UPDATE: Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. I will do my best to pick and demonstrate a variety of options, but obviously I don’t have the time to investigate all of them. To avoid getting any more hopes up, I’d like to close the comments to new suggestions. Because timeliness is important and deals change, I’ll also be contacting people by email after I do my investigation since there may be a delay before the post goes live. I do provide a fee-based service to help you identify Hotwire or Priceline hotels for anyone who’s suggestion is not selected.
Decoding hotel services like Hotwire and Priceline is a lot of fun. I got into travel in the first place, long ago, because I saw lots of little pieces that needed to be put together to create the ideal vacation at an affordable price. If I could figure that out, then I might have a shot at convincing my parents to take me on a trip. Compared to a crossword puzzle, it was both entertaining and practical.
Since Ric, the Loyalty Traveler, turned me on to hotel elite status, I haven’t made much use of opaque booking services like Hotwire. The big drawback is that they don’t earn you any points or stay credit, but for some people that doesn’t matter. Another problem is that they rarely guarantee bed type, so you might want to be careful if you are traveling with family and really need two beds for a group of four.
Next week I plan to provide some walkthroughs of Hotwire and Travelocity to show you how to figure out with fairly good certainty what hotel you will be staying at BEFORE you pay. It helps to use a site like BetterBidding.com, but it isn’t necessary. I’ve been able to stay at some great four-star hotels for around $100 a night in places like Las Vegas, Barcelona, London, and Cologne even during the high travel seasons.
As usual, I’d rather get some requests from a reader rather than just do some random search. If you have a specific trip coming up this summer and want to give me dates and a location, I’d be happy to take a look and tell you what I think might be your best options in that city. You only want to stay in one particular neighborhood, like the North Strip of Las Vegas? No problem. Just let me know. As long as you’re okay with your travel plans ending up on my blog, consider this some free advice.
Yes, this is what I do for entertainment. At least now that I have submitted my dissertation. (Draft only, of course, but I need to take a break.)\