I've also been burned several times by Hotwire's star ratings. BetterBidding's intentions are probably to remain somewhat neutral in these discussions, but I don't believe that Hotwire's ratings are "inflated". Rather I believe that they are intentionally misleading. When I read on their website that a two (2) star is a property like a LaQuinta and a two and a half (2 1/2) star property is like a Holiday Inn Express (as far as I know - IN THAT MARKET!!!); I select and pay for the 2 1/2 star...and I get a LAQUINTA, it is my opinion that I have not been subjected to star ratings inflation, but rather that I have been mislead. The fact that the part about these ratings being subject to the various markets are located in being buried in the many links that you could possibly click-on just makes them that much more difficult to deal with. Unfortunately, because I typically travel five days a week, I occasionally have to deal with them. My first choice is ALWAYS Priceline. If I MUST use Hotwire, because I typically try to stay in 2 1/2 star or better hotels, I always add half a star level to Hotwire's rating to make sure I'm getting equivalent to a 2 1/2 star on Priceline. I've also had the argument over the phone with the Hotwire folks over their star ratings and a particular property that I was in that particular night. Long story short, I selected a 2 1/2 star and again got a LaQuinta. This one was next to an airport runway (really not an issue for me); my room had holes in the walls; I could not get two of the three/four network channels; there were less than desirable people loitering outside of the rooms on the hotel grounds and the trash can at the top of the stairs that I had to use to access my room had a trash can that was overflowing with trash, with bits of trash on the ground all around it. In addition, the security lock(s) in my room didn't work. Not only was the property not clean, but I did NOT feel SAFE. The Hotwire representative advised that they had one of their representatives inspect the hotel just X weeks ago and that this property was definitely worthy of a 2 1/2 star rating. While looking on-line, I found another post for a similar negative Hotwire experience that read VERBATIM what the Hotwire representative told me on the phone - down to the EXACT time-frame. I don't believe that they have their own "representatives" that travel all over the country/world that check out every single property, however, I DO believe that they use this as a script when people have complaints. This hotel was a total dump, yet they were trying to convince me that it was a 2 1/2 star hotel. After approximately 45 minutes on the phone with them, they FINALLY offered to move me to another hotel. Of course, I didn't even get to this one until after 11P at night, so there was little chance at midnight of my moving. I still deal with Hotwire, but avoid them unless I absolutely have to deal with them. I have had some OK dealings with them, but only after more than a couple of bad experiences. Just know that when dealing with Hotwire, you need to add at least a half a star in order to get a hotel that meets your expectations.