Now that we've given you an introduction to Priceline, we'll give you a summary of what we thought were the most useful — and most frustrating — parts of using the website. Did it successfully persuade us that it was the real deal for online travel booking, or did its negotiations break down?
Let’s go over some of the pros and cons of Priceline so you can decide if it’s right for you.
- No-nonsense basic booking – If you aren't looking for a total bargain and just want your travel accommodations booked the right way, Priceline will help you plan all the details from start to finish. Whether you're looking for a flight, hotel, rental car, cruise, or an entire vacation package, it can help you sort it all out right in one spot. You can also usually change or cancel these types of bookings easily.
- Haggle for a deal with "Name Your Own Price" – Want to show off your negotiating skills? Their "Name Your Own Price" system allows you to pick some basic details about your accommodations, and then tell them what you want to pay for your booking. The software will then search for a company that will accept your price. You can usually get your accommodations at below-retail prices this way!
- Get rewarded for your jet-setting – Sign up for an account or their email newsletter to earn "Bonus Cash" and coupon codes that you can use to lower the costs of your bookings even further!
- Multiple customer service options – Need some extra help using Priceline? Get in touch with them through live text chat, a convenient email form, or a good old-fashioned phone number.
- Coupons have limited use – Discount coupon codes can only be used when you book hotels, and not when you book flights, car rentals, cruises, or vacations. In addition, they can only be used with the "Express Deals" and "Name Your Own Price" systems, and not for booking hotels through the regular channels.
- Only the price is flexible – Bookings made through the "Name Your Own Price" system have some specific parts of your itinerary hidden from you and/or selected by Priceline or the company that they book you with. These types of bookings also cannot be changed or cancelled.
- Get it right the first time – If the bid you submit for a "Name Your Own Price" booking is too low, you may have to change part of your itinerary if you want to immediately re-bid, or else restart the entire process from square one.
The bottom line: 8/10
Overall, Priceline.com is a pretty good website for booking travel accommodations online. Its basic booking functions are fairly reliable, flexible, and straightforward. Its standout feature, however, is its "Name Your Own Price" system. If you're willing to be a bit flexible with your travel plans (and maybe a bit patient, too), you can score pretty significant discounts whether you choose to book flights, hotels, or car rentals. The "Express Deals" system and their "Bonus Cash" and coupon codes can help lower your accommodation prices, too.
Though "Name Your Own Price" is Priceline's signature service, it's also the source of some of their biggest drawbacks. You can't control all aspects of your itinerary in this system (meaning that you have to leave some to Priceline or the company that they book you with), and your booking can't be changed or cancelled. You also have to research retail prices, or at least be patient (or both), when using "Name Your Own Price". If the price you bid isn't accepted, you may have to change your itinerary before you can bid again. Or, if you don't want to change your itinerary, you may have to start your booking again from scratch.
In short, Priceline gives you the flexibility to choose between being in full control of booking your travel accommodations (albeit at slightly higher prices), or leaving some aspects of your itinerary up to chance in a bid to save money with "Express Deals" or "Name Your Own Price". We'll show you how to use both of these booking methods in the next two sets of tutorials in this course, so stick with us!
We hope this review helped you decide whether or not Priceline is the right travel booking service for you. If you want to use it, check out the rest of our free Priceline course to learn how to book your next vacation.