Rental Car Reviews

Beware Last Minute Car Rentals on Hotwire

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Just a quick head’s up for fellow travelers — Hotwire doesn’t always reflect real-time car rental inventory, so you might wind up with a reservation and no cars available.

When I reached my destination this morning my original transportation options from the airport didn’t work out so I hopped on Hotwire, picked their special rate for $10 less, and had a last minute rental car booked in under 5 minutes.

hotwire last minute reservation

Then I moseyed up to the Alamo counter, presented my ID, and mentioned I had just made the booking.

Turns out that location was sold out and couldn’t honor reservations made less than 24 hours in advance.

“But I already paid Hotwire.”

“Ah, it’s a Hotwire booking? They have no idea what inventory we actually have.”

The agent was awesome though and figured out a solution that had me in a car just a few minutes later. One of the fastest pick ups I’ve actually ever had at that location.

On this trip it didn’t really matter if I had had to wait or find a different option (provided they gave me a refund), but I’ve been in other situations where it would have made a big difference. So now I know if its important and I need a car last minute, Hotwire might not be my best bet.


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  1. Gary Leff

    September 27, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    The location was wrong to blame Hotwire, the rental company simply failed to turn off Hotwire’s inventory… Glad you got things sorted!

    • Keri Anderson

      September 27, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      That’s helpful! Good to know that Hotwire isn’t to blame.

  2. Dan

    September 29, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    I have had a similiar thing happen to me with a priceline prepaid reservation. The only good thing with prepaid is they already have your money so if they want to cancel someone has to figure out who owes you a refund (and no one wants to do that). In my case I called Priceline and it took a while but eventually they gave me a much nicer car than I had booked.

  3. George

    October 11, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    Hotwire also usually doesn’t have the lowest price either.

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