Opaque services are when you blindly bid or accept a non-refundable price for an un-named hotel, flight or rental car in a general area with a general star rating. Priceline (bid) and Hotwire (accept) are the two major OTA companies, however there are a few more popping up online. The airlines have less of a margin to save on, but you may still find a good price once in a while for airlines. You will save more on Opaque Services if you use them for hotel and car rentals.
Some of the most popular Opaque Services listed below.
Priceline Opaque Services
Allows you to bid on your own hotel, airfares and rental cars under “Name your own price”. You won’t get to pick the exact hotel, but you get to pick the general area and the star rating; which is the amenities and services of the hotel. Once you have placed your bid, it is final. If it is accepted, you will be charged immediately and there are no refunds or exchanges allowed.
With Priceline; Parking and Resort fees may be applied when you arrive at the hotel for 3 stars and above. This is the same as if you were to pay full price anywhere else, they aren’t additional fees that you can avoid. The 2 ½ star hotels and below will usually provide free parking. The only difference is Hotwire (see below) tells you the fees up front.
If your bid is rejected then it will instantly offer you a chance to rebid and it will even give you a suggested rebid amount. When they come back with a bid suggestion you can usually split the difference in what you recently offered and what their suggested price is and they will usually take the in-between bid.
The closer you wait to your travel date the better deal you will probably get on Priceline. If you have a reservation elsewhere, but are allowed to cancel up to a certain date, might as well try Priceline to see if you can get a better deal. The closer you wait to your travel date it reduces the chance that your travel plans will change and it increases the chance that Priceline will accept a lower bid.
Priceline’s bid discounts are usually up to 60% off hotels, and 40% off airlines and rental cars.
Please Note: Click on the link above to be routed to the customized search engine for Hotwire.Hotwire also sells Cruises and Vacation Packages. You don’t have to use their opaque services.
With Hotwire’s opaque services you also don’t get to choose the exact hotel you stay in, although you will get a general location and the star rating of your choice. All sales are final, no refunds or exchanges. However Hotwire doesn’t allow you to bid like you do at Priceline.
Hotwire will give you a list of prices for unnamed hotels in the area and star category you choose. It will also list the amenities. Once you accept a price you will be charged in full and only at that point you will be told the hotel’s name.
I have seen hotel deals up to 70% off on Hotwire, but normally their blind rates are up to 50% off. Their Rental cars can get as low as $11.95 per day. Their Airlines claim to be up to 40% off.
Use Trip Starter on Hotwire. “TripStarter helps you find the best time of year to visit your destination. From pricing and weather trends to local attractions, you’ll get all the info you need to plan the perfect trip”.
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