Thursday, February 12, 2009

How to Bid Better With Priceline

Mike Grasso

If we think back just 10 years ago, our options for finding the best travel deals were fairly limited to travel agents and other good folks "in the know." Fortunately now we have a potpourri of resources, particularly online, that enable us to find a customized travel deals that meets our needs in term of value and taste. One website, a particular favorite of mine, called takes finding great values to the next level. 

As their website states, their primary goal is to promote informed bidding when using Priceline travel products. Many of us are familiar with the popular "name your own price" line pioneered by Priceline many years ago.  Under this method, you can bid for travel (cars, airline tickets, hotels) at a price you feel is reasonable without, at least initially, knowing who the supplier of the travel is. If your bid is accepted, then Priceline congratulates you and confirms the details of your itenerary, including which airline, car rental, or hotel accepted your offer. But how do you know if you over bid? What if that good deal could have been a great deal? This is where comes in. 

Based primarily on user successes with Priceline's bidding system, organizes their site by travel product and region, allowing you to scan recent Priceline bids in order to put in an offer that is likely to get accepted and ensures you don't overbid. So while a rate of $200US for the 5-star Intercontinental De La Ville in Rome would be a bargain (rack rates are over $250), a rate of $154 was accepted by Priceline - as reported on

Of course if you underbid, Priceline requires you to become more flexible (i.e: larger car, expand hotel search to a different region, etc.) then rebid. If you just want to increase you bid amount, you must wait 24 hours. So a review of the biddingfortravel site before you place a bid helps ensure your offer amount is within reasonable levels.