Earlier this week, I went to the AARP Travel Center powered by Expedia to book a flight and a hotel. I got a quote for $687.00, put in my details, and hit submit. It came back with a "We hate this when it happens" and an increase in price to $896. So, I put in my payment details again and hit submit. It came back with a "We hate this when it happens" and an increase in price to $1,120.
I went to AAA Travel and got the exact same flight, hotel, plus cancellation insurance for $705.
Expedia wanted $75 for cancellation insurance. AAA charged $36 for the same cancellation insurance.
Person purchased cheap-o tickets through some place named "Vayama". The details of the events provide a real horror show, that I can't even summarize now. I'd never heard from them but they seem to be like a number of flight aggregators; they assemble flights from different airlines, etc. Tempting fares but you risk so much if things go wrong.
That sounds really crazy. Sometimes a price may increase since these are so dynamic. But to change so greatly? and twice in quick succession? Some fluke of some sort. And to have this presented to you when you are paying? Doesn't sound right.
I generally purchase air travel, hotels, and rental cars separately, generally at each company's own site. I shop around using Google Flights for air, then Expedia, etc, for hotels and rentals (though I prefer Enterprise and will use them if the rates are competitive) but then go to the company's site to reserve/purchase.
I use my American Express credit card for as much as I can (even shopping for groceries and gas) but I haven't found their travel site to be of any greater utility or pricing than just shopping around ala' carte.
There are so many "problems" with purchasing travel arrangements, some outright scams, some just too much friction ($$) due to middlemen (and middlewomen), that one really has to be a wise, informed consumer and not simply accept that "ol' so-and-so" is a reputable company or interest group and I'll trust them (but you can't as their travel services are likely passed out to someone else...who may not be so reputable or interested in your welfare).
"....generally purchase air travel, hotels, and rental cars separately, generally at each company's own site.....".
I'm with you. We probably have missed some 'deals', meaning better pricing. But I'm willing to trade off any of that by dealing directly with a hotel, rental car, and airline..There seems to be endless complaints about dealing with the various online travel sites. I'd rather pay a 'premium' to deal directly with the vendors.
"...Why is everyone a victim? Take personal responsibility for your life..."