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I would never book flight or hotel through 3rd party portal unless there's a substantial discount. Booking direct work better 90% of the time.

google for flights sends me to the direct airline 99% of the time (and they give you a choice to use a portal). It's less of a portal, and more of an aggregator that funnels you... like a search engine.

Depends. What about if your flight is a day late and the hotel don't want to reimburse the missed night? If you'd booked through an agency, you could have both on the same reservation and be covered for that type of stuff

My credit cards have trip delay insurance to handle this kind of situation.

I feel like that is a recipe for getting price gouged. Or do you search for trips with 3rd party tools and then book it directly?

Most airlines show the same price on their site that I find on the aggregators. The exception is multi-itinerary tickets that can save money, but are risky since you are booking separate, multiple tickets.

Look around more.

Many aggregators offer big discounts for minor things like logging in or signing up for a newsletter.

$400 off for logging in - sure!

I think they have contracts in place about pricing for non-logged in users (ie. Neither of us will undercut the other). But when you're a customer, they suddenly offer much better deals. Yes I will take the 'loyalty bonus' of free extra 5 days stay for booking a weekend - thanks!

Some of the aggregators are so desperate to get customers that they will give you something for $0. I rented a car for a week for $0 through easyrentcars because I signed up through a refer link for example.

Search on 3rd party as part of the research. The thing is if there's anything comes up during the flight or stay, it's way easier to deal with the hotels or airlines on direct orders.

Google owns ITA software which many airlines themselves for ticketing, as such they know more than the airline itself does about what's a good deal.

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