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Clark’s secret to finding the best Priceline and Hotwire hotel deals

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Image Credit: Hotwire
Mike Timmermann |
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The other day I was talking with money expert Clark Howard about an upcoming trip I’m taking and how I’ve been struggling to find a mystery hotel room that I feel confident booking.

Like Clark, I book nearly all of my hotels using either Priceline or Hotwire to save the most money.

Read more: These 35 hotel chains offer free breakfast

Use Clark’s strategy to book mystery hotels

The downside is that you don’t know the name of the hotel until you book the non-refundable reservation, but Clark says his strategy gets him great hotels at great prices — 100% of the time!

Using Hotwire’s search, here’s what came up when I plugged in my travel dates and destination:

Hotwire search results

My first thought was to take a gamble on the 3.5 star hotel that’s recommended by 65% of guests, but Clark said he wouldn’t. He also said the other two options were not ideal.

He suggested that I adjust the filters for star rating and recommendation.

To make sure he never ends up with a bad mystery hotel, Clark follows these rules: he books four-star properties (3.5 star if none are available) that are recommended by at least 80% of guests.

So in the example below, the $103 per night hotel looks like a safe one for me to book.


This strategy only applies to mystery hotels. Clark will stay at hotels that are below four stars if he knows the name of the property in advance and has time to read reviews on TripAdvisor.

Read more in Clark’s hotel booking guide.

Read more: How to get 10 days off work by using just 4 vacation days

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