like $50 Orbucks reimbursement on expenses like seat upgrades or bag fees, the ability to apply for TSA Precheck for free, and free room upgrades and early check-in (when available) at VIP Access properties.

Use the app

Always book your stays through the Orbitz app instead of the website to get a higher rate back. As an Orbitz Rewards Program member, you’ll earn 9% back in Orbucks by booking through the app, versus 8% when booked on orbitz.com. That difference can add up, especially on expensive stays.

Spend primarily on hotel stays and activities

Focus on using your card for hotel stays and activities booked through the Orbitz app to get the 9% back. While you will earn Orbucks for flight bookings and travel packages, you’ll earn only 7% on these purchases.

You can also use the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card for everyday spending. Using your card to pay for daily expenses rather than using cash or a debit card can earn you 2% back in Orbucks. Spending categories include restaurants, groceries, services and more.

Nerd tip: Consider using other cards in your wallet to cover everyday expenses if they get more points per dollar spent in certain spending categories.

Don’t let your Orbucks expire

Make sure that you use your card for a purchase at least once every 12 months. If you do this, your Orbucks will never expire.

The bottom line: Who is a good candidate for this card?

This card’s earning potential is significant if you’re already used to booking through Orbitz — especially when booking hotels through the app.

It’s a good option for individuals who want a card with earning potential, but don’t want to commit to one with an expensive annual fee. Further, if you’re not loyal to a particular hotel brand/chain and prefer staying in hotels to home rentals, having the Orbitz Rewards® Visa® Card can make sense. Use it to book your hotel stays through the mobile app to get rewarded even more for your hotel purchases.

If you’re looking for a travel rewards card with more perks or value or one that doesn’t require you to book through Orbitz, this may not be the card for you.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:

Source: nerdwallet.com

This, not that: Why to book hotels instead of Airbnbs during the pandemic

This, not that: Why to book hotels instead of Airbnbs during the pandemic



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Source: thepointsguy.com

Is Your Rental Property Going off the Rails in the Pandemic? 4 Questions To Figure That Out

Whether you’re renting out one floor of your brownstone or you own a bunch of rental properties, it can all amount to a lot of work.

If you don’t want the hassles of chasing down rent and keeping up with repairs, hiring a good property manager can really help.

Property managers are paid to manage the day-to-day aspects of rental homes. Hire the right people, and they can make owning rental properties a breeze.

Property managers are an even bigger asset to rental-home owners these days, as we deal with the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Choosing a great property manager is the single best thing an investor can do for the success of their rental portfolio, so it’s worth it to spend the time and effort upfront to avoid headaches later,” says Eric Hughes, founder and CEO of Rental Income Advisors and owner of 16 rental properties in Memphis, TN.

However, not all property managers are great—which means that it’s vital to keep regular tabs on their work, to make sure your rental property isn’t getting run off the rails.

To help you suss that out, here are four questions worth asking your property manager today.

1. What measures are you taking to keep tenants safe and informed during COVID-19?

Property management has been deemed an essential service during the pandemic, meaning that property managers have mostly maintained their usual functions.

But they should also be encouraged during these unprecedented times to develop a plan and stay in close communication with tenants, says Kellie Tollifson, president of the National Association of Residential Property Managers and executive vice president of operations and managing broker at T-Square Properties in the Seattle area.

For instance, tenants might appreciate an email informing them that the lobby is being cleaned more often to lower their exposure risk, or you might ask your property manager to post a sign in the lobby asking for neighbors to ride the elevator separately rather than together.

Since tenants who feel safe and cared for are more likely to stick around, find out how your property manager is working to lower their risks of contracting the coronavirus. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Have you changed how you handle repairs and rent collection?
  • Have you spoken to my tenant(s) lately?
  • Does your staff wear protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, when interacting with tenants and others?
  • How will showings be held for vacant properties?
  • Are you stepping up cleaning procedures after a tenant moves out?

You can also ask your property manager to keep you up to date on changes to landlord-tenant law, such as statewide rent moratoriums and eviction freezes.

2. How will you communicate the status of rental payments?

Many property managers give owners access to an online portal that lists the rent payments collected and any expenses, such as repairs, Tollifson says. The information may be updated in real time, weekly, or monthly. If a portal isn’t available, find out how often statements are provided.

Review each statement carefully and regularly, to make sure rents are being collected, how much any repairs and other expenses are costing, whether there are any unexpected charges, and that you’re receiving the correct payments from the property manager.

Hughes checks his owner portal a few times a week and emails his property management company if something doesn’t look right.

“I might have questions about a range of topics: a repair charge, uncollected rent, or the status of a lease renewal,” he says.

3. How will you keep me apprised of repairs?

Another question to nail down with your property manager is the policy on repairs. Most repairs are still being made, especially in the case of emergencies, like a leak or broken air conditioner. Just make sure.

Hughes suggests asking for proof that a repair was made, such as before and after photos.

Another question is how much freedom property managers have to pay for those repairs. For example, one good rule of thumb to keep things moving smoothly is to pre-authorize property managers to make repairs and conduct maintenance up to a certain price (such as $400), but to contact you if the cost exceeds that threshold.

“There’s definitely a lot of trust in the relationship,” Tollifson says.

4. Are any of my tenants struggling to pay rent?

Millions of Americans have lost their jobs because of the pandemic, and many may be struggling to pay their rent. Helping landlords navigate these situations is an important property management task—now more than ever.

According to a recent NARPM survey of its members, about 70% of property managers reported that nearly all of their tenants had paid their June rent in full and on time. In other words, nearly a third of tenants are having trouble making rent.

So if your own tenants are struggling, what is your property manager doing about it?

To find out, ask your property manager if tenants are being offered payment plans or another arrangement—and if not, establish a procedure you’re happy with, such as 50% of the rent payments for a period of three months, to be paid back at the end of that term.

You can also ask if your property managers are proceeding with any evictions; you can always ask for an eviction delay if you feel it’s the right thing to do.

So, do you need a new property manager?

If you have ongoing issues with your property manager, it may be time to find a new one.

After all, property management is a major cost of running your property. Property managers are commonly paid a percentage of the monthly rent, usually around 10%, and may have additional fees for lease renewals or other services.

Hughes said he recently switched management companies after experiencing several problems.

“Their communication was frequently poor and delayed, and I had a hard time getting clear, factual answers to questions, particularly with respect to maintenance work,” he says of his previous property management company.

He often had to ask for refunds for unexplained charges, he says.

“It was clear at that point that their disorganization and incompetence could cost me real money.”

Hughes’s new property management company is better organized, more responsive, and more accurate, he says. Most surprising, while about half of rent payments were late each month with the old company, since the switch, tenants have been paying on time.

“It was like flipping a light switch,” Hughes says. “I don’t know exactly how they do it, but clearly the new property manager has a more effective team. This shows just how important it is to select a good property manager.”

Source: realtor.com

8 Amenities Every Decent Apartment Should Have: How Many Are in Your Place?

Whether you are looking for a studio or a three-bedroom apartment, finding the right amenities may make the difference between loving or hating your new pad.

Apartment amenities come in various forms, ranging from an in-unit washer and dryer or state-of-the-art alarm system to biannual pest control or a private parking spot. If you’re lucky, you may find an apartment with all of the above! More likely, however, you’ll have to prioritize depending on what’s important to you.

So what amenities should you put on the top of your list? Here are a few that will make a big difference and are worth having before you sign your next lease.

1. Dishwasher

Once you’ve had a dishwasher, it’s hard to go back to washing dishes by hand. But you already knew that, right?

“A dishwasher has to be arguably the most underrated invention of all time,” says Rostislav Shetman, founder of 9Kilo Moving.

“Washing dishes by hand after a long day at work is the last thing anybody wants to do. Having a dishwasher not only enables you to keep your utensils, and by extension the rest of your kitchen, clean, but since a dishwasher does not need as much water as washing dishes by hand, it also helps you lower your water bill,” says Shetman.

2. Alarm system

Having an alarm system can give you greater peace of mind, but professional installations of new systems can cost hundreds of dollars. To save money, look for an apartment that comes with an alarm system already built in. And don’t forget to ask the landlord who pays for the monthly monitoring. Some landlords offer the system but ask tenants to pay the monthly fees.

And there are other safety amenities to check for.

“Check the dwelling for deadbolts and window locks,” says Karen Condor, a home insurance and real estate specialist. “Also check for safety devices such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Whatever is lacking, request they be installed. This will not only make your apartment much safer, but it will also give you cheaper renters insurance rates.”

3. Pest control

Between wasp nests on your balcony and roaches invading your kitchen, pest control can be a time-consuming, unpleasant, and expensive chore. Some commercial pest control products can also be difficult, or even dangerous, to use. Save yourself the hassle, and look for apartments offering regular professional pest control.

4. Air conditioning—or ceiling fans

If you live in an area where summer temperatures become unbearable, having air conditioning is a no-brainer. Many newer apartments come with central AC, but if not, make sure window units can be installed.

Just keep in mind that AC eats up a lot of electricity, and can raise your monthly bill. To save on these costs, check if the apartment has ceiling fans. In the summer, a ceiling fan set to rotate counterclockwise at a higher speed will circulate air throughout the room, allowing you to feel cooler without running AC.

In the winter, set the ceiling fan to run clockwise at a low speed to force warm air trapped at the ceiling back into the room. You will still have to use the heater on the coldest days, but a simple flip of a switch can reduce some of your heating needs.

5. Washer and dryer

No matter how great an apartment is, lugging your laundry to the laundromat and back each week gets old awfully fast. Ideally, an in-unit washer and dryer combo is the best.

“After you’re out of college, you want your days of lugging your clothes to the laundromat to be over,” says Condor. “As well as saving you time, this will also save you money.”

If you can’t find an apartment with the appliances in the unit, at least try to find a place that has washers and dryers in the building.

6. Private parking

While the apartment complex probably has a parking lot, it could get full on weekends, when tenants are likely to have guests. To make sure you always have a spot, look for a complex that offers reserved parking spaces.

“There is nothing worse than making a large grocery run and having to park a mile away from your place,” says Condor. “Ask about the amount of dedicated space, as well as the amount of overflow parking available.”

7. An outdoor courtyard area

Sometimes you need some fresh air! Look for a complex that offers a courtyard area or, better yet, a swimming pool, so you can spend time outside without having to leave your apartment complex and driving to the nearest park or community pool.

8. On-site maintenance

A busted pipe, an overflowing toilet, or a leaking water heater can cause serious damage to your apartment (and your stuff). Having an on-site emergency maintenance crew can lessen the damage and get your life back to normal quickly.

Source: realtor.com