Extreme card confusion on my rental car

Harold Nagase tries to add a day to his Hotwire car rental, but when the vehicle is damaged, his credit card company won’t cover it. Why not?
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Sacré Coeur! This isn’t the hotel I booked

When it comes to Hotwire, you know the drill: You book an unnamed hotel in a vaguely-defined neighborhood in exchange for a steep discount.
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My ticket credit is gone — can you help me get it back?

Razlomov/Shutterstock
Razlomov/Shutterstock

Velta Mahon’s airline ticket credit is gone and she says it’s Hotwire’s fault. Is there any hope of a refund?

Question: I need your help resolving a situation that I have with Hotwire. A little over a year ago I booked a flight from Baltimore to Orlando, but canceled because of a hurricane.

Before I canceled, I called Hotwire and told them that I was concerned about the weather and afraid to travel at that time. A representative told me to contact Allianz, the company through which I had insured my tickets.

An Allianz representative led me to believe that I might be able to receive a refund, and suggested I call Hotwire to cancel my ticket, which I did. When I requested a refund, Allianz denied me and referred me to Hotwire. Hotwire denied me and said I had a ticket credit, and referred me to the airline. The airline just referred me back to Hotwire. Read more “My ticket credit is gone — can you help me get it back?”

Help, my Hotwire hotel was a construction zone

Photo courtesy Michael Weaver
Photo courtesy Michael Weaver
To say Michael Weaver was unhappy about the hotel he booked through Hotwire recently might be an understatement. He paid for a 4.5-star hotel in South Beach, but instead checked into a construction site.

For those of you just joining us, Hotwire lets you book a type of hotel in a general geographic location, and only reveals the name of the property after you’ve paid for a nonrefundable reservation.

After Weaver made his booking, he found out he’d be staying at The Perry South Beach.
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The 6 best online travel agencies of 2013

D Arts/Shutterstock
D Arts/Shutterstock

In this year’s best online travel agency category, it was yet another close vote. Travelocity and Kayak were tied until almost the last minute. But then Travelocity pulled ahead with just seconds left in the voting — almost a photo finish.

Expedia, Orbitz and Priceline round out the list, followed by Hotwire.

I didn’t distinguish between so-called “opaque” sites like Priceline and Hotwire and the “full-service” agencies. The list is a useful guide for anyone considering making a travel purchase online.

Here are the top online travel agencies of 2013 according to the readers of this site.
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No ‘super’ savings on my Las Vegas strip hotel

vegas babyQuestion: I hope you can help me with a Hotwire Hotel reservation. I booked a three-star “Las Vegas Strip — South Area Hotel” on Hotwire recently. I got a room at Hooters Casino Hotel for $47 per night, plus taxes and fees.

There are two problems with the result. First, it’s not on the Las Vegas Strip; it’s more than half a mile away. And second, it’s listed as a “Super Savings” rate, which Hotwire classifies as “more than 30 percent off retail price.” But most websites have the normal price at about $45 to $50 per night. Where’s the “super” savings?
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No, this isn’t a Hotwire bait-and-switch (or is it?)

Kim Gandy is an experienced traveler, and she’d like to think she wouldn’t fall for a scam. But when she tried to book a rental car through Hotwire recently, she thinks she may have been duped.
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Time to include mandatory fees in hotel prices?

Like many resort hotels, the Marriott San Juan Resort and Stellaris Casino in San Juan, Puerto Rico, adds a fee to its daily room rate to cover amenities such as bottled water, a casino coupon, local phone calls and wireless Internet.
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“Their bait-and-switch tactics count on us having a short memory”

One question remains after trying — and failing — to mediate Gregory Bergman’s case with Hotwire: Why do we keep falling for it?

Why do we continue to book anonymous hotels that may or may not meet our expectations?

I don’t know. But I’d like to hear your theories.
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