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Hotwire

Hotwire
Overall Satisfaction Rating 1.01/5
  • 5 stars
    0
  • 4 stars
    0
  • 3 stars
    0
  • 2 stars
    2
  • 1 stars
    101
Based on 103 ratings submitted in the last year

This company is not yet accredited. See reviews below to learn more or submit your own review.

Hotwire is a travel and vacation website that offers deeply discounted deals on hotels, car rentals, flights and more. With Hotwire, you can book deals directly from the site or through the company’s app.

BOTTOM LINE

Hotwire sells hotel rooms, car rentals, flights and vacation packages that might otherwise go unsold for discounted rates. It partners with many major companies to provide a variety of options.

PROS

  • Deals in many categories
  • Easy to book online or with app
  • Significantly discounted rates

CONS

  • No cancellations
  • Doesn’t show hotel name until booked

Top Hotwire Reviews We Found

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Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer

I reserved a hotel room using the hot rate tool, which gives you an undisclosed hotel in a certain star range for a very good price. ... When I arrived at my hotel this time, there was a safety issue that worried me… They rebooked the room to a different hotel no questions asked…

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Rated with 5 stars
Verified Reviewer

Hotwire gives best deals and details and handles issues much faster than others. They give you area comparisons and options to add to your trip like rental car and outings. The deals are always top notch as well.

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What is Hotwire?

Hotwire finds hotel rooms, rental cars and vacation packages at deeply discounted rates. Travelers can look up travel information on the website or the mobile app and access 24/7 customer service.

The company advertises the ability to connect you with four-star hotels at two-star prices, and it partners with leaders in the travel industry, such as Hilton, Hyatt and most major car rental companies and airlines.

How does Hotwire work?

You can use Hotwire to search for flights, hotel accommodations, rental cars and vacation experiences. You will not see the hotel's name until you book your stay — this is what allows Hotwire to offer such deep discounts.

Hotwire gives you other information about the hotel, such as the star rating, customer reviews, the city where it's located, an area map and sometimes even a detailed description of the local neighborhood and a list of local landmarks.

Hotwire has an easy-to-use filter option so you can narrow down your search by location and date.

Hotels
Enter your destination, check-in date, check-out date and how many guests will be traveling to have Hotwire show you a list of hotels in the area, their discounted rates, their Expedia reviews and other basic info. No names or addresses are included.

You can filter your search by hotel class, price range, amenities, guest rating and the general area. Before you book, you’ll see the base rate, your dates and additional fees. Once you book, the sale is final and you receive the name of the hotel, the address and other specifics.

Car rental
Booking a rental car on Hotwire works much like booking a hotel. You enter your dates and pickup and dropoff location. Hotwire lets you choose your preferred car type and set your budget before presenting a list of rental cars at discounted rates.
Flights
When you’re booking flights, Hotwire tells you the name of the airline you’ll be flying with. It also gives you flight details such as change fees and the number of layovers.
Vacation experiences
When you book a vacation package with Hotwire, you have the option to bundle your hotel, car and flight.

Hotwire prices

While Hotwire strives to give you the best vacation experiences at low prices, there are a few other fees to consider before booking. Before you confirm your purchase, Hotwire shows you a breakdown of your purchase, including the base rate and its “tax recovery charges and fees.” These fees vary based on the hotel that you're assigned.

It's also important to remember that some hotels have additional costs, such as parking, resort fees and convention fees. These charges typically aren't listed as part of the booking process, and travelers pay these extra fees with the hotel company directly.

Travelers can save more money with Hotwire by downloading the app and taking advantage of last-minute travel deals.

Hotwire FAQ

Who owns Hotwire?
Expedia Group owns Hotwire.
How do I get a refund from Hotwire?
All tickets and purchases through Hotwire are final and will not be refunded. All changes and cancellations must be made through the hotel, car rental company or airline.
How does Hotwire work for hotels?
Travelers enter their trip information into the search, and Hotwire produces a list of discounted rates available for that time. Customers do not know the name of the hotel until they make a reservation, but they do receive information about the hotel’s rating, location and customer reviews.
Does Hotwire have promo codes?
Yes. Customers can receive promo codes when they sign up to receive emails from Hotwire.

Is Hotwire legit?

Hotwire is a reputable travel company that is recognized across the globe for providing valid and discounted travel accommodations. It is owned by Expedia Group, another trusted and well-established leader in the travel industry. Some people may not like not knowing the name of the hotel they’re staying at until making a reservation, but Hotwire is worth checking out if your primary goal is keeping costs down when traveling.

Hotwire Reviews

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How do I know I can trust these reviews about Hotwire.com?
  • 2,737,259 reviews on ConsumerAffairs are verified.
  • We require contact information to ensure our reviewers are real.
  • We use intelligent software that helps us maintain the integrity of reviews.
  • Our moderators read all reviews to verify quality and helpfulness.

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Page 1 Reviews 0 - 10
Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 12, 2021

We recently returned from an 8-day trip to Mexico, flying in and out of Cancun. Our trip was from December 24th to January 1st. Two days prior to our trip, we booked a rental car. The rental car deal was found on Kayak, and then booked via Hotwire with Dollar Rental Car. Our confirmed reservation was for an economy car at $22.48 per day for a total of $267.74 including all taxes, surcharges, and fees.

Prior to departing for Mexico, my wife called Hotwire and Dollar to confirm the details of the reservation because we had heard stories about rental car companies not honoring reservations. Both the Hotwire and Dollar representatives confirmed the accuracy of the reservation and guaranteed there would be no additional fees and that we would only have to pay the total from the reservation. My wife had made a tentative reservation with Avant Car Rental for reference to pricing that also included all fees and insurance. Since the Hotwire rental was not a hot rate, we could have easily cancelled the reservation and rebooked with Avant Car Rental prior to departure. Given the current reservation made and included all additional fees, we continue with our Hotwire rental. (Avant Rental agreement included for reference)

Upon arrival at the Dollar Rental Car location in Cancun we were told that the reservation would not be honored, and instead it would end up costing $655.32. The daily rate was higher than what was quoted in the reservation, additional fees were added, and $26.00 per day was charged for liability insurance, even though the Hotwire website quoted liability insurance in Mexico as costing $13.00 per day, if required.

We discussed these discrepancies with the Dollar staff in Cancun, but they were unwilling to honor the original reservation. We were told our only recourse was to raise this issue with Dollar and Hotwire customer service upon return to the US. To date, any efforts to resolve this issue with any of the customer service representatives have been met with silence.

January 7th, My wife called Hotwire around 8:13AM to discuss the fraudulent charges. She called several times from different phones because the customer service agents continued to say they could not hear her on the other line. This seemed odd since all the phones were landlines. The first person she spoke to was named Andy. She explained the overcharges that occurred and reviewed with the agent what the reservation charges should have been and reminded him that the reservation was not a “Hot Rate” booking. Andy put My wife on hold and when he returned, he reported he could not hear her and hung up the phone.

My wife called Hotwire again around noon to speak with a supervisor. Violet answered the phone this time. She read over the previous agents notes and started her statement with “Hotwire did not do the billing for your reservation so this is not something Hotwire is responsible for.” Although the billing aspect may be true, Hotwire was the booking company that provided the reservation at a given price. They are working with companies vouching for their integrity and business. My wife asked to speak directly with a supervisor. The line was disconnected in the transfer.

My wife called Hotwire for another time and Jennifer answered the phone. My wife immediately asked to be transferred to a supervisor and was transferred to Jen. Jen reviewed the reservation, asked for reservation numbers for both Hotwire and Dollar, and asked for total charges that occurred. Jen stated she would need to contact Dollar car rental directly. My wife was placed on hold. Jen then came back on the line to confirm our Dollar reservation number because she reported it appeared the reservation was never fulfilled on Dollar’s end. My wife repeated the Dollar reservation number, to which Jen confirmed on her end was the same.

Jen then asked me to check my receipt and see if the reservation matched. Upon looking at the receipt, the booking number at the top was in fact different. This brought to my attention that not only were we overcharged, but Dollar had created the charges outside of our reservation. Dollar did not honor our reservation despite us showing them our printed reservation in hand that we had a reservation made by Hotwire prior to our arrival. We were not aware the reservation was not used until My wife made this phone call.

Jen then proceeded to ask me for the booking number on my receipt. She said she was going to follow up with Dollar but since the receipt did not match the reservation, Hotwire may not be able to help. My wife was very upset by this statement. The reservation being done under a different booking number was done without either of our consent or knowledge. It now makes sense why Dollar said we would need to contact Hotwire and Dollar when we returned to the states to deal with the discrepancy. They knew they had changed the reservation and that Hotwire would not be able to manage our reservation. My wife was left on hold with Jen for 20 minutes with no response. Our conclusion is that she too realized we had been scammed and was working with Dollar on the other line. My wife hung up due to the extended wait time.

My wife called Dollar Car rental during the time she was on hold with Jen from Hotwire (around noon) and spoke to a customer service agent. My wife asked if the agent could help her with an overcharge. The agent asked My wife for our reservation number. When My wife gave her the Dollar Car Rental reservation number, the agent reported her computer showed the reservation was made, but not fulfilled. My wife asked her if she could send a copy of this information showing the reservation was not fulfilled to her personal email. The agent said she was not able to do so. She said the notes were not something that was able to email to customers. My wife asked if she could write a statement via email stating the car was not picked up. The agent again said no. My wife asked to speak to a supervisor regarding the issue and was put on hold for an extended period of time, then the call was disconnected.

When My wife called Dollar back to speak with the supervisor, the customer service representative stated that they did not have access to viewing whether the reservation was fulfilled. Whatever notes were added to previous telephone encounter now resulted in a different statement/story from this new representative. The representative told My wife to call the Cancun location to request a refund if there was an error. My wife asked the representative if there was a corporate level that handles these situations because the likelihood of the location providing a refund when they are the ones scamming customers was unlikely. My wife told the representative the location would likely not be helpful and she would like corporate support with this issue. She said there was nothing else she could do. At this point, My wife hung up.

My wife called Hotwire back after work around 5pm and Hazel answered the line. My wife explained to Hazel her previous phone conversation with Jen (supervisor). Hazel said she would read the previous notes from the phone calls so she could further assist in the issue. Hazel was not helpful. Hazel told My wife “it appears based on the documentation that you chose to create a new reservation and due to this, it is not Hotwire’s responsibility. Hotwire did not collect payment for the reservation and since the Hotwire reservation was not used, this was not their concern.” This is not accurate and also does not make sense. We did not request a new reservation upon arrival. We brought a copy of our reservation with confirmation numbers for both Hotwire and Dollar on the printout.

We also brought a copy of Hotwire subclauses regarding potential accident insurance and liability insurance. We brought a printout of Chase Sapphire Reserve auto rental collision coverage with us as well. Why would we cancel our reservation we made prior to our trip, on top of confirming reservation/fees with two representatives the day before travel, for the same car but agree to pay more than 2x the price. There was no upgrade involved and the car we were given was the same as reserved with Hotwire.

Ultimately, Dollar Cancun is scamming customers by changing reservations and overcharging without customer’s knowledge or consent. Dollar is overcharging customers, and Hotwire is not intervening in these issues. Hotwire is continuing to perform business with this company even after knowing these scams are occurring. By Hotwire not taking actions to assist in a refund from Dollar for the overcharges, and being aware exactly how these overcharges are being made, Hotwire is complicit to these actions. By switching customer’s reservations, Dollar is also scamming Hotwire out of their commission/ breaking agreements. They are utilizing Hotwire resources but removing Hotwire from the equation with the change in reservation. This further confirms fraudulent activity. We are asking for a refund due to the fraudulent charges. Our original reservation was for $267.74.

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Rated with 1 star
Verified Reviewer
Original review: Jan. 9, 2021

I rented a car after having to enter my driver's license number into their system. I did not realize (dumb on my part so not all their fault) my license had expired, but due to the peace time emergency act all licenses are extended 3 additional months (it has been taking extraordinarily long for licenses to be renewed). The rental place said they could not transfer the rental agreement to my wife because their policy forbids it...but told me to contact Hotwire...they were completely useless and unhelpful. I tried explaining that my license is legally valid due to the peace time emergency act, but they did nothing. I was out my money and come to find out it wasn't even a good rental rate as I found a better car with Priceline for $40 less, but I was out my $100. I tried to call back again and speak to a manager, but they said their policy allows for nothing.

I find it despicable that a company will not do anything to work with a customer...now I will never use them again and I will encourage others to never use them. No kindness, no credit or refund just the policy (which technically my license was still valid and even more ridiculous is they would not transfer to my wife!)... Awful awful customer relations department.

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    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Jan. 5, 2021

    The "Hotrate" practice allows for unfair surprise for the average, ordinary consumer. No renter would anticipate the possibility that they would pay $297.76 in advance with not only the possibility, but the likelihood that not only would they would neither be provided the vehicle they have reserved, nor would they would receive a refund. Renting a "Hotrate" car is effectively gambling, and the consumer will not know this in advance.

    Only after agreeing to the lowest price offered on the Hotwire.com website, which invariably is this "Hotrate" offer, and only after making the payment, is it revealed what car rental agency will be providing the vehicle. This means that the consumer does not even know with whom they are actually making a contract, and without the identity clearly stated of all parties, there is no valid contract.

    This is the key point because, as here, it was only after making the payment that it was revealed that ACE Car Rental was the agency and that their policy was not to charge (only local renters) an extra $.40/mile for every mile exceeding a 100 mile/day limit. But even if we agreed to this unconscionable extra term, we were outright refused the rental because my family planned to drive to out of SoCal to Bryce Canyon Utah.

    I have been renting cars in California for 35 years for business and pleasure, and I have never had such limitations imposed, so I therefore never even contemplated this possibility. I understand that this is related to Covid-19 concerns, and I also understand that a business can set whatever terms it wants, but if new and totally unexpected terms are to be imposed, it is only fair that the consumer be provided a reasonable opportunity to withdraw their acceptance of a contract with terms that shock the conscience (paying something for nothing). I suppose I should just be grateful that, once the particular rental agency was revealed, that I did not discover there is an extra $1000 charge if I do not qualify.

    ACE, or any other car rental agency, that knowingly participates in this "Hotrate" method of renting a vehicle, should be ashamed because they are aiding and assisting Hotwire with causing great harm to consumers. I would venture make up the bulk of those presently renting vehicles in California, should not be participating in this "Hotrate" scheme. The manager of the agency in Los Angeles, Luis, informed us that he has multiple such failed rentals every single day. There is no reason for this. Hotwire has incurred no loss of time, effort or materials such that they cannot reasonably effectuate a refund and, thereby, prevent harm and preserve goodwill.

    I repeat: This business practice places the average consumer at a disadvantage on an unlevel playing field because the renter is forced to accept unconscionable terms that can lead to an unfair surprise. It should also be understood that the harm caused by a failed rental goes beyond the money that is lost for that particular transaction, as a car renter that ends up at the agency with their family is now left without transportation, and this can lead to great complications when the renter or a family member has health issues or, as with my family, one of the travelers was pregnant.

    We have contacted the law firm, Morgan and Morgan, and are working toward forming a class with other consumers who have suffered similar harm in order to file a class-action lawsuit. If we don't, then Hotwire will be happy to continue this practice of profiting at no expense of time, trouble or treasure. We will keep those of you who are interested posted.

    Please note that I have been a long-time/frequent user of Hotwire, so I have been in complete shock at this experience. While speaking to a supervisor and explaining the harm it was causing us to be effectively stranded without a vehicle (with my daughter-in-law being pregnant), she abruptly said, "That's all" and hung up the phone.

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    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
    Original review: Jan. 1, 2021

    Rented a vehicle for a week and purchased the additional auto insurance from the Hotwire site. I received an email from the third party seller and was told that there was an issue with the additional insurance being processed. I was told that the additional insurance can only be purchased at time of booking and that I should contact Hotwire. Long story short Hotwire said it was not their problem even though I requested the additional insurance through their site. I have no extra insurance and an still stuck with paying Hotwire for the rental.

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    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Nov. 28, 2020

    We had a rental car reservation through Hotwire with Hertz. Hawaii shut down due to Covid so travelers are unable to rent cars. Hertz did not charge Hotwire for our reservation because you CAN NOT rent a car. Hotwire refused to refund our money and even hung up on my husband. HOTWIRE CAN NOT provide the service that we paid them for but they are keeping our money. We also rented through Travelocity and they refunded right away because they could not provide the service. Hotwire is a SCAM. A company can not charge for a service that they are unable to provide.

    6 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Nov. 11, 2020

    I prepaid 2 days car rental through Hotwire. I estimated my time of arrival as 2:00 but didn't get out of the airport until 4:10. Because it was after 4:00, I was unable to get the car. Hotwire would not cancel or refund and I am stuck with paying for two days for a car I never saw. There is a word for people who take your money without providing anything in return.

    5 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Oct. 22, 2020

    AVOID! They will take the money and then show rude and condescending attitude toward their customers. Welcome Hotel Essen is also not worth your money. Booked a hotel 'Welcome Hotel Essen' via Hotwire. Global pandemic happened in the meantime. Spent five months trying to cancel my reservation, or at least get consumer credit when travelling gets back to normal. Both the hotel and Hotwire showed no desire to actually solve the problem. Hotwire avoided any real action until it was too late, so on the day after my check-in, they were glad to inform me that I was a no-show at the hotel and that a refund isn't possible. The worst part is that the last time I contacted them was just the day before my booking, and they convinced me they are dealing with it. Coincidentally, just the day after they couldn't find any notes on my cancellation requests or evidence that their agents actually contacted the hotel in an effort to resolve the matter.

    7 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    profile pic of the author
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Oct. 22, 2020

    My wife and I were looking for a motel in the Redlands, California are so we could attend a funeral. We used the app and put the dates in. A listing of several very NICE motels came up including a Marriot, Holiday Inn, Comfort Suites, etc; so we booked it. To our utter disappointment, Hotwire booked us at Motel 6!!! No mention of that listed at all. No way to cancel it! We tried to contact customer service to complain, but no one EVER ANSWERS!

    They did a classic “Bait and Switch” on us. The previous two times I’ve used Hotwire, we were booked in excellent motels. Not this time, they booked us in a DUMP! Sheets are disgusting, the room smells, no hairdryer, no hand towels, no place to put a suitcase or even a CLOSET, just a broken hook on the wall. The motel is next to major highway in Redlands and the windows provide no sound insulation at all, with cars racing up the street all night long. We are extremely UNSATISFIED and WILL NOT use HOTWIRE P again. This is less than a One Star with drug dealers on the premises!

    6 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Oct. 14, 2020

    I booked a car rental through Hotwire and due to the Covid (crap), our flight times were changed. I tried to modify our pick up and drop off times (less than 4 hours difference) and they (Hotwire and National Car Rental) wouldn't help out. Due to unprecedented times we are in, I feel they should be more flexible. The flight time change was not my doing. Now they want me to sit at the airport for 3 hours to wait for my rental car. No thanks. I'll eat the money and rent from someone else that is more understanding. I will never rent from National or book with Hotwire again.

    6 people found this review helpful
    Rated with 1 star
    profile pic of the author
    Verified Reviewer
    Original review: Oct. 13, 2020

    I honestly can't say enough bad things about this experience. A normal standard of renting cars through any website and any company is to have the ability to drive between states. When my friend and I rented this car we were NEVER informed that part of the deal would be that we could not leave the state of Colorado. We INTENTIONALLY did a Denver-Denver reservation because we thought that made things easier for rental companies and it would be less complex.

    It was not until we got to the rental agency - Ace Rent-A-Car - and had a discussion about the toll options offered that we realized that would be something we would need to figure out, but whatever it was what it was. HOWEVER, it was not until a few days later during our first week of a 7-week western road-trip that we were exploring options for the toll plan to see if we could do the drives without hitting tolls that we found a tiny contingence that said we could not leave the state.

    At first, we tried using Hotwire's online helping agent who could not have been more dismissive and less helpful saying it was all contingent upon the policies agreed upon between us and Ace Rental Cars. After spending 4 hours cumulatively trying to get through to Ace agents and, eventually, a manager there, we were informed that Hotwire held the money from Ace and that Ace would adjust the reservation to enable us to drive out of state. Following this, we called Ace directly and spent another hour cumulatively with an agent and a manager who had nothing to say besides, "I hear you sir, but there is nothing we can do." At the end of the day, there were many things they could have done, they just were not willing.

    Considering all the non-refundable bookings we had in other states, all we were asking for was for them to be flexible with the policy, a new car through a different agency, or a partial refund as we would have to rent a new car -- which was what we eventually had to do. Hotwire was unwilling to do anything besides continue to reject us and eventually hung up on us -- this was without a doubt the worst customer service experience I have ever had and left me with a lower opinion of the capability of human beings to be sympathetic period.

    I never leave these reviews but I had to leave this because I will never, ever, ever forget it and I hope just one person sees this and rents anything through ANY OTHER AGENCY. We ended up getting a different car through another agency who laughed at us for asking if we could take it out of state and even when out of their way to inform us we would get our money back if we returned early, which we ended up doing with this useless car. Hotwire -- you are the worst company ever.

    9 people found this review helpful
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    Hotwire Company Information

    Company Name:
    Hotwire.com
    Year Founded:
    2000
    Address:
    655 Montgomery St.
    City:
    San Francisco
    State/Province:
    CA
    Postal Code:
    94111-2627
    Country:
    United States
    Phone:
    (866) 468-9473
    Website:
    www.hotwire.com