Air+Hotel is not cheaper than separate Air and Hotel

Websites like Orbitz and Expedia always recommend booking Air+Hotel together to “save money” over booking those individually. However, I have repeatedly found cases where booking separately is a few hundred dollars cheaper than booking together, even if it’s the same flight and same hotel and same dates (and on the same website)

Have you guys had this experience?

I’ve never bothered to check, because I just assumed it was a ripoff. Color me unsurprised, though. Here’s a good rule of thumb: when a company is heavily promoting something, it’s because it’s good for them, not for you.

Once I was flying to Dallas from Nashville, on Orbitz I think, and it turned out that the Airfare + Hotel was $100 cheaper than the airfare alone. I didn’t even need the hotel but booked it that way anyway.

ETA: And here’s the thread I wrote about it: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=271742

Yeah, you can never be sure what’s cheaper right at the get go, so I always look for just airfare, then airfare+hotel, and sometimes I even check hotels’ websites themselves to see if it’s cheaper.

I’ve frequently had the opposite experience with Travelocity or Expedia (I can’t remember which)–flight plus hotel or car several hundred dollars cheaper than flight alone. No idea why.

Heck, what confuses me the most if when a one-way ticket is more expensive than a round-trip. And I don’t mean that it’s more expensive than half the round-trip (ie, the cost of one ticket in the round trip package,) but the round trip is like $350 and one way is $400.

Bwa?

It all depends. Some packaged deals are better but most of the time a la carte is the most economical.