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Hotwire vs. Priceline.

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Which do you prefer, and why? It seems like most of the people here reccomend Priceline, with Hotwire rarely being mentioned. Personally, I prefer Hotwire. I like to see the price and star rating, and being able to decide instead of committing myself right away. I've gotten some great deals with Hotwire, 3-3.5 star properties in the $50 range. There is often some kind of catch, but nothing terrible.

At the Marriot Marina in Ft. Luaderdale, there was a lot of construction work in front of the hotel, but nothing you would notice stayting there. And my room was in the motel section out back, instead of the tower, but it was still quite clean and comfortable, and the pool was incredible, perahaps the best I've seen anywhere. At the Doubletree-Cocconut Grove in Miami, The lobby and pool was all torn up for renovation, but I had a renovated room and I was able to use the pool at a neighboring hotel. Outside of D.C., near Tysons Corners I got another Doubletree, with a huge indoor pool, the best indoor pool I've seen anywhere. And I could catch the Metrobus to the train or mall out front, or use the hotel shuttle.

These are the three best deals I've gotten. Hope it helps some of you who are nervous about bidding for travel. I've never had a really bad experience, but you have to do your research.

For a long weekend trip to St. Louis in Aug., the best deal on Hotwire was $41 in the Westport area. But, after doing some research, it looked like I would probably be stuck at the Holiday Inn, which got poor reviews. I looked at what I might get from Priceline, and decided to bid $40 for a 3 star in the Illinois suburbs. I won the bid, for a 3 year old Four Points by Sheraton, near the St. Clair Mall and Metrolink Park and Ride. It's a 60% savings over the $100 a night rate given by their website. Just be careful, and you could end up with an extraordinary deal.

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