Priceline Vs Hotwire Comparison

Have you ever worried that you're not really getting the best price when you book a travel reservation? Some companies exist specifically to help you get discounts. By partnering with hotels, cruise lines, airlines, and car rental companies, they give you access to greater discounts than you'd get booking through the brand itself.

The two main travel booking companies for online arrangements are Priceline and Expedia, which is the owner of Hotwire. Ninety-five percent of online booking is done through one of these companies. Priceline and Hotwire are similar in many respects - they offer the same range of savings on hotels, car rentals, and flights.

But there are also some key differences. The main ones are in their bidding systems or lack thereof, their bundle packages, their opaque pricing tools, and the specificity of their offerings.

I've taken a look at the discounts, search tools, amenities, types of booking, and general offerings of each. This is what you can expect to find from the services when choosing the right booking for you.

Overview of Priceline and Hotwire

Shared Features

  • Searching through listings of named packages to find the best prices.
  • Savings up to 60 percent on hotels.
  • Savings up to 40 percent on flights.
  • Savings up to 40 percent on rental cars.
  • Some opaque pricing options.
  • Large selection of available choices, especially in advance.

Unique Priceline Features

  • Name Your Own Price tool for hotels, flights, and cars.
  • Express Deals get you the cheapest option.
  • Ability to choose bed type when opaquely pricing hotels.
  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  • Booking for cruises.
  • More focused cruise searching process than with other websites.
  • Cheap car rental deals if you have no brand preference.
  • Bundle packages of flights, hotels, and car rentals put together.

Unique Hotwire Features

  • Bid-free booking with fixed prices.
  • Hot Rate Hotels pricing for hotels.
  • The opaque info includes star rating, general location, and four hotels that might be yours.
  • Some Hot Rate Hotels listings discounted greater than 60 percent.
  • Smaller, more specific neighborhood zones.

Types of Travel Bookings


Priceline offers hotels, flights, car rentals, and cruises.

Each of the search parameters functions very similarly to Hotwire's for hotels, flights, and cars.

One of the nice touches with the flights, though, is that you can specify what class ticket you're looking for.

Priceline vs Hotwire

There are also helpful boxes that let you check whether you also need to book a car or hotel. By bundling multiple bookings together, you can get even larger discounts.

The cruise section pulls deals from thousands of different available cruise options. Some of the settings you'll use include:

  • The cruise destination.
  • Your preferred cruise line (with an option to search all cruise lines).
  • Your zip code.
  • The month you're booking for.
  • The length of the cruise.
  • Whether you're under 55 years old.

Once you search, the interface will show you the cruise offers sorted by price. You can see the cruise line, a picture of the boat, the price per night and for the total package, and the departure location.

There are buttons that let you view an individual cruise's itinerary, sailing dates, and ports of call. Also available are bonus offers from the company.


Hotwire lets you book rental cars, hotels, and flights. It doesn't have an option for cruises, and the travel bundles are limited.

The interface makes the selection process as simple as possible. Rather than presenting you with city guides and travel advertisements, the system asks you where you want to go and when.

Priceline vs Hotwire

When searching hotels, all you need to enter is:

  • The destination.
  • Check-in and check-out dates.
  • Check-in and check-out dates.

That's it. The system will immediately pull up the cheapest hotel deals.

With cars, you just enter your pick-up and drop-off dates, the pick-up location, and whether you're dropping the vehicle off at another location.

Flights are searched by origin, destination, departure and return dates, and the number of passengers.

Winner: Priceline

Priceline's booking system has all the same features and easily-navigated interface, but it also includes cruise bookings and makes bundling easier.

Bidding System


The Name Your Own Price tool from Priceline is exclusively available through the app. You can download it through the Apple app store or Google Play.

Priceline vs Hotwire

With this tool, you'll choose the price you're willing to pay, the area you're staying in, and the star quality level. Priceline then allows you to negotiate a deal that works for you. You won't have confirmation of who's "bid" on your offer until you've finalized the deal.

In the past, this tool was used for every aspect of the service. These days, it's mostly utilized for hotel booking. If you bid too low, the app will warn you that your offer has little chance of being accepted.


Hotwire doesn't come with a bidding system. This is one of the selling features of the app. It's specifically designed for those who want a cheap deal without needing to pre-negotiate.

Winner: Priceline

Priceline's mobile app comes with the Name Your Own Price tool for hotel bookings. You don't have to use it if you don't want to. Hotwire, on the other hand, only offers pre-priced deals.

Opaque Pricing


In addition to the bidding system, which doesn't tell you who you're negotiating with until the deal is finalized, Priceline offers a tool called Express Deals.

Priceline vs Hotwire

This lets you input certain parameters regarding hotels, flights, or car rentals, and then to compare deeply discounted offers that meet your criteria. However, the criteria that you can use is very limited, and the available locations tend to cover wide areas.


Hotwire's Hot Rate® Hotels tool works the same way for hotel bookings. However, there are a few features that make it more convenient.

Priceline vs Hotwire

The deals will list price, hotel star rating, and the general location of the hotel. The "general location" feature tends to cover a smaller area, so you get a more specific idea of where you'll be staying.

In addition, if you click the "Which Hotel Will I Get?" tab, you'll be shown four hotel options in the area. You have a guarantee that one of them is associated with the booking. That helps give you a much more specific idea of your end result than the Priceline feature.

Winner: Hotwire

Hotwire comes out on top because it has more specific location choices, and it allows you to see exact hotel options that you might be staying at.

See Full Review of - Priceline | Hotwire

Pros and Cons of Priceline


  • Priceline's bidding tool allows you to name a price and book an option for significantly less than with a posted listing.
  • The service includes detailed cruise booking information in addition to hotel, flight, and car rentals.
  • There are often bundles of multiple travel bookings like flights, hotels, and rentals that give you greater discounts and let you plan all of your vacation bookings at once.


  • Booking with the opaque pricing tool doesn't get you as many specific details or locations as with the competition, so you know very little about your stay until the deal is closed.

Pros and Cons of Hotwire


  • The interface allows for very focused searches without a lot of distracting options or information, so it's good for those who already have plans.
  • There are multiple options to book budget deals through the opaque pricing structure.
  • Most flights come with a 24-hour cancellation policy.


  • There isn't a bidding tool, so you won't have a chance to name your own price as you book.

Final Thoughts: Which is Better?

Both Priceline and Hotwire are well-established industry leaders in online travel bookings. Their features make it easy to find places with discounts, and they're excellent choices for people on a budget.

Priceline is best for those who appreciate the bidding tool. You can name your own price and strike a deal with hotels, rental companies, or airlines to meet your needs. The service also has the most comprehensive cruise booking system online. It's a good choice if you want to bundle multiple travel bookings for extra discounts.

Hotwire works best for people who already have a good idea of what they want and are seeking the lowest price. It has more specific deals when looking for opaque pricing, allowing you to set greater location and specification limits on the amenities.


Official Top 5 Review Team
Official Top 5 Review Team

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