help, priceline or hotwire!!!

Old Jan 24th, 2003, 07:27 AM
  #1  
Tammy
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help, priceline or hotwire!!!

I am new to using priceline/hotwire for hotel accomodations. However, I really think it sounds neat-save $! Any suggestions-which one is best?
 
Old Jan 24th, 2003, 07:47 AM
  #2  
xxx
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Hotwire often does not supply significant discounts on hotels. Do a text search, you will learn lots about the two.
 
Old Jan 24th, 2003, 08:07 AM
  #3  
Andrew
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Hotwire sometimes offers great hotel (and airfare) deals but not always. The important thing is to *check regular rates* with Orbitz, Travelocity, and/or Expedia first for comparison. Do your research! I have seen Hotwire rates that were *higher* than advertised rates available elsewhere with no restrictions!

I used Hotwire once - to get a hotel I was 99% sure (from the amenities - suites + free breakfast) was the Embassy Suites (it was). We'd gotten the same hotel cheaper at Priceline earlier but wanted another room there, and you can't be sure with Priceline that you will get the same hotel on a 2nd bid. Hotwire still saved us about $80, Priceline saved a little more.

I've used Priceline many times for hotels. Check out BiddingForTravel.com for a forum of Priceline users and the deals they have gotten. BFT is almost essential if you really want to save with Priceline.

You can play Priceline and Hotwire off against each other. Check Hotwire first for, say, a hotel. You've got two hours to say "yes". Then bid less on Priceline. Remember that the ratings may differ (Hotwire rated that Embassy Suites a 3.5 star, Priceline rated it only 3 stars). I always check Hotwire before a Priceline bid but have never found Hotwire to be cheaper - if so, I'd take it.

Andrew
 
Old Jan 24th, 2003, 04:57 PM
  #4  
Linda
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IMPORTANT---Once you get your priceline hotel confirmed there are NO changes, NO REFUNDS even if sick, trip cancelled etc....
 
Old Jan 24th, 2003, 07:51 PM
  #5  
Andrew
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Linda is right. Both Priceline and Hotwire do not allow changes or refunds once they charge your credit card. For this reason, it is not a good idea to use either of these booking services unless your travel plans are pretty firm. And I would not recommend bidding too far ahead of time for the same reason. You won't necessarily get a better deal bidding early. I have gotten many great Priceline hotel deals close to the last minute.

Reserve a backup you can cancel, then try Priceline and Hotwire closer to departure, if you're willing to accept the "no changes/no cancellation" policy.

Andrew
 
Old Jan 24th, 2003, 10:06 PM
  #6  
Nancy
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Yup, it's real "neat-save", but you've gotta do a LOT of homework in preparation.

Priceline Andrew gives very bad Hotwire advice. For one thing, there is no two hours to say "yes" on Hotwire. And, though, (as Andrew has probably culled from BFT), BFT alleges that Hotwire offers higher rates than by booking through other resources, I have never once found this to be true. Andrew cannot possibly know that Priceline is cheaper than Hotwire unless he has booked the same dates/city with Hotwire as Priceline and gotten the same hotel, which, of course, he has never done. And, Andrew doesn't know or hasn't mentioned that Orbitz and Hotwire are "partners".

Andrew says you will not necessarily get a better deal by bidding way ahead, but this has not been my experience. I've booked what looked to be ridiculously low rates with Hotwire 6-9 months ahead and re-checked all along the way. Every once in a while, the rates for what MAY be the same hotel go down a bit, but usually they stay the same or go up.

And, there are much better resources for checking rates before bidding on Priceline than Orbitz, Travelocity, or Expedia. Expedia, for example, has the most frequent you've gotta be kidding rates! For example, we stayed at the Hilton in NYC with Hotwire for $126/night when the rates at Expedia were (no kidding) $399 and at the Hilton website $229 for the same dates.

While there is much useful information at BFT, it is not the end-all guide to bidding on Priceline. This you must figure out for yourself. And, the BFT criticism of Hotwire is prejudiced (any wonder why?) and nearly 100% inaccurate.
 
Old Jan 24th, 2003, 10:34 PM
  #7  
Andrew
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Hey, Nancy, I almost *always* check Hotwire before/during my Priceline bidding process. How do I know Priceline is cheaper? Because my Priceline bids are accepted at signifncantly lower prices than the Hotwire offer price - including tax/fees.

Example: last November I got several rooms at the Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale via Priceline for $57/night. Later I needed another room there but did not want to risk Priceline again in case I got a different hotel. So I got it on Hotwire (knew it was ES from the amenities) - for $77/night. My friend was willing to pay $20 extra just to make sure he got the same hotel as everyone else. Both the Priceline and Hotwire rates were good deals, but Priceline was significantly cheaper.

Also - Hotwire rated this hotel 3.5 stars while Priceline rated it only 3 stars. Hotwire does seem to rate hotels a little higher than Priceline does in general. You need to keep that in mind when comparing rates on the two.

I stand corrected about the "two hour offer period" for hotels - I guess that applies only for airline tickets. No matter - that just makes it easier to play Priceline and Hotwire off against each other. You have as much time as you want to try Priceline bids and if none of them are accepted below the Hotwire price, just take the Hotwire offer.

I use Priceline for one reason: it's cheaper than Hotwire in my experience. When my Priceline bids start getting rejected below the Hotwire offer prices, I will take the Hotwire offers (why WOULDN'T I???). I like Priceline because of the savings I can get with them.

Advanced purchase: if you want to risk getting a non-refundable hotel room many months in advance (with Hotwire or Priceline), fine by me. I'm not willing to take that risk. And because I'm able to get Priceline hotels cheap even at the last minute, why would I change my methods???

I really don't care people use Hotwire or Priceline. Use whatever is cheapest, like I do. Just watch out that you don't blindly accept any offer Hotwire gives you, because I have seen many times (airfares and rental cars mostly) when their price is more expensive than just booking your car or plane ticket directly. By the same token, don't bid more on Priceline for a hotel than you can get it for on your own. Do your research if you want to save the money.

Andrew
 
Old Jan 24th, 2003, 10:38 PM
  #8  
Andrew
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Nancy wrote:

"Andrew cannot possibly know that Priceline is cheaper than Hotwire unless he has booked the same dates/city with Hotwire as Priceline and gotten the same hotel, which, of course, he has never done."

You can eat those words now (see above) since I did exactly that with the Embassy Suites in Fort Lauderdale, Nov 28, 2002. Priceline was $20/cheaper per night. This was the only time I actually accepted a Hotwire offer. I will in the future if I can save money with Hotwire.

Andrew
 
Old Jan 24th, 2003, 11:29 PM
  #9  
Nancy
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Well, Andrew, you can employ any methods you like. Your friend lucked out. You can guess, but never know, the resulting hotel with either Priceline or Hotwire. Too curious that you did not want to "risk" Priceline, in that you can simply phone them and ask for another room in addition to your winning bid (or additional nights) and either accept or reject their on-the-phone offering.

I'm an avid Priceline and Hotwire customer of many years for more than half a dozen cities. When I want to "economize" the trip, I start with Priceline, keeping an eye on the Hotwire "results" (and all other booking resources) all the while.

In the overall, I've gotten significantly lower rates with Priceline, but much nicer hotels (and well worth the extra) with Hotwire.

Just one example, we stayed at the Waldorf Astoria (a 4-1/2* according to Hotwire, Midtown East) in NYC with Hotwire for the ridiculously low rate of $119/night in June for six nights (which, obviously, includes weekdays and the weekend). Moreover, I booked the room in January for June. I was worried that we'd be assigned one of those "staff rooms", but we were given a lovely room with terrific views.

There is a significant percentage of "complaints" on BFT regarding less than desirable front desk reception and room assignments with Priceline bookings. And, most of those "winning bids" posted are for one or two night stays in major cities on weekend nights. One can only wonder if the winning bid reports are, indeed, accurate, or whether a few rooms are let loose on Priceline in hopes that others will go after them.

All in all, there is NOT a significant amount of "results" posted on BFT. To date, for the month of January, for example, there are fewer than 50 "results" posted on BFT for NYC, nearly all for one or two night stays on weekend nights for "short" dates.

I'm guessing there are hundreds of other Priceline customers who've not posted their results on Priceline.

One significant advantage of Hotwire over Priceline is that you can SELECT what you find most appealing versus getting caught up in the "bidding" and "winning" process on Priceline.

And, just for the record, here's another example. I wanted to book a room in Boston last December. My Priceline bids for a 4* were rejected over and over again throughout several weeks of tries in several areas from $60-$100/night. What do you know, Hotwire offered a 4* in my desired area for $62/night. I was 99% sure it was the Hilton Back Bay, where we've stayed many times with both Priceline and Hotwire. To my astonishment, and disappointment, it came up the Sheraton. As it turned out, however, not only was the Sheraton significantly superior to the Hilton in every way, it was also "connected" to the Prudential Center, a real plus, since it was bitter cold and pouring down rain during our entire stay.

 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 08:21 AM
  #10  
ttt
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ttt
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 10:29 AM
  #11  
BrooklynMama
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I've used both Priceline and Hotwire. I like Hotwire because you can see the amenities available at the hotel (e.g. pool). Having a pool available is important to me. Priceline prices are usually lower than Hotwire, although I have gotten some good deals on Hotwire. I usually use Hotwire for Boston and Phila., because I don't like the likelihood of getting certain "Priceline" hotels there that aren't favorably reviewed. Reading BFT is a good start for your research. There is no "best," just informed bidding and luck.
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 10:44 AM
  #12  
agree
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The one thing I do agree on is DO YOU HOMEWORK - know the deals that are out there. Recently the BFT people have been encouraging Midtown East Zone bidders to bid up over the $100 mark, while there is currently a "deal" at the UN Millennium Plaza for buy 3 nights get the 4th free. I did a comparison and if you actually need 4 nights, this is better than using PL. Now I'm not saying PL isn't a good deal, it is, just don't get carried away, know the market and don't feel intimidated by the BFT people to bid too high. Hotwire is nice because you can "play" with dates and rates and see the descriptions of the hotels (no names) before you bid. Each site has it's merits.
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 11:17 AM
  #13  
Andrew
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agree, I'm not sure what you mean by being "intimidated" by BFT users suggesting anything. Are you inferring that they want people to pay more for a hotel than they should, just so they can use Priceline? Doubt it.

If you read BFT any amount, you'll find that everyone is concerned about getting the lowest prices possible given the situation. Sheryl on many occasions has scolded people for bidding too HIGH and explains why they could have gotten the hotel for less. She always recommends people get a backup they can cancel in case they cannot get their Priceline offer accepted at a decent price. How is that "intimidating" people to bid too high???

If you are bidding last-minute, then you may be encouraged to bid higher than you would in advance, when you have more time to re-bid, etc. The thinking is it's better to spend a little more and get your hotel for sure than risk not getting it - and having to pay much more through other methods. But no one is going to encourage you to bid higher for a property you could get elsewhere for less money without Priceline, last minute or not. BFT is about saving money, not about "intimidating" people to use Priceline over supposedly cheaper alternatives.

Regarding NYC, you could be confusing apples and oranges; people may want to stay in a particular zone at a particular quality level where prices are very high. Just because you can find another hotel that is cheaper doesn't mean it is in the same area or of the same quality level. If you have a specific example otherwise, please point me to it.

Andrew
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 11:34 AM
  #14  
agree
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Andrew, no I know the difference between apples and oranges. If people are willing to bid MTE and get the UN Millennium (nice hotel) and need it for 4 nights, why would they NOT want to know that instead of "winning" it on PL for $110/night they can book it elsewhere for $125/night and get their 4th night free? I like PL too - and I use it often, but not before checking around. Why is it so hard for you to admit that there are other ways of booking a hotel at a great rate?
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 12:59 PM
  #15  
Andrew
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"agree", I have no problem "admitting" that there are other ways to book cheap hotels besides Priceline. I will use whatever method works best for me. For the Oregon Coast, for example, I found poor Priceline (or Hotwire) coverage so I use the old-fashioned "hotel coupon magazine" method to save a few bucks. In Reno and Vegas, I've found that Travelworm.com gives better hotel rates than Priceline (or at least, Travelworm has no booking fee and you know ahead of time exactly what you are getting). And as I said above I used Hotwire once last year as well. I'll use Hotwire again when it cheaper than Priceline or conventional booking.

I'll use whatever method gives me the best price for a decent hotel, airfare, or rental car; if I can get a four-night discount that's as cheap as (or cheaper than) Priceline, I'll run with it. Why wouldn't I??? I'd kick myself if I paid more with Priceline than I could get elsewhere, but so far that hasn't happened.

What I will not "admit" is that the people on BFT are bullying people into bidding higher on Priceline than they would pay elsewhere for the same quality/location for a hotel. The implication is that BFT people are interested not in saving you money but in generating more Priceline sales, regardless of the hotel cost - and I just don't buy it at all. The evidence posted by numerous BFT users overwhelmingly contradicts that notion - sorry.

Andrew
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 01:33 PM
  #16  
agree
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Ok, this is going no where and you are missing my point. A certain MTE Hotel on PL is consistently coming up at $110. So someone bidding uniformed bids up to $110/ for 4 nights for $440 plus fees & taxes. A person who has done there homework knows that they can book (most likely) the same hotel for 3 nights at $125 and get 4th free, for a total of $375 plus taxes. Thus, my point about doing your homework. I noticed you skipped over that part when you continued your argument.

If a person was to try for a hotel price that BFT feels is too low, they don't want to provide a strategy for that bid and the bidder will most likely be shot down by the administrator. Why? Because when people place a bid that is not accepted, BFT is not rewarded. Last I knew, the rates that Priceline would accept are not published, and even the administrator's don't know for sure what type of rate is acceptable, they intelligently try to guess like the rest of us. Last summer I was advised to bid MTE (my choice) for $90 and increase in $10 increments, and that a $5 increase would only be a waste. Well, I needed a bargain and I did not use the BFT advice. I bid myself and received the Barclay for $72. I think that if a person has a price range that they should stick with it - if it doesn't work out, so what? You bid again, it is not a tragedy. Will I continue to use Priceline? - you bet! I just think people need to realize that they can 1) bid wihtout a strager telling them how much to spend and 2) shop around so they can either bid intelligently on priceline or reserve a hotel that is a good bargain.
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 03:18 PM
  #17  
Andrew
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"agree", you are making a big assumption about BFT: that the admins bias the BFT content to be as pro-Priceline as possible, with no dissent permitted, soley so they can make as much profit as possible from Priceline bids. You then assume that BFT wants you to use Priceline *NO MATTER WHAT*, regardless of what you wind up paying, and that is JUST NOT TRUE. I doubt I will ever talk you out of that. I'm not going to try here anymore; although I am not privy to any insider info (I am not affiliated with BFT or Priceline in any way, except as a satisfied customer), I'm willing to expound on this more in private email to anyone interested...

You say, "Last I knew, the rates that Priceline would accept are not published, and even the administrator's don't know for sure what type of rate is acceptable, they intelligently try to guess like the rest of us." True, but anyone can tell after their successful bid what Priceline paid for their room (thus how much you overbid): from the tax you paid. Some crafty fellow has even come up with a web page where you can type in the tax you paid, pick your city, and find out the PL rate. So the admins do have some guidance from past bids.

BFT admins do urge you to bid higher near the last minute to make sure you get your room. You could still ignore their advice and bid lower and get lucky - but if you ignore them and bid lower and fail, will you still blame them?
Still, I have *NEVER* seen them recommend you bid higher than published rates. That goes against the whole spirit of BFT. Please give me a *SPECIFIC* example of this dialogue on BFT (it should still be up there), where all of what you have said is spelled out. I'll believe it only when I see it.

Andrew
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 04:00 PM
  #18  
Julie
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I guess everyone has their favorite. I've used both but of the two I prefer hotwire.com. I have a problem giving credit card info before I even have a bid accepted. I'd rather know the price UPFRONT (knowing the location but not knowing which hotel) before giving my credit card info. Maybe others are OK with the priceline set up. I've used it before and had some success but personally, I just don't like all the bidding process.....I've resorted to just using hotwire.com during this past year...seems much easier to me.
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 04:41 PM
  #19  
waltp
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Oh Andrew, shut up. *Agree* has spelled out a PL hotel win vs a published hotel special for the UN Mill. Plaza and you ignore it every time they try to explain it to you. Also the idea seems to be do the homework so you bid with your head and you are also ignoring that concept, you just keep screaming about how fair it all is. So far *agree* has just given some decent common sense advise and for some reason you are all hot and bothered. relax fella.
 
Old Jan 25th, 2003, 07:54 PM
  #20  
Andrew
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Julie, you are right - Hotwire is far simpler to use than Priceline, and that's a good reason to recommend it. I do think you can save more with Priceline if you are willing to do the work, but is it worth the extra time and effort? Not to some. Hotwire is much simpler.

My only caution about Hotwire is to do your homework. Make sure you know what the prevailing rates are, because I've seen cases where you save little or nothing with Hotwire vs. published prices. That aside, you could save a lot of money using Hotwire. Last November we got a room at the Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale for $77+tax/fees with Hotwire - almost half off the best published rate I could find anywhere else.

Andrew
 

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