Originally Posted by JayJay
I've found that you end up in awful rooms, terrible views, and no courtesy upgrades when booking via discount sites. I now book directly through the hotel, but do so far in advance of travel and check the rates constantly to take advantage of the cheapest rates. I don't hesitate to change my reservation multiple times to get a cheaper rate for the same room, even luxury suites.
The same goes for air travel booking, I no longer use discount sites. This is where you can be really disadvantaged. I've had horrible experiences such as not being able to change flights to get home earlier, disallowed upgrades, put on the last row of the plane, and more.
Priceline (maybe Orbitz and Travelocity? don't know how it works) is guilty of putting up some smoke and mirrors in front of the cheap rates they lock in and then sell off, but I've started using Expedia this year for the first time, and have used it for about 5 trips so far - it seems to that Expedia is more an aggregator of live fares and rates and sells it to you as a one-stop thing. If you check the rates on the respective sites for airfare or hotels, the rates are no less, but sometimes not found on their normal websites.
If you still don't like Expedia, you can get the same results via kayak.com - but there are no descriptions or pictures so you gotta know what you're buying by numbers. If you buy on kayak, it links you directly to the airline or hotel websites with their specials/regular rates (oft times what is advertised on any of these travel sites is actually their 'normal' price) and you buy from them.
I've never had a problem upgrading or getting full priveleges on stuff bought with Expedia. This summer my mother booked me a hotel in LA insanely cheap through priceline without asking me, then I read reviews online and it sounded horrible, and it turned out to be ok. It was not the level of place I'd book for myself, and there were some obvious faults, but I've come to expect that from the hospitality business in America anyway. Still, doing it over again, I'd have found a hotel for myself and it'd have probably been through Expedia and not priceline, as I don't have any hookups and pay the plebe price on everything travel related out of my pocket.