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Booking Hotels + Airfare through Expedia - worth it?

Hello fellow travellers!

A question about booking through Expedia. We were considering a last-minute trip to southern Europe, and I have to say that Expedia offers some relatively good options (about US$1,400/person for a one-week stay in Malta, incl. the flight and a hotel that is purported to be a 4-star one). This doesn't seem to be expensive, although I suppose that it's not cheap either, given that it's low season right now . . .

However . . . we've never booked through Expedia before. We have many friends who have. One couple we know have said they have never had any issues. Another couple confirmed they haven't had issues, but they've added they alway feels like they're not getting what Expedia promised. Something is always "off".

My own concern is with the hotel selection on Expedia. Expedia is spitting out four-star (and even five-star!) hotel choices, yet when I check out some of the reviews on TripAdvisor, it often seems that Expedia is tacking on an extra star. I've also read comments about liability issues (IF there is a problem, the hotel will send you to Expedia) and flexibility issues as well. I've read that Expedia clients are more like second-tier customers compared to those who book direct. Additionally, it seems to me we're limiting ourselves to the selection imposed by Expedia; there might be great hotels that might simply not have a listing with Expedia. It feels like those "great deals" on Expedia have a hidden cost, though I can't put my finger on what it is.

My wife really wants that last-minute trip, and she thinks we should give Expedia a try. I am a bit reluctant. I understand Expedia is perfectly legitimate, but there's something that doesn't sit well with me. I would prefer to not go at all right now; I think it's best to do some research before finally booking directly.

Any comments or suggestions? Experiences?

I would love to hear your feedback.

Many thanks.

Mike

Posted by
669 posts

There is a wealth of feedback here from OP's warning about the potential problems with airline flights booked thru third party vendors. Just do a search, then trust your instructs.
Safe travels!

Posted by
16581 posts

Caveat: I have never been to Malta.

There have been at least a few positive comments on this forum about those Expedia packages. I haven't tried them myself; I think they're double-occupancy and I'm usually a solo traveler.

One thing you might do is look up the possible hotels on booking.com to see what the reviews look like.

If you're traveling significantly off-season, I'd expect the hotels not to be fully booked, so there should be less risk of a seriously inferior room. No hotel wants to displease clients if it has an option.

I'd also look at flight routings available for direct purchase to see whether the package subjects you to markedly longer transit time.

Posted by
6387 posts

I have used Expedia for flights when it was a lot cheaper than buying direct without incident but not for those flight hotel combos because of the hotel selection. There is a myth out there that if you have flight trouble that the airline will not help you if bought the ticket from Expedia.

Posted by
2546 posts

I have used Expedia's "bundle and save" option when it has turned out to be much cheaper and never had an issue with that. I even used it to buy some older relatives a trip to London and Paris and it was great or them. My experience with canceled flights is the same as Jazz + Travels. United rescheduled me quite efficiently but I am a UA frequent flier so that might have been a factor. I did once have a problem with Expedia but it was for a hotel only booking. They submitted the wrong number of people in my party to the hotel and when we arrived at the hotel, they did not have any quads available and did not have two doubles available either. After a phone call, Expedia refunded me my money right then and there but could do nothing to help me find a room. Luckily the front desk clerk at the hotel helped us find a place to stay nearby. You have to run the booking all the way through to (a) upgrade your room if needed and (b) pick the flights (you pick the hotel first and then the flights) to see the timing on flights and to see if there is a supplement for non-stop flights or more convenient/shorter flights. That will give you the real price.
It does not really matter if Expedia says a place is a 4 star or a 5 star. I ignore their ratings and look up the places on TripAdvisor and Booking.com and make my hotel decision based on their ratings not Expedia's. Yes, you might miss a great hotel because Expedia does not have the universe of hotels in Malta but ultimately that is FOMO and something you have either decide to get over to get the deals or skip the deals and book separately. I have done that when I was not pleased by any of the hotels offered. Each time that has happened, I have spent more for the trip than the bundled price because the Expedia bargain is really on the airfare.

Posted by
890 posts

I’ve used Expedia flight and hotel here in the states with no problem. The reason I used them was for the hotel in the package. I booked a hotel once in Mexico, no air and had no problem.
My concern would be going all that way for just a week. By the time you are over jet lag, it’s nearly time to go home.

Posted by
2760 posts

There is a myth out there that if you have flight trouble that the airline will not help you if bought the ticket from Expedia.

It's not a myth. There's a good chance it could happen, and there is no way I would take the chance. If all the OP is getting from Expedia is flight + hotel, I would suggest trying to do it yourself directly with the airline and an hotel.

Posted by
6387 posts

Ok not a myth but it is over stated; there is a good chance any flight booked directly with an airline could be cancelled for that matter and the ground staff at an airport could be contractors and not actual airline employees who will refer you to call the airline for help to rebook you. This happened to me when my flight on Lufthansa was cancelled from IAD.

But again I am wary of flight + hotel combos.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for your replies, everyone. This is very helpful, although I must say that even this thread shows that opinions are divided about the wisdom of going through Expedia.

We decided not to go right now. We will book directly a little later.

I'd like to thank all of you for your comments!

Posted by
6060 posts

The only way you'll know whether it's "worth it" is to price out the flights and lodging yourself and then compare with Expedia's price. Sometime you will find a large discrepancy - other times, you can spend less money and be perfectly happy to use smaller, non chain hotels in lieu of the large/business type chains that Expedia covers. Since I largely travel solo, Expedia's "per person assuming double occupancy" pricing for hotel/flight combos doesn't really result in savings for me. But I have used Expedia and third parties for flights and lodging (separately) and did not have any issues and was quite happy with the cost savings (BUT you need to read all small print and be Ok with it). You will find many people on this forum who are prejudiced against any third party even though many (if not most) have not even used that option (they simply "heard" or they "read"....this, that, and the other about how bad they are). Reading negative reviews to confirm an existing bias won't help you come up with a reasonably objective decision.

Posted by
3 posts

Agnes, you're absolutely right. Your comments are sensible. In fact, we had made a price comparison. Expedia wins hands-down. In terms of value, it's great. However, we decided that we didn't want to pay in advance. We can't abide by the idea that we need to pay for a hotel before ever setting foot inside. What's more, some of the hotels offered by Expedia as part of their package deals are non-refundable. If you need to cancel, you may not get your money back.
But we'll consider Expedia in the future. We're not prejudiced against it.