Frequently Asked Questions
Priceline Airfare Bidding
You save most with Priceline "Name your own price" airfare bidding when you have missed advanced purchase deadlines or when you are traveling overseas, especially to places that do not currently have vigorous fare competition. Be sure your savings are worth not usually being able to change your dates even for a fee.
1. I don’t have time to read all your airfare bidding tips. I am leaving tomorrow. Can you give me a summary?
Okay—this is for last-minute reservations:
2. Which airlines does Priceline use?
Major airlines like Air Canada, American, America West, Continental, Delta, KLM, SAS, Singapore, South African, United, and their code-share partners. Priceline does not use Southwest Airlines.
3. I really need to cancel or change my Priceline "Name your own price" flights—how can I do this?
You normally can’t. In order to get the lowest fares, Priceline’s contracts with airlines do not allow for refunds. And, you can’t pay a fee to change.
However—this is the loophole—if the airline cancels one of your flights for reasons under its control (for example, in an effort to save money), and wants to change your itinerary significantly, U.S. Department of Transportation regulations say you should get a refund. Significantly means significantly, not an hour or two.
If you find that you will be unable to travel, keep a look out for any major changes in your itinerary on the airline's website. You may get lucky. Contact Priceline customer service at 1 800-PRICELINE prior to the date of travel, and have your transaction number handy.
4. Can someone else use my Priceline air ticket?
Since 9/11, TSR security will not allow anyone to use a ticket if the name on her or his government-issued photo ID does not match the name on the ticket.
5. I know that Priceline’s bidding rules won’t let me pick my travel times. Are there ANY workarounds for that?
There surely are. Most airlines allow you to stand by for earlier flights on the same day for a nominal fee. I do this all the time. See BidOnTravel’s Standby Rules and Tips.
You may also get a good fare on Hotwire.com, which allows you to choose departure times.
6. How long will Priceline make me wait for connections?
Within the U.S., connecting times are limited to three hours, unless nothing better is available. Usually, layover times are under 90 minutes. Priceline also tries to put you on non-stop flights, if these are available.
International travel may involve longer connections, regardless of how much you pay or where you book.
In addition, Priceline bookings are limited to one connection each way, unless you give Priceline permission to use more than one, in order to reach a smaller airport or to get a better fare.
7. How early or late could I depart using Priceline?
For domestic flights, you won’t be scheduled to depart earlier than 6:00 a.m. or leave later than 10:00 p.m. (with a scheduled arrival of no later than 12:30 a.m.), unless you tell Priceline that you’re willing to use “red-eye flights” for a better fare.
International itineraries typically involve overnight travel, so there are no time restrictions on these.
8. What’s the financial condition of Priceline.com?
Amazingly strong for a post-9/11 travel company. Check out its stock performance.
9. Does Priceline accept a Canadian credit card?
Yes, both Hotwire and Priceline accept credit cards with Canadian billing addresses.