So, how do we afford that vacation when our purse strings have been pulled tight? I quite like Priceline. I’ve personally been using Priceline for years — even during their brief stint in the grocery business — and have scored some amazing deals, such as $99/night at the four-star Hilton New York in midtown Manhattan.
Name Your Price With Priceline
The real money saver at Priceline, however, is the “Name Your Own Price” option made famous by William Shatner in numerous cheesy commercials. Hokey ads aside, “Name Your Own Price” is fantastic and fun! Naming what seems like a ridiculously low price for a rental car or hotel room, then waiting while the system processes that request to see whether it will be accepted, inspires a tingle of anticipation similar to that felt while watching the dice roll across a craps table in Vegas. Really, it’s like gambling, except you have nothing to lose if your price is rejected!
Don’t get me wrong, there are some downsides:
1. You don’t know which hotel, rental car company, or airline is going to accept your request, and you don’t know what time your flight might leave or in which cities you may have to catch connecting flights. You can, however, specify the neighborhood and star-level of the hotel, the size of vehicle that you wish to rent, and the dates and departure/arrival locations of flights. Additionally, for flight bids, Priceline looks for non-stop options first, will not book an itinerary with more than one connection, and promises that layovers will be no longer than 3 hours.
2. You have to enter payment information BEFORE your bid is processed, and if your bid is accepted you are obligated and will be charged.
3. Airline tickets are non-refundable, non-transferable, and cannot be changed. They are also ineligible for frequent flyer program points.
4. If you miss your flight, the rest of the itinerary is canceled and refunds will not be issued for the unused portion of the trip. However, you can purchase trip insurance very inexpensively via Priceline.
The “Name Your Own Price” option at Priceline doesn’t really work for me on flights, though the problem is more because of me. There are just too many unknowns for me, as I like to be sure I’m on the first flight of the morning to avoid crowds and try to avoid connections in airports that are notorious for delays, such as JFK. I love the “Name Your Own Price” option, though, for hotels and rental cars, and have yet to be disappointed. I use the option, too, when booking business travel for others at my place of employment, and have never had any complaints come back to me later.
Get A Bargain Vacation, Snag Travel Discounts and Airfare Deals
Using the “Tours and Attractions” feature of Priceline, I have gotten great deals on the SuperShuttle in Tampa. I’ve also used it to buy discounted theme park tickets in Florida and discounted show tickets in Las Vegas. It’s also a great place to read Zagat reviews on area restaurants.
Another feature of Priceline which I have yet to use but may look to in the future is the “PriceBreakers” feature. At last glance, this area of the website featured long-weekend hotel specials in NYC, L.A., Miami and Boston, as well as other major U.S. cities, deals on cruise packages, and roundtrip flights.
I also love that Priceline can be accessed via Ebates, which gives the Ebates user 2% cashback on any travel purchases made through Priceline (more on how Ebates works). What a great way to start a vacation fund for the next family getaway!
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