Compare the total price to the price of renting a car directly from the agency or even the non-bidding listings offered by Priceline. One downside to bidding is that it can be harder to spot hidden fees, so take a few extra seconds to look at the taxes and fees.
Priceline and Hotwire Booking: 10 Tips Learned When Booking Hotel Rooms in Bulk | Frommer's
To successfully bid, you need to know how often you can submit a bid with Priceline's Name Your Own Price. Priceline will let you bid once every 24 hours. While you have to wait until tomorrow to make another bid, you can place several bids a day. This is easiest for rental cars, where you can place a bid for a different class of car. For example, if your bid for an economy car is denied, bid on a standard car instead.
You can also take the same approach for hotel bids by choosing a different star rating or neighborhood. If you receive a counter offer, you don't have to accept it if it isn't a good deal. Decline the counter offer and increase tomorrow's bid price by a few dollars. It just might be enough to be accepted. This is the same amount you can save when you Name Your Own Price and bid on hotels. The Express Deals is similar to the Hotwire deals offering where you get a good deal, but, don't know the name of the hotel until you pay for the surprise.
You can browse mystery hotel listings for every destination and browse listing by the number of stars. There is a description of hotel brands for each star. By pinching pennies on hotels without necessarily sacrificing quality, you can have more money to choose a better flight or partake in a more luxurious outing while traveling as two examples of how to enjoy the savings.
Joining the Priceline membership program is free and can give you exclusive discounts called Private PriceBreakers that one-time customers can't use. You will also have opportunities to earn bonus cash that can be used for future travel. Signing in also allows you to immediately view additional hotel discounts too. To avoid flooding your mailbox with unnecessary offers, you can tailor the content to only be for deals that interest you like flights and hotels.
Another way to save money when booking on Priceline is to look for cruises that offer onboard credits and other discounts. These fringe benefits can be a major selling point as each cruise line offers different incentives to attract first-time cruisers and repeat customers. Priceline also recommends calling their toll-free number to hear about unpublished offers. These offers can be worth the phone call, but be sure to research similar online fares that interest you to compare prices before purchasing a ticket.
You can also spot good deals sooner by filtering your search results with hotel freebies. If you don't see an Express Deal, you'll have to change your dates, or try searching again the next day remember that deals change, so prices could go down or up and Express Deals are not guaranteed to stick around.
You will not see a specific airline, the number of stops, or the time of your flights before you book that's why the prices are so low. Express Deals are usually found closer to your date of travel as airlines try to fill unsold seats. Directly comparing flights between the two is impossible because you don't get enough information before booking. But we compared flights on the same dates to see how the opaque booking prices match up:. Priceline has a slight edge. Normal flights : 24 hours from the time of purchase to change or cancel your flight. As with the flight search, Priceline's site lets you filter hotel results by specific criteria.
To book, follow these steps:. Use the filters on the right-hand side to tailor your search by number of stars, neighborhood location, amenities, and hotel brand. You can also view Priceline's "Express Deal" hotel offers while searching for hotels normally. They are highlighted by a blue box. Priceline doesn't include taxes and fees in the price you see. Make sure to factor these costs into your search so you won't be surprised at checkout. Rates We looked at prices for 4-star hotels in downtown Chicago, IL, to compare Priceline with its competitors.
Here are the cheapest 4-star options:. How would Priceline compare if we looked for the same hotel across all websites? Here is the cost per night of the Millennium Knickerbocker Chicago:. A split rate can save you some money. These websites often a better deal than the hotels themselves. But the price difference across OTA sites is pretty small. Hotel Terms Rules for changing or canceling your reservation vary by hotel. Some require upfront payment, others ask for a small fee upfront.
Still others allow you to pay once you arrive. And remember: Express Deal bookings are always non-refundable and non-changeable. Express Deals You can book an Express Deal for a hotel. Just like with flights, you won't get the specifics of your booking until after you pay. On the Priceline website, on the "Hotels" tab, click the "Express Deals" link under the search bar. You'll see a list of Express Deals that you can choose from. These will not tell you the name of the hotel or its address. Use the controls on the left side to filter by star rating, neighborhood, and amenities. You can also sort the list according to guest rating.
Once you pay, Priceline will tell you the name of the hotel, its exact address, and the type of room two double beds vs. Again, no changes or refunds are allowed. Name Your Own Price This tool is now exclusively for hotels.
How Hotwire and Priceline Can Save You Money
The process is slightly more complicated than just looking and booking: Search for your city and dates of travel. Look at the general prices for the hotels in the neighborhood and star rating that you want to book. Place a bid on how much you would like to spend. This takes a little research; if your bid is too low, the hotel can reject it.
Use the prices you viewed while searching as a guide. Or check out a site like BetterBidding for insight into how much to bid. You can submit multiple bids to multiple hotels. Wait to see if a hotel accepts your bid. If it does, you are locked into that rate.
If it doesn't, you can submit another bid to that hotel after 24 hours. With the increase of instant booking, the demand for bidding, waiting, and maybe bidding again is shrinking. But offers for Express Deals are on the rise. Read the fine print on any car rental. Each company has different policies on restrictions or changing reservations. Priceline charges taxes and fees that aren't reflected in the prices shown. Check out the smaller-sized "Total Price" listed under the price per day for the total cost you'll pay.
You can't exclusively search for Express Deals for rental cars. But you might come across one in your search. Priceline tells you the style of car, but not the specific model. Remember, Express Deals cannot be changed or canceled. Rates Here are Priceline's cheapest 3-day car rentals in Los Angeles compared to its competitors:. But several credit cards from CreditDonkey partners also offer rental car insurance.
7 Tips for Booking Travel on Priceline
Let's compare:. To take advantage, pay for your Priceline car rental with one of the credit cards listed above. Credit cards won't cover rentals in all countries and for some types of cars like exotic or high-end models. Read the fine print - it might allow you to skip buying insurance from the rental car company. Priceline also offers great cruise deals. Again, it's better for a cruise line to fill a room at a discount than let it sit empty. While you will find deals , Priceline doesn't offer Express Deals or opaque booking for cruises. You'll always see the specifics of your room and cruise line.
Some cruise lines will offer extras, like travel credits to use on activities or free specialty dinners. Hotels and cruise lines can see if you have booked via Priceline versus directly on their website.
7 Tips for Booking Travel on Priceline
While staff won't treat you differently, they may be less willing to offer upgrades or perks. Those are typically reserved for those who paid full price. So unless you're super nice and you come across a generous staff member, don't expect upgrades. If you are a dedicated Priceline shopper, you might consider applying for the Priceline Rewards Visa. It offers:. Priceline pulls prices similar to other OTAs and metasearch sites. But remember, those deals lock you in without the ability to change or cancel your reservation. These are not easy comparisons because of the lack of details about the options and overall availability.
But our research shows some trends:. Again, these comparisons aren't perfect, but they offer a general idea.
It's worth checking both Hotwire and Priceline if you want an exhaustive search on the cheapest options. You can find deep discounts on everything from flights to cruises through Priceline. Use it as one of your first stops when booking cheap travel, especially if don't need to rack up program-specific points. Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
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