Getting the best price on Priceline is about knowing how to use the Name your Own Price feature to get the best price possible
My son lives in Colombia – not Missouri but waaay south Colombia the country – with his wife and my grandson. I have a sister that lives in California, a brother and sister in Las Vegas and another brother in Mississippi…
You can imagine that the Frugal Grandma does a little traveling from time to time.
On a fixed income like mine, I couldn’t do it if I didn’t get the best price possible on airfare and other travel. While I’m not sure I’m quite the Priceline super-negotiator that William Shatner plays in the commercials, I’ve been ‘naming my own price’ for years now and regularly save upwards of 40% from the listed price on airfare, hotels and car rentals.
Getting the best price on travel isn’t as tough as you might think. Actually, it’s pretty easy. I’ll go over my process to get the best price possible on Priceline and then go over a few other features on the site and some things to think about.
Become a Priceline Negotiator and Get the Best Price on Priceline
Clicking through to Priceline.com will take you to the main website. To name your own price and get the best deals, you’ll need find the ‘Name your own Price’ section and click on one of the images for hotels, flights or rental cars.
For a flight, you’ll be asked to enter the departure and destination cities as well as dates and how many people are going. You’ll then go to a screen where you’ll pick your airports and bid on a best price for the trip.
Here’s where you need to do a little research to get the best price on travel deals. Before you name your own price, look through the regular prices for flights on the days you want to travel. Look for the lowest published price. You might even look on a few other travel websites.
When you go to ‘name you own price’, I usually start with about 50% off the lowest price I have seen. You’ll have to enter your credit card information and agree to the ticket so make sure you are happy with that price in case you get it.
You’ll have your answer within a couple of minutes. If your best price deal is accepted, you’ll get your travel plans and everything is all set.
If your best price bid is not accepted, Priceline will let you know what is an acceptable bid given the airport information and dates you selected. You will have the option of using a different airport that will be closer to your bid. You can also choose different dates for your trip and rebid, or you can use Priceline´s suggested bid.
I never use Priceline’s suggested bid for my second best price bid!
You can repeat the process, increasing your best price bid each time to see if it is accepted. I usually increase my bids by about $50 each time, depending on the suggested bid and how much the regular tickets cost. This way, you’re virtually guaranteed to get the best price for airfare or travel.
Priceline lists flights, hotels, vacation packages, rental cars and anything else you may need to enjoy your vacation. You may want the entire vacation package or just a flight, it´s up to you. With the hotel deals you can get ¨freebies¨ like breakfast included, a pool to dip into after a long day´s drive, entertainment, or free internet.
For someone that travels as much as I do, it can get really expensive especially around the holidays. Kayak found that airfares for Thanksgiving travel jumped 17% after October and tickets for Christmas travel surged more than 50% when there was less than a month to the travel date. Make sure you're making your plans as early as possible to get the best price.
Get the Best Price and Get Bonus Cash on Priceline
As with a lot of travel hacking ideas to get the best price and deals, it helps to take full advantage of all the rewards and bonus deals available on one site. This means that you’ll not only get the best price on your airfare but get other rewards as well.
As a Priceline rewards member, you´ll be eligible to receive Bonus Cash. Whenever you book something on Priceline, you’ll get rewards that can be used towards future Priceline purchases. Bonus cash rewards are deposited directly into your own private rewards account.
Get the Best Price with a Priceline Credit Card
Just like about every other company, Priceline has its own credit card through Visa and offers some enticing incentives to get you to sign up. The card offers an immediate $50 discount on your best price deal or a $50 hotel bonus. Perhaps you would rather choose the immediate 5,000 points on your Priceline purchases. Besides the sign up incentive, you’ll get five times the points when using the card for Priceline purchases and one point for other transactions.
I like that Priceline lets you choose between two cards, one with a $29 annual fee and free 5,000 points or one without the fee and 2,500 points. Get the card with no annual fee, get your best price on airfare and the incentives then cut the card up and get the sign-up incentives on a different card!
Get the Best Price on Priceline with Tonight Only Deals
A new program on Priceline is their Tonight Only Deals, a great option for people already traveling but without a hotel. Download their app on your mobile phone for Priceline´s tonight only stay. You’ll get a listing of three hotel choices close to your destination. The hotels are three and four stars but with big discounts because they want to fill their rooms for the night.
There’s no bidding. You can book from 11am to 11pm that same day so you’ll be getting rooms that the hotel wouldn’t be able to fill without you. It’s a great way to get the best price on hotels when you travel.
Get the Best Price but Remember the Policies
No deal where you get 40% and more off of regular prices is without a few constraints. The tickets on name your own price are non-changeable and non-refundable. Priceline offers insurance in some instances to cancel your itinerary but there are restrictions on when it can be used. I know, no one likes to read through the policies section when they buy tickets but you need to know what you’re getting.
Priceline tries to book nonstop trips but you may have to change planes for some flights. Usually there is a connection time of less than two hours at the airport for your connecting flight but sometimes the wait time may be longer than two hours. With the circulation in my legs, being able to get off the plane and stretch after a couple of hours is a bonus! Embrace the time to read, people watch or however you enjoy passing the time.
Knowing how to use the Name your own Price feature on Priceline will virtually guarantee you a great price on your next vacation. Learn how to bid and get the best price for your flight or hotel stay. It’s saved my pocketbook on several occasions and lets me visit family more than I would otherwise.
Click to save up to 60% with Express Deals on Priceline
Until next time, Happy travels from your Frugal Grandma
About the Author
Joseph Hogue is a financial expert and investment analyst. After serving in the Marine Corps, he started his career investing in real estate before becoming an investment analyst for some of the largest private investors. He's appeared on Bloomberg and on CNBC as an investment expert and has published ten books in personal finance. Now he helps investors reach their financial goals and invest in the stock market with some of the same advice he used when working for the rich.