Hotwire and Priceline For Families, Yay or Nay?
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
I am going to take a big leap and say that pretty much everyone reading this blog loves scoring a great travel deal. Up until a couple years ago one of the main ways that I scored great hotel deals was by using Priceline and Hotwire. I would book four star hotels sometimes for $60-$70 a night or less. For those who have not used these sites, both of them involve booking a hotel before knowing exactly which hotel you have booked. It is a way for hotels to fill rooms that otherwise might have gone unsold at a discounted rate. With Priceline you know the rating of the hotel (2-star, 3-star, etc…) and the part of the city it is located in, but you don’t know the exact amenities the hotel has. With Hotwire, you know the star rating, the area of town, and the amenities. In both cases the reservations are non-refundable nor changeable, and you typically do not earn points for these types of stays.
I used to have so much fun trying to “decode” which hotels I was likely bidding on by looking at the amenities, location, and by using websites that would list recent hotels that were booked using Hotwire or Priceline. Once I thought I had figured out what hotel I was booking, I would take a deep breath and hit “reserve/bid/etc…” Booking a hotel in this manner gave me a rush similar to the one I would get when gambling in Vegas! Fortunately, I usually ended up with a pretty good hotel (and often it was the hotel I hoped it would be), but I have not used either of those sites more than once in almost two years. I’ll talk more in a minute about why I don’t use these sites frequently these days, but even though I don’t often use them they are still good options in certain situations. They are also pretty bad options in some situations – more on that in a minute, too.
A couple of weeks ago I was emailing back and forth with Randy Greencorn who runs the site HotelDealsRevealed.com. During our email conversation it dawned on me that I have never posted about Hotwire or Priceline. Instead of just sharing my somewhat limited knowledge of those two sites, I asked Randy to share some of his expert info on both of those sites, and the pros and cons of using them for families. Luckily, he agreed, so here is some of the information that he shared with me.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got involved with running a website that is devoted to Hotwire and Priceline?
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.