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Old 06-25-2009, 12:12 AM   #61
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My wife and I are in the early stages of planning a trip to the West Coast that will begin in mid-August. We anticipate staying 1 month and are looking for ways to stretch our dollars. You've mentioned using "Hotwire" and "Priceline" for securing good deals for hotels and rental cars. I've never used either service. Can you furnish any tips for a first-time user? Can you suggest any strategy for getting the best deals?
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Old 06-25-2009, 11:39 AM   #62
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I had never used Priceline or Hotwire up until a few months ago but now, I will never book another hotel without them. You will save 50-60% by using Priceline ( Hotwire is usually a bit higher)

There are 2 forums similar to this one, except they are exclusively dedicated to the ins and outs of Priceline and Hotwire.

biddingfortravel.com is the biggest and most comprehensive one and I use it alot but the owner / moderator is a real piece of work and loves to ban people for no reason. I got banned myself and still havent figured out why. I opened a new account to ask why and got banned again with no explanation. I had to change my IP address so i can still browse the site at will. I just cant post there.

The other one is betterbidding.com. People are nicer but its not as big so theres not as much info.

Basically you bid for a hotel at Priceline but dont know what hotel you will get until your bid is accepted. You choose, what city you want, what zone within that city and what star level of hotel and then bid. I never used Priceline before I found those travel forums because there was too much uncertainty involved. When you visit those sites, you will see that you can do alot of research into which hotels commonly come up when you bid. For example: You can search San Francisco, then search the Nob Hill zone and see the same 2-3 4 star hotels come up over and over so you can be reasonably sure you will get one of those hotels when you get your bid accepted. You can also see how much people are bidding and what bids are getting accepted so you dont bid $125 for a room thats listed at the hotel website for $200, when you couldve gotten it for $90.

Hotwire is similar in that you dont know what hotel you will get, but you dont bid. They just offer a hotel at a certain price and then you decide if thats acceptable before you know which hotel it is. Again, you can narrow it down by using the travel forums.

One thing to watch for is that Hotwires rating system isnt exactly the same as Pricelines. A 3* hotel at Hotwire will tend to be a 2.5* at Priceline so it can be hard to make a true comparison sometimes.
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Old 06-25-2009, 12:45 PM   #63
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I've always been concerned about using Priceline due to the fact Priceline reservations are non-changeable, non-cancellable and non-refundable. Stuff happens.
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Old 06-25-2009, 01:19 PM   #64
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Thats true, but you can wait until the day before you are travelling or even the day of your stay and still bid on Priceline if that is an issue for you.

Some people go ahead and book a room thru the normal channels (as long as its a refundable reservation) and then wait until the last minute to use Priceline. That way you dont take a chance on some trip cancelling event coming up and not being able to get your money back from Priceline, but you still avoid a possibility of Priceline having no rooms since you waited until the last minute (big convention in town or something).
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Old 06-25-2009, 10:44 PM   #65
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utrecht/REWahoo,

Thanks! I have no doubt you have saved me a lot of effort . . . this is a great forum!
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