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How to Get a Great Deal on a Hotel Using Priceline

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Frugal Travel Hack: This one simple tip will help you get the best deal on a hotel every single time!

Jen commented on a post recently with this really great frugal travel trip:

Priceline offers “Express Deals” which provides basic information about a hotel – neighborhood, amenities, star level, and guest rating (in most cases). They also tell you the percentage discount you’ll get by using the Express Deal, plus the price you will pay for it.

Most people don’t take advantage of Express deals, because they don’t like not knowing which hotel they’re booking. (And once you purchase an Express Deal with your credit card, there is no backing out. You get what you get at that point.) With the information they provide, however, you can filter hotels offered by Priceline to figure out what hotel you are going to get!

Here’s how. As an example: a hotel is listed as three star, in Times Square, offers free internet and a gym, has a 7+ rating by guests, and is available for $145 (a 39%) savings. To figure out what this deal is, you back out of Express Deals and go back to the section that lists all of the hotels on Priceline. You filter your search to only show hotels in Time Square which are 3 star and have free internet and a gym. It might pull 4 matches, so you next look at which hotels are rated 7-7.9 by guests. Let’s say there are two hotels left at that point. Then it’s simple math to figure out which hotel is a 39% savings from the price listed on the screen.

Make sense? Hopefully! It takes a little practice, but with this method I’ve always been able to figure out what hotel I will get (and usually at a huge savings!). I have successfully done this over three dozen times. You should also use shop through Rakuten to get 3-4% cash back on your Priceline purchase.

Have you tried this method with Priceline before? I’d love to hear!

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13 Comments

  • Jen says:

    This is exactly how we booked our hotel this summer. We figured out which hotel it was and were correct. There is only one thing to watch out for. We noticed that some of the deals didn’t allow us to pick the bed options, we found one that gave us bed options and booked 2 full size beds as we are a family of four. Before we booked, there was nothing stating only 2 guests. Once we booked, the information said there would be charges for any guests over 2. I panicked a bit, figuring now we could possibly pay more than if we just booked through the hotel. We lucked out and the desk was busy when we checked in and no questions were asked about our family size.

    Please be careful using the Express Deal as it seems to be limited to 2 persons.

  • Kelly says:

    I did something very similar–there was a small town near the attraction we were going to see. It had a couple of motels and a Marriott. I don’t know if they still do the “name your price” bid, but I put in a bid for a 3 star hotel in the town, for $60.00 per night—-and they accepted. We had a wonderful room at the Marriot with a free hot breakfast for my husband, myself, and 3 kids—-all while doing a road trip in California. Totally happy with how it turned out!

    • Jen Obstein says:

      That’s a great deal! I’ve used this option a number of times as well! Priceline still offers the “Name Your Price” option and you can get even better prices on hotels with it.

      You can often figure out which hotel you will be given based on the criteria you specify on the “Name Your Price” page (such as a specific star level or location). You can use the same sorting method from my original post (I made the initial comment) to see which hotels are offered that match your “Name Your Price” criteria (star level, location). If one of those hotels is offering a special and is lower priced than the others, that is the one you will likely get.

  • Awmeme says:

    I’ve been able to do this several times. I even got a La quinta for $33 on New year’s day got two queen size beds with a late check-out and a huge hot breakfast buffet. Heard other guests prices, while I was waiting to get helped at the little convience store they had, even from priceline cheapest I heard was $70. I felt so bad for them.

  • Joe says:

    Great tip. I’ve never used Priceline before because I never fully understood all the different options. Now that I know about the Express deals I’m going to give it a try for our next trip. Thanks!

  • Heather says:

    One other thing to watch for… We booked a hotel once, only to find out afterwards that it was a smoking hotel. This wasn’t disclosed on the description. They wouldn’t refund the money. Just be aware that this might happen.

    • Meg says:

      Thanks for that tip! -Meg, MSM Team

    • Sarah says:

      We’ve had a similar experience, Heather. It was frustrating! Now we still take the risk sometimes but always call the hotel immediately after booking through Priceline to request a nonsmoking room. So far it’s worked.

  • Sarah says:

    Thanks so much for the info, Jen! We’ve had similar success with your method of figuring out what hotel you’re getting on an express deal, but for some reason I’ve never checked eBates for Priceline cash back. I definitely will next time!

  • Terri says:

    My husband and I have done this a few times after doing a search on Priceline first, so I knew what area and type of hotel we’d be staying in. Also, I’ve done it for work and it worked great! I’ve always gone through Ebates (now Rakuten) and loved getting those $$ back. This also worked for us with airline tickets to England. We saved about 25% and ended up on the same flights we were originally planning on booking before going the “Express Deal”route.

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