Well, if you are like me, you are hoping to always use points to pay for your hotel accommodations.  Sometimes that is either not possible because you are short points or using your points isn’t the best value for that particular occasion.  You then find yourself scouring the Internet looking for the cheapest hotel rate and probably end up on or many times.  Well, I’ve used both travel sites in the past myself but I haven’t been really educated on how to best maximize these sites to get the absolute rock bottom deals.  I have recently found a great tool & resource to use  and I’d like to share it with you.

I asked the owner of the site, Randy Greencorn, if he would be willing to share more about his site, how it works and how it could benefit my readers.  He was more than happy to share and so tonight I have a guest post from him.

Randy Greencorn is a travel enthusiast and the creator of . When not travelling, Randy enjoys gardening and listening to Bob Dylan. He lives on Vancouver Island, Canada with his wife and 3 daughters.


From the desk of Randy Greencorn

Prior to having kids, my wife and I used to travel quite extensively. We now have 3 kids, and while we still love to travel, it means stretching our travel dollars as far as possible. I’m the type of person that likes to spend a lot of time surfing the Internet for the best deals, and more often than not, I found Priceline and Hotwire had the best prices on hotel accommodations.

In most cases, Hotwire or Priceline can really help families save on accommodations but reservations cannot be cancelled or changed, so it is important to know the basics before using these travel sites before making a reservation. If you’re willing to take a few risks, you can really save a lot of money. For example, I’ve seen the 4-star Westin Dimplomat hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida go for just $33 per night. Not all deals are this good, but as a general rule, hotels are usually at least 20 to 30% cheaper on Hotwire and Priceline than other travel sites, and in many cases the discount is over 50%.

If you’re new to Priceline or Hotwire, probably the first thing you want to do is learn how they work and the caveats around using them. There are a few ‘helper’ websites such as the site I operate, and a few others on the web. Such sites are worth poking around if you want to get serious about saving money, but here’s a good overview of Hotwire and Priceline.

The Basics: Hotwire and Priceline are both opaque travel sites, meaning you won’t find out the actual name of the hotel until after you make the reservation (which is non-refundable). Hotwire reveals certain information about the hotel such as the geographic location (within a range), price, and the hotel’s amenities. Priceline is similar except you don’t know the hotel amenities in advance and you have to ‘Name Your Own Price’, meaning you name a price and then find out if your bid for a hotel room was accepted or not.

Pitfalls To Avoid: Both Hotwire and Priceline reservations cannot be changed or cancelled. Basically, you get what you get. This is inherently risky, and in the Priceline and Hotwire Forum that I operate, I regularly hear from people who are not happy with the hotel they received because of location or other characteristics of the hotel. It’s best to use these sites when you’re flexible on location. This is also true if you need to cancel or change your reservation for whatever reason — with Priceline and Hotwire, you can’t!  It is also worth noting that while you can save 30% to 50% or more, Priceline and Hotwire don’t always have the best price. I recommend shopping around via different travel sites.

Which Is Better? For families especially, I generally feel that Hotwire is better for a couple of reasons. First, with Priceline you don’t know which amenities you hotel will have. I have a large family (3 daughters) and we generally look for a hotel with a swimming pool and preferably one that includes complimentary breakfast, and if near the airport, a complementary shuttle. I have been tempted by Priceline’s normally lower price on occasion and have been disappointed by getting a hotel without a swimming pool.

Another reason to choose Hotwire over Priceline is that with Priceline, your room is only guaranteed to accommodate a maximum of 2 persons, meaning you could end up with just a queen bed. This could lead to very cramped sleeping conditions. While many hotels will accommodate larger parties, this is not always the case. I got stuck with a small room in San Diego once and my kids slept on the floor (we had lots of blankets and pillows though).

Although I generally recommend Hotwire over Priceline, it’s worth mentioning that Priceline is generally cheaper than Hotwire and the chance at saving an extra 20% or so may be worth the risk.  Generally, families can really save a lot of money on travel by using Priceline or Hotwire, but they really need to educate themselves around how these sites work and their policies. It is also important to know when to avoid using Priceline or Hotwire. If you have a bit of flexibility with your hotel location, Hotwire and Priceline are worth trying. Use Priceline for the deepest discounts. Use Hotwire if you want the guarantee of certain hotel amenities and a room that will accommodate more than 2 people.

Safe travels!
m time to time, I will be having guest writers on my blog to cover areas I feel would be helpful & beneficial to you my readers.  If you feel you are interested in being a guest writer, please don’t hesitate to email me.  I would love to hear from you.  I hope you have enjoyed this post from Randy Greencorn, and have found an new tool to use in saving big on your travel adventures.


  1. Just spoke to Randy. There was a programming error that caused the wrong date to appear. He said that the smaller cities don't get updated as often but Los Angeles and other big cities areas are monthly or weekly sometimes. He thanked you for catching the error.

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