Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Priceline's name your own price still the way to go!

Priceline was a household name in my house way before Yahootravel, Hotwire, Expedia, etc. I remember back in the day, like way back in the day before I was old enough to drive, I pricelined roundtrip tix to chicago for under $150. During my college days we used to priceline 4 star hotels in Manhattan for like $100.

Priceline though has seemed to disappear into oblivion especially with the rise of Hotwire where you don't have to put in a credit card number in order to be aware of the steeping deals with the caveat that all you know is dates, prices, and star ratings before purchasing. That was good enough for most people.

I haven't even thought to use priceline in more recent times but frustration with the exorbitant airfare rates had me looking everywhere. I've been trying to plan a trip to visit a good friend for some time now and we're both coming upon perfect openings in our schedules. I've been searching for the last few days and the best deal I found was $440 despite the fact that we're looking at off peak dates and weekdays. I browsed on every single discount airfare site as well as the airlines sites and it just didn't get better than $440. I can go to London and back with a hotel for that much (or at least used to), not from random-town, USA to other-random-town, USA.

If you're not familiar with how priceline works, it's a site that allows you to name your own price (before the taxes and fees) and put in your dates and cities. You must put in your billing information and if it accepts your price than you have automatically made that purchase. If it doesn't accept your price you're allowed to try again a limited number of times but each time you must raise your price by a certain increment and change another detail (like airport, or date). Ideally you would like your initial price to be accepted because you don't want to change any of your itinerary-so it's not wise to start too low.

So considering $440 was the best price I found for my trip, I chose to start with my asking price of $200 and was actually worried that it's going to be too low. To my surprise my very first bid was accepted! The total price came out to be $237 after the fees, that's about half the price of the best deal I found anywhere else. I oh so wish I could go back and try something like $160, nevertheless I'm super excited this trip is working out!!!!!


Anonymous said...

It sounds like a good idea, but I hate to give billing info ahead of time!! how is their refund policy in case you change your mind about the date for example ?

Does is it work for a destination like Beirut?

asoom said...

noura, that's the thing there's no refunds or changes..sales are final but that's the case with most of the discount websites though. Honestly I'm not sure how it works international you can always try. If you're feeling uneasy about putting in billing beforehand than try it with a really low asking price to feel more comfortable with it. That way if it doesn't accept you didn't lose anything and if it does you just got yourself an awesome deal!

Beave said...

I'm going to have to try that for international! I've been planning a birthday trip for V and it's been crazy how much the cost is.

asoom said...

Beave, like I said to noura I don't know how international priceline is but I'm sure all the "major" international hotspots are covered so yes I would definitely recommend priceline for sure especially after my great experience. Let us know where you decide to go for the Bday!

Hamza said...


I hardly understood how this worked, but if it works outside the US, then that'll be cool.

asoom said...

hamza, it's pretty easy to figure out!