How to Bid on Priceline

How to Bid on Priceline

A Step by Step Primer On How to Bid on Priceline

 

Priceline logo

Priceline is tricky, but it can be a very rewarding experience for those who are looking for great deals on hotels.  I’m not fond of using them for airfare that much because you may find yourself on flights that have the most undesirable departure times.  While I am pretty flexible with flight times, they offer too much of a mixed bag for me.

But if you are looking to try your luck at securing a great price on a hotel room, by all means, try Priceline!  In December 2005, I was planning for my trip to Vancouver for March 2006 and decided to see if I could luck up on a room at a good price.I was aware that it was pretty early to be looking for a room because Priceline typically sells excess inventory for Hotels at almost the last minute.

So, booking it early didn’t exactly heighten my chances of getting a good deal.However, I’d noticed that a couple of people had already booked great deals for that location on Priceline according to their posts on www.biddingfortravel.com.  So, I threw caution to the wind and decided to go for it.

How Priceline works

Hotels would rather sell a hotel room at a discount rather than have a room sit empty.  The folks at Priceline fill this niche by selling the hotels’ available inventory to travelers looking for a deal.  In order for this to work like it’s supposed to, the traveler must be very careful about the amount that they are willing to bid.  Because, after all, if you bid high why bother to go through Priceline?  You could just book directly to the hotel where you can find low fares (at times), but never as low as you can find if you book it through Priceline.

The goal is to get the room at the cheapest price regardless as to the number of days you plan to stay there.  Before you bid on a hotel room, make sure that you know what area you would like to stay in.  Priceline segments the hotels into geographical zones so you will have to select which area(s) you desire to stay in.

I can not stress enough that it is YOUR responsibility to figure out what area you need to stay in.You do not want to bid on a hotel that is too far out from the area that you desire to stay in.Take advantage of the website that I mentioned to learn what area to bid for in order to secure a hotel room in your desired area.

For my purposes, I can stay in Vancouver, Delta, Langley, or Surrey Pitt-Meadows.  See screen below:

Picture 1

Even though they suggest that you select two or more areas, I like to select just one, so Vancouver would be my first pick.  The fewer that you select in the beginning, the more chances you will have to keep bidding (rebidding) if your first try is rejected.  At the bottom of the page, you will be able to key in the amount that you are bidding per night for the hotel in your desired location.  If they are willing to accept that amount, you will win the reservation.If you are rejected, you may be able to try again.

Why would my bids be rejected?

Hotel inventory varies from one day to another. There may be only a certain number of rooms available at participating hotels during a given day.  By the time you decide to bid, they may have been taken by someone else who made the same bid as yours.  Or there may be a convention going on during the times that you would like to book and there simply are no rooms available and if there were, they wouldn’t make it available on Priceline due to the fact that they can make so much more by booking the conventioneers.

If am I rejected, how can I rebid?

The good news is that you can still try to bid again, providing that you have not run out of selections to choose from.  That means as long as you have not selected all geographic areas, you can bid again for a room using a hotel grade (1-5 stars) that has up to one grade lower than your original bid.  Just keep in mind that with each rebid, you must also up your bid price.

Let me explain how…….

Looking at the Vancouver example again, there are only three other areas that I truly desire to stay in.  Of course, I could get a room anywhere in Vancouver, but why not try to find a place in the middle of all of the attractions?  I started my bid for a four-star hotel in the prime downtown Vancouver area at $45.00 per night.  It was rejected.If that happens, immediately you will be informed that you can try again.

Picture 2

After I was informed that I could rebid, I added another zone, Delta to my bid.Vancouver is still in the running because once you select a zone, it will be grayed out and Priceline will continue to search for hotels in that area because your rebid will be at a higher price than your original bid.  Delta works because it has no hotels higher than my original request of a four star, so I will automatically be allowed to rebid with the confidence that I will not get anything in the Delta area because it doesn’t match my original request of a 4* property.  I upped my price to 50.00 for my rebid and I have rejected again.

Picture 3

Before I started bidding, I decided to stop bidding at $60.00 since that was the median winning bid by other Priceline customers on the bidding websites.  I knew that if I was unable to secure anything that day, I could come back in 24 hours (and they mean 24 hours!) and start all over.  I still had four months before I needed a room so why rush it or panic by bidding too much?

Next, I decided to try the Langley area at 55.00 and the rebid qualified because they only had up to 2* properties to bid on:

Picture 4

However, I was rejected…..

My final try (because I am now at my limit) was Surrey-Pitt Meadows at 60.00 and their properties only went as high as 3*:

Picture 5

And after submitting it, I got this!

Picture 6

I’m certain that I could have gotten my reservation with one bid if I had not been stubborn and bidded $60.00, to begin with.  But you never know…..they could have had inventory for a room at less than that.  As long as I could rebid, it would have been foolish not to have tried.

I think that I got a great hotel and the reviews are favorable on www.tripadvisor.com for the most part.

Picture 7

How and who do I pay for the room?

The people at Priceline require you to divulge your billing information before you can actually place a bid.  So, as soon as your bid is accepted you will be automatically billed for the room. And…..it is very difficult to get a refund…..it has happened but it’s a RARE occurrence….just understand that going in.  Therefore, it is important that you do your homework and be absolutely certain that you select the areas where you want to be and you visit websites like www.betterbidding.com or www.biddingfortravel.com to learn more about bidding on Priceline so that when you finally get around to bidding so that you will feel comfortable about doing so.

The aforementioned websites will give you a lot of guidance on how to bid and will actually give you assistance on how to bid beforehand.  You will need to follow their guidelines in giving them the required info so that they can help you with that.  They also have hotel reviews and a list of hotel grades.  I always bid on four-star hotels but keep in mind that these grades can change on a dime depending on the hotel’s upkeep.

Good Luck!!

Your friend in travel,

Renee

Comments

comments

Renee King
aviewtoathrill@gmail.com
27 Comments
  • A View to A Thrill » Why my first cruise is destined to be my last……
    Posted at 13:20h, 21 August Reply

    […] Since we were arriving a day early, that meant we needed to book a hotel room. Michelle recommended a hotel close to the Miami airport so that I can quickly jet to the port for embarkation. I called the recommended Holiday Inn Miami Airport West but got a quote of $220.00 which was ridiculous for someone who simply wanted somewhere to lay her head for the night. So, I did what I usually do when I need a nice hotel at a reasonable rate: PRICELINE (www.priceline.com)! This site can be intimidating to newbies who freak out at the mention of ‘FREE REBID’, but it’s really not that difficult at all. I will explain the ins and outs of how to use Priceline in a future blog post. […]

  • mcdonalds coupons
    Posted at 23:54h, 13 September Reply

    Thank you very much for this awesome piece of text.

  • Eight sure-fire ways to stretch your housing dollars now!
    Posted at 21:59h, 28 December Reply

    […] 4)  I am a faithful believer in the power of  Priceline.com, so much so that I have written a how to guide on how to navigate this site.  You can get step by step instructions on how to successfully bid on four star hotels here: Renee King’s Priceline Primer […]

  • Nancie (Ladyexpat)
    Posted at 21:12h, 08 June Reply

    Great article. I’m not sure if this would work for me here in Korea, but I’ll have to check it out.
    Nancie (Ladyexpat) recently posted…Rolling the OmeletMy Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 08:42h, 15 June Reply

      Nancie,
      True….but it may come in handy in other locales!

  • Bernard Pollack
    Posted at 19:05h, 14 June Reply

    As a regular priceline bidder, I found this post super helpful
    Bernard Pollack recently posted…Making a Living Out of ConservationMy Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 08:57h, 15 June Reply

      Bernard,
      Thanks! I’m glad that you got something new out of it!

  • Renee
    Posted at 13:04h, 20 July Reply

    I hear you….the good news is that you can actually get a great deal even if you book early. Timing is everything though and if you just want to get it over with, then booking directly with the hotel is the way to go. No doubt, Priceline can be a gamble, but the savings make it worth it to a lot of folks.

  • Tandem World
    Posted at 21:17h, 21 October Reply

    Great post! This is one of our (not so) best kept secrets. We have gotten some ridiculous deals using this strategy.
    Tandem World recently posted…Another Travel Deal – An Airline Policy We Love!My Profile

  • Jim
    Posted at 00:26h, 22 October Reply

    Thanks for this.Got it bookmarked to come back and digest it.Never knew about this so thanks.
    Jim recently posted…Our kids baby elephants at the David Sheldrick Trust- KenyaMy Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 11:08h, 22 October Reply

      That’s fantastic, Jim! Glad you were able to find out a new trick to save you money! Thanks for visiting!

  • Christy
    Posted at 00:29h, 22 October Reply

    Thanks for the great post! My friend used Priceline to book a car rental a few years back. She bid $15 per day and they approved it. I was actually just about to do the same for a trip I’m going on in a few weeks, so I’m happy to have read your tips!
    Christy recently posted…Does Long-Term Travel Have an Expiration Date 17My Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 11:07h, 22 October Reply

      You know what? I used PL three times now for car rentals and I paid $15.00 a day each time! I wonder if that’s the default deal since your friend got it for the same price? lol It’s great and I highly recommend renting cars via PL too. Thanks for coming by Christy and good luck on your Vancouver bid!

  • Michael
    Posted at 03:08h, 22 October Reply

    Wow, so many things I never knew existed LOL. This is a great helpful article and will certainly give it a try next time we are shopping hotels. Why not for airline tickets? Any article coming on that?
    Michael recently posted…A Day Of Easy Hiking In The Arches National ParkMy Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 10:59h, 22 October Reply

      Thanks, Michael. I’m not a fan of the airline component of PL because I seem to get better fares via Kayak (well, now Momondo is my current fave). But who knows….I may pursue it sometime in the future and will let you guys know how it turns out.

  • Diane
    Posted at 21:08h, 07 November Reply

    This is a great article. I have always been reluctant to use Priceline because I just didn’t know what to expect. I know a lot more now.
    Diane recently posted…Why Is International Market So BusyMy Profile

    • Renee
      Posted at 12:22h, 09 November Reply

      Diane, I can relate! I was scared too at first….but as with all things that makes us afraid…you must tackle it head-on. The things to remember is to be calm, take your time and remember there is always tomorrow when you can start the bidding process anew! Thanks for coming by!

  • The Foodie’s version of Heaven: The Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts
    Posted at 11:18h, 19 December Reply

    […] we had frequent flier miles to redeem and we were fortunate enough to get a crazy deal for a great hotel on Priceline.  So, we thought it might be a good idea to check it out.   Besides, P.I.C.A. is located right […]

  • Looking back in time – My 7 links
    Posted at 10:39h, 16 July Reply

    […] believe is A Step by step primer on how to bid on Priceline .  I wrote it after finally conquering my fear of using it.  It wasn’t until I realized […]

  • Jeremy Branham
    Posted at 15:28h, 16 July Reply

    While I am a budget travel guy, I am not too excited about priceline. I guess that is where the planning part of me comes in as I like to be able to research and plan where I am going to stay. I like the cheap prices but not sure if this is best option for me. Maybe for bigger cities it would work well but I just don’t like the option of getting told where to stay.

    • Renee
      Posted at 09:24h, 17 July Reply

      Jeremy,
      Your Priceline position is exactly why I don’t like cruising. I like to be able to plan my activities and have some measure of control over what I do on my vacation. There is a method to this madness. If you do the research to figure out what ( I prefer 4 stars on Priceline) hotels are available in a given area, you have increased your chances of getting a great hotel exponentially. Once you initially indicate that you are looking for 4 stars ONLY…..their search engine will only search for 4 star hotels. How can you beat that? Assuming that inventory is available on a given day and a given area….you will have a pretty good idea of what hotel you will end up getting. It is an art that you can work to your benefit. That’s why it’s important to see winning bids on the bidding for travel website. That will tell you what the going rate is and how much to bid and where you are most likely to be staying. So, don’t write it off just yet. Read the article thoroughly and you will see what I mean.

  • The Foodie’s version of Heaven: The Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts
    Posted at 18:13h, 02 August Reply

    […] we had frequent flier miles to redeem and we were fortunate enough to get a crazy deal for a great hotel on Priceline.  So, we thought it might be a good idea to check it out.   Besides, P.I.C.A. is located right […]

  • The Foodie’s version of Heaven: The Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts - Rachael Ray Products
    Posted at 14:52h, 06 August Reply

    […] we had frequent flier miles to redeem and we were fortunate enough to get a crazy deal for a great hotel on Priceline.  So, we thought it might be a good idea to check it out.   Besides, P.I.C.A. is located right […]

  • The Foodie’s version of Heaven: The Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts
    Posted at 16:55h, 07 August Reply

    […] we had frequent flier miles to redeem and we were fortunate enough to get a crazy deal for a great hotel on Priceline.  So, we thought it might be a good idea to check it out.   Besides, P.I.C.A. is located right […]

  • Staycations: learning to love the best of where you live on a budget
    Posted at 11:45h, 01 March Reply

    […] one of the best times!  I was able to book a one night stay at Courtyard by Marriot for $90.00 via Priceline.  We managed to take a $15.00 trolley tour of the city (talk about photo ops!), do a little […]

  • Staycations: learning to love the best of where you live on a budget - A View To A Thrill
    Posted at 20:17h, 12 April Reply

    […] one of the best times!  I was able to book a one night stay at Courtyard by Marriot for $90.00 via Priceline.  We managed to take a $15.00 trolley tour of the city (talk about photo ops!), do a little […]

  • If you have never left your hometown, you should make plans to leave....today! - A View To A Thrill
    Posted at 16:01h, 25 December Reply

    […] destination, start saving, learn how to take advantage of frequent flier programs, learn how to use Priceline to get great deals on hotels and car rentals, etc.  Or you can just email me for moral support and […]

Post A Comment

CommentLuv badge