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Priceline Airfare Bidding FAQ

The best savings using Priceline airfare bidding come when you have 1) missed advanced purchase deadlines or 2) when you are traveling overseas, especially to places that do not enjoy vigorous airfare competition.

  1. I don't have time to read all your airfare bidding tips. I am leaving this week. Would you give me a summary?
  2. Which airlines does Priceline use?
  3. I really need to cancel or change my Priceline flights—how can I do this?
  4. Can someone else use my Priceline air ticket?
  5. I know that Priceline’s bidding rules won’t let me pick my travel times. Are there ANY workarounds for that?
  6. How long will Priceline make me wait for connections?
  7. How early or late could I depart using Priceline?
  8. What’s the financial condition of Priceline.com?
  9. Does Priceline accept a Canadian credit card?
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1. I don’t have time to read all your airfare bidding tips. I am leaving this week. Can you give me a summary?

Of course—this is for anyone who has missed advanced purchase deadlines:

  1. Use a typical airfare site to look up what airfares cost leaving tomorrow, if haven’t already done so. For example, Priceline lists retail fares that do not require bidding:

    Priceline.com - no one deals like we do!

  2. Then use the same or a similar site to find out what flights would cost three weeks from now if you were:

    a. Leaving on the same day of the week
    b. Coming back on the same day of the week, and
    c. Staying the same length of time.

    In other words, everything’s the same, except the dates are moved ahead three weeks.

    Check flight itineraries that use no more than one connection if available to your destination.

  3. Look up what Hotwire.com charges for your actual dates.

    For its "Our lowest fare" rates when available, Hotwire does not tell you your times or airline until you pay. As with Priceline, it uses major airlines.

  4. Finally, pull up

    Priceline.com - no one deals like we do!.

    Bid whichever is less: 15 percent off Hotwire’s price OR 20 to perhaps 25 percent above the best advanced purchase fare you found on another site.

    Keep in mind that you can only bid once every 24 hours, unless you change dates or airports. The more time you have to rebid, the more aggressive you can be.

May your Priceline airfare bidding go well!

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2. Which airlines does Priceline use?

Major airlines like Air Canada, American, Delta, KLM, Lufthansa, Singapore, United, and their code-share partners. Priceline does not use Southwest Airlines.

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3. I really need to cancel or change my Priceline "Name your own price" flights—how can I do this?

You normally cannot. Moreover, you cannot 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 Priceline transaction number handy.

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4. Can someone else use my Priceline air ticket?

Since 9/11, TSR security does 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 airfare bidding rules won’t let me pick my travel times. Are there ANY workarounds for that?

There surely are. Most (but not all!) 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 in many cases allows you to choose departure times.

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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, you wait no longer than 90 minutes. Priceline will 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 airfare bidding tickets (the "name your own price" ones) 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.

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7. How early or late could I depart using Priceline?

For domestic Priceline airline tickets, you will not 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.

Because international itineraries typically involve overnight travel, there are no time restrictions on these.

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8. What’s the financial condition of Priceline.com?

Amazingly strong for a post-9/11 travel company.

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9. Does Priceline accept a Canadian credit card?

Yes, both Hotwire and Priceline accept credit cards with Canadian billing addresses.

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Priceline.com - no one deals like we do!


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