How to Use Priceline.com for Great Hotel Discounts
You can get great discounts on hotels by naming your own priceby biddingon Priceline.com. Priceline creates a win-win situation: it helps hotels and resorts fill empty rooms, while it gives you fantastic deals. This site gives you step-by-step Priceline hotel bidding tips so that you can make the best hotel bids, for the lowest prices.
Priceline hotel bidding gives you prices on rooms that are 30-70% better than you can get at Expedia,
Hotels.com, and Travelocity at most popular destinations.
These include Orlando, Manhattan, Union Square San Francisco, Vancouver, Chicago Loop, and many more.
If you have time to rebid—remember that you have to wait 24 hours to rebid on the same neighborhood, star-quality, and dates—try bidding lower than the winning bids shown in the links. To do this, click on "Hotels" under "Priceline.com" on the upper left of the page.
Start your bidding with the highest star-quality available. You might get a 4-star for a 2-star price and you can always immediately rebid for a lower star-quality, if your first bid fails.
At present, Priceline discounts work especially well for 3- to 4.5-star hotels. Nevertheless, higher-star hotels tend to charge for items such as Internet access that may be free at lower rated hotels.
As always, BidOnTravel's best tip for bidding on hotel rooms is to do your research first. Look for the best current prices on discount travel websites that list prices for specific (named) hotels like
Check these prices the same day you intend to bid on Priceline.
And of course check hotel prices with the same quality range and dates in the same general neighborhood as where you want to stay. Seeing the lowest room rates available allows you to avoid overbidding on Priceline.
2. Consider days and seasons.
Keep in mind the days of the week you want to book.
Hotels in most cities offer their lowest rates and biggest discounts on weekendsFriday, Saturday, and sometimes Sunday nightsand around holidays, except during special events.
Because weekend rates are usually priced 25 - 50% off regular rates, do not base your bid on a Wednesday rate if you are actually arriving on Friday.
Exceptions: Weekend prices are higher in Orlando, Las Vegas (more information), Reno, and most resorts.
Of course, hotels in resort areas give bigger discounts during off-seasons.
You can rebid on hotels only once every 24 hours. You can rebid immediately if you change the neighborhood, city, dates, or star category.
However, there are specific ways to rebid to maximize your savings. Exact instructions are given in Section 6 bidding tips.
Once you authorize Priceline to charge your credit card, your reservation becomes non-refundable and cannot be changed in any way, even by paying a penalty.
4. Prepare your money-saving Priceline bid.
When determining your Priceline hotel bid, consider everything, such as season, school holidays, days of week, the prices for specific hotels you found in your online research, as well as how much you want to go.
In general, the higher the star category, the greater percentage off the listed price you should bid.
If you saw a lot of hotels in your quality range available at an online site like Travelocity.com, you can bid lower on Priceline.
Currently, the majority of successful bids range from 25 to 59% off prices available on discount sites that list prices for specific hotels. BidOnTravel believes you should never bid less than 30% off these prices, unless you are traveling during a convention or busy season.
A great way to avoid overbidding on Priceline is to check Hotwire.com's prices just before you bid on Priceline.
Priceline and Hotwire.com are similar. (You don't know your hotel name until you pay, no refunds, no changes . . ..) However, Hotwire offers only fixed prices and no hotel bidding.
Although Priceline has relationships with many more hotels, which increases your chance to save, Hotwire.com gives you more room choices (such as kitchenettes).
The 15% rule: In most cases, plan to make your Priceline bid 15% less than Hotwire's displayed price, which excludes taxes and fees.
The 30% rule: Before you submit your Priceline bid, make sure that 15% off the Hotwire price is at least 30% off the rates you found on other online sites, for the same dates and star rating. In the rare instance when Hotwire's price is unusually high, this policy will help you avoid overbidding on Priceline. (Again, the exception is that you may need to bid higher during large conventions, special events, or busy seasons).
If your Priceline bid or rebids are not successful, you can go back to Hotwire within its payment deadline, and still get a bargain price.
6. Submit a "smart" hotel bid
Here are BidOnTravel's best strategies for hotel bidding and rebidding. Priceline does not teach these tips, so follow them carefully to maximize your savings.
Remember Priceline's 24-hour rule for rebidding on the exact same star quality and dates. However, you can bid again before 24 hours if you change a date, city, star category, OR neighborhood.
Use star quality as part of your bidding strategy. Start hotel bidding with a higher star quality so that you can make immediate rebids using lower stars.
For example, if you start your bidding with 2 stars, Priceline checks for 2-, 3-, 4-, and 5-star hotels in your price range. You cannot rebid using 3, 4, or 5 stars (even if you want to bid a higher price).
But, if you start with 4 stars, you can rebid for 3 stars and then for 2 stars right away.
When you tell Priceline what city you want, you are usually given a choice of neighborhoods. If you are interested in more than one neighborhood, hold back your second choice neighborhood (or several), in case you have to bid again.
Using this flexibility allows you to rebid immediately, and also to make an especially low first bid. You may get lucky. And, if you have to bid again, both your first choice AND second choice neighborhoods are included in your bid.
When you enter a bid, Priceline gives your total cost, including taxes and fees, before you confirm payment. If this total is higher than you want to pay, adjust your offer as many times as you like before submitting it as an official bid.
7. What to do if your bid is accepted, or if it isn't.
Once you authorize Priceline to charge your credit card, your bid for a hotel becomes official, unchangeable, and non-refundable.
Write down the transaction number you are given.
You usually find out if you have a winning bid within one minute.
If your bid is accepted, congratulations!
Print out your itinerary and receipt and take them with you to your hotel.