We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Beware Hotwire

Scottsdale, AZ
Level Contributor
1 post
12 reviews
Beware Hotwire

Beware "Pig In A Poke" bookings!

I just got burned by Hotwire. I booked a hotel at LAX in order to get rest before an allnight trip. After booking I learned (as is their normal procedures) that I would be staying at the Holiday Inn LAX. That sounded fine to me until I called the hotel directly to make a routine inquirey. The front desk personnel told me that they were under a complete renovation, and there was dust in the air and hammering and pounding noises from 8AM to 7PM and there was no quiet in the hotel anywhere. So, after thinking about the dust and the noise that would intrude on my best 4 hours of possible sleep (working all night, remember?) I called Hotwire and told them I couldn't stay there. They imformed me that I would have to check in and only then could they "walk" me to another hotel.... maybe.

So, that's two cab rides (not cheap in LA) and about 1 1/2 hours of my time, when they know the hotel will be unacceptable because the hotel itself says so!

Resist the temptation, don't use these guys! You're buying a "Pig in a Poke".

877 replies to this topic
San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
Level Contributor
51,841 posts
64 reviews
1. Re: Beware Hotwire

jetcruiser, IF you use Hotwire you know before hand that you are booking blindly. You only find out the name of the hotel after you pay. That is why the rooms are very cheap. Many of us who use the site also know that if you look at www.betterbidding.com

you will find lists of hotels in each city that Hotwire uses and so you can get an idea of which hotel you might get in each category before you book.

In addition , after you read the hotel list and decide which hotel might possibly fit the description you can go to the hotel's own web sit to see if it sounds OK.

It is not Hotwire's fault that you were looking for a cheap room,booked the room and then discovered WHY the room was sooo cheap.

I use Hotwire too BUT only for 4**** hotels and only after I check things out. Sorry you had a bad time.

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
11,375 posts
47 reviews
2. Re: Beware Hotwire

When you gamble you don't always win! I am quite picky myself, and that's why I'm quite careful with reservations of all types. Sometimes I have to pay a little more for a hotel or airline that I like, but I have the peace of mind to know that I'm chosen wisely.

tucson az
Destination Expert
for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
Level Contributor
13,666 posts
65 reviews
3. Re: Beware Hotwire

Beware = caveat emptor. I have been using Hotwire forever (figuratively). Even when I was working (now retired) I often used it to find bargain hotel rates in high rate locations. I never pick less than a 3*. I have never been "burned." And I have enjoyed some fantastic properties. Some people say you get treated differently, but that's also never happened. I have even had my frequent lodging memberships honored.

9 posts
4. Re: Beware Hotwire

I've never had a bad experience with hotwire. I'll gladly take a 'gamble' and get my room at half price. And worst case scenario you have to waste an hour and a half to switch hotels... I don't see why you are complaining... As the other guy said you should use betterbidding (or in the case of Las Vegas trips, use redflagvegas.com) to narrow down your hotel before you book it. But don't come and say 'dont use these guys' just because you got unlucky!

Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
13 posts
6 reviews
5. Re: Beware Hotwire

You cannot rely on Hotwire's star ratings at all. Their rating is always higher than any one elses. I thought I was booking a four star hotel for my trip to Prague, it was more like a B&B and a two star at best. Some of the amneties listed were not available but in their defense Hotwire gave me fifty percent credit for my next trip. My problem is whether I can trust them and their discount is 25 to 30% at best.

Just because you are looking for a bargain does not give a company an excuse to screw you or that you should beware.There are consumer laws here in the United States.

New York, NY
Level Contributor
1 post
3 reviews
6. Re: Beware Hotwire

I just booked a 4.5 star hotel on Hotwire to find out it is a Holiday Inn that is listed as a 3-star elsewhere. For those looking for hotels in Istanbul, Turkey, be aware that the hotel listed as a 4.5 star is a Holiday Inn.

Level Contributor
7 posts
13 reviews
7. Re: Beware Hotwire

I have used hotwire 6 times for hotel bookings. 5 of the 6 times I was very pleased. but on the 6th I was so burned that I will never use them again. If you get into ANY kind of trouble, they will offer no help at all and they just send you a lot of prewritten e-mails. Don't expect any kind of service or cooperation from their customer helpdesk....have this in mind if you use them, a refund from them will be virtually impossible. If you call them on the phone, they will just read you some nonsense from a script.

This is what they called "a major brand quality resort":


Just read the headlines and you can judge for yourself if you'll trust them or not. They have quite cleverly NOT put any customer reviews on their site for this "resort hotel". I wrote one over a year ago and they have refused to post it.

I have repeatedly asked Hotwire which major brand chain this hotel belongs to (Iknow the answer, none), but they can't reply to that and only refers me to the hotel. Last message I got they were leaning towards "a leading independant hotel" That made me laugh...

Bythe way, my bookings were done before they put up the tripadvisor ratings. This will help a lot, but I won't use them again because of the lacking customer care and the prewritten nonsense e-mails.

Edited: 2:53 am, April 02, 2010
1 post
1 review
8. Re: Beware Hotwire

I purchased three rooms for one night for an advertised 3-star hotel in the Niantic CT area on Hotwire.com. Before I placed the order, I read and confirmed that their hotel star rating is based on the average rating on three top travel sites, (reference: http://www.hotwire.com/pop-up/hotel-ratings-popup.jsp). When I received the hotel info in an email, I was surprised to find that I was assigned to Niantic Motel, a 2-star hotel according to Orbitz and Travelocity, and not even rated on Expedia. This motel used to be part of the Days Inn family, and according to Hotwire, Days Inn is considered a 2-star chain (see above link).

I called the hotwire support line, and was told by the supervisor that the criteria they used to determine the 3-star rating in this case was customer feedback. First of all, this is not what they claim in the rating guideline. Secondly, a 2-star hotel with good reviews means it's good for the 2-star standard... calling it a 3-star all of a sudden and selling to customers as such is false advertisement. Finally, the supervisor spent 10 minutes on the phone with me and was able to find a couple reviews on the hotels from random websites (none on Hotwire.com), and one of them was a 6 out of 10. Yet he had the courage to tell me that was in-line for their standard of a 3-star hotel. His explanation was that people who are satisfied with their hotel tend not to give out reviews. I feel like he was just making stuff up on the fly... the reality was Hotwire sold me a 2-star hotel (according to everyone in the world except Hotwire) at a 3-star price. This is not the way to do business, and they should not be allowed to keep on scamming customers like this.

Level Contributor
11 posts
80 reviews
9. Re: Beware Hotwire

I totally agree with those who say: BEWARE!!!! You can get good deals potentially with Hotwire, but when you get screwed, you get screwed BIG TIME. Happended to me. I booked a 3 star hotel in New England and ended up getting a dump, the second lowest rated hotel in town on Trip Advisor. A bed bud infested hotel with only "terrible" reviews in the past year on Trip Advisor. I am sorry but doesn't sums to a 3 star hotel. In addition, it said that it would be a "major Chain" Hotel; well it was a "uncle Joe's" type of Motel.... Beware!!! I only dealt with Hotwire once but will never do that mistake again. I contacted them to say that their advertizing was misleading but they were unresponsive. I ended up loosing my 400$ (3 nights) and booked in a Holiday Inn instead. WIll NEVER deal with Hotwire ever again.

Sidney, Canada
1 post
2 reviews
10. Re: Beware Hotwire

BURNED is an understatement, their "real time" booking system cost me $400 CDN! After many converstaions with the Managers and a total run around I was told, quite rudely, you agreed to the price online, your stuck with it". Verbatim! Really. Had I been able to complete the transaction via the website, the price would have gone through at the price posted but, there was a probelm with my Canadian credit card I was prompted to call to complete the booking. They had all the details of what I had typed into the system so I assumed the price was the same after all was said and done, they charged me $86 US per person that what was being offered. That's $1313 pp not $1227 pp, oh they had all the excuses but long story short, there is nothing I can do about it. The worst part of it...the trip is still in the system at $1227 pp, go figure. IF you are booking via the telephone based on the price you see online, make sure you Confirm and re-confirm that they are giving it to you at that price. VERY VERY VERY POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE, You know, a $386 refund to me would be nothing to them but to people who save and budget it's a lot, we have 6-10 other people coming with us on this tirp and I will be srue they they DO NOT book with either Hotwire or Expedia their driving agent. Based on $1227 pp Hotwire just lost almost $10,000 in business, wow there's business saavy for you. Shame on you HOTWIRE!!!

Reply to: Beware Hotwire
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted