May 28

Priceline Canada Guide: Get Discount Hotels & Cheap Vacations

Posted by on May 28, 2009 at 2:00 AM

Priceline Canada Guide: Get Discount Hotels & Cheap Vacations

Would you like to stay in super-posh hotels for super-low prices? This is a blog post about how to make use of the “name your own price” feature for booking cheap hotels on Priceline.com. I’ve used the Priceline hotels feature once or twice, and there a few hints and tips that I would like to share with you.

You can save yourself quite a lot of cash, by simply following a few of these Priceline pointers on cheap hotel deals!

How does Priceline Canada work?

The Priceline name your own price feature is simply a way for you to make a bid on hotels in a certain area, and the hotel may or may not accept your bid. The feature is really only for large cities, which have loads of hotels. You bid on unnamed hotels, and you are told the name of the hotel once your bid has been accepted. As these are reputable establishments with a standard star rating, you can be assured in knowing you aren’t going to get a fleabag motel. You are able to choose:

  •  The city of the stay
  • The dates for the trip
  • The minimum star rating
  • Your maximum price

Hotels are able to offer discounts on unsold rooms – bargain hotels! From their point of view, it’s better to have someone paying a few dollars than having an empty room.

Who can use it?

Priceline travel might not be ideal for everyone. If you want to book budget accommodation such as family rooms or different types of suites, then Priceline would not really be suitable. But if you are simply looking for a cheap hotel room, single or double occupancy, then Priceline cheap travel is ideal. You must be at least 21 to use the Priceline US site. Don’t forget to check for Priceline coupons on our forums – they’re rare, but you never know when one might appear.

What about the star ratings?

While the star ratings are a good measure to go by, European standards may not be as high as North American. If booking a European hotel, mentally drop it a star rating and you might get what you expect. If you’re doing a bit of research, take a look at TripAdvisor to see the quality of hotels in that area, at that rating.

Priceline Canada Guide: Get Discount Hotels & Cheap Vacations What about the initial Priceline bid?

Start low. Think about what star rating you would like, and how much you would actually be willing to pay for the cheapest hotel. Make your first bid at about half that level. You’re likely to be declined, but it will give you a feeling on how to proceed. You can research how much other people are paying for the cheapest hotels in that area – there’s quite a comprehensive forum here where people share their experiences.

When should I book my cheap rooms?

If you are able to book your cheap hotel prices at the last minute, could score yourself a better bargain. By last minute, I mean within a week of your selected dates. Of course, some hotels might be filled already, but you have no way of knowing this.(Read on down for a tip on alternative cheap rooms)

How do I get free rebids?

This is the really cool way to manipulate your bid chances. Priceline limits your bids to 1 bid per 24 hour period, unless you add areas or change the hotel ratings you request.

Here’s the secret trick – you can get free bids by being crafty! To put it simply, add an area that doesn’t have a star rating that you want. Check the hotel ratings in each area in the city. For example, some areas do not have 4* or 5* hotels. You can add these areas, and nab yourself an extra bid, because you know that Priceline is not going to give you a room in that area.

Let’s illustrate this with an example: Montreal.

A friend of mine was recently booking a few days in Montreal and I told her how to make use of price line hotels to get a great hotel deal. If you look at the Montreal page on the Priceline “name your price” section, you can see that they split it up into 6 geographical areas:Priceline Canada Guide: Get Discount Hotels & Cheap Vacations

  • Brossard
  • Dorval Airport Area
  • Laval
  • Longueuil
  • Montreal
  • Pointe Claire

Now, if you’re taking a city break, you might only want to stay in the “Montreal” area, section 5. Let’s say we would like to be posh and say in a 5* hotel. If you check each other section, you can see that some don’t have any higher than 3* hotels. This is the trick to getting your extra bids in that 24 hour period for that cheap accommodation! If you’d like a 5* hotel in the “Montreal” section, make your first bid accordingly. If your first bid fails, to get extra bids you must add extra sections – simply keep the rating as a 5*, but add sections that don’t have 5* hotels! E.g. Add the “longueuil” area and raise your bid a little bit.

You get a free bid, because they cannot give you a 5* in a section that doesn’t contain a 5* hotel. I hope this makes sense!

Each time you go on to Priceline to make bids in this fashion, be sure to check the ratings available in each area, as the site may update occasionally.

 At home, I have 2 computers on 2 separate IP addresses, so I was able to create an account for myself and one for my partner. We instantly were able to make twice the amount of bids as normal, as we could bid from each account, to try and get the cheap hotel rooms!

 Priceline Canada Guide: Get Discount Hotels & Cheap Vacations

I’ve received a counter-bid from Priceline, what to do!?

The standard responses from Priceline are either a flat-out decline, or immediate acceptance. However, sometimes you may see a counter offer. This is where Priceline makes YOU an offer for a hotel, at a slightly higher price than your last offer. If you’re happy with that, you could accept the offer there and then. BUT the fact that you have received this counter-offer means you are getting close to the threshold of being accepted! I’d recommend trying a few higher bids, perhaps half way in between their offer and yours.

 Have I got the right rooms and dates?

Before you click the final bid confirmation on Priceline hotels, make sure you read over your details to make sure you have placed a bid on the correct areas and dates for your discount hotel. The name your own price feature on Priceline is non-refundable – once your bid is accepted, you are liable to pay the whole fee – your credit card will be charged right away!

Should I make a cancellable alternative?

If you are leaving the price line booking to the last minute, you can protect yourself by making a cancellable backup hotel booking. This might be with another travel agent or booking company. Book an alternative hotel, to make sure you will have somewhere to stay, just in case you don’ succeed on the Priceline bids. Just check out the charges though, and make sure you can cancel the booking at no cost to yourself. Then, if you win the Priceline cheap hotel deal, you can cancel the original hotel.

My experience

Last year, I used the “name your own price” feature on Price Line for hotel bookings in Toronto. I managed to get a price of $119 per night for the 4* Marriott at the Eaton Centre. I just did a quick price comparison, and the rooms are about $209 per night, under normal circumstances. The hotel was gorgeous – it was the biggest bed I have ever slept in. Plus, the room had a 28” widescreen LCD and I was able to hook my laptop up to it really easily. I wanted to stay in a little bit of luxury for a night or two, and it didn’t break the bank. The hotel was right in the city centre too, so I could hit the shops at my leisure. I saved on the hotel, so spent a lot more on dining out than I expected… maybe I’ll need to join Weight Watchers Canada!

Priceline Canada Guide: Get Discount Hotels & Cheap Vacations

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41 Comments to “Priceline Canada Guide: Get Discount Hotels & Cheap Vacations”

  1. My fiance used this for our upcoming trip to Europe (so convenient). We have used this before to California and I am even starting to see hotels offered in smaller cities in Canada (Victoria)

    #1 savings when travelling.

    Excellent article!

    • john says:

      I tried to use this site but it it doesn’t recognize Canadian cities. I was trying to book a trip from Calgary to Las Vegas but it keeps telling me ” we are unable to recognize the departure city you entered. Please re-enter a city below.”

  2. Anna says:

    Thanks Dude!
    Always worth giving it a try if you want to get a bargain hotel :)

  3. Julee says:

    We love priceline!! Another great site is hotwire.com for cheap hotel rates!!

  4. Anna says:

    I’ve never used hotwire actually – I must check it out and write up a review too :)

  5. Terp says:

    Great information on the “free” rebids; took me awhile to get my head around that. ;)

    I also search Bidlesstravel before I bid, too, to see how much others bid, so I don’t bid too low and get rejected and, more importantly, don’t pay too much.

    Good stuff. Thanks.

  6. Chris says:

    I also used it for Montreal, it worked well! I love priceline!

  7. Nimy says:

    Priceline.com keeps telling me that I can only select departure points from within the United States. What am I doing wrong??

  8. Anna says:

    Are you talking about for flights Nimy?

  9. Nimy says:

    Yes. Are we not allowed to book flights from Canada through PriceLine?

  10. Anna says:

    Seems not! I tried it with a Toronto departure, didn’t work. But the above article is about the Priceline name your own price feature on hotels, which should be fine.

  11. Wolfkin says:

    oh boo. I have friends and family wherever I go. I only need it to get flights. Without that it has little use for me. Oh well.

  12. Roger says:

    I have used Priceline on hotels for a few occasions, got a bad deal only once. Had an overnight stop in Dallas Ft Worth on a plane flight to Ecuador. Asked for 4 star at $70.00 and received an accepted bid of the Marriott downtown. Airport transfers were $22 each way x 2 people, therefore an addtional cost of $88.00. Plus at the Marriott I assumed heavy tipping “required”, orange juice, toast, and coffee at breakfast would have been over $12.00. Ignored the room, absorbed the cost, and booked a 3* hotel near the airport with free transfers, free continental breakfast, etc. for $65.00 Lesson learned the expensive way.

    • randy says:

      Sounds like Hotwire may have been a better choice in your case. While Priceline is better on pricing that Hotwire, you don’t know what hotel amenities you’ll get in advance. I use Hotwire when I need certain amenities (e.g., shuttle) especially when travelling with my kids – a swimming pool and free breakfast is a must for my family of 5.

  13. lois wilson says:

    asked for a hotel in charlottown ,p.e.i ,got hotel outside city but not too far. when we got room it would have been cheaper if I booked myself.also was quoted 135.00 with tax & exchange & it was 139.53 on my credit card. called priceline but got no satisfaction.

  14. Anna says:

    Had you started your bids fairly low or was that your first bid?

  15. muhammad says:

    i been bidding from last two yeer for toronto and niaga falls city i always have a bad deel i never got a good deal price line is suck do not go learn lesso from roger same thing is happning to me for last year never ever got luck

  16. Rick says:

    I am from Canada how do I book a flight from State to State…Credit Csrd page does not list a spot for Canada ????????
    help frustrated

  17. Anna says:

    I’ve never booked a flight with them, but just did a test on it, entering a few US states for the flights, and it accepts a Canadian address in the final stage of checkout? Canada is in the drop down list.

  18. Happy traveler says:

    I’ve used it once to do a Seattle shopping spree with friends & check out a ballgame and we found ourselves at the Hilton in Belvue at $67 per night. Loved it.Friends paid $69.

  19. Saru says:

    You can bid on flight tickets using Canadian billing address but you must add your credit card using the Canadian billing address to your profile before trying to bid.

  20. Wendy C says:

    Is there any way to make your bid in Canadian funds?

  21. Cheryl says:

    used priceline in November and stayed at the 4* Westin in Halifax, NS for $55 US. Very good deal, had to pay extra for parking for room would have cost $100 more! Looking for flight prices now though and it won’t let me put Canadian cities to depart from.

  22. helen says:

    I have used priceline hotels in Windsor Ontario. Both times i have put in a bid I ws placed at Radisson which is exactly where we wanted to be. (Hilton next door does not use service of price line) first time we stayed bid ar $58 and was accepted right off, but had to pay for parking $10 a night, knew about having to pay for parking ahead of time. Now that we know hotel and area better discovered that we can pay $2 flat rate per day at parking lot just beside where you park for hotel. just put in my second bid to go to Windsor in April (this being Feb) and put in bid for $48 and won that, Next time going to bid even lower to see how cheap we can get the room. Think now it is just about how cheap can I get the room. Need to book room for Toronto for July let the adventure begin.

  23. fredbear says:

    Welcome to Windsor Helen…Radisson is a nice place….Good deal too..I hope you enjoy our water front. As for me I am going to try and get a deal on something in Troy Mi for next weekend. Wish me luck!!!

  24. fredbear says:

    btw..I will let u stay at a room in my house which is 15 mins from the Radisson for $20 a night…and free parking…lol

  25. Solly says:

    Hi Anna,
    That was a great article.
    Pl come up with more like these.
    Reg your experinece, did you know it was going to be mariott? how did you start your bid?
    Is there a way to narrow down as to what hotel you gonna get?
    cheers

    solly

    • Anna says:

      I can only come up with articles on topics I know a bit about, so I’m quite limited! As for all your questions, I’ve explained everything to the best of my ability above. But there is no way to try and get a specific named hotel when using the name your own price feature on Priceline.

  26. Solly says:

    Hi Anna,
    thanks for your prompt reply .
    I meant you bid for $119 straight away or was your lower bid rejected earlier. was $119 including tax ?
    -Solly

  27. Caralee says:

    Anyone use priceline for Vegas? Five stars? North? South? What did you bid and end up with?

  28. Zoomit.ca says:

    Priceline: How To Get Discount Hotels & Cheap Vacations!…

    A guide on how to use Priceline to get really great deals on high-quality hotels….

  29. kona says:

    Great article and your re-bid example was essential to my understanding how the loophole works!!! Thanks to you, I just got a smokin’ deal on a 4-star hotel ($114 less than the posted rate). Cheers!

  30. […] on their name-you-own-price hotels, a feature which I have blogged about before here in this Priceline post. They are now offering up to 60% off the hotels, but in addition, you will receive a free $50 […]

  31. […] When you book ahead of the time, most often you’ll be able to score a better deal that the last minute deals many companies offer (last minute deals are fine if you have all the time in the world but most of us who book vacations in advance don’t, unfortunately). Other ways to score cheap hotels are listed here. […]

  32. heather says:

    Is there a way to book rooms on priceline by bidding to get 2 double beds — am not seeing that option and since I am am travelling with a friend, we’d like separate beds. If I book and try to see if the hotel has 2 beds available, am afraid the price will shoot up dramatically. any advice would be appreciated. thanks!

    • Anna Waters says:

      Hi Heather. For the “name your own price” feature on Priceline, you are not able to specify that type of requirement. If you definitely need that, you’d be safer using another option. Check out the new “express deals” that Priceline have just launched – it might be a better option for you.

  33. […] you don’t know how Priceline works, Anna wrote this super handy guide, which explains the bidding process. If after reading it, you feel it might be too complicated, […]

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