Is the Hopper app legit and worth trying? Read my honest Hopper app review to find out.
There’s little more enticing than the promise of cheap travel deals, and I have to say: after years of travel, I’m pretty good at finding cheap flights and accommodations.
Digging up an impossibly good deal gives me a special kind of rush, and searching for great deals on travel is one of my favorite leisure activities.
I used to keep my travel expenses low through a combination of budget travel deal websites, creative thinking, and a willingness to be uncomfortable.
These strategies continue to serve me well–except for that last one. The uncomfortable one.
My tolerance for the rough-and-tumble travel life is waning. My days of sleeping in 10-bed hostel dormitories or on an airport bench during a 12-hour layover have passed.
To compensate, I’ve had to beef up those other strategies and expand my network of go-to travel sites and apps.
That’s where the Hopper app comes in and why I started trying it out in the first place.
Read on for my full Hopper app review, and follow me on my quest to find dangerously low hotel and flight deals.
Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.
What is Hopper?
Hopper is an app where you can search for flights, car rentals, and hotel deals.
It’s not unlike other budget travel sites such as Skiplagged and Skyscanner (both of which I’ve used for years), and Hopper prices are usually comparable to those mentioned above.
But there are some differences.
First, this is primarily an app, while Skiplagged and Skyscanner exist in both websites and app versions.
Hopper is specifically for mobile use, and you can’t search for deals on the website. You have to do it through the app.
But beyond its format, a few other aspects make it unique.
Hopper’s price freeze feature lets you freeze a price for a small fee and pay the whole sum later.
They also offer price predictions to help you gauge what future flight prices might be and whether you need to ‘hop’ on a deal immediately (see what I did there?).
Lastly, there have rewards, discounts, and vouchers to help lower your costs further.
Whenever you book through Hopper, you earn ‘carrot cash,’ essentially cash back that you can then use on future bookings. Sweet, free money!
How Does Hopper Work?
Once you download the free Hopper app onto your phone, you’ll find two rows of square buttons at the top of your home screen.
You can navigate to one of the top row buttons, which read: ‘Hotels,’ ‘Flights,’ ‘Cars,’ or ‘Homes’ (which are essentially like Airbnbs).
From there, things are pretty straightforward. Type in a location and a set of dates, and you’ll get a list of the available deals.
Any Hopper flight booking, accommodation, or car rental will earn you Carrot Cash.
If you see a deal but aren’t ready to pay the full cost, you can pay to freeze that deal.
The fee will generally be about 10% of the total price, and it will apply towards the total.
The fine print of the price freeze option is that the app will cover up to a $300 price difference if prices rise, and price freezing won’t hold a place for you.
So, if something sells out or the price increases by more than $300, you won’t get the booking at that price.
You will, however, get a refund on your fee, and if there’s a price drop, you’ll still pay the best price and not the higher one you froze it at.
In the ‘Wallet’ section, you’ll find your Carrot Cash, plus vouchers like ‘$10 off your first hotel booking,’ and limited-time coupons on specific carriers.
You can also find more limited-time flash offers in the ‘Deals’ section.
If you enable push notifications for the Hopper app, you’ll get price alerts when Hopper flights you’ve searched in the past change in cost.
They’ll also tell you whether they’re predicting fares will rise or drop and attempt to give you an accurate prediction for whether you should book now or continue waiting.
Lastly, certain Hopper flights have an optional Hopper flight delay guarantee, which allows you to rebook a delayed flight for free through Hopper.
A Quick Look at Hopper as a Company
Hopper is a travel agency app. You can book cheap flights, hotels, vacation homes, and car rentals through it.
This booking app promises the best deals by using AI to compare billions of price points simultaneously.
In 2007, Hopper’s founders, Frederic Lalonde and Joost Ouwerkerk, left executive positions at Expedia to develop the app.
It took seven years for the app to launch, but since then, its rise to popularity has been swift, and Hopper ratings are largely favorable.
Use the promo code “theatlasheart” at checkout to get $25 off your first hotel booking.
Hopper Review: My Experience With Using the Hopper App
I’ve had this app for about a year and booked one Hopper flight so far, although I’ve researched many others.
I purchased the flight in the Hopper app, and it cost slightly less than any of the other cheap flights I could find on competing platforms. I earned $1.70 in Carrot Cash from that purchase.
It was a roundtrip domestic flight from New York to Atlanta. I bought it less than a month in advance for about $100 per person, including the return flight.
It was a two-night trip, so we traveled light and didn’t have to pay baggage fees.
Since then, I’ve frequently used the app to compare flight prices and search for hotel and flight deals.
All of the travel I’ve done in the past year (apart from visiting family) has been international (lucky me).
Hopper’s cheapest international flights are generally pricier than what I can find elsewhere. So, based on my experience, Hopper might be better for domestic travel.
Still, you never know where you’ll find cheap flights, and no single platform consistently has the best prices, so it’s important to compare prices across as many platforms as possible.
While comparing prices on this app has become a regular part of my booking process for trips, I have been a little disappointed with certain aspects of the interface.
First, the app is a bit slow to load results. They claim to be comparing ’30 billion price points in real-time,’ so that probably accounts for the wait.
However, as I consistently find lower prices on other platforms in a quicker amount of time, it sometimes feels too long to make Hopper worth the wait.
Secondly, their search function doesn’t allow you to search for flexible travel dates or general locations.
These are features that have helped me book flights for super cheap on other platforms, so it’s something that I see as a disadvantage.
On several occasions, I’ve nearly booked a Hopper hotel, but mostly I use it for research.
The options here can be hit or miss. I’ve found the hotel options to be slightly cheaper than what’s available on competing sites. Other times, I’ve had better luck on Airbnb or Booking.com.
Shared hostel rooms will also show up in Hopper hotel search results, so be aware when you’re searching through the options.
I deliberate for a long time before booking travel deals, so I appreciate the price freeze feature.
Recently, I found a Hopper deal for a hostel in Amsterdam at about $10 cheaper than any other website.
I still wasn’t ready to take the plunge and book it, but I got extremely close to freezing the price. Because I didn’t freeze it, it was gone from the Hopper app the next day.
I ended up booking that very hostel at a higher price elsewhere, and I wish I’d frozen that cheaper price.
It’s one thing when a flight booking platform has especially low hotel and flight prices, but this app works in multiple ways to save you money.
Hopper rewards you for booking with them and gives you cash back. They also have exclusive coupons.
Sometimes, no matter what you do, you’ll find the same prices on flights across every site and app.
With Hopper’s vouchers, you can push that fare down a bit more and get the overall best price.
When I plan a trip, my process looks like this: I obsessively look up prices for days or weeks.
During this time, I compare countless variables and keep multiple tabs open until I’m overwhelmed.
The upside to my process is that I’ve planned some epically cheap trips this way. The downside is that sometimes (often), I hesitate too long and miss out on the best deals.
When the prices of a recent search change, the Hopper app sends you push notifications that advise you whether you should keep waiting or pull the trigger and book, and I appreciate that.
For Mobile Only
Okay, sure–apps are great and everything. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I vastly prefer to book flights on a computer vs a phone.
A phone screen is so tiny that it’s hard to type, and I can’t look at multiple windows simultaneously.
For me, a website will always be more user-friendly, and I’d prefer to have the option.
Price Freezing Won’t Protect Against Things Selling Out
The reason I didn’t freeze that Amsterdam hostel price is that freezing doesn’t guarantee your spot.
The Hopper price freeze option only protects you from paying more if you book later. A hotel or flight could still sell out after you freeze it.
You will, of course, get a refund for the fee you paid if that happens, but when hotel rooms and flights are going fast, it makes more sense to book directly.
Discounts Only Apply to Specific Situations
When you open your Hopper wallet, you’ll find tons of discounts, vouchers, and coupons. And that’s great!
However, I’ve never been able to take advantage of them because they’re only for specific situations.
$100 off a Fiji Airlines flight to New Zealand or Australia doesn’t help me much when I’m planning a trip to Amsterdam.
That’s the nature of coupons, I suppose, but this is still a detractor for me.
App Loads Results Slowly
As your results load in the Hopper app, a pale red, animated bunny gallops in place across your screen. After a moment of bated breath, your results pop up.
Some competing platforms let you view flights immediately after you hit ‘search,’ and the prices drop lower and lower as it loads more deals.
Psychologically, this makes it feel like there’s no delay.
I have a short attention span, and watching that bunny hop isn’t enough to hold it. I find myself feeling impatient and frustrated when I’m using the app.
Not Great for Flexible Dates/Destinations
My process for finding the best flight prices involves carefully comparing date combinations, alternate routes, one-ways, and roundtrips to determine the ultimate best deals.
Hopper’s search function requires you to type in a specific date and destination.
The cost of each calendar day is color-coded when you choose your dates to give you a sense of whether you’re picking a pricey day.
However, that still isn’t enough flexibility to really work with my research process.
How to Have the Best Experience Shopping on Hopper
To take the best advantage of Hopper deals, it helps if you’re open-minded about where and when you’re traveling.
Say you’d like to take a weekend trip in the near future, but you haven’t decided on specific destinations or travel dates.
You can browse the flash deals and plan your travel details based on what’s available.
I’ve also had better luck using the Hopper app for flights within the US, so it might work best for domestic travel.
You can also take better advantage of this app by using it regularly (kind of a genius business plan, honestly).
The more often you book, the more Carrot Cash you’ll accumulate, and then you can book your next flight at a discount.
Use the promo code “theatlasheart” at checkout to get $25 off your first hotel booking.
Other Hopper Products
Hopper Rental Cars
You can also book a Hopper car rental in the app.
Prices are similar to what I’ve found on competing platforms, although they’re sometimes about 10-20% higher than I cheapest I can find elsewhere.
The ‘Homes’ section is a new Hopper rental category. It’s essentially Hopper’s answer to Airbnb, allowing you to rent a vacation home or apartment.
The page design for the listings is nearly identical to Airbnb, but the selection appears to be much smaller, as this is a newer platform that’s less widely known.
Hopper Cancellation & Exchange Policy
Hopper is a middleman between you and the airline, hotel, or car rental company, and cancellation and exchange policies will vary from company to company.
Even so, Hopper customer service will help you facilitate cancellations and refunds.
Hopper collects payments for your bookings directly and then pays out the airline (or hotel, etc.), so any changes will go through Hopper.
Sometimes, you can cancel through the Hopper app within 24 hours of booking Hopper hotels or flights and receive a full refund.
But again, since airline and hotel policies vary, Hopper can’t offer this as a universal policy.
FAQs About Hopper
Is Hopper a legit site?
Absolutely! Hopper is entirely legit, and there were no issues with the flight I booked through the app.
Is booking on Hopper safe?
Booking flights with Hopper is absolutely safe. There’s nothing sketchy about the platform; using it is just as safe as any other reputable travel booking website.
Compared to other budget travel search engines, which often have you book through third-party sites, you get extra security with Hopper’s customer support team when you pay the VIP fee.
It’s always safest when you book directly from an airline, but you won’t necessarily get the best deal if you do so.
Does Hopper really work?
Yes, Hopper booking is straightforward and easy.
If you’re looking for the cheapest prices, however, Hopper only sometimes has them.
Often, especially when it comes to Hopper hotels, the lowest fares will be found on other platforms.
Is Hopper free?
Yes, downloading and using the Hopper travel app is entirely free. The only money you’ll spend is on the booking itself.
Does Hopper have hidden fees?
Nope! Hopper advertises that they have no hidden fees. There’s no ‘service fee,’ so you won’t unexpectedly rack up an extra $10-20 when you click ‘book.’
How much is the Hopper membership fee?
You can use Hopper for free. Hopper Premium isn’t available yet and the waitlist is currently full.
When it becomes available, a Premium membership will cost $9.99 a month and you’ll get $60 of carrot cash per year, plus exclusive deals.
How does Hopper make money?
Airlines, hotels, and car rental companies pay Hopper a commission when you make reservations through them.
What is the Hopper VIP fee?
Hopper VIP is an option you can add to an individual booking for a “small fee” (which means it varies depending on what you’re purchasing).
VIP will get you easier access to customer support, helping make the Hopper app trustworthy and more secure.
Why does Hopper have cheaper prices?
Hopper has access to discounts and savings that they pass on to customers. Carrot cash, Hopper discount codes, and Hopper promo codes can further reduce your costs.
However, I’ll also note that in my experience, this app often doesn’t have the overall cheapest options.
Does Hopper guarantee your hotel room?
If you’ve used the freeze option, but you haven’t paid the full price, you haven’t actually booked the hotel room or flight yet, and Hopper can’t guarantee that it won’t sell out.
They only guarantee you won’t pay more if prices rise in the meantime.
Does Hopper let you cancel?
You can cancel certain bookings on Hopper, depending on the airline, hotel, or rental company’s policy.
If you have a cancellable reservation, you’ll find a red ‘cancel’ button in your confirmation email, and Hopper will help facilitate the process.
How do you save money on Hopper?
Hopper plane tickets, hotels, and rental cars are already on the low side.
You can save more money using the vouchers, discounts, and flash deals that the app offers. Accumulating Carrot Cash will also cut your future costs.
Is Hopper a travel agent?
Yes, Hopper is a travel agent app.
What are some alternatives to Hopper?
My number one flight-searching platform is Skyscanner, followed by Skiplagged and then Google Flights.
Skyscanner has the most flexible, user-friendly search options and–usually–the cheapest flights.
Skiplagged sometimes turns up the cheapest fares, but their search function could be more flexible.
Google Flights has an excellent interface, but they don’t always find the cheapest deals.
Read our full Skiplagged review.
Conclusion: So, is Hopper Any Good?
Searching for travel deals is like fishing. You need patience and the right equipment, and casting a wide net widens your chances.
So, adding another platform to your arsenal is always worth it.
Hopper has some fantastic and unique features, such as price freezing, carrot cash, and a plethora of available vouchers.
While my Hopper app review is mostly positive, it’s still not my go-to.
The slow interface, search limitations, and the fact that (despite its claims) it doesn’t always have the lowest fares means it’s not my favorite way to find travel deals.
But it’s free to download and use, so it’s worth having on your phone and using as another way to compare prices.
Use the promo code “theatlasheart” at checkout to get $25 off your first hotel booking.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elina Ansary is a writer, visual artist, and avid traveler. She grew up in San Francisco, CA, and spent her childhood camping up and down Northern California. These days, she visits artist residencies around the world and has lived in Amsterdam, Australia, and now Brooklyn, NY.
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