Priceline bidding has been around forever — it’s actually one of the sites I remember accessing from dial-up AOL back in the late 90’s.
And while it’s still a great tool for finding cheap hotel rooms, rental cars, and airline tickets, now there are even more resources available about how to use Priceline for bidding – making it less of a guessing game.
I’ve pulled together all the best links and tips for this “Ultimate Guide to Priceline Bidding.”
Here’s what you should know about Priceline bidding:
If you don’t want to participate in the bidding process, Priceline also offers regular “published fares” just like Travelocity, Orbitz and the rest of them.
To purchase regular rooms/tickets/rental cars without the Priceline bidding process click here.
How to Use Priceline Bidding
Determine your destination and dates.
Check published fares on Kayak, Orbitz or on Priceline’s main search engine (without Priceline bidding) etc. to get an idea of what prices are common for the class of hotel, rental car, flight you’re considering.
This prevents you from overbidding.
Check the winning Priceline bids for top cities for the category you’re looking at.
These are numbers that Priceline officially distributes based on the Priceline bidding process.
Place your first bid on Priceline based on these winning prices and the prices you found in step 2 (for regular airfares/hotel/rental car).
You can always bid higher later, so it’s best to start low.
A good baseline for starting is at about 50-80% of the listed price.
At this point Priceline with either accept or reject your bid.
If Priceline biddgin rejects it, follow some of the Priceline strategies listed below to rebid.
Best Priceline Tips and Strategies
Priceline is almost always great for rental cars, but with hotels and flights you may not get the specifics (like location or flight time) that you’d prefer.
Make a “ridiculously low bid” and still get an offer for what may be a good deal. (from Indianapolis Travel Examiner)
Make a backup reservation for hotel/rental cars you can fall back on if Priceline process doesn’t work. (from New York Times, Make Priceline do Your Bidding)
While Priceline makes you wait 24 hours to rebid, you can change the hotel class, zone, or dates to bid sooner.
The trick here is that you can “game” the system by adding zones that don’t have hotels in your class (e.g., if you bid on a 4 star hotel, add a city nearby that doesn’t have any 4 star hotels in it).
Details at How to Beat Priceline
Check Priceline’s Airline Statistics for the most popular routes to see savings. (from Airfare Watchdog, Priceline Now Posting Bid Statistics)
Be patient. If you have time (months) until your trip, don’t rush the bidding process. (from About.com Priceline Bidding Strategies)
Priceline works best for 3 and 4 star hotels, not 2 star hotels and lower.
Get around the wait rule by using a different email address and credit card number. (from Mr. G’s Guide to Priceline)
Check forums to see what other deals people have gotten with their Priceline.
These resources are tremendous and you shouldn’t book with Priceline without first checking them out.
Biggest sites for Priceline bidding are:
Better Bidding Forum
Bidding for Travel
Bid 15-50% below published fares for a rate that will likely be accepted.