Hotwire Frequently Asked Questions For Hotels

Posted on January 23, 2015 by Randy Greencorn

Hotwire is great for saving bidding travelers money on hotel rooms, but there are some risks involved when booking your hotel. For example, you do not know what hotel you are going to get until after you book, and reservations are non-refundable. it makes sense for travelers to spend a few minutes educating themselves before bidding to avoid some of the common pitfalls novice Hotwire customers often make. These questions and answers for better bidding will help you take advantage of the low prices offered by Hotwire.

How does Hotwire work?

This question is asked all the time about Hotwire - how does it work? When making a travel reservation (e.g., hotel, flight, cruise, car rental), the actual supplier is not revealed until after you purchase and finalize your reservation. For example, when reserving a hotel on Hotwire, the name and exact address of the hotel remain hidden until you buy. Only certain information about the hotel is revealed such as the hotel star-rating, general vicinity, hotel amenities and price. This allows hotels and suppliers to offer deep discounts on excess supply. Consumers benefit by saving money. If you are brand new to Hotwire, this is a great article that gives an overview of Hotwire hotels.

How do I cancel or change a reservation?

This is probably the most important thing to know about Hotwire. You cannot change or cancel your reservation after you have booked. Of course, if you have separate cancellation insurance, you may be able to cancel under your own policy.

How do I get a Hotwire pet-friendly hotel?

In 2013, Hotwire finally added "Pet Friendly" to their amenities. This means you can now book a hotel that welcomes pets. Hotels usually charge an extra fee, but it is now possible to look for hotels that are pet-friendly.

What if I accidentally made a mistake or a typo when making a reservation?

It is best to call them as soon as possible and explain the error you made. You can contact Hotwire at 1-866-468-9473. Any evidence you can supply to support the error will help. For example, if you demonstrate that you booked a flight for 6/10 but booked a hotel for 10/6, it might help your situation.

How can help me save money on Hotwire?

This website has gathered actual hotel reservation information from Hotwire Forum members and put them into Hotwire Hotel Lists. This can be used to help you identify your hotel before your purchase, making you a better bidder, and prevents disappointment by reducing the risk of getting a hotel you might not want. The Hotwire Help Forum is also a good resource to ask questions about Hotwire, Priceline, and anything travel related.

Why can I not find a Hotwire hotel on's Hotel Lists?

This website relies on information from forum members to produce the Hotwire Hotel Lists. The information provided by member may not be accurate or it might be old and out-of-date. Hotels are added to and dropped from Hotwire all the time, and amenities change often. We try to keep our lists as current as possible thanks to the contribution of Hotwire users such as yourself.

I booked a hotel on Hotwire that I am not happy about. Is there anything I can do?

It is extremely difficult to do anything after you have purchased your hotel room. The best way to avoid disappointment is to try to identify your hotel ahead of time using the Hotwire Hotel Lists on this site. You can usually narrow it down to a couple of candidate hotels. Then, research those hotels on TripAdvisor or elsewhere before making your reservation. Remember that hotels on Hotwire change all the time, as do hotel ratings and amenities. There is always a chance you get different hotel than the one you though you might get. (Yes, this happens - trust me.) If you are not prepared to take a chance, you should probably book on a different website or through the hotel directly. As much as I love Hotwire, there are times when I will not risk getting a hotel I do not want.

Why type of bed will I get?

This is up to the hotel. After you book, you should try to call the hotel if you want a particular bed size.

How many people will my room sleep?

Your room will sleep the number you indicated when you made your reservation. For 2 people, you may get 2 single bed or a queen (or larger). If you book a room for 3 or more, you are almost assured 2 double or queen size beds. You cannot reserve a single room for 5 or more people.

How does Hotwire's price guarantee work?

Priceline offers a Low Price Guarantee. If within 48 hours of making your reservation, you find the same room, same number of beds, same hotel, and same dates for a lower price, Hotwire will pay you double the difference in Hot Dollars. Hot Dollars are essentially a credit good for future use on Hotwire only. I have had the fortune of taking advantage of Hotwire's price guarantee a couple of times. It was easy to make a claim and just as easy to use my Hot Dollars on a future purchase.

How do I get a non-smoking room from Hotwire?

The only way to guarantee a non-smoking room on Hotwire is to reserve a room at a hotel that shows the smoke-free icon. This icon indicates that the entire hotel is smoke-free. Many other hotels offer non-smoking rooms but they are not guaranteed. If you book a room at a hotel that is not exclusively non-smoking (as indicated by the smoke-free icon), it is best to call the hotel soon after you make your reservation to indicate your room preference.

I booked a Hotwire hotel showing the high-speed internet icon. Why do I have to pay?

I hate paying for wifi too. The internet icon indicates that high-speed internet is available, not that it is free. Look for "free internet" instead. Alternatively, if you are able to identify your hotel prior to purchasing using our Hotwire Hotel Lists, you might want to contact the hotel before your reservation to find out if there are fees for internet access. I have seen fees for internet range from $10 to $25 for a 24-hour period.

Is there any truth to stories that Hotwire inflates their hotel ratings?

Sadly, there may be some truth to this. With the extensive list of hotels on, we compared Hotwire hotel ratings to Priceline. The data seems to indicate that Hotwire hotel ratings are often higher than other sites. You can see more by checking out this article on Hotwire vs. Priceline room ratings.

Where can I go for additional Hotwire questions?

If you have a question that is not answered in this Hotwire FAQ page, try our Hotwire Help Forum. We will continue to revise this list of Hotwire Frequently Asked Questions abased on what travelers post. If you still need help, it is best to visit the Hotwire official site.

Additional Hotwire Hotel Tips

  • Hotwire Basics: New to Hotwire but not sure how it works? This article is worth a read to ensure you have the basics covered.

  • How To Identify A Hotwire Hotel: This tutorial describes how to reveal the name of your Hotwire hotel before you purchase in 4 easy steps.

  • Hotwire Forum: Join our forum and discuss Hotwire tips, find out how much others paid for hotel reservations, seek help identifying a hotel, or discuss anything travel related.

  • Hotwire Blog: Blog posts about Hotwire hotel bidding.

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