Hotwire vs Priceline

An Overview of Hotwire and Priceline Hotel Bidding

When trying to decide which is better – Hotwire vs Priceline – it’s important to first understand the basics of each. Here’s a quick primer.

Hotwire: When booking a hotel room on Hotwire, the name of the hotel is not revealed until after you give your credit card and make your purchase. Certain information about the hotel is shown, but no actual hotel name is revealed. When using Hotwire, the following information is available before your purchase:

  • Hotel zone – that is, the geographic boundary of a city in which your hotel is located.
  • Hotel class – ranging from 1 to 5 stars.
  • Amenities – the list of amenities that your hotel will have available during your stay.

Priceline: Like Hotwire, customers do not learn the name of their hotel until after the purchase. However, there are some fundamental differences when booking on Priceline. On Priceline, you name a price and find out if your ‘bid’ on a hotel room was accepted. Another main difference is that much less information about the hotel is available at the time of booking. Specifically, Priceline does not reveal the hotel amenities when you bid.

Hotwire Advantages:

  • Hotwire is a lot less risky than Priceline: With Hotwire, the amenities for each hotel is displayed before you book your room. This is great for instances where you need the assurance of a particular amenity such as an airport shuttle or a swimming pool.
  • Hotwire can be booked for 3 or 4 guests: Unlike Priceline, you can specify of to 4 hotel guests per room and you are guaranteed bedding to accommodate all members of your party. This is advantages of Hotwire vs Priceline because with Priceline you can only book a room for up to 2 guests.
  • Revealing your Hotwire hotel: Thanks to travellers who have shared their winning bid details, its quite often possible to figure out which hotel you are going to get. Simply look at the Hotwire hotel lists and compare this info to the information displayed on Hotwire when booking your travels. Although this works for Priceline too, it’s harder to tell which hotel you will get because you cannot compare amenities.
  • Hotwire is simple: No bidding required. The price you see is the price you pay. This is contrary to Priceline which requires you to bid on a hotel.

Priceline Advantages:

  • Priceline is cheaper: In most cases, Priceline can save you money compared to Hotwire. I usually recommend using Hotwire as the ceiling when bidding. For example, when bidding on Priceline, if a comparable hotel is going for $100 on Hotwire, bid less than this on Priceline. Chances are, you’ll get it for less.
  • Priceline rebidding: Although Priceline normally wait 24 hours before rebidding (as a way to ensure you put your best bid forward the first go around), its possible to get multiple rebids instantly with this free rebidding technique. This allows you to bid really low and work your way up. As an example, Hotwire is offering a room for $100 per night, why not start your Priceline bidding at $60 and work your way up in $5 increments. E.g., $60, $65, $70, $75 … $95.
  • Hotel ratings are better: Frequent travellers generally feel that Hotwire hotel ratings are a bit generous. For instance, often a 4 star hotel on Hotwire is actually only a 3.5 on Priceline. Since has an extremely large database of known Hotwire and Priceline hotels, we’ve been able to compare hotel ratings. Anecdotal observations are accurate… Hotwire hotel ratings tend to be on the generous side. See Hotwire vs Priceline hotel ratings article.

Things to be aware of: both Hotwire and Priceline are non-refundable. This cannot be emphasized enough. Not only can you not get a refund if your travel plans change, you cannot get a refund if you make a mistake in the booking process (e.g., enter wrong travel dates) or if you are unhappy about the hotel you received. This is what makes HotelDealsRevealed such a valuable resource in booking Hotwire or Priceline hotels. Here are some resources that you may find helpful for better bidding:

  • Hotwire & Priceline hotel lists: These lists can be used to help you figure out your hotel before you bid.
  • Discussion Forum: Use the forum to ask questions and share your winning bid. Please remember that hotel lists are created by travellers willing to share their wins. If you find this site helpful, please take a moment to join the forum and share your win.
  • Better Bidding rticles: HotelDealsRevealed has a number of articles to help you bid better on hotels. Visit the Hotwire help or Priceline help sections of the site.

Hotwire vs. Priceline – Which is better?

There is no clear Hotwire vs Priceline winner. The real answer is: it depends. Here’s a general rule of thumb. If you have the time to learn how to use Priceline properly, including how to get free rebids, use Priceline. You’ll save a lot of money. If you want a faster and easier booking system, use Hotwire. Also use Hotwire if you want to be guaranteed a room that will accommodate 3 or more guests, or guarnatee of particular amenities use Hotwire. You could use Priceline but you’re taking a risk.

Whenever I travel, I follow the basic rules above. As an example, whenever I’m travelling on my own, I almost always use Priceline because I do not require specific amenities or bedding for more than 2 guests. However, when travelling with my family, we almost always use Hotwire as it gives us the assurance of a room for 4 and we tend to like hotels with a swimming pool.

Overall, both Hotwire and Priceline are strategic tools you can use to help you save money when you travel. Your circumstances will determine which is better for you.