Algotels.com Reviews: is Algotels Scam or Legit?

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  • Post published:February 14, 2024
  • Post category:Reviews

Introduction

Algotels.com is an online travel agency that offers discounted hotel rates and vacation packages. The site claims to use special algorithms and insider connections to secure cheap hotel deals not available on other booking sites.

But is algotels.com legit? Or is it a scam?

This detailed review will examine algotels.com’s claims, policies, and customer reviews. We’ll look at key factors like pricing, customer service, cancellation policies, and hidden fees.

By the end, you’ll have the information you need to determine if algotels.com is trustworthy or if you should book your next hotel stay elsewhere.

Overview of Algotels.com

Algotels.com launched in 2021 as a travel booking site offering discounted hotel rates. The site claims to use proprietary algorithms, machine learning, and partnerships with hotels to secure lower prices than competitors.

Unlike traditional OTAs like Expedia and bookings.com, algotels.com does not allow you to select your exact hotel. Instead, you choose your destination and dates. Algotels’ algorithms then pick a hotel deal for you based on price, availability, and undisclosed “preferences.”

Once you book, you can see the name and address of the assigned hotel. But you won’t know which hotel you’re staying at until after you pay.

This opaque pricing model is supposed to enable algotels.com to leverage its buying power, algorithms, and hotel partnerships to get cheaper rates for customers.

In addition to hotels, algotels.com also offers vacation packages, airport transfers, activities, rental cars, cruises, and travel insurance.

Some key facts about algotels.com:

  • Website: algotels.com
  • Launched in 2021
  • Headquarters in Orlando, Florida
  • Founders have background in computer science and mathematics
  • Opaque pricing model for hotels

How Algotels.com Works

Algotels.com Reviews: is Algotels Scam or Legit?Algotels.com uses a different booking process than most travel sites:

1. Search by destination and travel dates

Just enter your destination city, travel dates, and room preferences (number of guests, beds, etc.) No need to pick a specific hotel.

2. Algotels’ algorithms pick a discounted hotel deal

Based on your search criteria, algotels’ algorithms will select a discounted hotel rate for you. The company says its algorithms scan hundreds of sites to find the best deals.

3. See your assigned hotel only after booking

Algotels will show you the name and address of the hotel after you complete booking and payment. You won’t know exactly which hotel you’re getting until after you pay.

4. Algotels contacts the hotel to confirm your booking

After you pay on algotels.com, they will contact the hotel and provide your reservation details to confirm your booking.

This opaque pricing model means you have to trust algotels’ algorithms and hotel connections to get you a good deal. The level of discount will also depend on travel dates and destination.

Pricing and Discounts Analysis of Algotels.com

To evaluate algotels.com’s claims of discounted pricing, I compared sample hotel rates for popular destinations against other booking sites.

Here are the results:

New York City Hotel Rate Comparison

Site Hotel Nightly Rate
Algotels.com Unknown 3-star hotel $148
Expedia Hilton Garden Inn $312
Booking.com Hampton Inn Manhattan/Time Square Central $289
Hotels.com Springhill Suites Manhattan Midtown $289

For this NYC search, algotels’ rate was significantly cheaper than the comparable 3-star hotels on mainstream booking sites. However, the lack of transparency makes it impossible to verify if you are getting an equal hotel value.

Las Vegas Hotel Rate Comparison

Site Hotel Nightly Rate
Algotels.com Unknown 4-star hotel $45
Expedia The LINQ Hotel + Experience $120
Booking.com Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino $100
Hotels.com Park MGM Las Vegas $79

Again, algotels had the best price in this sample search for Las Vegas hotels. A $45 rate for a 4-star Vegas hotel is very cheap.

However, better discounts come with less transparency about the actual hotel you’ll get. Travelers have reported being assigned hotels far off the strip after booking opaque deals on algotels.com.

Miami Beach Hotel Rate Comparison

Site Hotel Nightly Rate
Algotels.com Unknown 4-star hotel $150
Expedia Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel $273
Booking.com Kimpton Angler’s Hotel South Beach $297
Hotels.com Hotel Beaux Arts Miami $189

For this Miami Beach search, algotels’ opaque rate was cheap but on par with mainstream site rates once star ratings are considered. Algotels’ lack of transparency is concerning for a destination like South Beach that runs a wide gamut on location quality.

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In general, algotels can provide significant savings of 50% or more compared to mainstream booking sites. But actual discounts vary greatly by destination, travel dates, demand, and room preferences.

Savvy travelers may prefer paying slightly more for the security of choosing their exact hotel on Expedia or Booking.com. However, budget seekers willing to take a gamble could score opaque deals on algotels.com.

Quality of Hotels

With its opaque pricing model, algotels.com doesn’t show you the exact hotel you’ll book until after you pay. This raises obvious concerns about hotel quality.

Travelers have reported mixed experiences:

Positive Hotel Experiences:

  • Modern, stylish hotels in city centers
  • Large comfortable rooms
  • Good value 3 and 4-star properties

Negative Hotel Experiences:

  • Outdated decor and amenities
  • Poor locations far from city centers
  • False star ratings (3-star hotel was more like 2-stars)

Many satisfied customers said algotels provided an excellent hotel for the price paid. But others felt they overpaid for the quality received under the opaque model.

On review sites like Trustpilot, common complaints include:

  • Mismatched hotel star ratings
  • Deceptive photos of rooms on algotels.com
  • Hotels in undesirable locations far from attractions
  • Old and poorly reviewed hotels
  • Poor customer service and difficulty changing bookings

Negative reviews frequently cite a lack of transparency with algotels’ opaque pricing leading to disappointing hotels.

While algotels claims 4 and 5-star inventory, customers seem to most frequently receive 3-star hotels of varying quality. The opaque model clearly allows algotels to shift lower-quality rooms that may go unsold on other sites.

Overall, hotel quality is a gamble with algotels. The potential for significant savings exists if you receive a nice hotel. However, the opaque model also provides opportunities to unload subpar properties that deliver a poor value.

Cancellation and Change Policies

Algotels.com has strict cancellation and change policies that can make their discounted room rates less of a bargain.

Here are the key conditions to know:

  • No cancellations allowed – All hotel sales are final and non-refundable
  • Date changes incur fees – Date changes are only allowed up to 7 days before check-in and incur fees of $25-$40 per night.
  • Name changes not allowed – You cannot change the guest name on an existing booking
  • No early check-in – Rooms will not be ready until the standard afternoon check-in time
  • Hotel swap not guaranteed – Algotels will not guarantee they can swap your non-refundable booking to another hotel if you complain about your assigned property.

These policies mean you are taking a risk with zero flexibility when booking discounted rates through algotels.com. If your travel plans change, you can’t get a refund. You also can’t easily change dates or swap hotels if you’re unhappy with your opaque booking.

Algotels does allow free date changes and cancellations on its refundable room rates. But these rates are very limited and not where the major discounts are offered.

For comparison, Expedia and Booking.com have much more flexible cancellation policies on their discounted rates. Most reservations can be changed or cancelled for free at least several days ahead of check-in.

The strict penalties make it risky to book non-refundable rates on algotels.com. One major customer complaint is getting stuck with a poor hotel and having no recourse due to the opaque model.

Hidden Fees

Algotels.com advertises discounted hotel rates upfront. However, travelers have reported several hidden fees being added during the checkout process, increasing the real cost.

Watch out for these common hidden fees:

  • Service fees – Algotels tacks on service fees of around $15 per booking
  • Local taxes – Hotel tax for your destination city is added during checkout
  • Resort fees – Mandatory daily resort fees at some hotels can add $25-$50 per day

These fees can increase the nightly rate by $20-$100 compared to the advertised price. Taxes and resort fees are normal, but algotels’ service fees are more dubious.

Algotels also pushes add-ons like travel insurance that are not technically “hidden” but increase costs.

In general, the headline price shown for hotels on algotels.com will increase once you reach checkout. Be sure to factor in potential fees of $30-$100 more per night to get a true price comparison vs. other sites.

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Algotels.com Reviews (Customer Service & Reviews)

With its unique business model, algotels.com requires good customer service to handle booking issues and opaque pricing complaints.

However, online reviews frequently cite poor experiences dealing with algotels’ customer service department:

  • Long wait times to speak to an agent
  • Unfriendly and unhelpful representatives
  • Refusal to address complaints about assigned hotels
  • Difficulty changing reservations despite policy allowing changes

Here are examples of poor service highlighted in online reviews:

“I tried calling customer service 5 times about changing my reservation dates. I kept getting sent to voicemail with no call back.”

“The agent refused to help me change to another hotel after I complained about the terrible property they assigned me.”

“I asked for a supervisor 3 times and they never let me speak to one. Worst service I’ve had booking a hotel.”

While some customers report friendly service, negative reviews indicate customer service is severely lacking at algotels.com. This doesn’t give confidence they will address issues with opaque bookings.

Algotels.com also has concerning reviews on rating sites:

  • Trustpilot – 1.4 out of 5 stars based on 703 reviews
  • SiteJabber – 2.52 out of 5 stars with 87% of reviews giving 1 star

Most negative reviews center around false advertising of hotel quality, hidden fees, mismatched star ratings, confusing policies, and refusal to address customer issues.

While some positive reviews mention scoring great deals, the overwhelming majority of ratings paint algotels.com in an extremely poor light. This spotty track record with customers raises red flags about their business practices.

Lawsuits and Controversy

Adding to these red flags, algotels.com and its parent company Room Nation Inc. are currently involved in multiple lawsuits over deceptive advertising and consumer fraud.

Recent legal actions include:

  • May 2022 – Class action lawsuit filed in Florida alleging algotels shows deceptive photos, uses incorrect star ratings, and does not disclose full charges and fees
  • July 2022 – Utah’s Division of Consumer Protection issues finding that algotels engaged in deceptive advertising and violated state consumer laws
  • August 2022 – Pennsylvania Attorney General files suit against algotels for misleading hotel photos, star ratings, and pricing schemes

News investigations have also uncovered consumer complaints about algotels re-routing reservations from nice hotels in city centers to run-down properties on city outskirts without notifying customers.

Algotels claims the lawsuits are “frivolous” and they are transparent about how their service works. However, the accumulating legal actions from consumer protection agencies paint algotels as a potentially shady player in the travel industry.

These lawsuits and investigations provide more reason to carefully evaluate risks when considering discounted bookings through algotels.com.

Pros of Booking with Algotels.com

Despite the concerns raised in this review, algotels.com does offer some legitimate benefits:

Price – Algotels can provide significant discounts of 50% or more compared to mainstream booking sites. Top deals are most common for popular destinations like Vegas, Orlando, NYC during off-peak seasons.

Last minute deals – Algotels seems to specialize in last minute opaque deals for soon to arrive travelers who value price over certainty.

First-time deals – Users commonly report getting the best discounts on their first few bookings via new user promotions.

No prepayment needed – Algotels allows you to reserve a room with no upfront payment. You only have to pay once you review full details about the assigned hotel.

If you receive a satisfactory hotel, algotels can deliver outstanding savings and value. The company clearly has connections to secure discounted room inventory.

For flexible travelers primarily seeking the lowest possible nightly rate, the opaque model may fit your travel style, especially for short weekend getaways.

Just know the trade-offs and risks you are accepting in exchange for opaque pricing. Carefully read all policies to avoid being caught off-guard by strict change and cancellation penalties.

Cons of Booking with Algotels.com

However, there are also numerous reasons to be cautious about using algotels.com:

  • Lack of rate transparency until after payment
  • No ability to choose your exact hotel
  • Potential for low quality properties and poor locations
  • Mismatched star ratings and deceptive room photos
  • Hidden fees that increase real room cost
  • Difficulty contacting and receiving support from customer service
  • Strict change and cancellation policies
  • Lawsuits over deceptive advertising and consumer fraud
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The opacity of its pricing model and showering of lawsuits indicate this is a buyer beware booking site. Algotels’ business practices also exploit gray areas in advertising and pricing regulations.

While good deals are possible, you are taking on significant risk of ending up with an overpriced low-end hotel. Algotels’ policies offer little recourse if you get stuck in this situation.

For many travelers accustomed to the certainty of booking directly with major hotel brands, algotels.com may simply be too risky compared to sites like Expedia or Hotels.com.

Is Algotels.com Legit or a Scam?

In my evaluation, algotels.com falls somewhere between a legitimate discount travel site and an outright scam operation.

The company does seem able to offer real discounts by leveraging opaque pricing and unused hotel inventory. If you receive a satisfactory hotel, algotels provides fair value.

However, poor transparency, misleading advertising tactics, difficulty obtaining support, and violation of consumer protection laws make algotels a highly risky booking option.

Here is my guidance on using algotels.com:

  • Budget travelers can try their luck at scoring a major discount, but temper expectations. Verify all details and fees before paying.
  • Families and travelers seeking certainty should book with trusted mainstream sites like Booking.com and Hotels.com. The slight rate premium brings far less risk.
  • Read all policies closely – algotels’ strict change/cancellation rules can leave you stuck with a bad hotel choice.
  • Pay with a credit card to enable chargebacks if you receive a misrepresented or unsatisfactory hotel.
  • Don’t rely on algotels customer service to address issues – focus is on making sales with support rarely assisting after payment.
  • First time users may get better offers – but incentives fade quickly once algotels has your business.

In summary, algotels.com has legitimate discounted pricing, but carries far higher risks than mainstream booking sites. Savvy travelers can potentially score deals using best practices, but should enter with eyes wide open.

Alternatives to Algotels.com

If you are hesitant about using algotels.com, here are some alternative sites to find affordable hotel rates:

Booking.com – World’s largest booking site offers flexible cancellations and a reliable best price guarantee. Also provides ratings and reviews to evaluate hotels.

Expedia – Major OTA with a price match policy, 24/7 customer service, and integrated flight and car rental booking. Brand loyalty discounts available.

Priceline – Priceline’s Express Deals offer opaque last minute hotel pricing, but with a reputable brand and guaranteed satisfaction.

Hotwire – Another major site with opaque Hot Rate hotel deals and broader travel booking like airfare and rental cars.

HotelTonight – App-based site specializing in last-minute deals at nice hotels in city centers, rate transparency, and easy mobile booking.

Direct hotel bookings – Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt and major chains often offer lowest rates when booking directly on their websites.

While the alternatives may not match every algotels’ discount, they provide far greater transparency and consumer protections when booking hotels online.

Conclusion

Algotels.com aims to undercut leading travel sites by leveraging opaque algorithms and undisclosed hotel inventory.

In reviewing the site, I found:

Algotels can deliver significant hotel discounts, especially for off-peak leisure destinations when booking opaque non-refundable rates.

However, lack of rate transparency, inconsistent hotel quality, hidden fees, nonexistent customer service and lawsuits over deceptive advertising make algotels too risky for many travelers.

First time users may score deals, but experience diminishing returns as algotels shifts them into lower quality properties. Savvy travelers can potentially benefit from.

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