Hotwire.com, the online travel site, started when six airlines, including American, United and Continental, secretly raised $75 million dollars from investors to start a company to sell their unbooked seats that were formerly sold through Priceline.
Like Priceline, you have to make your purchase blind for flights and hotels; you won’t know the airline, routing or exact time of your flight; or the name and address of your hotel, until after you pay.
The site design is similar to others; a top menu offers buttons for Hotels, Cars, Flights, Vacations, Cruises and Deals.
The best evaluation of Hotwire can be found in the plethora of customer online complaints. This one says it all:
This site "claims" to give you a fake "best offer" that you do not even get details of until you commit to a NONREFUNDABLE / NOT-ALTERABLE transaction. What they describe and what you get are two completely different things and once you realize this you have already made a purchase with no chance whatsoever of cancellation, chance of human interaction whatsoever. I am out $1, 233. The site is all electronic and nobody on their end knows what they are selling - at all. You think you are getting a great deal but realize later you paid FAR MORE than anyone else and cannot cancel the transaction. Do not get sucked into the expensive travel rip-off.
When you click on a hotel deal, a map of the area comes up with nearby points of interest; that in fact sometimes allows you to find the exact hotel being offered.
There’s a "No Payments for 90 Days" option, but read the fine print on "important disclosures," because choosing to pay later may incur very high fees and interest charges, like a payday loan.
Hotwire didn’t come out on the top of our list but it is one of the top ten. In this case, there are other online travel sites which are much better, including Lastminutetravel.com, Onetravel.com and more. But we felt obligated to include Hotwire to let you know what you may be in for if you choose to use this site. Consider it a warning.