Before you get started using Priceline.com for booking travel accommodations, you may have some questions about your security on the website. Is it safe to use my credit card on the website? How trustworthy are the companies that Priceline books me with? How can I lower the uncertainty of using the "Name Your Own Price" system? This article will attempt to put your mind at ease by addressing each of these concerns.
Priceline.com is quite reliable when it comes to online travel booking. They've partnered with the most well-known accommodation providers around, so it's not like you'll be stuck with an unproven company when you book. About the only direct competitor that beats them in reliability is Orbitz.com.
With that said, their reliability drops a bit if using their "Express Deals" or "Name Your Own Price" systems. This is because some of your booking details are hidden from you (at least until your booking is complete), and/or selected by Priceline or the accommodations provider that you end up with. We'll explain more below.
If you are really worried about the reliability of Priceline or any other travel accommodation booking website, then we suggest booking directly with the respective accommodations companies.
Yes, Priceline is very safe to use. As we mentioned above, they are a reputable company that works with only the most well-established accommodation providers in the travel industry. It is safe to book accommodations through them, and it is also safe to pay for your bookings with a credit card or PayPal.
Note, however, that using their "Express Deals" or "Name Your Own Price" systems can be a bit of a gamble. Some of your itinerary details are left to be filled in by Priceline or the company that accepts your booking, and these types of bookings cannot be changed or cancelled. There are, however, ways to mitigate these risks, which we will outline below.
Since you can't change or cancel "Name Your Own Price" bookings, try to book them fairly close to the date that you're going to start your trip on (say, within two weeks at most). This helps to lessen the risk of getting stuck with a booking that you have to miss because you had a change of plans.
Do your homework. Research the retail rates of airplane tickets, hotel bookings, or car rentals on either Priceline or its competitors (Expedia.com, Travelocity.com, Hotels.com, TripAdvisor.com, and so on). This will help you make a bid that will save you money off retail price, but be reasonable enough to get you the type of accommodations that you want. If you're booking a hotel, you may want to use a mapping service like Google Maps to get information on hotels in the general area in which you wish to book. This may give you an idea of what you can expect when Priceline picks your particular hotel for you.
Why stop at negotiating your booking price? When you find out the exact details of your booking, call the company that you end up getting booked with and talk to them about their ability to honour seat selections (for airlines), room availability (for hotels), and any other special requests that you make. You may also want to contact Priceline itself about these things (see our How to Contact Priceline Customer Service article).
Print out your itinerary, and take it with you when you go to check in for your accommodation. Your itinerary serves as proof that your booking has been confirmed, as well as of any special requests that you make. It can be a valuable piece of evidence in the unfortunate event that something goes wrong and a dispute arises.
That's our advice on how to maximize the safety and reliability of booking travel accommodations through Priceline.com!
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