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I received the following email a little over a week ago.

Dear XXXX,

By now you should have received a letter in the mail detailing your new Hotwire Express support program. I want to again thank you for your business and encourage you to use this plan that includes an enhanced level of service and support. As one of our elite customers, you are entitled to:

Faster response and issue resolution

More flexibility when your plans change

Proactive communication

With a team of twenty U.S.-based Hotwire Express travel specialists at your service, traveling well for less is bound to be easier. Have a problem? Give them a call. We know that you appreciate the discounts you receive from Hotwire. But remember - those great discounts don't come at the expense of service. We're here to help you.

Your preferred customer care number is: XXXXXXX

For assistance:

Call: (800) ###-####

Email: {removed} AT hotwire.com

During business hours (8AM

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Hi, BEAV. I got the same email from Hotwire. The message was puzzling in a couple ways.

As one of our elite customers...
I don't think of myself as one of Hotwire's "elite customers". I just checked my account and I used Hotwire seven times in 2008 (and twice more so far in 2009). I don't think of seven purchases per year as "high volume".
By now you should have received a letter in the mail detailing your new Hotwire Express support program.
I hadn't received any letter in the mail. And today, nine days after the email, I still don't have any snail mail from Hotwire.

Like you, the thing that jumped out at me was "More flexibility when your plans change". This could be useful if true.

Has anyone received a letter about "Hotwire Express" in the mail?

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I received a letter a few days ago, but no email. The letter has a tear out card with a new Hotwire Express number, phone number and email address to send inquiries. I don't consider myself as a big HOTWIRE user either, maybe 5 times last year. Flexibility when my plans change? I would like to see what this means.

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My letter about Hotwire Express arrived yesterday, along with my card and "personal customer care number", about two weeks after the email from Hotwire that said "By now you should have received a letter in the mail..."

The letter touts an enhanced level of customer service, including American based customer service representatives and "more flexibility when your plans change". But Hotwire's Terms and Conditions still say reservations are nonchangeable and nonrefundable. I don't know what this "additional flexibility" means in practical terms then.

Has anyone with a Hotwire Express card attempted to change or cancel a reservation? Any luck?

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My letter finally arrived as well.

The letter claims I was selected "given the volume of business you do with Hotwire". Again, I didn't think 5 or 6 hotel purchases a year warrants being some sort of elite member (especially compared with most frequent stay programs), however I won't argue with them. While any perks to the program remain to be seen, I will reiterate I used the Express service successfully without any hassle when I forgot to add $50 HotDollars to my most recent purchase. Score 1 for Hotwire Express, I suppose.

A few days ago, I did call HW Express inquiring as to the whereabouts of my letter. The rep said they had received many similar calls, but to give it another week, and if no letter by then, call back again. Lucikly for HW Express my letter did show up a few days later. While on the phone I did ask the rep about Hotwire's double-the-difference program (or Best Rate Guarantee program). I asked her if we found a lower rate after making a Hotwire purchase if the claim could be processed over the phone with HW Express as opposed to submitting an on-line claim form. She checked around but said 'no' -- claims must still be filed on line. I told her my most recent experiences with double-the-difference (three times in 2008) were that I never received an email advising my claims were approved or denied. In each of my 2008 experiences, the only way I knew my claims were approved was about 10 days after-the-fact when I noticed the credits to my credit card accounts. She did say that in the event I file a future D-the-D claim to go ahead and call HW Express, allow them to see the lower price for themselves, and they will forward a screen shot of the competing rate to the folks in the D-the-D department in addition to my filing the claim on line. I thought that a fair enough response and will be sure to test the waters if/when I find myself in the position to file a claim.

With regard to the team of "twenty Hotwire Express travel specialists who are based in the United States", I find this to be an admission on Hotwire's part that foreign-based call centers leave a lot to be desired when it comes to customer service. Expedia has the same type set up. After you've spent 15 hotel nights (within a calendar year) or $10,000 dollars (which ever comes first) you are considered Expedia ELITE and have a separate toll-free 800 number to contact a U.S-based call center vs their 'standard' centers outside the U.S. I mean no disrespect to the hard-working folks who staff foreign-based call centers for U.S. companies, however few would deny that language barriers can often be problematic. Last week I called Expedia, and although I had a pleasant conversation with one of their reps in a Salvadoran call center, the language barrier was a major stumbling block since the rep spoke very broken English and very FAST at that. So I think it's a bit comical Hotwire & Expedia save money (?) by having foreign call centers only to have to open U.S.-based centers for their 'best' customers?

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My experience this morning with Hotwire Express:

Yesterday I Booked a Hotwire Hotel in Panama City Beach, but unfortunately I made a mistake. I booked two rooms with a total of 4 guest instead of two rooms with 4 guests each (which would be $101 instead of $95 I paid per night). I called Hotwire Express this morning and their suggestion was just to call the Hotel if it was possible to add guests or just to book an additional room. The latter would be additional 450 bucks for 4 nights including taxes and fees. Nice suggestion to an "elite" customer of Hotwire.

I called the hotel and they said it's no problem to add guest for $20 per guest per night. They were really friendly and actually I can live with it (as we are likely only 6 people in total right now).

I know it's my fault and I know the terms of Hotwire with no refunds, changes etc. But for what do I get an email that says I'm an "elite" customer and have "more flexibility when my plans change" when it is not even possible to change the number of guests in a room in a hotel which ONLY has rooms with 2 Queen Beds? So they don't even have to give me another room, just charge me the additional 6 Dollars per night per room.

I am disappointed...

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Disappointment is gone :) .

I wrote a (really long) e-mail to Hotwire in which I stated my disappointment. They just called me back and said that they called the hotel again to negotiate with them if a cheaper surcharge than $20 Dollar per night and person would be possible. Unfortunately the hotel denied the request. But the good part is that Hotwire will give me 100 HotDollars which are already visible in my account. I really appreciate the good will of Hotwire, as it was obviously my mistake during the booking process. Now I don't have to pay the whole costs of my mistake on my own.

Regarding to the "flexibility" the lady from Hotwire told me that they try to confer with the hotels in cases like this. This is what they would not do if one wasn't an "elite" customer, but they can't guarantee that the hotel will cooperate.

Anyhow, I'm happy again. I still have to cover some extra costs, but mistakes have to hurt at least a little bit. And the deal is still really good.

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Thanks for posting your experience, and especially your follow-up. The simple, honest mistake you made in your transaction is similar to the one I described in my own situation last week. In other words, a fairly simple "fix", one would think. I'm still a little bit disappointed in their "Express" service by the way they handled your first attempt to resolve this matter, however I'm glad you stuck with it and are happy in the end. If their express service is going to be successful from a customer service standpoint, then they need to be consistant in the way they handle conflicts, and in my opinion they weren't when you compare our two separate experiences. Just my thoughts!

I'm beginning to wonder it they're sending these Hotwire Express letters/emails to anyone who has done business with them in the past? Unless I'm mistaken, none of us in this thread have done the volume of business one would expect to receive "elite" status.

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  • 3 months later...

I received this email from Hotwire today:


Hotwire Express is a special program for a select group of travelers who frequently use Hotwire to plan their trips. Thank you for being part of this group. We appreciate your business and want to make sure that you're always well cared for. If this is your first time hearing about Hotwire Express, welcome!

What's in it for you?

The goal of the program is to make your travel experience the best it can be. We do that by providing fast response and proactive issue resolution through a dedicated, U.S.-based contact center. There are no blanket policies for Hotwire Express customers – all issues are treated on an individual basis. And all our travel specialists are empowered to make decisions regarding your unique situation. This is a no-fee service and our way of thanking you for being a loyal customer.

What do you need to do?

All we ask is that you let us know whenever you have feedback so we can help take care of your needs. Simply use the Hotwire Express phone number (1-###-###-####) or email address (hotwireexpress@hotwire.com) every time you contact us.

Coming soon!

Hotwire Express is a new program and we have a number of additional features in the works. Once these features are perfected, we'll share them with you. In the meantime stay tuned, keep traveling, and keep saving.

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  • 7 months later...

when considering NYC hotel options this evening, I just noticed a box on the lower left of my hotwire screen saying:

"Hotwire Express is a special program for frequent Hotwire users like you to make your travel experience even better.

Call us toll free

or email us

Mention reference #xxxxxxxx "

never got a letter from them, though. has anyone made the call? are they helpful before you book (with additional info, "clues" etc)? just wondering... thanks.

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I called Hotwire Express to discuss the location of the Mansion at Judges Hill relative to distance from downtown. The lady was quite nice and we discussed the map and the location of hotels in the downtown area. She then offered, that by being a PRICELINE EXPRESS client, she would allow me to select another offering anytime before my trip and they would refund the previous purchase. Haven't seen anything to make me change yet, but the option is there if I want to.

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  • 1 year later...

I've had access to Hotwire Express for a couple of years, I think. Within the last couple of months the about section has the statement 'Ability to block unwanted hotels by using "Hotel Block"'. I can't figure out how to use it. Do you have to call an agent? There definitely are some hotels I've booked in the past that I would like to block.

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