Trouble with priceline

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Feb 7th, 2005, 10:12 AM
  #1
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Trouble with priceline

Has anyone experienced this?? We went through priceline to book a room in Orlando, near the airport. We researched the hotels that were around there, and found Sheraton, Westin, Hyatt, all of the big names and they looked like nice places. So, when we went to priceline and tried for the 4 star (no 5 star available) we recieved a hotel for HOLIDAY INN!! We double checked the priceline web site, and if you click on the star ratings, it tells you which hotel is considered a 3 star or 4 star, ect...they had Sheraton, Hyatt, Westin listed under the 4 star rating but we got a really run down looking Holiday Inn. The web site said NO Refunds and we could not get a hold of a live person to discuss this, (seems like misrepresentation to me) so we called the credit card company right away and they stoped authorization of payment, thank goodness-I was not willing to stay at this hotel that they selected. We realize that it is a risk when you use priceline, but they are giving you examples of which hotels to expect (in fact they listed hotels that were comperable to Holiday Inn under the 1 and 2 star rating). I don't classify Holiday Inn up there with the Westin. Just wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience.
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Feb 7th, 2005, 10:24 AM
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It's always a good idea to check biddingfortravel.com before using PL. I went to the BFT site and found this list of hotels that PL uses in the Orlando airport zone:

3 Star
Holiday Inn Select Airport
Marriott Airport Hotel
Renaissance Airport Hotel
Hyatt Regency Airport
Sheraton Suites
Crowne Plaza

2.5 Star
Amerisuites Airport Northwest
Amerisuites Airport Northeast
Courtyard by Marriott
Wingate Inn Orlando Airport

2 Star
Four Points Orlando Airport
La Quinta Airport West
La Quinta Inn and Suites Orlando Airport North

The Holiday Inn Select is listed as a 4* in that zone. I checked the link to hotel reviews, and the Holiday Inn Select was given good reviews by those who stayed there. There is a toll-free consumer services number on the PL site. I used it once when I put in the wrong dates for a hotel stay, but that's another thread I don't see any misrepresentation by PL in your transaction.

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Feb 7th, 2005, 10:25 AM
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Are you sure you bid on a 4-star property? Because on biddingfortravel.com (the site everyone should read before bidding on Priceline), the Holiday Inn Select along with Crowne Plaza, Marriott, Hyatt, etc at Orlando Airport are all 3-star properties. No reported 4* hotels in that area.
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Feb 7th, 2005, 11:03 AM
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Looking directly at www.priceline.com there is no 4* category for the Orlando Airport zone. If your credit card stopped payment because you feel priceline misrepresented themselves, you may need to go take another look at what you did. It may be a mistake on your part, rather than theirs.

And, unfortunately, ratings are subjective. You may consider a Holiday Inn to be 1 or 2*, but at least in some cases, priceline considers them to be 3*. I'd guess that it depends on the particular hotel, but I haven't done enough research to know for sure.

If you haven't seen this particular hotel you'd have a difficult time trying to convince anyone at priceline or a credit card company that it is indeed not a 3* property I would think. If you have stayed there and have specific reasons why it should not qualify and is therefore mis-categorized then you should definitely make your case known to priceline. They do want satisfied customers and if a property is not classed right they may well consider changing it, for the right reasons.

It sounds like, in this case, you may just have to chalk it up to a difficult lesson learned and either stay there, or eat the cost and stay somewhere else. If your credit-card blocked charge stands you'll be lucky in the sense that you won't have to pay, but it may or may not be ethical (we don't know the whole situation) and you may be banned from ever using priceline again.
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Feb 7th, 2005, 11:04 AM
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One of three things probably happened... the Holiday Inn Select was just updated to a 4* hotel very recently, you accidently bid 3* when you thought you were bidding 4*. Or Priceline occasionally (not often mind you) screws up and gives you a 3* when you bid a 4* and in that case you should have reason to make phone contact and cancel the bid and start over.

I bid for a 3* in Rochester Minnesota and got the Kahler which had been a 3* but was very recently downgraded to a 2* and Priceline refunded my entire amount AFTER I had stayed there, because the star rating didn't match up what I bid.

Amazingly I wanted the Kahler and got my money back to boot!
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Feb 7th, 2005, 11:14 AM
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I just checked Priceline and if you choose the Orlando Airport zone by itself (not other zones) it doesn't even include a 4* hotel? It only lists 3* or less...

You must have bid for a 3* somehow?

You can bid for more than one zone at a time, my guess is you choose the airport zone first, picked the 3* and then added another zone that had a 4* and choose that and bid again and because the 3* was already chosen you go the Holiday Inn Select.

You can not go up a level on Priceline during the same bid session, you can add new zones but you continue to keep any star ratings that you started with.
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Feb 7th, 2005, 11:17 AM
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JLM- you are right, priceline doesn't have a 4 star, just a 3, needless to say, holiday inn is not mentioned in their list of properties. A two star consisted of Comfort Inn, Best Western, Ramada ect..that is what I would consider a Holiday Inn. When the list for a 3 star says Hyatt, Sheraton, Westin, and no mention of a Holiday Inn, I would no even consider Holiday Inn to be in the caliber of these hotels. Especially after going to the web sites and seeing the properties for my self and then seeing the Holiday Inn-NO comparison. It should have been mentioned in the list that there is a possibilty of getting a holiday Inn. I really don't mind if we are banned from priceline, I don't have any urge to use them again. I just wanted to see if this is a recurring problem with them. After reading the post from 4KHansen I am really not the only one, I am just not willing to stay there first and then get my money back!!
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Feb 7th, 2005, 11:22 AM
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You get good deals through priceline for a reason. I always have to laugh when people want to get great prices on hotels, and then all they do is complain when they actually have to follow the rules clearly laid out on the website.

I've used priceline many times, mainly for hotels and rental cars, and have never had a problem because I PAY ATTENTION when using the site.
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Feb 7th, 2005, 11:42 AM
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Okay, first, you're agreeing that you bid on a 3* hotel, and not a 4* one right?

And second, it's a Holiday Inn Select, which is the top category hotel under the HI brand. These are full-service hotels, but a regular Holiday Inn or Comfort Inn type.

Third, I look at the pictures on their website, and it's definitely a 3* property.

Well, that's all I have to say about this in this thread. But I agree that Priceline is definitely not for you, so please don't use it again.
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Feb 7th, 2005, 11:58 AM
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Where did you get the impression that the Holiday Inn Select looked "run down"? That simply doesn't make any sense. It sure wasn't from their website pictures, and you didn't see it in person did you? I get the impression the name "Holiday Inn" has a negative connotation to you and you over reacted!!! I'm amazed that your credit card company will credit this to you, and in fact they may take that credit back. It sounds to me like Priceline did nothing wrong here, but you were very confused in bidding -- particularly since you think you bid on hotels that don't exist -- four star ones in that category!!
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Feb 7th, 2005, 11:59 AM
  #11
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Some Holiday Inn Selects are better than the others you mentioned as acceptable. Is it just the name?

Try it with an open mind and you may be pleasantly surprised.
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Feb 7th, 2005, 12:26 PM
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Am I missing something? Could someone please tell me where on the PRICELINE site the 3 and 4* hotels are listed? I didn't find them listed on Priceline anywhere.

They ARE listed on the BFT site. Betsy has listed them correctly as they appear on the BFT site. In fact, the Holiday Inn Select appear as the first 3* hotel listed for the Orland airport area.

Thanks.
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Feb 7th, 2005, 12:39 PM
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easytraveler when you get to priceline's page where you are ready to select a star level, click on the link of "3 star upscale" to get a definition.

In the help box it lists Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Embassy Suites and a couple more. It also very distinctly says,

"3 Star hotel examples:

The hotel brands shown below are for example only and may not be partnered with priceline.com. You may get another name-brand or independent hotel of equivalent quality."
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Feb 7th, 2005, 12:43 PM
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The hotels that PL uses are not listed on their site. You bid for a category, rated usually 2.5 through four stars. The beauty of BFT is that the lists are posted (with some caveats)! That's why it's imperative, IMHO, to use BFT before you go to PL. By the way, I have no association with either site; I'm just a happy PL customer because of BFT.
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Feb 7th, 2005, 12:45 PM
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Oops, Indy is correct. PL lists examples of hotels that may be included in their inventory.
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Feb 7th, 2005, 01:14 PM
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PL gives examples, but it gives the same examples regardless of what city you're bidding on. Furthermore, it can't list every chain it might giveyou! It makes more sense to pay attention to their rating system -- to qualify for 3*, a hotel must have a restaurant, whatever.

It looks to me ike 4khansen got their money back because the hotel's star rating was downgraded between the time they bid and the time they stayed there, so they weren't getting the features that they had bid for.

As BFT points out, their list is necessarly incomplete and there is always the risk that it doesn't reflect PL's current zone boundaries, etc.

PL works well only for people who are willing to do their homework, read carefully, and be flexible. It's not for everyone.
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Feb 7th, 2005, 01:22 PM
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Travelinfamily - as others have rightly pointed out, there is no "problem" here. You bid on a 3*, you got a 3*, and now you are trying to renege. Although PL occassionally admits to classifying a hotel incorrectly, there is no reason to think they have done so in this case - and just because you have an aversion to Holiday Inns, that doesn't mean it doesn't meet the 3* definition.

PL only gives "examples" of hotels, not ALL the hotels you could end up with. BFT gives a pretty comprehensive list, but even then you hear about someone getting a hotel not on their list.

No offense, but PL isn't for everyone, and maybe your expectations were higher than they should have been.

Good luck with whatever you decide. If it was me, I'd give it a try - you might be happily surprised!

Karen
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Feb 7th, 2005, 02:01 PM
  #18
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Quote from original poster:

" We realize that it is a risk when you use priceline"

Why is it that every states they know of risks of using priceline and that it is okay but when said risk happens to them it is suddenly not okay?

Not directed to travelinfamily directly but generally.
 
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Feb 7th, 2005, 04:07 PM
  #19
 
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Thanks, indytravel and Betsy, for your explanations!

I went back in and it appears that Priceline only lists examples of what is possible for 4* or 3*. BFT, on the other hand, lists the exact hotels in a PARTICULAR city that are actually available. So, that makes BFT a lot more reliable in my books.

Thanks again!
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Feb 7th, 2005, 04:38 PM
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easytraveler - BFT only lists hotels that someone has reported. So, it is definitely not complete.

Both are very reliable sources of information, as long as you use them exactly how they say they should be used. Priceline gives you a list of examples so that you understand the general class of hotels they mean. BFT lists any hotels in a zone that users have reported. It's possible that a previously reported hotel is no longer participating with priceline, or has been upgraded or downgraded in star level but no one has reported that to BFT. It's also possible that there are hotels that participate with priceline that you might get that have never been reported to BFT.

There's no way to know for sure ahead of time what hotels you could get when bidding, hence the element of risk. Some people can handle this risk and some can't. Obviously, those who can't shouldn't bid.
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