What Priceline is and How to Book Travel Online

Last updated: February 4, 2017 - 10:48am EST

Booking travel accommodations online has become a popular new alternative for people looking to plan a getaway. The main draw of doing so is the convenience: you can book your flights, hotels, rental cars, and so on right from the comfort of your own home, and often all on the same website! Plus, many booking websites offer rewards programs and other discounts, so you can take a vacation without breaking the bank! 

With Priceline.com, you can flexibly book travel amenities when you're going away from home for a while. Or, if you think that you're a good haggler, you can try out the "Name Your Own Price" function. Pick a few details about your trip, tell Priceline what you're willing to pay for it, and then let Priceline find you a company that's willing to accept your offer. That's the power of negotiation!

The one drawback is that it's often more difficult to cancel your arrangements made through a booking website than it is if you book directly with the accommodations company itself (see our Priceline cancellation policy article), so make sure to plan extra carefully.

What is Priceline?

Priceline is a travel accommodation booking website that allows you to reserve airline flights, hotel rooms, and rental cars. Its "Name Your Own Price" system allows you to place bids on accommodations that have some of their details hidden from you. The details will be revealed if your bid is accepted.

How does Priceline work? 5 main features of Priceline

1. Hassle-free bookings for all your accommodations, including flights, hotels, and car rentals.

Priceline makes it easy to be in control of your trip bookings from start to finish. You can reserve seats on an airplane flight, rooms at a hotel, rental cars, and even cruises or entire vacation packages!

Priceline booking page

2. Drive a hard bargain with "Name Your Own Price."

Feel like taking a gamble in order to get a better deal? Try booking an accommodation through Priceline's "Name Your Own Price" function. You get to choose some of the essential details regarding your booking, and then tell Priceline what you want to pay for it. Based on your bid, Priceline will try to match you with an airline, hotel, or car rental company willing to accept your price. If they succeed, they will fill in the rest of the details about your booking for you.

Name Your Price feature on Priceline

3. Alter or cancel bookings if you have a change of plans.

Usually, if you go through the regular channels for booking an accommodation on Priceline, then you can change or cancel your booking if something comes up. Simply enter your email address and itinerary number, and you should be able to change a few details about your accommodation, or at least cancel it outright. You can also try contacting Priceline customer service, or the company that you booked with through Priceline, and see if they can help.

Change details of a booking on Priceline

4. Sleep and save with coupons for hotel bookings.

Chances are that you'll already be getting a bargain on your hotel room when you book through Priceline's "Name Your Own Price" system. But you can also sign up for Priceline's email newsletter and get exclusive Priceline coupon codes to hammer down your costs even further! You may even be able to find some of these codes on virtual coupon websites!

Coupons for Priceline hotels

5. Get in touch with customer service through multiple channels.

Need some extra assistance with using Priceline? Head to their "Help" page and start a live text chat with one of their customer service representatives, or send their customer service department an email by using their convenient inquiry form. Or, you can just call their toll-free customer service phone number!

Ways to contact Priceline customer service

The history of priceline

Priceline.com was founded in 1997 intending to help its users get the best travel deals on airline tickets and hotel rates. Priceline is best known for the “Name Your Own Price” system that allows people to bid on travel deals. Recently, Priceline introduced another way for travelers to save money with their “Express Deals” program.

Is Priceline safe?

Priceline is definitely safe to use. It’s one of the oldest and most well-established online booking sites. They only partner with legitimate airlines, hotels, and rental car services, so you know you can count on your travel booking. You’re safe to pay for your Priceline bookings with your credit card or PayPal.

The only thing about Priceline that may be questionable is if you book through their “Name Your Own Price” system, because you won’t know the specific hotel or airline until your booking is finalized.

To learn more about how safe Priceline is, check out our article on Priceline safety.

Priceline pros and cons

There are lots of reasons to book a vacation with Priceline, but there are also a few not-so-great things about booking on Priceline could make you go elsewhere. Let’s go over a few of the pros and cons of Priceline to give you an idea of whether or not it’s right for you.

A great feature of Priceline is that it has multiple options and ways to book your vacation. You can use their basic booking system if you’re not looking for the best bargain, or try to get a deal with their “Name Your Own Price” system. They also occasionally have coupons to save money on hotel bookings, and their customer service representatives can be reached in multiple ways.

On the other hand, some cons of Priceline are that when you use the “Name Your Own Price” system, you have to be patient waiting for the details of your booking. You won’t be told the airline or specific hotel until you’ve completed your booking, and during the booking process, if your bid is too low you may end up having to re-start the entire process.

To read more about these pros and cons and hear more of our thoughts about Priceline, have a look at our Priceline review.

Priceline competitors

Priceline is one of many online travel booking websites, so it’s not the only option if you’re looking to book your next vacation. If Priceline isn’t quite right for you, you could check out some other great travel booking websites such as Orbitz.com and Expedia.com. If you’re looking for more affordable accommodations and are okay with not staying in a hotel, you could rent a space from a property owner through Flipkey.com. If you’d like to find more information about an area you’re thinking about visiting, check out Tripadvisor.com to learn about the best restaurants and attractions in the area.

We have a whole list of the best websites like Priceline in our article on Priceline competitors if you’d like to learn more.

 

 

And that’s our rundown of Priceline! We have a few more informational articles about Priceline before we show you how to use the site: our review of Priceline, and some notes about Priceline's safety and reliability. If you want to jump right in though, start with the tutorials in our "Booking on Priceline" section of our free Priceline course!

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More Priceline Tutorials

See all 13 Priceline tutorials
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