Tuesday, May 16, 2006

A Priceline Convert

Although I've known about Priceline for years, I've always been too timid to book a flight or hotel with the website for fear that I would become committed to a flight I didn't want or sequestered in a hotel filled with rats and rapists. But at Kristen's (my roommate) urging--and with her support--I used Priceline to find a last-minute hotel in Washington DC. To my surprise, I was able to specify the location and the star-level of the hotel. I selected three stars in DuPont/Woodley, figuring that even a worst case return couldn't be that bad. Having found nothing in a decent section of DC for less than $250.00 on Orbitz and Travelocity, I decided to bid $85.00. To my surprise, I got an immediate return, in under a minute, that not only matched my price but also placed me in a four, rather than three, star hotel. Total cost with taxes: a little over 100 bucks a night. Brimming with confidence, I used Priceline again to book a room in Eugene, Oregon. This time I snagged a fifty-five dollar room at a Hilton--forty dollars less than most of the other options I turned up on competing sites.

Am I giving Priceline my ringing endorsement? For hotels, yes--as long as you're careful about selecting star-level and location. For flights, I'm not so certain. My impression is people usually get stuck with middle seats and have difficulty rebooking when a travel glitch occurs. And, of course, all purchases are non-refundable, so if you're someone who frequently gets sick, avoid this option like the plague.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Taniqua Jones said...

does priceline work better in some cities than in others?

11:57 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

yes, it works best in large cities--where there are large conference hotels with rooms to fill.

8:21 AM  
Anonymous Dennis said...

This site is a godsend:

www.betterbidding.com

Want to know where priceline may put you for a 4-star in Atlanta's Midtown? Here you can post your winning bids, hotel location, and hotel name. I've successfully used these sites twice in the past year, and on both occasions got hotels in the $200-300 range for $50 and $79!

Still leery of using priceline for flights. . .rarely do my travel plans allow me to be ambivalent between a 6am and 6pm departure.

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Patrick R said...

Ben,

Can you add betterbidding.com as a link from your page?

12:23 PM  

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