We accessed Hotwire through the BFT Link.
We needed a rental car at Las Vegas McCarran Airport, picking up at 2:00 pm Friday, May 9, 2014, returning to the same location on Friday, May 16, 2014 at 10:00 pm.
Priceline's retail site on Saturday had Avis at $21 per day for either a Standard (Ford Fusion or similar) or a Full Size (Chevy Impala or similar). We bid $12 ($190 total), and were rejected. We were permitted one more immediate rebid and bid $13 ($201.08 total) and were rejected.
By Tuesday, Priceline had come down to $18 per day ($250 total rental). We bid on Priceline for a Full Size on Tuesday for $10 per day ($167 total) and were rejected. Priceline let us bid again once immediately, so we bid $11 for a Full Size ($178.84 total) and were rejected.
Interestingly, after Priceline let us have one free rebid the first time, Priceline then had a message saying we could only rebid if we rebid higher than $17 (the retail site was at $18). We found that if we simply exited Priceline, and then signed back in, we were permitted to rebid at a lower price than "higher than $17."
If Priceline had accepted our bid of $13 per day, the total would have been $201.08, at $14 per day, $212.16, at $15 per day $223.24, at $16 per day, $234.32, and at $17 per day, $245.40. We estimate Priceline may have accepted our bid at $15 or $16. That would have been $67 more than we were able to get with Hotwire.
On Wednesday, we made a cancellable reservation through Priceline for an Avis Full Size at $252 total. Obviously, Priceline was not going to be very competitive with the lesser name agencies.
On Thursday, EZ Rent A Car had a Full Size for $166 total, so we made a cancellable reservation through their website. We got a 3% discount for "liking" EZ on Facebook.
On Wednesday at midnight, there was a Hotwire Hot Rate for a Standard (Fusion or similar) for only $119.91 total, and a Full Size (Impala or similar) for $166.77. We were nervous about purchasing an opaque Hotwire deal, because Hotwire uses Dollar and Thrifty, both of which have terrible Yelp reviews for their Las Vegas Airport locations (people complained about very long wait times and being told on numerous occasions that they had run out of cars to rent).. By Thursday morning, those rates had disappeared. We kept monitoring Hotwire until Friday morning, the travel date.
This morning we purchased the opaque Hotwire Hot Rate for $11.95 for a Standard (Fusion or similar), total price was $156. We were very pleased to receive Sixt Rent A Car, which has a 3 out of 5 rating on Yelp. Sixt is apparently a well known European car rental agency, which has only entered the US market in the last year or two, in only a few locations, such as Florida and Las Vegas. This morning Sixt was offerring a Standard on their web site for $166.
This was a case in which Priceline Name Your Own Price bidding was not even close to Hotwire's offerings. Priceline does have the piece of mind of only offering the top name car rental agencies, while with Hotwire you risk getting Dollar or Thrifty, who get only 1 star out of 5 ratings on Yelp for their Las Vegas locations.
Since this was Vegas, we decided to "roll the dice," and are pleased that we got Sixt!
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