Hotwire and Priceline are known for giving cheap hotel deals, but with a catch: the name of the hotel is not revealed until the payment is made. However, there is a forum where users of both the sites post their wins. This site is BetterBidding.com, and as a result of loyal users and growth, the site has constructed vast lists of wins for both sites for hotels all over the USA, and some in other countries as well.
Though I usually don’t prefer booking pre-paid hotel reservations, sometimes the prices on these two opaque booking sites are too good to resist. Particularly with Priceline, where there is a bidding option called Name Your Own Price, sometimes one can win spectacular deals. I have won very decent hotels like Springhill Suites and Fairfield Inn for $35-$40. Priceline also has certain last minute deals, where the price is locked, similar to Hotwire. I’ve also occasionally received 10% off codes from Priceline, which helped me get a big discount from the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. last spring.
The way to match hotels in search results in Hotwire against the forum is to compare the star level, zone, and amenities against the database. For Priceline, the theory is the same, except many times there are hotels with the same amenities and stars in the same zone. Also, be aware that Priceline and Hotwire are adding and removing hotels all the time, and sometimes re-zoning as well. There is no guarantee that you will get what the forum says, there are times when I’ve gotten a hotel that isn’t listed at all. That being said, it’s an excellent tool to give you some idea of the hotel you may get.
The makers of the site have also released a newer tool called BiddingHelper.com, which gives results from Priceline, Hotwire, and Hotels.com based on entered information. I haven’t personally used this tool, but it looks amazing from my short time testing it.
All in all, I highly recommend joining BetterBidding.com if you use Priceline and Hotwire at all. It is a very useful community run by friendly moderators who only ask that you click their Hotwire and Priceline links before purchasing. Doing this and posting your wins only helps and grow a truly useful and friendly online traveling community.