Does Hotwire work like Priceline?

Old May 11th, 2008, 10:39 AM
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Does Hotwire work like Priceline?

A few years ago, I got a rental car thru Hotwire, entering a price the same way as Priceline's "name your price." Now, I don't see a link for name your own price on Hotwire for rental cars or hotels? Are they now fixed price only, or am I staring it it and not seeing it? Thanks.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 10:55 AM
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I think you are misremembering your Hotwire experience. In the years Hotwire's been around, I've NEVER seen it ask you for an amount - it always gives you a price and you take it or leave it. Are you sure it wasn't Priceline back then?
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Old May 11th, 2008, 11:25 AM
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I have to agree with Andrew; I've used Hotwire many times and it's never been a name-your-price type site to my recollection.
 
Old May 11th, 2008, 11:48 AM
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Perhaps you're right. I do remember getting a great price on an SUV rental for a ski trip. I suppose it could have been the price they offered.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 12:45 PM
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It was undoubtedly the price they offered. Unlike Priceline you do not need to accept it. I usually get a quote from Hotwire and then use that to bid on PL, because the HW price will tell you how much the taxes and extra charges will be, so you can know what to expect on PL>.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 02:20 PM
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If you're thinking of using Hotwire for hotels, have a look at www.betterbidding.com

Depending on where you're going, you can almost always figure out the hotel before booking, or at least narrow it down, and check reviews.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 05:11 PM
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Can anyone comment on how much of a better price one can get with a Priceline bid vs. Hotwire's price, if any?
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Old May 11th, 2008, 05:35 PM
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Generally Priceline seems to give you better prices. But you can test that yourself, easily for cars. If Hotwire has a mid-sized car for $20.95/day, offer less (sometimes much less) on Priceline. If you fail, then accept the 20.95.

Hotels are more complicated because Hotwire and Priceline do not always rate hotels the same. For example, Hotwire may rate the same hotel 3.5 star that Priceline rates a 3 star. And they are not always the same hotels.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 08:14 PM
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You can study for yourself Priceline bookings versus Hotwire bookings on www.betterbidding.com and www.biddingfortravel.com

I've used both for many years. Some years ago, I could get better rates with Priceline but got better hotels with Hotwire. Though, once in a while, I could determine that often the very same hotel was significantly less with Priceline than Hotwire for similar dates.

But, things have changed significantly, as hotel rates have skyrocketed in the big cities, and rates are more date driven than they used to be. I think hotel booking calendars have gotten much more sophisticated.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 04:01 AM
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What Andrew suggested is the way to go, taking into consideration the taxes and surcharges you have discovered by the Hotwire offer. On PL you bid on the base price and then the the taxes are added. I usually go to something like Travelocity first to find the lowest base price for the particular car. Then Hotwire and then PL, if I think I can still do better.
Interestingly, for a car I'm renting in August, Hotwire is still 'way more than just plain Travelocity. Haven't tried PL yet, because I don't want to decide for sure.
I have often saved 50% on PL over normal rentals.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 01:39 PM
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Whenever I plan to book a rental car in addition to a hotel room, I use Hotwire.

I book the hotel room first. Once the room is confirmed, there's "Do you need a rental vehicle?", or something like that, with ridiculously low rates. And, the total is presented before you confirm and pay.
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Old Jul 11th, 2008, 02:15 PM
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I am new to both. I'm sure this has been answered a million times before. Can you cancel hotels (or cars)Hotwire or PL?
Thanks!
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Old Jul 11th, 2008, 02:24 PM
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You cannot cancel cars, hotels or anything else on PL. Once you put a bid in and it is accepted, they charge your card and it is a done deal; no changes or cancellations of any kind.
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Old Jul 11th, 2008, 02:25 PM
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bwg, you cannot change or cancel Priceline purchases. But you can buy cancellation insurance through Priceline that, under some limited circumstances, will refund what you have paid
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Old Jul 11th, 2008, 02:53 PM
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Far as I know, you can't cancel on Hotwire either.

Although I've used Hotwire a lot less than Priceline because the Hotwire fixed price is usually higher than what I can bid for on Priceline.
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Old Jul 11th, 2008, 04:17 PM
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Thanks for the quick responses!
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Old Jul 12th, 2008, 06:18 AM
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We Fodorites never sleep. No question can escape our vigilance.
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Old Jul 12th, 2008, 07:13 AM
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Wow, I didn't think of doing hotwire for a car. Can you request a certain kind of car--we need something that seats 6 (minivan or suv).

Thanks!
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Old Jul 23rd, 2008, 03:38 PM
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I actually did get out of a priceline hotel once -- I had a 3 night reservation in Key West and we had to evacuate because of a hurricane (forget which one -- about 4 years ago).

Much to my surprise, priceline credited our CC for the 2 nights we couldn't stay.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2008, 03:52 PM
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Reply to 5alive,
Hotwire offers rates for most types of car rental including minivans(seat 7) and SUVs, after you enter your rental dates & location.
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