Priceline.com uses a bidding system called "Name Your Own Price". Basically, it allows you to select your flight departure point, destination, and dates, and then select how much you are willing to pay for your flight. Based on this information, Priceline will look for an airline that is willing to accept your price.
If they find one, Priceline will book your flight at times specified by the airline. If you do not get a match, you will have the opportunity to re-bid.
Go to www.priceline.com and click Flights.
Click Start Your Flights Bid Now.
Enter your departure and arrival points and dates, and number of passengers.
Select your airports and price, and enter traveller information.
Enter your billing address and information, and confirm your bid.
Bidding on your travel accommodations is serious business, so we've prepared full instructions with screenshots if you need a little more to go on than these bullet points.
Open your web browser and go to www.priceline.com. In the menu across the top of the screen, click Flights.
Scroll down to the "Name Your Own Price" section and click Start Your Flights Bid Now.
As if you were booking a flight normally on Priceline, you must enter your departure and destination points, departure and return dates, and the number of adults and children who will be taking this flight together in your party. Once you have provided this information, click Bid Now.
First, you will have to select the airports near your departure and arrival points for which you wish to search for flights. You can select as many or as few as you like, as long as you select at least one airport near your departure point and one airport near your arrival point. Click the check box beside an airport to select or deselect it.
Next is the namesake of the Priceline bidding system: naming your own price! Click in the box labelled "Name Your Own Price" and type in the amount that you wish to pay for your flight.
You will also have to enter your traveller information here. For each passenger, fill out their form by clicking in the respective boxes and typing in or selecting:
- Their first name
- Their middle name (optional)
- Their last name
- Their name suffix (optional)
- The month that they were born
- The date that they were born
- The year that they were born
- Their gender
You will also have to select the number of passengers in your group under the age of 2.
Once you have filled in all of your information, click Continue.
On the next screen, scroll down to the "We Recommend Trip Protection" section and click one of the buttons here to choose whether you want extra trip insurance or not.
Next, at the bottom of the "Important Information" section, click in the box labelled "Initial Here" and type your initials.
Next, you will have to enter your billing address. Click in each of the respective boxes and type in or select:
- Your first name
- Your middle initial (optional)
- Your last name
- Your street address
- The country in which you live
- The city or town in which you live
- The state, province, or territory in which you live
- Your mailing code
- A phone number that can be used to reach you in the daytime
- A phone number that can be used to reach you in the evening
- Your email address
- A copy of your email address
You can also click the check box here to unmark it if you don't want to receive promotional emails from Priceline.
Last up is your credit card information. Click in each of the respective boxes and type in or select:
- Your credit card type
- Your credit card number
- The (numerical) month that your credit card expires
- The year that your credit card expires
- Your credit card's security code (click What's This? for help finding it)
When you've entered all of your information, click Buy My Tickets Now.
You might get a response right away; if not, check your email inbox. If your price is accepted, your flight will be booked, and you can print out your confirmation information (which is a good idea, as you may need it when you check in for boarding your flight).
If your price is not accepted, one of two things will happen. If your price is too far below what any airline is willing to accept, you will be notified by Priceline that your bid was not accepted. You can re-bid at the same price (or a different price), but you must change one parameter of your trip (such as available airports, possible additional connecting flights, alternative travel days, etc.).
If, however, your bid is close enough to what at least one airline might be willing to accept, Priceline may allow you to immediately re-bid at a slightly higher price. Unlike in the previous scenario, though, you will not have to change your trip parameters.
Try to bid fairly close to the date when you wish to travel. This ensures that prices don't fluctuate drastically between when you book and when you travel, which may end up leaving you feeling ripped off if prices drop within that time span.
On the other hand, it's probably not a good idea to leave your bid to the last minute. If your bid isn't accepted, you may not have time to re-bid, and thus you may not be able to book your flight at all.
You may want to try searching for available flights for your travel destinations and dates as if you were going to book them normally through Priceline (or another travel booking service such as TripAdvisor.com). This will help give you an idea of what regular fares cost, so you can bid a price that's lower than standard fares but not so low that you can't find an airline that will accept it.
After selecting your travel destinations and dates, you can select multiple airports that are close to your departure and arrival points. If you're not a stickler about where you take off or land in a city, doing so can increase your odds of Priceline finding a flight at the price you want.
That's our guide to bidding on flights with Priceline.com's "Name Your Own Price"!
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