Travel Tip #16: Priceline

Priceline is one of the riskiest ways of booking a hotel room (you can also use them to book cars and flights). Risky because,  the actual hotel name and excess location are revealed after you have paid. Both sites rely on hotels and suppliers who have excess capacity of rooms. As a consumer, it has meant getting rooms at amazing prices. I have stayed at the Westin St Francis, in Cardiff, Wales, on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, in Seattle’s heart  and off Times Square,New York  in four star hotels and on Orchard Rd, Singapore in a five star hotel, all for around $100 a night.

Priceline’s main feature is Name Your Own Price. You decide the date of travel, the location and hotel star rating, name the price you’re willing to pay, and find out if a hotel accepts your offer.  The risk is that you may get a location in the city, you do not really want or a hotel you don’t like. For a business trip, these are acceptable risks. For a vacation,  I am less inclined to take the risk. Having said that, I have booked many, many nights and have been very happy.

Some tips and warnings:

  1. Reservations are basically not refundable (although I have managed a refund on a couple of occasions)
  2. Research before booking. I check prices on Kayak for four star hotels in the same city and then deduct 40 per cent and use this price as the starting bid on Priceline
  3. Run from booking 3 star or less. Every time  I have booked a 3 star hotel through Priceline, I have regretted it. 3 star hotels with excess capacity have this excess capacity for a reason
  4. With experience, there are more complicated nuances and strategies to the website- Read Hotwire and Priceline Forum for advice and tips from customers
  5. You cannot earn frequent flyer or hotel points but I have often found that when I present my Hotel membership card (Eg Marriott Rewards or HiltonHonors), that hotel staff will upgrade me or give me other bonuses linked to my membership status.

Related Posts

Travel Tip #13 Save through Youth Hostels!

Travel tip 14: Don’t Overlook Youth Hostel Stays!

Travel Tip #15 Wimdu and AirBnB



  1. I’ve never heard of “” before…but I’ve always used a very similar website called “” and found it SUPER useful! I wouldn’t suggest anyone use hotwire or priceline WITHOUT first spending time reserching on first!

  2. Great article and I agree with your sentiment. Priceline is risky because of the unknowns but if you’re flexible on location and hotel amenities, then it’s a great way to save on hotels.

    One thing though: When bidding, it’s great to use the free rebidding strategy. Basically, Priceline only lets you bid once in a 24 hour period for the same hotel rating, location, and travel dates. But there’s a way around this:

    Keep up the awesome blogging and great advice.

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