Priceline Tricks – 4 Star London Hotel For 50 Pounds A Night

Everyone’s heard of Priceline.com and Hotwire.com. In exchange for a great deal on airfare or travel, you give up some flexibility and information. That is, you don’t get to find out which airline or hotel you’re using until you’ve committed your money.

This lack of information spawned sites like BetterBidding.com and BiddingForTravel.com provide. Inside the forums, people share their bids, if they won, and what they won. There are also a few useful tips that novice users may not be aware of, like how to get “free” rebids. For example, maybe you bid $50 for a hotel room and got rejected. With the right information, you can try rebid again at $55 or $60 without having to change your original search parameters. Using this combo of history and multiple bids, you can avoid overbidding and get the best price possible.

For instance, I just used the information from BiddingForTravel to get a double room in a 4-star hotel in London for ?50 ($95) a night at Priceline, plus taxes. On the hotels’s own website, the room is ?150 a night, and even on Expedia’s “Special Rate” it was ?105 a night. $95 may sound expensive, but if you have ever tried to find affordable lodging in London, you’d agree that this is a great deal. I went upscale a bit as am sharing this room with an acquaintance, but still it’s only going to be ?25 per person.

Even for a decent HI hostel you are looking at ?20 a night for one bed. Last time I went to London, I went backpacker and stayed at a private hostel for ?15 for a bed. For that price you get a bed in a 8-person room – imagine a regular-sized bedroom with 4 children’s bunk beds in it. My legs hung a foot off the end. And three showers per 20+ people. It’ll be nice not to have to lock my bag to my bed this time ;)

Many people also swear by these sites for domestic car rentals, and often get cars for under $20 a day including taxes.

Yes, and don’t forget to get cash back when you shop online. Thanks, DorkyDad. I totally forgot to do this on this booking, dangit.

Comments

  1. Jonathan,

    You forgot to t mention going through eBates.com first before booking through Hotwire or priceline for 2% cash back!

  2. A few additional suggestions in this area. I have used biddingfortravel.com with Priceline since I was an undergrad, about 9 years now. I used to use it for cars, hotel and plane, but don?t use it for planes anymore because of the unpredictable flight times which can = loss of day of work which =?s loss of pay that it always greater than any savings I would realize. Do please read the biddingfortravel.com FAQ?s for each modality as they are a wealth of information on strategy and in addition there are lists available on the site that catalog the hotels that have accepted bids in the past by number of *?s and location. Please also post your results on any bids as that is what makes the site work, I have noticed at times that there is a lack of timely information in the database . My general practice has always been to book a car and hotel online once I realize I am going someplace (provided that it can be cancelled on 24 hours notice) at a place I am willing to stay and for the best price I can find generally available, this is what I call my insurance policy. I always make these booking in my wife?s names and do the Priceline bidding in my name. The reason? I believe that Priceline compares your bid against reservations already existing in the systems of participating car rental companies (and I assume also hotels) with you name and same dates/location. I suspect that as a result, a bid that would normally be accepted is denied if they already know they have a hook in your for a higher price. I then start bidding the period I have during which to bid (i.e., 4 week time versus 3 days) will dictate what I start at based on whether I know that I will get additional bids after the waiting period. How I came to find out that they compare information was when I was renting a car that I had booked and failed to get an accepted bid on Priceline. When I went to pick the car up, they said wow, it looks like you made and cancelled a lot of reservations. I said that I had only made one but had tried Priceline, to which they responded that those were the records of my bids. As an aside, for car rentals, I have had great success with the Entertainment guide and I don?t even have a book. I created an account on their website when I did have a book a couple of years back and continue to have limited access to their coupons. The best part is that the care rental ones are there for the taking, you just print it off and make a reservation through their link. I just made a reservation in Florida for a weekend with a coupon from them and pre-tax and fees, my rate is $13 a day for a midsized car.

  3. You have a typo…you said “without having to” twice in the 2nd paragraph.

    Thanks for the info, too!

  4. I added eBates/Fatcash info. Typo fixed too. I’ve also never used Hotwire/Priceline for an flight purchase because I like knowing which airline I’m using and the price difference was never worth it.

    I do think this service would work best for car rentals since they are all basically the same, and then hotels since you are trusting their star raiting system, and worst for flights since times matter.

  5. Good summary. Priceline is great for hotel rooms, I once got the Hyatt Regency in downtown Miami for $60 total, the price at hyatt.com was $250. The caveats of course, are that it is completely nonrefundable (I have tried, they won’t refund anything), and you don’t know the exact hotel, which is why the hotel lists at biddingfortravel and betterbidding are so helpful. Some people don’t like the uncertainty, but for 50% savings (about what I average), I’ll take a little uncertainty.

    Agree about flights, but it can be useful between two places which have high prices because of no competition (say Memphis-Detroit), and you are flexible. But overall, it is a bad idea for flights, as indicated by the lack of data on the forums.

    As for rental cars, I have found that normal reservations using various coupon codes (see flyertalk.com and costco.com, for example) are often extremely cheap, and Priceline only beats those deals at places with very expensive rental cars, like Seattle and San Francisco. At those airport Priceline can give you the best deal, but most other places a regular reservation works best, and those are great because you don’t even pay for it until you pick up the car.

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