Does anyone use

I’m planning a couple night stay in Atlantic City in August with my SO. We’d like to stay at a nicer (for, you know, Atlantic City) hotel, but want to get the best possible deal for it.

I thought I’d try the “name your own price” function on Priceline. Does anyone do this? How far under the posted price can you go and still find takers?

The website you should visit is betterbidding . They’ll have plenty of reports from people who have placed sucessful and unsucessful bids.

My husband has used Priceline a lot for hotels and car rentals; I know he’s definitely gotten good deals, but because I wasn’t in charge, I don’t remember the details anymore. He’s also used the betterbidding board recommended above, to good effect. A couple of years ago, we got a Mustang convertible for eight or nine days in California for $298, which was such a good price that I still remember it.

I’ve been using it on and off since it came out. I once got a 3 (or was it 4?) night stay at the Millennium Times Square for under $100/night. I’ve gotten as low as 30-40% of the posted price, 50-70% is well within reason (above that I would just pay retail and have the flexibility to cancel). My impression is that you have to bid right before your visit (ie, week of) but I don’t plan things in advance so I’ve never tried more than a week out.

As suggested, look at the betterbidding website mentioned above for suggestions on how to bid, and examples of recent winning bids.

Whether to bid early or late is discussed in detail there. To summarize, you can get good deals either way, and you can be rejected either way. It depends on the situation.


We just booked a trip to Vegas with them. They took my money fine but when half our grouped booked another hotel and we asked them to change ours and we would pay any extra fees they said no. Everything you want to do is against thier policy. I could not believe it. I booked Thurs afternoon, worked all day on Friday and Half day on Saturday so less than 72 hrs. still would change it. I offered to pay the extra money and whatever other fees that they may have and all I got was a bunch of I’m sorry’s. Oh yra and by the way I booked in March for a trip in September. Months in advance. So now I guess I am screwed I have to let priceline tell me how to spend my money. So I would advise everyone to stay clear of Right now I would love to B*@$* slap the negotiator!!!

You couldn’t believe that they follow their terms of service which say all purchases are final?

I rented a car through them, but when I got in, William Shatner’s zombie jumped out from the back seat and ate my brains. They refused to give my money or brains back.

If you think you can change your reservation or back out after doing pricelines “name your own price” you don’t understand what priceline is. You save $$$ because you don’t get to see who you are buying from upfront or exactly when the flight is (allowing the hotel brand not to be tarnished, and the airline to sell unpopular flight combinations, respectively). If you could change your mind after you click buy, they wouldn’t really be “hiding” the hotel name or flight details, would they ?

As far as the OP I’ve had no problems with priceline, and used them several times for hotels and once for flights. The flight I got had a tighter connection than I would have chosen myself (probably why it was unpopular), but I made it in time and my bags made the trip as well.

I’ve been using the Name Your Own Price for hotels service for years and have always come out on top. As soon as a bid is accepted, I check out Priceline’s regular rates as well as Orbitz, Expedia, etc. and typically save quite a lot. A hundred to a hundred and fifty dollars off rack isn’t uncommon, though it’s usually between fifty and a hundred. When staying for four or more days, that really adds up.

They also have a lowest price guarantee on your bid. I’ve taken advantage of it just once (and fairly recently). If you find the same room/hotel for cheaper, they’ll match the price, give you a $25 credit, and a $50 rebate on your next air/hotel combo. Claiming is as easy as a five-minute phone call: I called in, told them what site I saw, they looked it up to verify, then administered the credit.

I worked in hotels and I was a revenue manager (handles reservations) and the thing about Priceline and similar type is you HAVE TO READ IT.

How it works is Priceline reserves a number of rooms with a hotel. The Rev Mgr will typically only give Priceline the number of rooms the hotel can’t sell on its own.

So let’s say it looks like I will have 50 rooms that I won’t sell for a weekend. I give 25 to Priceline to sell. I also tell Priceline the absolute minimum price the hotel will accept.

This is where you negotiate. For instance, I may say, I’ll give you 25 room at minimum of $50 to sell. Priceline will say, “OK” Or “We can’t sell that many, it’s too high a price.” So they will take maybe 10 at $50 or take none and in that case the Rev Mgr probably will drop the minimum acceptable.

I do know for a fact that Priceline will take ANY BID over the minimum set. So if you bid even $51 Priceline will take it, in the case of my example.

Of course Priceline deals with a lot of hotels and hotels don’t know what the other is bidding as a low, so Priceline will give you what IT thinks maximizes its revenue.

For example if I set my minimum for $50 and the Coyote Inn sets $25 as its minimum acceptable rate, when the the bid for a hotel comes in for $51, Priceline will sell the Coyote Inn’s room because they make $26 off of it as opposed to a dollar for my hotel

Also note Priceline set ITS OWN ratings for hotels. These are often very different from AAA diamond and Mobil’s star rating system. So a top hotel in Priceline may be only an average hotel to AAA or Mobil.

You also have to realize Priceline won’t let you change because not only would everyone do it, but they allow you to purchase INSURANCE against change of plans. This is another way they make money

As for hotels, you won’t get the top line rooms from Priceline. In my example if I have 50 rooms vacant, as a Rev Mgr, I’m gonna make sure that the people paying less, (Priceline sold rooms) are going to get the less desirable rooms. You know the rooms, by the elevator or ice machine, the rooms without a view or facing an alley and so forth. And that is fair. The customer booking through the hotel directly and paying $100 a night, should have the better rooms

Finally you have to realize the ability to substitute. A long time ago I tried to use Priceline for a trip from Chicago to NYC. By default it allows Priceline to use alternate airports.

This has to be watched. For instance, Mitchell Field in Milwaukee was listed as an alternate to O’Hare and Philly’s airport was listed as an alternate to LaGuardia.

So when I tried to book O’Hare to LaGuardia, I could’ve gotten Milwaukee to Philadelphia

Priceline CAN be a good deal. But you have to be REALLY flexible and you have to think about all the possibilities.

Now that we live in north/central WV, the Baltimore area my family lives in is about a five-hour drive. That means if we go down for Easter or Thanksgiving, we pretty much have to stay overnight. I usually use Priceline Name Your Own Price to do that.

IME, it works really well if you’re traveling on a holiday or weekend, and tell them you want a hotel by the airport (which happens to be convenient to where we’re going outside of Baltimore), because those hotels tend to be booked by business travelers. Therefore, they are often under-booked holidays and weekends.

I usually select ‘3-Star’ level, and start my bidding at $55.00/night. I’ve gotten rooms that typically sell for $175.00 or more a night, for well under $100.00.

We have yet to be let down or surprised by Priceline’s star ratings. Recent stays have included the Diplomat (Fort Lauderdale), the Barclay, Times Square Hilton, the Benjamin, and the Andaz (New York), the Palazzo and the Rio (Las Vegas), and Harras and Trump Marina (Atlantic City). Lower star hotels include the Camelback in the Poconos and a Radison in New Jersey. In our experience, ratings have been spot on. Yes, they may differ, but since star level and location are so important to repeat business, they do pretty well. YMMV, of course.

In our experience, most of the rooms we check in for are determined at check-in. That’s typically when they ask if we want a King/double or increasingly rare, smoking or non-. We’ve been upgraded a handful of times, but that’s luck of the draw and the mood of the clerk. We’ve also asked for things (e.g., higher floor) and never had a clerk not check and grant if it’s available. Again, this could be luck and I can’t say what’s actually going through the clerk’s mind (hahah, let them think we have no more rooms on that side of the building) but generally speaking, it’s been pretty easy to score great rooms.

ETA: I’m surprised the Family Circus hasn’t already done this.

I’ve used it a number of times when we didn’t really care (within reason) where we stayed. Twice for rooms in NYC near Times Square (got rooms for 160ish a night which was a decent rate). Once for a room in Newport News, VA which was a mid-range place (nothing special) for 70ish a night, another time for a room also in Newport News - MUCH nicer, and for less money. In that case, I think the fact that I booked the first room a couple of days in advance, and the second one was same-day, helped - the hotel was more willing to lower their price closer to checkin time.

Another time, we needed a room near BWI airport and booked it at 6 PM, and got something quite nice for a very low price, which bears out the last-minute theory.

They will usually also allow you to stay a second night for the same price. So far, I’ve always been offered that option.

The downside: if you’re travelling with a kid or whatever, you aren’t guaranteed a room with 2 beds, sofa, or whatever. So it’s not necessarily the best for a faimly.

I’ve used Priceline, Expedia, and Travelocity. Mostly I can find something that’s acceptable, at a price that I’m willing to pay. You DO have to read the fine print…but you should be doing that anyway!

They don’t guarantee it, no, but so far, we’ve used the service maybe a dozen times, and have never had a problem. I just book the room using the website, then call the hotel right away, give them the reservation number, and ask if they can make sure I get two beds. If they say no, they can’t be sure of that, I tell them I need to be certain there’s a roll-away bed available. I think once mudgirl had to sleep on a roll-away. And a couple of times, staying near BWI, we got into The Aloft, which is trendy/techy and new, and they have a ‘kids club’. If you call the hotel and tell them you’re traveling with a kid, they’ll set your room up with an air mattress before you arrive (and what kid doesn’t like sleeping on an air mattress??), and give you a special kid-oriented activity kit at check in!

For us, using Priceline is basically trading up in terms of luxury. We pay about as much for a 3 or 3.5 star hotel through Priceline as we would pay outright for a 2 star hotel if we just flat out booked it. So: same budget, better accommodations. We like it.

Well said. Probably our biggest reason for sticking with P’line. For the same amount we’re prepared to spend we get into better hotels than if we booked directly.

That works most places, but I wouldn’t count on it if you book a room in New York City. There, Priceline will sometimes book you in a hotel where there simply isn’t room for a third person. That is, the room is so small that a roll-away won’t fit in it.

I would still use Priceline there if I only needed a room for two people, in fact I have and been very satisfied.

This will be good info to have if we ever get around to going to NYC! Thanks! :slight_smile:

Once again I humbly submit my guide to Priceline ninjitsu. Hasn’t failed me yet.