Watch out for Priceline!!

Oct 6th, 2004, 09:21 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 37
Watch out for Priceline!!

Now that I'm stuck with a hotel reservation in a SMOKING ROOM at a crummy Los Angeles Hotel (which Priceline claims is a 3*), I will NEVER use this con program again. They of course will not do anything about it, nor will the hotel, who hates Priceline as much as I do. Anyone else who has had problems with Priceline, please write. We've got to get the word out so more unaware people don't get misled!
Kallie is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 09:24 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Unfortunately, even if you make reservation by calling the hotel - a non-smoking room is not guaranteed. Hope you are not allergic.
FainaAgain is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 09:24 AM
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What hotel?
You didn't realize that NON-SMOKING was on request only?
TxTravelPro is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 09:29 AM
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How is priceline a con program?

You bid on double accommodations in a certain level of hotel in a particular area of a certain city.
Oct 6th, 2004, 09:31 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,108
I understand your frustration with Priceline if the hotel you ended up with was not up to 3* standards.

I don't understand your issue with Priceline because you ended up with a smoking room. Priceline is very clear about not guaranteeing room preferences. It's up to the guest to make those requests to the hotel directly. If you requested a non-smoking room and the request was not honored, then that is between you and the hotel. Priceline has nothing to do with it.

I have used Priceline many times and never had this type of issue. I always call the hotel a day ahead to confirm my reservation and make any room requests. I have always had my requests for a non-smoking room honored. Other requests, such as an upper floor, view of the water, etc are sometimes accomodated and sometimes not.
J_Correa is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 10:04 AM
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The star ratings on Priceline describe the types of amenities offered; therefore, it's not a qualitative measure of anything other than showing the presence of on-site dining, some type of room service, etc. Looking at your other post, you were bidding on properties in Bel Air. It's a ritzy residential area of LA, but it does not offer much in the way of lodging choices. It seems that the Luxe Summit (a boutique 3-star hotel and actually rather nice) and the Holiday Inn Bel Air (maybe not a Ritz-Carlton, but certainly one of the better franchised properties in this low-end chain) are the only hotels working with Priceline. I don't see a con here; you bid at the 3-star level in an area with two possible hotels and the lower-end place accepted. Luck of the draw. And smoking/non-smoking rooms are always subject to availability. I've paid full rack rates at hotels and still gotten a smoking room. At least the fire had been put out (LOL)....

More time perusing the hints offered on, and also bidding in an area of LA with better hotel choice (it's not like you can walk to anything in Bel Air), might have made the outcome better.
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 10:20 AM
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Kallie, I sympathize with your being upset at being in a smoking room. I hate that too. But, I really disagree about Priceline being a "con program".

Most of the time, I'm, willing to live with the conditions you're given and told in advance--(maybe a smoking room, maybe 2 beds instead of one, maybe one bed instead of 2, not always the location I really wanted). When I can't live with one of those, or If I feel I can get what I really want for only a little more, then I don't use Priceline.
I think most people do the same.

Your post does serve as a good reminder to people--don't pretend the conditions Priceline lists won't/can't happen to you!!
Just because noone on biddingfortravel or similar sites ever reported that kind of an issue doesn't mean it's impossible
If it says you can't pick the bed choices, or guarantee non-smoking, expect the worst. If you can you live with that? Go ahead and bid
nyer is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 10:30 AM
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I can only chuckle when people complain about the room they got through Priceline. They got something for a bargain price and expect perfection!
I also love the original poster's comment that the hotel in question "hates Priceline as much as I do." Yeah, sure. If that's the case, why is the hotel using Priceline?
HowardR is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 10:34 AM
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We've used priceline many times and always have been pleased. ON 1 occasion we checked in and ended up in a smoking room. We called the front desk as soon as I saw the sign on the room door, and they moved us. Now, I always call the hotel that I am awarded and ask for non-smoking, and bed type. we are a family of 4 and request 2 double beds and a rollaway (I don't bid for cities where 2 bedded rooms could be a problem). On occasion we do get charged for the rollaway, but it tends to be the hotel policy whether it be priceline or not.
MFNYC is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 10:55 AM
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You all apparently have had better luck with Priceline than I have. This is my 3rd attempt with them. The first was excellent. The second was barely passable, and the third is a disaster. Unfortunately, I AM allergic. The hotel (Holiday Inn) is so pissed with Priceline, they say they are constantly fielding calls of people trying to get out of the deal or give them a non-smoking room -- which they usually won't make available). It seems to me that Priceline often deals with the "barely making it" ratings. They claim, e.g., that the Holiday Inn in Bel Air is a 3 star hotel (but it gets a 2.8 average from TripAdvisor). Also -- my fault -- I thought it was illegal to smoke in California hotels. Guess not. Bottom line is I just threw out my money.
P.S., I'd still like to hear what kinds of experiences you all of had.
Kallie is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 11:02 AM
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Nyer, you are right -- it is a good reminder to people to read the rules and assume it can or will happen to you.
Kallie is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 11:08 AM
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I have used Priceline 7 times in the past year alone, paying everything from $30 to $75, with only success. I make it a point of joining whatever priority "clubs" the hotel I get has - I don't know if this is what has helped; but I have never been sorry! I have had 2.5 star hotels and 4 star hotels. I use and to determine if there is an area i want to stay away from b/c of bad hotel reviews. I don't think I would have had the guts to use Priceline without them!
radiofanatic is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 11:08 AM
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We have used Priceline several times i.e. San Francisco, Napa Valley, Anchorage. Each time, I called the hotel ahead of time and requested a non-smoking room which they gave me. I can only say good things about our experience with Priceline and have recommended it to several people as long as they know the restrictions and the rules. The one thing that always surprises me is that although I have what I consider a bargain room (normally $50-60 for $200 or better rates) I get a good room with a view. It wouldn't surprise me if I had rooms in the "basement" for $50 but I get treated the same as the people checking in next to me who are paying $200/night.
crazydazy is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 11:11 AM
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I can't imagine anyone with that specific of needs would ever try to use Priceline. I know up front that I have no guarantee of smoking or non-smoking (only hope for non-smoking when I arrive). Also, I can only hope for the right bedding for a family of four (most of the time). Only once was I unable to get two beds... not Priceline's fault, I knew better going in.

Yes, some hotels can be suspect of the ratings that any organization gives them. I think Priceline in general does a pretty good job of that. I do alot of checking to see what hotels come up in a certain area on Priceline before I bid that area. I think your complaints are somewhat overstated based on your comments.

There may be a "request" for a non-smoking over the phone and then they give you a smoking upon arrival if that is all they have left. Likewise, you might end up in a non-smoking even though they say now that they aren't available.
4khansen is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 11:17 AM
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I, too, have had nothing but good luck with Priceline, using them all over the US and in Canada. My only objection is that there are a few cities where they have no presence and I have to find other ways to get good hotels at reasonable prices.

Last week, I screwed up and booked a hotel in Seattle (it shall remain namesless) for one day later than I had intended. I called the hotel to see if they could book me for the earlier day at the same rate as priceline ($65). They had rooms but would only quote me a rate at $149. After talking with the night manager, I got the rate down to $99 but they would go no lower. So, I went back on priceline and got the same hotel for the correct night at $65. (No, they did not cancel the incorrect night-I didn't ask them to). I made a slight adjustment in my plans and will stay downtown two nights instead of one.
dwooddon is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 11:18 AM
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Other than the fact that their site attempts to deceive the uneducated into overbidding, I have had nothing but positive experiences with Priceline. I've probably booked 20 stays with Priceline and have always gotten a NS room. Booked directly with Caesars Palace in Vegas paying $300/nt, requested a NS room well in advance and got stuck in an ashtray, go figure. If the hotel is so miserly that they won't allow PL bidders to stay in a NS room regardless of load, then that's the hotel's fault. The star rating is accurate, much moreso than Hotwire, that's for sure. A 3* hotel is nothing fancy, I expect no obvious blood stains, a working TV with more than 3 channels, and a lobby. I recently got stuck in a jam selling/buying my home and was homeless for 3 days. Wife and I stayed in a local posh hotel for $75/nt, web rate was $259. We joked that we wanted the closing to be pushed out longer because the PL rate was less than our mortgage and came with a maid!
Loki is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 11:28 AM
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"Next, I decided to get a San Diego hotel for the last 3 nights of our trip through Priceline, figuring this would put us near the airport for our return trip. I entered "Coronado" as the area of interest, & sure enough I got a 4-star hotel as requested, but it is not in Coronado--it is the Hyatt Islandia (Mission Bay, I think?), which is absolutely panned in every review I can find. I tried to fight it, but Priceline will not budge--they say I must have done something wrong."

This is a quote from another area of discussion on this board. We, the uneducated, are doomed to be screwed. Lesson learned. Fortunately, it's only going to cost me $92.00 this time. I wonder how much Priceline (and their sub-standard hotels) make off of people walking away.
Kallie is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 11:38 AM
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Kallie, Priceline is a bit of gamble. For some (including me) the gamble has been well worth it. I've gotten cheap rooms, always gotten non-smoking, never been disappointed, the whole ball of wax. For you, the gamble failed in part because you didn't know what you were doing.

You weren't conned. You were, in fact, told exactly what to expect and were not misadvised or lied to. You failed to heed those warnings or ignored the information all together and now you are paying for your mistakes. Don't blame Priceline, blame yourself.
MikeT is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 11:40 AM
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I have booked more than 40 rooms on Priceline over 2 1/2 years and have never been placed in a smoking room when I told them I require NS because of my asthma. I have had only 1 very bad experience where a nonsmoking room reeked of smoke. Is that Priceline's fault or the hotel? NO HOTEL guarantees smoking or nonsmoking, it is always based on availibility. Why are you getting so upset now, why not just wait and see what happens when you check in? I'm sure the reservations agent will try to assist you as long as you are cordial. I just don't understand why you are so upset when you haven't even been to the hotel yet? BTW, if the hotel or a customer "hates" Priceline like you say, they shouldn't be doing business with them. Doesn't that make sense? What a peculiar posting. I suppose you wouldn't want to believe that I've been upgraded to concierge level or suites on 5 occasions either.
travelinwifey is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 11:41 AM
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kallie, the hotel must supply priceline with rooms and the hotels are the ones who make the initial contact to participate.

Even if the hotel signed a year contract with priceline, if they are unhappy with priceline, they do not have to provide rooms to priceline for auction.

I guess what I am saying is that if the hotel hates priceline, they would not participate. I think maybe the staff member you spoke with doesn't like dealing with priceline members.

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