Renting cars with Priceline

What is the straight dope on using Priceline to rent cars?

What do you mean? Are you seeking step-by-step how-to instructions, or you asking about Priceline’s inner workings?

I’ve used Priceline to rent a car a number of times. It’s been fine for me, you just walk up to the counter like everybody else with a reservation. You don’t know which company you’ll get until you commit, but most times they’ve sent me to Hertz.

More importantly, I really was able to get significantly lower rates by using them. If you bid, be aware that the bid you offer is not what you will pay, there are taxes and fees added.

Hotwire has also been good.

The process as I understand it is straightforward. I want to know how it worked out for people. Was it worth the trouble, etc. What are the pitfalls. Maybe Priceline lies. I want to know.

I use Priceline for renting cars all the time. I have even recommended it to people on here.

It is the ONLY thing I use Priceline for anymore. I can usually get a rental at least a few dollars a day cheaper than published rates. I used to be able to get a rental at half the regular rate but, that hasn’t proved true for several years.

Look at the published rates and bid at about 60-75% . If that doesn’t work, bid 80% tomorrow. Keep bidding until you get an offer accepted. Once that part is done it works exactly like a normal reservation.

So long as you do not care about which company you rent from then it can be a great way to go.

In Orlando I’ve rented through Priceline at ridiculously low rates. First make a booking through another site (Travelocity or such) at the best rate you can find that permits a cancellation without penalty. Then starting bidding way low, like a third of the base daily rate you were able to reserve. Don’t be afraid to rebid the same price - you get one free re-bid per day.

With about two weeks before your trip check again for best rate. Re-book at lower rate and cancel prior reservation. Then start moving your Priceline bid up $1 per day until they accept. I’ve regularly had rentals in high tourism areas from $6 to $12 daily, plus tax.

Sounds like a plan.

One thing to remember. The price you bid on Priceline is before taxes and fees, while the rates you see directly from the rental company probably has those included into the daily costs. So assume that your final cost will be about 1/3 higher than what you bid. It’s quite easy to end up paying more through Priceline, because you didn’t realize that.

All that said, car rental is one category I have no problem using Priceline with. They only rent out for major car rental companies, and I really don’t care if I use Alamo or National. Hotels and airline tickets are trickier, since I’m more fussy about exactly which part of town I stay in, or what time of day I fly.