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LakesideChick Jul 20th, 2010 04:59 AM

Priceline tips and tricks for San Francisco
Hi everyone

I have been exploring Priceline and looking at hotels for San Francisco. I have also looked at Better Bidding etc and think I have the process of bidding under control. I was wondering if there are any tips to help get a 'better' hotel in a particular area (we are looking at the Financial District, 4 star). Do higher bids get better hotels? Or is it just luck and availability?

NorthwestMale Jul 20th, 2010 01:53 PM

NO, you cannot hope to get better hotels within the same STAR LEVEL with higher bids.

As you no doubt read, there are various STAR LEVELS, and any hotel within a certain star level COULD be the one who would (condescend to host you for the pittance you are willing to pay) (humor).

SO IF the flop-house motel is listed as a two-star property in the "High Falutin'" section of "Anytown, USA"... and you absolutely live in FEAR of staying at the flop-house motel... then YOU DO NOT BID for ANY TWO-STAR accommodations in the "High Falutin' " section of that city!

In fact, if you study, for San Fran... you can gen-er-al-ly gain a sense for what hotel you are LIKELY to get based on what hotels are accepting what prices for your dates of travel DURING the week when you are bidding.

Even that is an INexact science.

With that said, I LOVE PRICELINE... and if I wanted a 4-star in the financial district, I would first go to priceline, and then CAREFULLY isolate every zone in the San Fran area, to figure out where my "free rebids" are...

THEN I'd look at and at least mentally chart what venues are accepting what prices this week, for the dates of my travel... and then I'd base my initial bid on how many "free rebids" I could use, before inching my way upward maybe $5 at a time.

It's a good idea to chart the day, time, and parameters of your individual bids, particularly so you know when your 24 hours are up and you can bid for the same general window again (inching your price upward if so inclined).

IF, however, you absolutely HAVE to be next to the pier whereon your great-great grandmother was once proposed to by her high school boyfriend before he went on to instead marry your great-great aunt... then PRICELINE is too risky for you!!

You need to have some geographic flexibility to make Priceline work wonders for you.

sf7307 Jul 20th, 2010 03:00 PM

NWM, great post!

On both betterbidding and bidding for travel, there are only 4 hotels listed as 4* Financial District/Embarcadero. They are the Hyatt Regency, Hilton Financial District, Omni and Le Meridien. If any of those would be fine with you, then go for it. If any of those would be unacceptable to you, skip it (as an aside, in NY, I never bid on Midtown West, because I might get the Sheraton or the Hilton, neither of which would be acceptable to me).

LakesideChick Jul 21st, 2010 12:19 AM

NVM and sf7307, thank you so much for your great advice, much appreciated.

starrs Jul 22nd, 2010 03:59 PM

I just got the Omni for $143 in September!

I searched for 3star and up and picked the 4star Embarcadero option.

When I looked a couple of weeks ago, that's what the Holiday Inn Express at Fisherman's Wharf was charging (AAA) rate. My favorite hotel, the Monaco, was at $186. I wish I'd booked the Monaco then. The rates have skyrocketed. The HIX is over $200 and the Monaco is mid-200s.

I have gotten to the point that I prefer Hotwire over Priceline. You may get a lower price on Priceline's Name Your Own Price, but the process is tedious (IMO).

I checked the list of Priceline hotels on's site, narrowed the possibilities down with the 4 icons listed by Hotwire. I was hoping to get the Hyatt but happy to get the Omni. I checked their website immediately after, and the AAA rates are in the 200s.

I'm VERY pleased :-)

LakesideChick Aug 2nd, 2010 01:34 AM

Thanks guys... got Hyatt Regency for $100 a night :-)

sf7307 Aug 2nd, 2010 09:41 AM

Fantastic deal! (and great neighborhood - I work right next door).

janisj Aug 2nd, 2010 11:28 AM

You'll love it!

NorthwestMale Aug 2nd, 2010 07:38 PM

Hey, wow, I'm so impressed that someone from here boldly went for Priceline on advice and with reassurance from others here.

I've found so many people here at Fodors having never used Priceline before, and being far too intimidated to give it a shot.

So good for you, a nice hotel at a price you're happy to pay.

LakesideChick Aug 3rd, 2010 01:25 AM

Thanks NorthwestMale :-) The advice here on Fodors was excellent and after reading betterbidding and having a few dry runs we were really happy with the outcome. Plan to use it for other cities on our holiday too.

sf7307.... neighbourhood looks great, exactly where we wanted to be :-)

2 weeks until we leave!!

pumpkin Nov 14th, 2010 12:24 PM


ECinSF Nov 16th, 2010 09:56 AM

LakesideChick - fyi, I recently used Priceline for a hotel in Southern California and got what I thought was a great deal, only to be surprised by "resort fees" that weren't covered by what I paid Priceline & ended up raising the expected cost of my stay by 30%. When I questioned the fees, I was directed to Priceline's "fine print" & sure enough, they disclose that you could also be on the hook for "resort fees." Not sure if Hyatt Regency tacks on similar fees, but keep this in mind for future Priceline bookings.

janisj Nov 16th, 2010 11:35 AM

ECinSF: Even booking directly through a hotel, you are likely to have resort fees tacked on and not included in your reservation quote. Happens more and more. Nothing at all unique to PL.

sf7307 Nov 16th, 2010 12:09 PM

Janis, if you book on a hotel website, you should see the charge. I agree with ECinSF - since you don't know what hotel you will get on Priceline, you can't CHOOSE one that does NOT charge a resort fee. Your $100 room on Priceline might therefore be $100 or it might be $125 depending on which one you get.

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