Name Your Price With Priceline: Get A Bargain Vacation

by Emiley Thacker on 2009-04-1414

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.

Priceline William ShatnerImage by Priceline
Priceline offers deals on airfare, hotels, rental cars, cruises, and vacation packages that are priced similarly to most any other travel site, such as Travelocity or Expedia. Because Priceline doesn’t impose booking fees, you may actually even save a few dollars here over those other sites on occasion. For more details, check out Priceline here.

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!

Priceline Name Your Own Price
Name Your Own Price


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

Priceline Home Page

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!

Copyright © 2009 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael April 15, 2009 at 8:42 am

I use Priceline and the Name Your Price has worked well for me too. If you’re not fussy about how you go from point A to point B or if you don’t care that you’re not staying at a fancy 4 star hotel, then you can save a lot of money. I calculate what price to name this way: take the regular rate or price for tickets or hotels, cut it in half, then add 20$.

Greener Pastures April 15, 2009 at 11:59 am

I’ve had some fun with this over the years, too! One watch out. Some friends of mine bought 4 tickets together to a destination. A few weeks before they left, they found out that two of the tickets were switched to a different flight – approximately around the same time period, but they couldn’t fly together.

It wasn’t that big of a deal, but it was an unexpected surprise.

Silicon Valley Blogger April 15, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Interesting! Yes, I’m sure that with the Name Your Price option, it’s anything goes! There is that tradeoff where you sacrifice all your requirements (or you’re limited to a few) for money. As for me, this sort of thing may not be something I’d like to try out for hotels because I am very finicky about the places I stay at (I feel this is part of the vacation experience), but I can see myself using Name Your Price for airline tickets. I figure the short term sacrifice in this case would be worth the big savings on tickets. I do find airline tickets (especially international tickets) to not be worth the price I pay sometimes. Long, uncomfortable flights to the other side of the world and back for over $1,000 is way too expensive for me.

Alison@This Wasn't In The Plan April 15, 2009 at 8:04 pm

Thanks for this article. I’ve always been a bit wary of the Name Your Price option since you do have to pre-pay so to speak. In the future, though, I just may give it a try!

Kristy @ Master Your Card April 15, 2009 at 9:02 pm

You know, I’ve considered Priceline because of the ‘Name Your Price,’ but when I read all those variables in the disclosures, I was completely turned off. I like to know my itinerary exactly, times I’m leaving, flight numbers, the name of the hotel, all of that. It just makes me crazy to think that I won’t know until after I bought it. So, I’ve been using Travelocity and I suspect I’m missing some great deals out there. Part of it is that I’m too lazy to do the tedious research. Part of it is that Travelocity has always been easy to work with and I’ve never had to worry about anything.

Matt May 19, 2009 at 9:10 am

I like priceline, but more often I use last minute .com for hotels, because they can have some great deals, even when it’s not at the last minute. I’m usually too much of a planner to risk a name-your-price sort of deal, but it seems worth the gamble!

Randy Novak May 26, 2009 at 9:49 pm

There’s a term in the travel industry: “pricelined.” As in, “I thought I had a great deal on a four=star hotel in Seattle, but when I checked in I discovered my room was basically a broom closet with a shower. I got pricelined.” I just returned from a hotel stay where I was given a room I doubt they’d ever consider giving to a guest who’d booked via the hotel (or Expedia, for that matter). I agree that naming your own price can be rewarding and fun; just trust and believe that the hotel you book may well give you the very worst room in the house. By the way, those reviews on priceline? Bogus. Heavily edited to remove any reference to “pricelining” or negative remarks about your priceline experience.

Jeff June 24, 2009 at 3:32 pm

I agree priceline can be useful, but I like to know exactly where I am going to stay and when I am going to get there. I would rather pay a little more for travel and know my details when I book. I have used the name your price option a few times to book hotels, and I was not disappointed, but I would rather know for sure.

john indel zamy July 2, 2009 at 11:00 am

i want to buy a ticket for $100 or $120

Bathurst July 21, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Great find. Priceline is a cheap cosmetics store here in Australia :)

Andrei August 4, 2009 at 8:44 am

I never tried PriceLine, it’s true. I never had to, but this year I am seriously considering it. I don’t want to give up my Hawaiian vacation, so hopefully I’ll get a good deal.

Terry July 9, 2011 at 10:19 am

Priceline is okay and is very useful site. But you should always check more web sites and not only the biggest ones. Don’t forget to check us @ sky-tours.com. We are also not always the cheapest but 20% of our prices you won’t find anywhere else, especially if you fly to and from secondary airports and one way within Europe or one way between Europe and the Americas. Our advantage is: we are a global player – not only American.

Maggie @ Snag A Bargain April 5, 2012 at 11:32 am

I love Priceline. I took a trip down the east coast and then back up using Priceline daily to get the best deals on hotels. Saved me a bundle.

brianne October 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm

If naming your own price for a rental car, can you at least choose the pickup/drop off location?

Leave a Comment