If you’re thinking about a last-minute trip out of town for spring break, don’t forget that QR offers 1.1% cashback for Priceline Name Your Own Price! I’ve gotten some amazing hotel deals with Name Your Own Price — if you’ve never tried it because you were concerned that you’d end up in some dump on the opposite side of town, fear no more! Here are some of my tried-and-true tips:
1. Get to know the area of the city where you want to stay. Priceline will show you a map, and you can bid on the area where you’d most like to stay. (If there are more than one area you’d consider, you’re just going to bid on ONE to start.)
2. Once you’ve chosen the area, use another travel site to see what hotels go for in that part of town. You don’t want to overbid! You may also want to check availability of the hotels you like while you’re on that other travel site. No sense in getting your hopes up on a particular hotel if it’s already sold out. And this also gives you an idea of the types of hotels available in the area. Priceline is going to let you choose what quality you’re willing to stay in. This research takes a couple of minutes but arms you with all you need to get the BEST hotel on Priceline!
3. Head back to Priceline and toward the left bottom under Name Your Own Price, click Bid Now. Enter your desired travel dates and location. You’ll see the city map and the star levels. Here’s where you’ll start using some strategy!
4. Priceline will only allow you to bid once every 24 hours on a specific date range / area of town / star-level combination. You can bid again immediately if you change one of those items. First thing to do is click each region where you’d consider staying and notice what star levels are available. Let’s say you’re only interested in staying in a 3.5 star or higher hotel. One area of town you’d consider has 3.5 star hotels. Another only has 3 star hotels. You’ve just found yourself a “free rebid.” Start by bidding on the area that DOES have 3.5 star hotels. Bid around 60% of the prices those hotels were going for on that “other” travel site. If you don’t win on the first bid, you can add in the other area, knowing they don’t have 3.5 star hotels — so you’re actually going to be re-bidding on the first area again — increase your bid slightly, and immediately bid again.
5. Dates flexible? Close your window, go back through QR’s Priceline link again, and give it another shot with the new dates (and again, starting with the ONE area with the desired star level but increasing your bid slightly, and you’ll get another “free rebid” by adding in that second area without the desired star level because you’re using new dates).
Keep in mind that Priceline only guarantees double occupancy, and this could be one bed or two. After winning your bid you can call the hotel and request two beds, but it’s up to the hotel’s availability at the time you check in. You can always pay a few bucks extra for a rollaway bed at some hotels — or do what I do and bring a sleeping bag for the teenage son, who doesn’t really care about fluffy mattresses anyway. 😉
Don’t be afraid to Name Your Own Price! Spend a few minutes doing some research, and use these strategies, and you may save 50% on the best rates available anywhere else!