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CheapTickets Relaunches With Loyalty Rewards That Expire Quickly

@denschaal

Skift Take

If greed is good in the movies, cheap is good at CheapTickets, which is seeking to target extremely price-focused consumers. Whether its rates will be cheaper than those on Orbitz is another question.

— Dennis Schaal

The “other” Orbitz Worldwide U.S. brand, CheapTickets, relaunched its website after years in the shadows with a loyalty program that requires members to redeem their rewards within 30 days, although they can be used for travel up to a year away.

The new CheapCash program, which has been months in development, enables members to earn $50 in CheapCash toward a hotel when booking flights on CheapTickets.com, and $75 toward a flight or hotel when booking through CheapTickets’ Android or iOS apps.

The launch of the rewards program punctuates a trend where online travel agencies are increasingly battling each other for loyalty, and not just facing off against airlines or hotels. Expedia and CheapTickets’ sister company Orbitz.com have debuted their own rewards program this year.

The 30-day CheapCash use-it or-lose it rewards is in keeping with the typical profile of CheapTickets customers, says Sam Fulton, president of U.S. consumer travel for Orbitz Worldwide, as these travelers tend to be single-mindedly focused on an immediate transaction — and cheap tickets.

“CheapTickets is more of deal-hunter kind of website,” Fulton says, contrasting the website with Orbitz.com. “It’s more of a single trip, more immediate and placing a larger value on the transaction.”

It’s all about cheap over at CheapTickets as the new tagline is “Cheap is good.” The previous tagline was “The less you pay the better it feels.”

Consistent with the next chapter in the convergence of online travel agencies and metasearch sites, CheapTickets debuted a hotel-comparison feature where competing online travel agency sites offer their rates beneath CheapTickets’ own results.

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CheapTickets is also offering a best price guarantee.

Fulton says CheapTickets has been relatively quiet in its marketing over the last few years as Orbitz Worldwide made a large investment in developing a global platform for its diverse brands, a project that was completed in 2012.

For the last year or so the team has been trying “to figure out CheapTickets” and its differentiation, Fulton says. “We had to build CheapCash. Now we have critical mass.”

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