*This article was originally posted in 2013. It has been updated with more in-depth information about Priceline.
One of my favorite travel sites is Priceline. Priceline is a website that helps users purchase hotels, airfare & rental cars at a discount price. Over the years, I’ve saved a decent amount of money by booking through this site.
When selecting a flight you have two options for booking. With the first choice, you can view the airline carrier and the flight times. By booking this way you will know the carrier and the exact time of your trip before you book it. The more attractive the destination, the more flights that you will see going to and from the location. Most of the major airlines advertise their fares on Priceline. One major airline, Southwest doesn’t do that for some reason. If you like to fly with them, you must check their site for prices.
If you want to roll the dice, you can use a feature on Priceline called Name Your Own Price (NYOP). The NYOP feature is cool. You can put bids in for flights, hotels, or rental cars. If a company accepts your bid, you are charged that price. I have seen bids that were 30 – 40% cheaper than the listed rates. I actually saved $54 on a flight from Atlanta – Chicago by naming my own price. The only thing with the NYOP deal is that you don’t know the carrier or flight times until after you have made your purchase. That could be a problem for some travelers if they have to be at their destination at a particular time. If you don’t have to be somewhere at a given time I would seriously look into using the NYOP service.
When booking a hotel on Priceline, you have the same three options. You can book your hotel room by seeing which hotel brand has the best available price. You can also use the NYOP option. The third option is called Express Deals. Express Deals give you a discount price. The name of the hotel is hidden until you book it. They do list the star rating and the amenities. If you are trying to get a deal, this is the way to go. I used an Express Deal when I went to Charlotte last year for Fincon. I stayed at the Aloft hotel which is located near the Epicentre. I saved 25% by purchasing that deal.
Booking a rental car is similar to booking a flight. You can book your vehicle by choosing your company and price, or you can book it using the NYOP feature. When you book it that way, you don’t know that rental company until you have a successful bid. I’ve been able to book cars for $13 a day using the feature. You have to try it.
Priceline also sells different types of vacation packages. I’ve yet to book one yet, but I’ve seen great deals on Walt Disney World, Cancun and Las Vegas on the site. One of these days I will book one through them.
Have any of you used Priceline before? Have you ever scored a deal by using the Name Your Price Feature?
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