Priceline/ Hotwire advice please

I want to take a one way flight to pick up my car in a neighboring state. Airlines charge over $300 for the 250 mile flight. Chicago O’Hare to Saginaw MI. I also looked into purchasing a round trip ticket, and not taking the return flight, and giving two weeks notice. Neither brought down the fare at all.
Because of health concerns (multiple myeloma), it would be much easier to fly one way than and to be driven one way.
Chicago to Saginaw flights are mainly empty. I have never had another passenger in the same row with me.
My questions:

  1. Is there a minimum bid that will be accepted? I am thinking about offering $50 for the fare.
  2. When do you find out if the bid is accepted? Is it the same day? The day before?
    Thank you.

Here’s more info on Priceline, etc. that you’d ever want to know. Read the intro section carefully re the rules.

I have very limited experience with either, but IIRC:

  1. You can offer up any $ amount you’d like but there are rules about multiple bids. It’s not as easy as entering $50 and then just increasing it by $10 if it’s not accepted. You should bid the lowest amount that you think will be accepted. This website posts basic info re winning bids for you to refer to.

  2. You usually find out if your bid is accepted within an hour.

Be real careful when you use Priceline. Oh they are legit but you must read carefully. For instance there is tick box that will say use alternate airports? For example I live in Chicago and I want to go to NYC. Priceline considers Mitchell Field in Milwaukee as an alternate to O’Hare Chicago. They also consider Philadelphi an alternate to NYC. So you could easily wind up flying from Milwaukee to Philadelphia when you want Chicago to NYC.

Also the airlines are getting nasty about not using round trips. If you do plan to do this, once you buy the ticket pay for it. Then the next day call your credit card company and say you lost the card. They will issue you a new one. This is because once the airline finds out you are NOT on the return flight they may decided to bill you for a one way ticket. You could also wind up on a list of banned passengers. (not too likely but still possible)

Also remember with Priceline you will get the WORST time. They sell the seats the airlines don’t want. Let’s say you want to leave Chicago on Friday and return on Tuesday from NYC. You could get a flight at 11:50pm Friday and return at 12:02am on Tuesday. So you really only get Sat, Sun and Mon NOT the five days.

There’s a fair amount of misinformation in this post.

  1. You get to select SPECIFICALLY which alternate airports you would find acceptable. For example, when bidding for a flight from San Francisco to New York, you can specifically select which airports would work for you out of a list that includes San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland for the destination; JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, Long Island, Whilte Plains, and Newburgh. If any of these airports don’t work for you, you just don’t select them.

  2. Unless you specifically specify otherwise, all trips start between 6 am and 10 pm. So you CAN’T get a flight at 11:50 pm Friday, nor can you get a return at 12:02 am Tuesday.

There are still major disadvantages when using Priceline, so it is only useful in certain specified cases. But spreading false information helps nobody.


Priceline can be awesome if you’re carefull about what you click on. You will be able to tell them exactly what airports to want to arrive/depart from, pick the dates of the travel, and Priceline will give you “bids” from airline companies, or you can “name your own price”. Click that link and type in “$1.00” for you asking price. They won’t accept it, but will give you an option to accept a compromised price somewhere between your bid, and the lowest bid from the previous search. This is usually WAY cheaper than anything else you’ll find. And since it wasn’t the original request, you aren’t automatically stuck with that flight unless you approve it.

Just be aware of a couple things. First, you only have 30-60 minutes to confirm purchase of that ticket. After that, all bets are off. Also, you can only receive those “compromise” bids once every week or something. If you try to rebid on the same flight, it won’t come up as an option anymore.