Stay away from Hotwire, they are going to ruin your trip and steal your money. Their star rating system is at least one star too high. The savings you think you're getting are in actuality only about $5. No matter the circumstances they will not refund or change your reservation. Their customer service is in the Philippines and they will just read off a pre-written statement.
CALIFORNIA -- Consumer alert: never ever use Hotwire because of its business fraud and cheating practice. As soon as you get charged in this booking site, your money is gone. Yes, gone, as same as service you paid. Hope you are not stupid enough as me to use their service, once enough.
OTTAAWA -- I made a reservation for 3 hotel rooms and insurance from Hotwire. I was surprised to find an unauthorized charge on my credit card for $72.90 from Allianz Global Assistance. At no time was I told about this charge they just charged it. Neither Hotwire or Global Assistance will take responsibility for it both blaming the other. Hotwire will not even respond to this issue. I travel 20-30 times a year. I will never use Hotwire again.
NEW YORK -- Do not use! Hotwire gives you the opportunity to pay more by using a "low price guarantee" that compares apples to oranges. Hotwire never has to honor this so-called guarantee. Point being, Hotwire requires payment upfront, however Hotwire won't consider doing so with the supplier directly equivalent. They always compare their price against less restrictive terms. Pretty clever - buyer beware - in fact, I suggest buyer go elsewhere!
PLEASE do not use Hotwire to book any sort travel. I booked a flight from Philly to Chicago on Hotwire, received a confirmation email, had money taken from my account, and was under the reasonable impression that everything was fine. I arrived at the airport well before take off to print my boarding pass (my flight had assigned seating, so there was no incentive to check in online beforehand, and I only travel with a carry so the check in process takes mere seconds).
At this time, I was informed by Delta that Hotwire had voided my ticket from their end (with absolutely no notice given to me, despite Hotwire having a phone number and email address on hand). I immediately called Hotwire and was informed that my account had been deactivated by risk management and only they could resolve my problem. So what do I logically request? To be put in touch with risk management of course. Turns out, they ONLY have a voicemail system (so you never actually get to speak with anyone).
After leaving multiple voicemails, I called customer service again and they informed me that risk management can "choose" who to get back to. If they conveniently decide to never return your call, you're left with absolutely no recourse. Hotwire's entire risk management system is flawed, lacks transparency, and is prone to be abused since there is no accountability to customers.
As a result of this ordeal, roundtrip airfare which originally was $334 cost me upwards of $700. This was purely the result of Hotwire's unilateral error and failure to notify when unable to render services which had been paid for (clear breach of contract which requires mitigation of damages incurred). I have spent hours on the phone with customer service over this issue, and like others have noted, they were rude, unhelpful, and literally offered to assist me by giving me the number for Kayak. In years of traveling, I have never experienced such a failure to assist customers who have done absolutely nothing wrong.
If you have been similarly affected by Hotwire I suggest you file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Also, let's see if we can get a critical mass going and file a petition with Hotwire, or use another channel (change.org etc) to hold this company accountable for its poor and abusive business practices.
CALIFORNIA -- I normally don't complain about being treated poorly by a company but I have to vent and warn everyone about booking airfare with My son is in the Navy stationed in Jacksonville, Florida. His grandfather died and he needed to come home as soon as possible, as cheap as possible. So under my recommendation he called Hotwire to book his tickets. I did some research and found that you would be the people who could best help him in this situation. Well I was wrong!
He called and booked at ticket with you over the phone. He was told he had a flight for $379 from Florida to Indiana and he would get an e ticket mailed to him. When he didn't get the email he called me because his phone kept dropping calls when trying to contact you.
So I called and gave the representative my email address to send the confirmation to and did not receive an email. I then emailed you but because the flight was for today I also called back only to learn that the person that took his information spelled his last name wrong. The person that took my email address spelled our last name wrong. Even though as I was giving the letter I was also giving words to go with the letter.
So after talking to another representative I was told that my son would need to cancel and rebook the flight because of the spelling of his name. I called him got his credit card information and called back. They cancelled his ticket and then told me that we would not be able to get the same price ticket, or the same flight when we rebooked. They told me that I would have to purchase the ticket retail. I asked to speak with a supervisor and explained the situation and they told me that I was LUCKY to be getting a refund.
Please explain to me how I was lucky? A flight was booked over the phone and because your customer service representative misspelled our last name now I am left at 8:30 at night with no ticket for my son to come home for the funeral and I am back to square one trying to find a flight at a reasonable price for the next day! I normally try to give a positive when I am complaining but frankly I don't have one when it comes to my experience with Hotwire.
CALIFORNIA -- I tried to book a vacation package that included airfare, hotel and car. On the last reservation page, it gave me the option of paying a $1,090 deposit and the remaining balance by August 5. That was my choice, and entered my VISA debit card information. When I hit the 'book this itinerary' button, the system stated: "We were unable to complete your booking at this time. You may wish to try again later. If your itinerary requires immediate action, please call our customer service center at 1-866-394-2015 for Vacation Packages support, 1-866-345-4007 for Activities support, or 001-817-983-0659 for international calls."
I decided to try again later, but in about an hour I discovered that my bank account (the one tied to the debit VISA card) had been charged $1,650 and $889 in separate transactions. When I called their customer service, they stated that this reservation IS NOT BOOKED, that there are no actual charges but a 'security deposit' hold because of using a debit card. That the amount should be back on my account in 24-72 hours.
Then I proceeded to call my bank, and they explained that this is NOT an amount on hold, but actual charges debited to my account. I called Hotwire several times again, only to find different employees telling me the same thing over and over "this is a security deposit", "our credit card authorization department is not available until Monday", and the last one "you have to call your bank, because they are the ones holding the amount".
I have cancelled my VISA because I am panicked that this people will debit more charges and they suggested that I request a bank investigation and reclamation. In the end, my account is WIPED OUT, I have NO RESERVATION and HOTWIRE representatives keep LYING and MISLEADING. DO NOT TRY TO DO BUSINESS WITH THESE THIEVES!!!!!!
THEY WOULDN'T TELL ME WHEN I ASKED, FLORIDA -- Hot wire does not back up their advertisements! We were in Kauai, Hi and needed a car for 2 days. My daughter contacted Hotwire as she has used them many times before and the lowest price guarantee was offered, my daughter accepted and put it on her credit card. The next day I checked directly with Alamo and got the exact time/day/car type guaranteed price of half what Hotwire was charging my daughter for their "Lowest price". She called first and was given the company line... "It was the lowest price that Hertz had when we checked".. I called and got the same line, plus, because we weren't in the "more than 48 hours" cancellation time slot, they refused.
I asked to speak to a supervisor and I got ** (he wouldn't say where he was located... It's against company policy). I'm in Hawaii... where is he??? I quoted the Alamo price (half of the "guaranteed low price") asked him to price match... company policy, can't do... not outside of the 48 hour cancellation period. I explained same pickup drop off time, same economy car, etc. He wouldn't budge... I asked if the call was being recorded, he said it was.
We had a more detailed discussion about company policy, company reputation and my feelings about his answers... it made no difference. We had to cancel the Alamo reservation (which they were very pleasant about) and use the Hotwire reservation or be fully charged for it and considering contacting the credit card company and registering a complaint and ask them to not pay.
Needless to say, we won't be using Hotwire again and I strongly urge anyone else to do the same... Once they get your money (twice as much as they should have) they won't consider anything except keeping it!!! Greedy SOBs. Customer relations stink!
UNKNOWN -- So we're going to Panama for Christmas this year. I went to Hotwire, which had the cheapest tickets. What a mistake. I booked on Saturday, and booked that we're going to take a red-eye that leaves Tuesday night (11 pm), returning on a 9:30 A.M. flight a week and a half later. Three days later, I got an email from Hotwire that notified me that my return trip has been changed from 10 A.M. to noon. I looked at the itinerary and saw that BOTH flights had been changed, and the flight TO Panama has been changed to a red-eye that leaves on Tuesday MORNING (1 a. m.)
I called Hotwire to explain that my kids wouldn't miss another day of school, and asked why the computer changed me to a red-eye that left at 22 hours earlier than I had booked, instead of two hours later. While I never got an explanation for that, after about an hour on the phone with Hotwire, they tell me they'll change the red-eye to Wed morning at 1 a.m., which is fine.
An absolute comedy (not) of errors then ensued, with the morons at Hotwire telling me that there is no 1 A.M. flight and the red-eye leaves at 11 pm and the 10 am flight has been restored. In fact, there is no 11 pm flight any more, and the 10 am flight from Panama has also been changed, per the airlines. I wasted literally hours trying to get this straightened out with Hotwire, United and its codeshare, Copa.
By noon, Hotwire had somehow managed to book my family on TWO flights TO Panama (same time, same flight number -- the 1 am, NOT the 11 pm that Hotwire kept telling me was the valid flight) then sending me confirmation after confirmation that we're on flights that don't exist. Finally, after I complained using their "contact us" link, I got an email from Hotwire telling me that United has "assumed ownership" of my reservation.
So, this morning, I checked the status of all, hoping it was cleared up. As of now, we're booked on TWO flights back from Panama (again, my family is booked twice, on the same flight), Hotwire has AGAIN confirmed me on flights that don't exist, and I have a duplicate charge on my card. Best of all, when I called Hotwire (twice) they just don't care. A customer service supervisor and a customer service manager each told me that they can only book per the airlines. I asked why I keep getting emails confirming flights that don't exist, and they have no answer. This is the most absurd waste of time and money I can imagine.
I had the worst experience with Hotwire for a car rental with Enterprise company. My husband and I had to fly to Seattle, and our flight arrived at 10:30 pm. We had scheduled for a car reservation for 10:30 pm with Enterprise, which is at a off site location. We READ EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, I MEAN EVERYTHING on all the information sent to us by Hotwire before we decided to complete the reservation.
After we got off our flight, and finished picking up our luggage, it was 10:57 pm. We proceeded to the island to wait for a shuttle to take us to the off site location of Enterprise. After waiting for 1 hour to midnight, in the mid 50's weather, no shuttle from Enterprise ever came. So, we called Enterprise, and they told us, the ENTERPRISE OFF SITE location close at 11pm. Now, it is midnight, and we just found out we cannot pick up our rental car. We called HOTWIRE immediately because in nowhere on our reservation did HOTWIRE say that Enterprise closed at 11 pm.
IF we had known the off site counter at Enterprise closed at 11 pm, we would not have chosen this company, and we would not pay for the reservation. Instead, HOTWIRE claims they have no responsibility to tell us Enterprise closed at 11pm.
I don't understand why HOTWIRE feels that they have no responsibility to tell us that Enterprise closed at 11 pm. Instead, HOTWIRE said we should have known ourselves. So, we called back Enterprise to see what they can do to help us, and Enterprise tells us that Enterprise had always told HOTWIRE that their location at Seattle International Airport closes at 11 pm. So, HOTWIRE IS LYING, and NOT ADMITTING THEY ARE DECEIVING CUSTOMERS BECAUSE HOTWIRE DON'T WANT TO ADMIT THEY ARE AT FAULT.
I am posting this here because I want to make sure this never happens to anyone. I mean, imagine if you are a single mom with a young child or baby, and you found out at midnight standing outside of the airport at the shuttle bus island, and just found out that you now have to wait until the next morning, until 4 am to pick up the car. Just to be clear, Enterprise did not wrong us, because Enterprise always knew they would close at 11 pm, and they sent over this information to HOTWIRE, but HOTWIRE NEVER DISCLOSED THIS INFORMATION TO US.
SO, please anyone, if you ever made a car reservation at Hotwire, MAKE SURE YOU CALL HOTWIRE TO FIND OUT WHAT TIME THE CAR COMPANY PICK UP LOCATION CLOSES BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO PAY.