How does priceline work?

Mar 30th, 2007, 02:22 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 17,106
Nice girl at capetown: Brava! Good try! And keep trying. You have plenty of time, don't panic or feel discouraged if you don't get it right away. June is still far away and hotels may not have given any June rooms to Priceline as yet.

Another suggestion: don't wait a few weeks for your next try. The time allowance to wait is 24 hours. Try again after your 24 hour period is over and rebid the same bids - BUT break up the days. Getting a block of 10 days is really trying to stretch your luck.

Think of it from the hotel management point of view. Say, at the beginning of April you look at your reservations for June and you see zero! Heavens! Time to release a few rooms for a few days to Priceline! But, would you release rooms for two/three days, a week, or ten days? You'd probably release for a week at most - thus, when someone tries for a block of 10 days, it's almost impossible for Priceline to fulfil that long a stretch because the hotels just haven't released that many rooms to Priceline, especially in June.

Thus, break it up. e.g. for 8 days last year, I broke it up 3-2-3 because of a weekend (yes, weekend rates can be lower than weekday rates, so if you broke it up for a 3-day Friday-Monday stretch, you could get a better rate for those three days than for midweek).

I just went into Priceline and put in your dates for the regular discount that they offer. The lowest price was $309 for MTW. Another way to realistically gauge what price to bid is to take that lowest "regular" discount price for the dates that you want and then multiple it by 60%. This yields $185, so you are well within the ballpark of what price to bid.

My own rule of thumb, when bidding, is not to go above 60% of the "regular" discount rate.

Keep trying! And let us know how you do!

easytraveler is offline  
Mar 30th, 2007, 02:33 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I agree with the suggestion to split up your stay and try separate bids at some point if you don't succeed with all 10 days in one block. It seems rare in my experience to get a block of all 10 days from one hotel with Priceline. I suggest you give yourself a time limit and then split up your Priceline bids. In the meantime, book a backup hotel now that you can cancel later if you succeed with Priceline.

Andrew is online now  
Mar 30th, 2007, 05:15 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 344
you said you broke up your bids last year into 3-2-3... did you end up having to switch hotels? And it sounds like 7 nights might be too many to get in one chunk?
nvl325 is offline  
Mar 30th, 2007, 10:07 PM
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capetownfolk - it's fun, isn't it? Wait until you "win" a bid - it's a great feeling know you saved all that money.
travelgirl2 is offline  
Mar 30th, 2007, 10:11 PM
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Good morning - 8am here and a beautiful day, flat sea, blue sky, cool breeze
My ideas now run like this:
1. Bid for 3 nights - In Sat, out Tues
2. Bid for 3 nights - In Tues, out Fri
3. Bid for 3 nights - In Fri, out Mon
4. Bid for 1 night near JFK for Mon night
My logic with this plan is that I could get the benefit of 2 low weekend rates, and 1 higher mid week rate.
My Tuesday flight to London leaves at 8am, and I think trying to get across town so early in the day might stress me out.
Any suggestions on the easiest most pleasnat hotel at/near JFK for 1 night or must i post a seperate question?
Again, thanks for all the advice
capetownfolk is offline  
Mar 31st, 2007, 03:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,050
"Good point about the credit card which I also picked up from the bid travel site - they sem to like Am Ex. Also had fun with the address bit on Priceline - I decided that Cape Town is in Florida!!"

I'm not sure you understood the point I was making above. Even though you are pretending that you live in Florida, when you bid if you are using a credit card that was not issued to a US resident, Priceline might not accept it.
Anonymous is offline  
Mar 31st, 2007, 04:35 AM
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Reading the FAQs on the travel bid advice sites, one point is that priceline is open to anyone in the world and several "overseas" bidders advised to use Am Ex as they did for their successful bids - so I am going with that too
Also I spent 5 weeks in Florida this December and my Am Ex card was acepted everywhere - booking car hire, hotels etc both from S Africa and whilst in Florida and not one problem, so hope to be ok in this case too
capetownfolk is offline  
Mar 31st, 2007, 05:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Gosh, did you pick an expensive time to visit. Okay, you MUST book something cancelable now as a back up (that you may have to use). I've trawled through, and (a group of 7 all suite hotels that are well regarded) and the best things I see are:

>The Washington Square Hotel (in Greenwich Village right at Washington Square park) for $215/night found thru but available at this price on the hotel's own site
The only problem is it's for a room with 2 twin beds. Don't know if that's all they have left or not. If you're interested, email them about it. The hotel is a lovely European style hotel in a great location.

>The Best Western President-an ok budget hotel in the Times Square area (I think better than the Milford) for $210/night

>Holiday Inn midtown on 57th st. for $230/night. Great location near Central Park, ok hotel with decent sized rooms.

>the Beekman Towers (Affinia hotel) a studio suite-their cheapest price (avg $236/night is non-cancelable but there's a higher rate that is) Nice older hotel in midtown east near the UN.

For a 10 night stay, why wouldn't you consider an apartment or an apartment/hotel? More space, a small kitchen. The Beekman Towers is one. But maybe you should contact the London based Agency and see what they have to offer you and at what price. YOu could be pleasantly surprised. They're reputable and have contracts with many of the apt/hotels.

Now turning to your Priceline bidding, why don't you get the moderators on the bidding websites to help you construct a bid? They do it every day.

Your assumption about cheap weekend rates may not be accurate. Cheap weekend rates tend to occur in business areas (ie the financial district downtown) rather than midtown hotels.

You should consider any of the areas with the word "midtown" in the name which would add upper midtown/Central Park South and midtown South. But I prefer to make separate bids for different areas since some are pricier than others. Midtown west is more expensive area (not b/c it's better, imo, but b/c everyone wants to stay there) than MTE. If you bid MTW and MTE together, you could wind up overpaying for a MTE win. If you look at the prices people are "winning" I think upper midtown/CPS is most expensive (Parker Meridien is most likely win), then MTW (Hiltons, Sofitel(!), MTE (usually the Hyatt), MTS (rarely won but the Morgan or 70 Park are both good).
mclaurie is offline  
Mar 31st, 2007, 10:13 AM
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1- I second mclaurie's suggestion to put your situation on PL topics under NYC. FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS if you don't want to be yelled at.

2- For a hotel near JFK - Go to..... PRICELINE
Jed is offline  
Mar 31st, 2007, 10:24 AM
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Jed, Sheryl hasn't been seen for months on BFT so I wouldn't worry too much these days about getting yelled at there. In fact, BFT isn't well supported anymore. I'd consider now as an alternative just because there is a moderator there actively supporting all the groups. BFT is now supported mostly by the other users.
Andrew is online now  
Mar 31st, 2007, 01:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Recommend playing with your dates on Hotwire and referring to to determine hotels offered. You'll get rates for all ten nights at a variety of places, but you might get even better rates if you split up your dates. Or, you could economize part of the trip and move to a nicer place for the rest.

I agree that you should book the best room you can find (and cancel) forthwith.

Check Quikbook.

I'm an avid Priceline user, but deals for NYC are not what they used to be and there is nearly no participation on BiddingForTravel these days.

Still, you never know, and once you've booked something you can cancel, you can try Priceline off and on.
djkbooks is offline  
Mar 31st, 2007, 04:07 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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The only way to answer some of your questions is to actually play around with the dates and prices.

Here's what I did on priceline:

1) 6/16/07-6/18/07 (Sat-Mon) and got the Sheraton for $259 at the "regular" Priceline discount. 60% of that comes to $155.

2) 6/16/07 - 6/19/07 (Sat-Tues) and got the Hotel Mela for $309. 60% comes to $185.

So, if you are willing to do the Friday - Monday weekend rate, you will get a room for about $155. But if you must add on Tuesday, then you will be able to get a room for a bid of $185/night.

3)For the rest of the week 06/18/07 to 06/22/07, the best rate was $309 for the Hotel Mela. Which again comes to about $185 a night.

4)For the second weekend 06/22/07 to 06/25/07 came up with a discount rate of $245. 60% is $147 for the Grant Hyatt, MTE.

5)For the last night 06/25-06/26, I found $199 for the Doubletree at JFK. 60% of that comes to $119.

If you were to bid right now, I'd guess that you will have to move three or four times. Sheraton - Hotel Mela - Grand Hyatt-Doubletree. You could get the Hotel Mela for one or both weekends as well, which will reduce the number of times you will have to move.

Check out the Hotel Mela on It appears that the location is ideal, but the rooms are miniscule. It seems to be a new hotel, so is clean.

Renting an apartment is a good idea, but I don't know anything about apartments in New York, e.g., how would you check on the quality of the apartment you will be getting. Last year there was a thread on this board about one person's horrible experiences with an apartment in New York that he had booked through Expedia.

Well, good luck and hope this helps!

easytraveler is offline  
Mar 31st, 2007, 08:18 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I think it would be a mistake to assume "regular" Priceline rates have anything to do with bidding availability.

I've often gotten rooms bidding for 5-10 nights when availability did not show up with regular rates or the packages (and I often shop the packages to determine what hotels may be available bidding with Priceline for my dates).

The better bet is probably to check availability for all your dates at hotels that regularly come up on winning bids (or check the hotel list, though many haven't come up in quite a while), and calculate the average rate over your stay. Determine the Priceline zone for each hotel, start at 40% of the lowest rate and add $5-10 for each additional zone (you've determined is suitable for you) with the same star level or less until you've run out of zones.
djkbooks is offline  
Mar 31st, 2007, 10:45 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 315
Morning all
Going to try Priceline again now with all the added advice - I will split up the dates as per easytraveller. I also found betterbidding an easier more helpful site than bidding for travel
On the subject of sites - all weekend we have had problems with US sites coming up "page not available" and then reappearing when you click refresh. Don't think it our internet connectivity as I got someone else in C Town to try and her had the same problem - this is all sites from Expedia, to Grayline bus and especially Priceline - has anything changed over there?
Will let you know how my bidding goes. Not very hopeful with your prices Easytraveller as I went up to $200 yesterday on split up dates - way above the $155 suggested, but no harm in trying
capetownfolk is offline  
Mar 31st, 2007, 10:59 PM
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Rejected again - can you believe it!!
All the way up to $201 for weekend o 16-18 June
Tomorrow I will book/ reserve a hotel room as suggested that i can canel, but keep bidding on and off - i will keep you all posted.

In the meantime I will look into an apartment at the Manhttan Club - I have read previous postings on this site and trip advisor and it is an option. Where will i get a good price -expedia?
capetownfolk is offline  
Mar 31st, 2007, 11:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Again, check rates on Hotwire and refer to for probable properties.

And, if you shop your dates on Quikbook, you'll see a pattern - some are higher weekends, others weeknights, others static.
djkbooks is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 01:00 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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CApetown: Not to worry.

This is a weekend. The hotel managers are probably in bed, unlike me (suffering a hayfever attack!).

Try again, Monday and Tuesday New York time.

On making reservations, personally I use Travelocity a lot. I checked Travelocity for your dates and came up with:

6/16/-6/18 Doubletree Metropolitan $197

6/16/-6/22 Hotel Mela $278

6/22 - 6/25 Doubletree Metropolitan $206

These were all at the Travelocity 4* level. Those are really good prices, especially for the Doubletree which is a Hilton chain hotel.

I'd suggest that you use some of the other websites that have been mentioned and see if you can get better rates, especially during the week.

Again, good luck!

easytraveler is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 01:31 AM
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Poor you Easytraveller - hay fever is not nice - try a hot shower.
Stunning day here again and I am going to get off this site - it is very addictive!

I think i need to now spend some time planning the trip and not worrying about accomodation, after all I can always fall back on the Milford! ha ha! Besides, in NY we only need somewhere to crash as we will be playing out all the time.

It's actually going to be a challenging trip in that the first 5 days are spent with my best friend - we have been to NY many times, yet have not done many of the "tourist" things eg Statue of Liberty etc, so this time we want to do them. BUT, and here's the rub, half way through the trip, best friend leaves and teenage daughter arrives, and she has never been to NY before so she wants to do all the "tourist" things - how on earth do I avoid the Statue of Liberty twice!!
I know - sunset cocktail cruise with girlfriend, and day time cruise a few days later with daughter
Bye for now, will check in again
capetownfolk is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 01:45 PM
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I think it's really unlikely you're going to get a Priceline bid accepted now for June unless you really overbid and even then, maybe not. Have you booked something cancelable yet? Hate to be a nag, but you gotta do it. I'll also repeat you should be talking to the moderator on who's the expert.
mclaurie is offline  
Apr 1st, 2007, 01:54 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 599
Saturday check ins can be difficult to get on Priceline as well. If you try to break it up do so that you check in mid week and you may have better luck.
Also worth a shot is bidding on less days and calling the hotel to see if you can add also have the option sometimes after a winning bid on Priceline itself.
I have had luck adding extra days through the hotel itself and its certainly worth a shot!
Good luck!
panhandle is offline  

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