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post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hi all;
Anybody have experience with Hotwire.com? Good/bad? I'm looking at car rentals and this site seems to be way less than Travelocity or the others. I always question the proverbial "free lunch"!
post #2 of 20
I've used all the dotcoms of travel sites over the past 7 or 8 years and found one constant among them. At one point or another all of them will have a better deal than the other. I think the best search engine among all the sites is Kayak.com. It compares all the sites and comes up with the best deal at the time, then directs you to that site.

As far as actual booking, I've used Orbitz way more than any other booking site. Consistantly, it's the most reliable. As for Hotwire, I've used them with no hassles but they don't seem to be as consistant in lower fares as others. Hey, if they have the lowest price right now, do it. When I book a car or suv, I usually book two or three all on different sites. That way when you get to your destination and something goes wrong, you have a backup and also a choice of different vehicals. Your credit card doesn't get charged when you book, only when you pick up the car.
post #3 of 20
I have used Hotwire quite a bit, and have never been disappointed in their service.
I'm not saying they are the cheapest, but for a while, they sure seemed to be.
post #4 of 20
Hotwire is very good for rental cars if you don't have a promotional deal with one of the rental companies. I regularly use them for SUVs and find better rates. However, I did not use them to book a car for my upcoming trip to SLC. They did have lower SUV prices that were offered on the other sites. I got a better deal through Avis using a promo code from an organization I belong to and a special deal they had on 4X4 Ford F150s.

I have never used them to book a flight. I guess you could get a good deal if you were flexible.

I did use Hotwire on this trip (and in the past) for hotel rooms but you are taking a chance on the hotel you get and as I found out, it is not always the best deal. They do have a "Hotel Low Price Guarantee" where they will refund you double the difference if you find a better rate within 48 hours of booking through them.

I checked all the major sites on rooms in the Sandy and Midvale, UT areas. I saw several sites had the National 9 Inn listed at $51 a night but I was not really interested in that hotel. I was willing to spend up to $100 a night on a nicer hotel for this trip and deided to check Hotwire for their deals. They had two 2 star hotels listed in Midvale for $36, which I thought one may have been National 9, and a two and a half star listed at $61. I thought that may have been one of nicer $80-$100 a night hotels so I pulled the trigger. I was surprised when it was the National 9 Inn and very disapointed because it was the most expensive rate for that hotel on all of the major travel sites.

I filled out the form at Hotwire explaining the $51 rate at Expedia and Hotel-Rate.com and my displeasure. A little over 24 hours later (last night) they e-mailed me that I would be getting a double refund and my credit card would be credited $60. Kudos to Hotwire. So, now the National 9 Inn is only going to cost me $41 a night. Pretty good deal and I have since heard that it is actually a decent hotel.
post #5 of 20
Hotwire is fine for last-minute, but I'm partial to Kayak.com and Farecast.com to get more info if I have a little more time to plan. Said sites are easy to use, with on-the-fly updating of info as you adjust arrival and departure times, airports, etc.

And a big plus for Kayak: when you book with them, you link directly to the airlines, hotels and car agencies, which removes the middleman hassle that's inherent with a lot of DIY bookings. It's helped me a few times when I had to rebook flights last-minute.
post #6 of 20
I've used Hotwire on a bunch of occasions. All hotels.

Try using Expedia when using Hotwire. Expedia uses the same search engine and you can cross reference the hotels between the two. You could probably do the same with rental cars.

post #7 of 20
Rented a car from Hotwire- heading out to Utah tomorrow. I don't think that I would get a hotel or airfare from Hotwire, but for a car, why not?

And we got it cheap. Much cheaper than the others places.
post #8 of 20
hotwire is good for car and hotels, but I am not so sure about airlines, if they do not tell you when and what flight.
post #9 of 20
I stayed at the Hotel Monaco in San Francisco for $99 instead of the rack rate of $279. The trouble with rental cars is you have to prepay with hotwire. If you don't show or are late, they keep your money.
post #10 of 20
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
The trouble with rental cars is you have to prepay with hotwire. If you don't show or are late, they keep your money.
That's the biggest downside, but if your travel plans are firm, it's usually a good deal. I've booked rental cars and hotels with Hotwire a couple times and haven't had problems.

Oh, the other thing I'd mention is extra drivers. With my preferred memberships at Hertz and Avis, and with a AAA membership for Hertz, my wife is always a free extra driver. If you book through Hotwire, that won't be the case (even for a spouse) and they'll charge you extra per day for another driver. So that's something to consider, too.
post #11 of 20
This is such a good Forum, I just book my car through Kayak.com ( never knew this one before), thanks all.

post #12 of 20
Originally Posted by RBC View Post
This is such a good Forum, I just book my car through Kayak.com ( never knew this one before), thanks all.

travelzoo.com some times gives more choices than kayak.com. they also have a top 10 travel deals going on but have not seen much skiing.
post #13 of 20
Originally Posted by jackwan1 View Post
travelzoo.com some times gives more choices than kayak.com. they also have a top 10 travel deals going on but have not seen much skiing.
Travelzoo lists travel agencies and consolidators that Kayak doesn't - Kayak tends to steer toward direct-booking with companies, sans middleman (other than Kayak).

But Travelzoo's weekly top deals email list has landed me some great fares to Europe and the west coast - serious savings, long before the other travel sites would list the same deal.
post #14 of 20
I've tried booking A SUV through hotwire, & others, but don't see an option of 4wd as is the case with hertz etc..

Anyone know a way to ensure 4wd, ski racks?

I'm concerned that if booked without, they'll stick it to me at the desk
post #15 of 20
Telephone your choices of car rental companies and ask your questions directly.

As said above, if you use the deep discount service, you prepay, no refunds, and you're out the money if there are any changes. Sometimes the deals work out great. Sometimes the savings are big enough to take the risk.
post #16 of 20

not for airlines...

My brother worked there for years, and he used to to tell me stories all the time about people calling for refunds for airline tickets, and nothing, i mean not even the death of a spouse, would get you your money back from hotwired.

He said they gave him ZERO lattitude on that matter. Needless to say they have been sued a few times.

Course that was a few years ago so they may have changed.
post #17 of 20
Well, I received a refund from hotwire. Because my butter finger, on the web, I booked myself twice on the same flight. I was able to get one refund from them.
post #18 of 20
My extended family was set for a trip to Seattle this summer and I booked a hotel through Hotwire. My dad subsequently got in an accident and could not travel. I called Hotwire and they asked for a note from the doctor and then refunded my money. I was surprised as when you book with one of those sites (Hotwire ir Priceline) the pitfall is that you usually cannot make changes under any circumstances.

Cornbread, I have stayed at the National 9 the past 2 years and was happy with it. The rooms are clean, the beds are comfortable enough, and there is always hot water for a shower. Those are my 3 main requirements. It is also very close to the freeway and they have a good make your own waffle breakfast bar.

I have used PL a lot for hotels and had good luck. Check biddingfortravel.com or betterbidding.com for assistance in getting great deals. The minimal savings on airfare is not enough to offset the uncertainty of flight times to make it worth it.
post #19 of 20
Definitely don't forget Priceline.com Do the Name your own price thing. I used them for a hotel last April in SLC. Stayed in the Courtyard by Mariott for $50/night. I used Priceline again this last September and stayed in the downtown Calgary Mariott for $50/night. When split between two people it was less than the hostels we stayed at in Banff! You can also check all the other sites for the best car rentals and the ntry to name a lower price on Priceline. Set up multiple emails with Priceline with your same info. Then you don't have to wait two or three days to try a different price, just log in under your other account.
post #20 of 20
Hotwire for car rental is great. tend to be cheaper than the others. a little skeptical on flights with the lack of info when booking, but go for it with car.
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