Since 1998, Priceline.com has grabbed the imagination of travelers wanting to save money on their vacations, business trips, getaways, etc. with edgy advertising (who doesn't chuckle when William Shatner's Negotiator ads pop up) and a fresh twist on travel – mainly their trademarked "Name Your Own Price" feature.
- Discount travel services
- Great website
Discount Travel Services
Over the last several years, Priceline.com has expanded their offerings to include discount travel services which are below market price, but without the "unknowns" of the Name Your Own Price terms and conditions.
Priceline.com is the cornerstone of the Priceline Group - a conglomerate of third-party travel brokers doing the legwork for travelers who would prefer to have a one-stop booking option for their vacation and spend less time looking for a good price than they spend on their vacation.
Priceline.com has three levels of opacity as far as your bookings go. "Name Your Own Price" bookings are opaque - meaning that you do not know the details of your travel until your offer has been accepted. Express Deals are semi-opaque - you are given minimal information about your room (location, star rating and customer rating) before booking and after booking for up to a 55% discount, you learn the details of your travel. Fully transparent bookings are those that are most like the competition - you know what you are booking, where and the price upfront. These bookings usually have lesser savings in the price tag than the previous two.
Priceline.com has worked hard to both revolutionize how third-party travel companies work and to streamline the process. Some of the notable features which are offered by Priceline.com include:
- Name Your Own Price - travelers can submit bids for what they would like to spend on airfare, rooms and car rentals and
- Priceline.com will try and match the bid to an available offer.
- Priceline Rewards- Priceline.com offers a rewards program for frequent travelers in which points earned on purchases can be redeemed for travel, gift cards or merchandise.
- Priceline Rewards Visa - to earn more Priceline Rewards points, one can apply for a Priceline Rewards Visa and earn points on everyday purchases.
- Last minute travel specials - Priceline offers steep discounts for unbooked seats on flights as well as rooms and rental cars.
Priceline has made it so their service is easy to navigate, offers some of the best deals in the industry, and gave travelers the "low down" on each vacation and travel package that is offered on its website. Consumers have also appreciated Priceline's sitemap. We liked being able to search by big city destinations, 3, 4, and 5-star vacation options, and other premium travel options.
- Lacking details
- Out of country
- Discrepancies in pricing
Many people are inherently uncomfortable with the "unknowns" of Priceline.com and you don't know the details of your travel ahead of your booking. This works well for those with more flexible schedules, but for anyone needing to arrive/depart/stay in a certain area, this aspect can be frustrating at least and unworkable at best. For those with set needs, the savings may be less for more transparency, but the peace of mind may easily make up for it.
Out of Country
For American travelers looking to leave the country, Priceline is not the optimum first choice due to its limited offerings for out-of-country vacations combined with its lack of travel protection. Priceline's vacation deals only include the following foreign listings:
- Puerto Rico
Discrepancies in Pricing
There are some discrepancies in terms of pricing that have been a concern for travelers. For instance, the resort fees were not included in bidding. Even if a customer got a hotel deal on Pricline.com, they could be subject to resort fees ($25 or more in some cases). This obscure part of their terms of services could greatly inflate travel prices for customers who purchase a stay at a hotel or a resort.