Skift Take displaced Southwest's long-time hotel partner, Orbitz, on's pay-at-the-hotel system meshes much better with Southwest's flexible fare structure than did Orbitz's preponderous hotel bookings requiring prepayment.'s integration of its Rocketmiles acquisition on Southwest now makes total sense.

Amsterdam-based quietly began powering hotel bookings on, displacing the previous partner, Expedia Inc.’s Orbitz Worldwide.

Orbitz had been powering hotels on Southwest for more than five years but’s pay-at-the hotel model seems to blend much better with Southwest’s flexible fare policies, including same-day changes without additional fees. Unlike, much of Orbitz’s hotel inventory uses the merchant model, which requires prepayment. visitors can select the Hotel tab and navigate to a co-branded page on desktop, where they’ll see a selection of properties and signature messaging such as “Prices in New York City for your dates are the lowest we’ve seen in 2 days” or that the room is “In high demand — only 3 rooms left!” The branding is not showing up on mobile.

The lodging choices from on Southwest also include shared accommodations, including dorm beds, according to the site, and many of the hotel choices are pay-at-the hotel with no prepayment requirement.

Ever Wonder Why Priceline Acquired Rocketmiles?

In an interesting twist, Southwest Rapid Reward members who book a room on the hotel pages can earn airline miles for their hotel stays. Southwest also offered rewards points on hotel stays when Orbitz powered the airline’s hotel section.

With taking over for Orbitz on Southwest, the airline’s website states that booking the Hampton Inn Manhattan-Times Square North for $323 comes with 323 Southwest Rapid Rewards points, which will be awarded when the stay is completed, for example.

While many of the rewards earnings provide the same number of points as dollars spent on the stay, there are more lucrative points giveaways on For example, a Rapid Rewards member who booked the Novotel New York Times Square for a two-night stay for $798 in late November could earn 7,000 Rapid Rewards points.

This points for stays feature comes from integrating the functionality of its Rocketmiles unit, which parent the Priceline Group acquired in February 2015 for $20 million.


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Tags:, hotels, loyalty, southwest airlines

Photo credit: now powers Southwest Airlines' hotel offering and the deal is's first with a U.S. airline. Pictured is Southwest's mobile website. Southwest Airlines

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