Priceline: Anyone Else Using It?Back to Forum
Anonymous2 Mar 2010
So I need a hotel room at the LAX airport, on arrival from FRA in F, continuing my usual practice of getting fully relaxed on the way over and not wanting to drive immediately, as well as being pretty tired and therefore in no state to take advantage of the facilities of a luxury hotel.
So I checked rates on expedia for my preferred property, the Westin (which has the super comfy “Heavenly” beds).
Room rate 23/5: £74.95 per night
Taxes & service fees: £12.76 per night Details
Total room cost: £87.71 Expedia Special Rate
So that was my price to beat.
I have in the past bid $60 for the same hotel, this year I checked on http://www.biddingfortravel.com and saw bids at $66 accepted.
So logged on to http://www.priceline.com and bid, and won:
Your Offer Price Per Room, Per Night: $66.00
Taxes & Service Fees: $16.89
Total Charges*: $82.89
That’s under £50 (or was until Brown’s pound crashed) all in.
As a Gold SPG member I usually get the club floor even on PL, and any extras get me starpoints, too, though obviously not the cost of the hotel itself.
Might be handy for others looking for an early night on arrival at US destinations, before checking in to a proper hotel elsewhere.2 Mar 2010
Priceline can also often give good rates at UK hotels, particularly 5-star properties in London.
For UK business travellers, however, it’s always worth remembering that (as with Expedia special rates etc) a successful bid will have an amount equivalent to the prevailing rate of VAT added to it – but this amount will not be recoverable by your business. That said, Park Lane properties have recently been available at the c£128 mark, including the VAT-equivalent surcharge.
Note also that this kind of bidding is not available on the Priceline Europe site; you must use the US site:2 Mar 2010
Hi V K
Resepct to you, great posts.
I am curious though, in an observational way. You post a question about hotel rooms in LA. You make a point of mentionng you ‘fly over in F’, somebody is paying the fare – yet once you arrive, you are concenred enough about the price of the hotel to start bidding over for a few dollars benefit for the cost of the room at the Westin.
I would have thought that the use of on line bidding for your F ticket from FRA would have ben far more interesting than a $20 saving at the Westin.
Just a curious question V K – again respect to you for your contributions.4 Mar 2010
I always seek to get best value. I generally book my own travel, and that allows me often to save money in absolute terms, while enhancing my own enjoyment.
So, I will fly via FRA to keep costs below what a direct LHR-LAX flight might otherwise cost. I am not certain you can “bid” for premium cabin fares (except for Private Jet flights, which I know is possible), but would be interested to know if that is possible.
On this journey, I will leave London a day earlier to allow me to have a relaxing journey and enjoy the FCT.
Rather than going straight into the city (too “relaxed” to drive on arrival, and I need my own car in LA), I need somewhere to rest before I pick up the car and check into the “proper” hotel.
I therefore pay for the first night myself as it was my decision to arrive a day early; the airport hotel allows me to avoid afternoon traffic and to delay renting my car by one day, this also saves money.
I also use priceline for personal travel. When my expenses are on a per diem basis, it often works well to economise on the first night, therefore allowing me to stay somewhere nicer than would normally be the case on subsequent nights, as this brings down the average cost per night of the whole stay.
Since belts have been tightened all round, I have found these workarounds are a good way of ensuring I can continue to travel in the manner to which I have become accustomed, while keeping costs down to a minimum.
I have in the past paid full whack for that airport hotel (and have enough points to stay free), but there are better deals through priceline and using a discounter does not materially affect my stays.
So I suppose the answer is that I combine personal and business travel to the best advantage of both those paying my expenses and my own personal preferences in order to maximise both parties’ utility.
And I do like a bargain!4 Mar 2010
VK, is there any way to ensure which hotel you get. Going to Rome tomorrow, but as you might be aware Rome hotels are very hit and miss with regards to standards. Some of the 5* hotels ive been looking at could hardly be described as 3*.4 Mar 2010
Well said! I used to agree completely with you, and I think it is healthy to approach business travel with the same barging view as personal travel. I always travel in business, even in Europe. I have on numerous occasions suggested to my manager a change of flights to cheaper options such as using BA and LX European business over the more expensive LH options. Furthermore, I suggested using OS with their 15% off on their website which was received well.
However, no good deed goes un-punished! While one should never expect favours to be returned, one should expect some leniency when required. For example, shelling out an extra €200 for a week’s stay to make a hotel top flight status (and all the cards were on the table), allowing an Friday night return rather than Saturday mid-morning has been turned down despite all of the suggestions from yours truly that saved five-fold the requested extra cost. This has turned me slightly cynical to proactively support “barging hunting”. I will continue to look for business barging, and suggest them as if it was my own money. However, if this will be a one-way street, I am not sure if I will be so proactive in my cost control. I am not asking for much, just the flexibility come home on a Friday night rather than Saturday afternoon.4 Mar 2010
VK go gold on BA again tomorrow after last years near miss.
I am a BMI DC member but should I get Luftwaffe or BMI to match my BA gold? I do lots of flying on STAR alliance airlines in economy but get next to no mileage/status points as they are all discounted tickets (LOT,LH, TAP mainly)4 Mar 2010
Don’t mention ze war!
I am not an expert on Star Gold options, and having “enjoyed” the modest privileges of Star Gold, I frankly wouldn’t miss it. bmi usually hand out Gold Cards like smarties, so I suggest getting a comp from them, and one of the generous promos or administrative cock-ups should allow you to retain it.
On the point of craigwatson’s forthcoming Roman holiday, I would only ever use PL for 4 or 5 star bids; the whole point is that you “never know what you’re gonna get” hence the discount, but the site I referencedm bft,com and other sites can give you a fair idea to a shortlist of one or two possibilities, and I have never yet been truly disappointed by a PL hotel.4 Mar 2010
Martin Lewis aka Money Saving Expert suggests a way of guessing which hotel is being referred to, as well as a way of beating priceline’s one bid per day rule: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-priceline-hotel-deals#beat
And probably stay clear of any hotels advertising a ‘Gourmet Night’ 🙂4 Mar 2010
excellent post; I’ve been using Priceline for years. Depending on which country I’m visiting the US site or the others are more appropriate to use and hence I have several profiles. Comes in handy also if I’m in a rush and need to bid more than once a day 😉
In addition to the websites suggested, there is one direct competitor to PL (which might give you further hints on areas, availability etc): hotwire.com. They are now even advertising rates comparing themselves to PL!
The other obvious workaround to the one-a-day is to start bidding well in advance! With a bit of discipline, simply upping your bid by a dollar every day will get you a deal eventually.
One remaining challenge where I am looking for suggestions: how to avoid the Hilton Chicago (it’s in the Magnificent Mile zone with many of the other nice hotels), its so in need for a refurb.9 Mar 2010