Priceline.com gives you a terrific way to save on travel, but there are times when it may not be your wisest choice. Reading these Priceline pros and cons will help you decide when to bid on Priceline "Name your own price" bidding and when not to.
Since you are probably familiar with many advantages of using Priceline, we'll start with the Cons, and then discuss the Pros.
Cons: When Best Not to Use
If you must fly at specific times.
If there's a strong chance you might need to change dates or cancel. This applies to car and hotel reservations as well as to airline tickets. You cannot change your dates even by paying a penalty, nor can you be reimbursed if you cancel. Nearly never are there any exceptions.
However, if an airline very significantly changes the times of your flights, you may qualify for a refund under Department of Transportation rules. Check.
No changes and no refunds also apply to Priceline's Express Hotel Deals, where you do not bid. That's the tradeoff for these low prices.
If you are planning to fly for a very short trip, such as two or three days.
Since Priceline's airline partners choose the flight times, you could end up arriving in the evening and departing the next morning.
If you are not willing to pay higher fees at deluxe hotels.
You can get incredible 4-star for 2-star hotel price deals using Priceline, but room service charges, 800-number calls, parking, and other costs frequently not included in your room rate at these top-rated places may be more expensive than you are used to paying.
However, most or all of these are optional expenses, especially if you bring a cell phone.
If you plan to leave a car at an airport hotel while traveling. Increasingly, hotels near airports charge higher rates to guests who park while on trips. You may be told that your Priceline rate does not cover parking when you are not there.
If you do not research the best rates on other websites.
Research is your best strategy to avoid making a bid that is either too low (not accepted), or too high (not the discount you could have gotten).
Remember that the main goal is to save money, not just to get your bid accepted.
When Makes Sense to Use
If you are willing to research up-to-date fares on other discount travel websites, you'll know what prices to bid below on Priceline.
Booking at the last minute on Priceline can make the difference between going where you want to go and not going at all.
If you've missed low-fare ticketing deadlines, and airfares are now high on other discount websites, you may still get very reasonable tickets by following our bidding steps in the last-minute airfares section:
You may even get close to the advance-purchase price, a huge savings in many cases. Look doe "Express Deals" at the top of fare pages.
Priceline guarantees you the lowest price on its flight + hotel vacation packages (no bidding) and "Express Deals" (no bidding) on airfares and hotells, as well as "Name your own price" airfares, hotels, and rental cars.
Although Priceline's air travel is not recommended for short trips of 2 or 3 days, you can get great savings on Priceline's cars and hotels for short trips.