How To Use Hotwire To Get Great Travel Deals

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Part of booking awesome travel deals is knowing how to find them. One website that money expert Clark Howard often uses to find travel deals is

Hotwire is part of an umbrella of travel aggregators — and  Travelocity, among them — that is owned by Expedia Group.

In this article, I’ll show you some ways that Clark uses Hotwire to save on hotel bookings. You can use these tips to book flights and car rentals on Hotwire as well.

How Does Hotwire Get Such Cheap Rates?

Hotwire routinely has competitive rates for hotels, flights and car rentals. One major reason the site is able to deliver cheaper prices is by hiding the travel provider’s name during the booking process, which allows them to offer rates that undercut published prices.

“We have special relationships with major travel providers to help them fill airline seats, hotel rooms, and rental cars that would otherwise go unsold, so our customers get them at prices lower than many other travel sites,” the site says.

How Do I Save on Hotwire?

Use the Hotwire App

Prices are typically cheaper on the Hotwire app (Android or iOS) vs. the website, so that’s the first place to start when it comes to booking.

For example, when I checked on my desktop for a hotel in Los Angeles in February 2024, it showed me prices ranging from $144 to $179 per night.

Hotwire prices cheaper via app.

Screenshot via

When I performed that same search on the Hotwire app, it showed me different prices that were significantly cheaper — $79 for one place. Check the app first!

Hotwire prices in the app.


Screenshot via

Take Advantage of the 10% Off Promo Code

Hotwire also advertises a 10% discount for your first in-app booking. Promo code: HWAPP10.

How Clark Books the Best Hotel Deals on Hotwire

Save on travel with

Screenshot via

Clark starts his process by searching for cheap hotel rooms in the city he’s flying into. Go to and log in or register for an account.

Clark suggests adjusting the filters to four-star properties (3.5 stars if none are available) and to hotels recommended by at least 80% of guests. That way, you never end up with a bad mystery hotel.

  • Input the city you’re traveling to and the days of your trip.
  • Hit the “Search” button.
  • Scroll down the page to see various deals at different hotels.

Pay close attention to the Deal of the Day, which as its name implies, is often only for that day.

You may also see a Hot Rate, a deal of up to 60% off. However, Hot Rates are non-refundable and can’t be modified, not even for a fee. The non-refundable Hot Rate, may be a great option as you get closer to your trip, but for your initial booking Clark says it is best to book a refundable hotel room.

 “If I’m flying somewhere — you usually book your airfare pretty well in advance — I also book a hotel room at the same time,” Clark says. “I book the best deal I can find for where I’m going but always a refundable room.”

Once you’ve found that refundable hotel room, it’s time to do some digging to find out the name of the mystery hotel you’ll likely be staying at.

How To Find Out the Name of Hotwire’s Mystery Hotels

Hotwire, along with Priceline, have opaque pricing models, which means that for the best deals, they obscure the hotel names you’ll be staying at until after you book.


Fortunately, you can use a number of clues provided by Hotwire that will narrow your list down. 

You may be able to narrow your possible hotel candidates down by browsing the amenities. Or you may be able to click on the “What’s my hotel?” link next to the listing, but not every selection has that.

Clark says he uses the reviews to help him unmask hidden hotels.

Read how Clark takes the guesswork out of Hotwire hotel choices.

Once the refundable room is booked, Clark engages in a waiting game of sorts. Here’s why:

Does Hotwire Get Cheaper Closer To the Date of Travel?

Although there’s no written rule, prices can decrease as the trip date draws near based on travel demand. However, hotel prices can also increase closer to the date of your trip.

When I was recently searching for hotel accommodations out West, I found that hotel rates dropped a couple of weeks before my travel date but increased a few days out.

Clark says he re-shops before his travel date to see if he can find a better deal on a hotel room.

“I already know I have a room if I need it,” he says. “But I want a deal! So what I do is heavily concentrate on Hotwire and Priceline.”

Final Thoughts

As Clark suggests, along with Priceline, Hotwire is one of those sites that you should add to your arsenal when planning a trip.

If you book a trip on Hotwire and find it cheaper someplace else, Hotwire’s Low Price Guarantee allows you to get refunded the difference in price (there are restrictions, of course). Submit a refund request here.


It’s important to know that when it comes to finding travel deals, Hotwire isn’t the only game in town. 

Read our in-depth guide on how to compare fares on Google Flights.


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