Priceline is an online travel agency known for offering low-cost hotel rooms, car rentals, and airline tickets. Jay S. Walker founded this company in 1997, and it quickly gained popularity due to its ‘name your price’ policy. Booking Holdings currently owns the Priceline Group. Every year, millions of travelers use Priceline’s websites to find the best deals. Customers can expect to save up to 60% on their hotel accommodations. The company’s headquarters are in Norwalk, Connecticut.
Overview of Priceline
It is a Web-based travel shopping site that was established in 1998 and allows buyers to submit the price they are willing to pay for airline tickets, hotel rooms, vacation packages, and rental cars.
If a system vendor accepts the price, the transaction is completed, and priceline.com receives a commission.
Priceline’s second major business is the provision of competitively bid home mortgages and loans via a licensed third-party financial service. Initially, the company attempted to sell car and life insurance, cellular phones, and everyday groceries, but none of these services were as successful as its core travel and tourism niche.
It is an online travel agency known for offering low-cost hotel rooms, airfare, rental cars, and cruises.
It claims that its numerous deal campaigns, such as Express Deals, Tonight-Only Deals, and Pricebreakers, save customers more than $1 billion each year. Priceline VIP loyalty members can receive additional discounts.
How does Priceline work?
It is a subsidiary of Booking Holdings, the world’s largest travel company, which also owns Kayak, Rentalcars.com, and OpenTable.
Priceline, which can be accessed via priceline.com or its mobile app, provides personalized recommendations for travelers, including non traditional accommodations such as private homes, boats, and yurts. Travelers can combine lodging, flights, and rental cars in a single transaction — and often at a discount.
Enter your dates and destination, and it will recommend flights, hotels, and rental cars to get you there. Priceline, as an OTA, makes the booking process easier.
Meanwhile, someone else provides the actual travel services, whether it’s a massive hotel chain or a small, family-owned bed and breakfast.
It has fairly robust booking tools, particularly for travelers who prefer to book all aspects of their trip — flight, hotel, and rental car — all at once rather than separately.
Priceline’s Trip Builder platform allows users to combine those purchases into a single transaction, while also unlocking previously unavailable privately negotiated rates.
Combining features from other websites can be restrictive.
They sometimes force you to book a flight (even if you would have preferred a road trip) or do not allow for multiple city stopovers.
Trip Builder, on the other hand, takes into account individual travel circumstances and removes many restrictions found elsewhere.
Your trip can include a mix of private homes and hotel stays.
You can also combine a trip that does not include a flight.
How to book a flight on Priceline step by step
Booking on Priceline is a simple process.
After you’ve chosen your itinerary, simply enter your passenger information and payment information, wait for flight confirmation, and you’re on your way.
Name Your Own Price, Priceline’s most famous deal, has been retired.
The Name Your Own Price deal was a bidding tool that allowed you to negotiate hotel rates up to 60% off retail and airfare rates up to 40% off retail.
There are still plenty of other Priceline promotions available.
Priceline Express Deals
While it bidding is no longer available, the company does offer Express Deals, which can help you save money on flights if you’re willing to book without knowing a few details.
These are opaque bookings with pre-negotiated prices, and they only reveal a few details before you complete the transaction, such as departure and arrival airports, general timeframes (morning, afternoon, or evening), a few potential “trusted airlines” represented by their logos, and whether or not carry-on luggage and advanced seat assignments are available.
Priceline will sometimes tell you exactly how much you’re saving (e.g., 5% off list price, or $85 savings), while other times they will only give you an estimate (e.g. up to 40 percent ).
You won’t know your exact flight times, carrier(s), or layover information until you book.
There are discounts ranging from 5% to 40%, but there is no way to search specifically for these offers.
They appear more frequently during last-minute flight searches, particularly on longer-distance trips where ticket prices are typically higher.
You can get a sense of the value of the deal by sifting through the non-Express Deal flight results listed below the deal box and comparing flight times, carriers, and costs.
However, because It works hard to keep these deals hidden, flights from any of the Express Deal’s “trusted airlines” are unlikely to appear in the general search results.
If you really want to figure out the Express Deal before booking, run another search on a site like Google Flights or Kayak and compare the results to the Express Deal.
Another thing to remember is that Express Deals are non-refundable, so booking locks you in even if the deal turns out to be less than ideal (though the Best Price Guarantee does refund you 200 percent of the difference if you find the same flight listed at a lower cost anytime until 24 hours before check-in). Even if you’re a flexible traveler, it’s always a good idea to shop around, including running searches on sites like Google Flights and Momondo, as well as airline booking sites and other OTAs, before going for an Express Deal.
Pricebreakers are another option for booking hotels on Priceline if you prefer less risk in your life. It will present you with three options for hotels.
You won’t know which one you’ll get until you pay, but it will undoubtedly be one of those three.
Pricebreakers and Express Deals are both ways to save money if you’re not too picky about where you stay.
Priceline car rental
Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price” rental car system lets you choose a pick-up/drop-off city or airport, pick-up and drop-off dates and times, and car class.
Then you get to submit a price for your car that you’re willing to pay. It will book your rental if your price is accepted.
You can’t choose the company that rents you the car as a trade-off for being able to set your own price (which is usually lower than published rental rates).
Some travel booking websites have similar restrictions, such as Expedia.com’s “Unpublished Rates” program for hotels.
Hotwire.com has a booking system that works similarly.
To bid on Priceline rental cars:
- Go to www.priceline.com, and then click Cars.
- Click Start Your Rental Cars Bid Now.
- Enter your pick-up/drop-off point, pick-up and drop-off dates and times, preferred car class, and desired price.
- Enter your driver information, billing address, and credit card details.
- Confirm your bid.
Priceline VIP is the name of the company’s loyalty program.
There are different levels based on how many trips you’ve taken.
When you sign up, you are at the basic level, which gives you up to 10% off select hotels and car rentals.
When you book at least two trips with it, you qualify for Priceline Blue, which offers 50% off hotels and 15% off car rentals.
Booking hotels on Priceline
It allows you to book a hotel reservation in addition to your flight.
The procedure is very similar to that of booking a flight. It will show you available accommodations based on your location, dates, and number of people in your party.
There are numerous methods for filtering or refining your search. You can choose to see only specific types of accommodations (hotels, condos, resorts, etc.), filter by amenities such as a pool or kitchen, or sort by price and rating.
You can also choose to see only places that allow for flexible cancellation.
Priceline Pricebreakers displays information on three hotel options after you enter your travel destination and dates, including the name of the hotel, address, retail price, ratings, and reviews.
While each hotel has a different nightly rate, you’ll only pay the discounted Pricebreaker rate. When you choose a trio of hotels, Priceline books one of the three options, and you’ll be notified which hotel was chosen after you check out.
Remember that you will pay the discounted rate per night, but tax will be added at checkout, so be prepared to pay that additional fee. The hotel may also charge mandatory fees, which you will be able to confirm before checking out.
It has a mobile app that allows you to make and manage all of your Priceline reservations.
Furthermore, the app contains exclusive deals and discounts that are not available anywhere else.
Cancelling a Priceline reservation
It has a plethora of deals, especially for those who are flexible about where they stay and when they travel.
But, for all of the benefits of booking on Priceline, there are some drawbacks, and cancellations are among the most serious.
Many of the most significant discounts cannot be changed or canceled.
This includes Express Deals, which are non-changeable and nonrefundable (the full itinerary is revealed only after you book).
Change and cancellation policies vary for bookings that are not part of Priceline’s mystery deals.
Whether or not your travel can be refunded is frequently determined by the provider’s policy, not by Priceline’s.
A basic economy flight may not be eligible for a refund, but an upgraded ticket may. In some cases, you may be able to change your reservation if you pay a fee.
Fees vary by provider and can be found in your online itinerary.
Here is how to do it
You can use Priceline’s self-service cancellation tool if your reservation is cancellable.
- Click the My Trips button from a logged-in Priceline account, and then select View/Cancel Itinerary next to the reservation you want to cancel.
- Make sure to read the individual cancellation policy for each one, as they can differ in terms of how much money you’ll actually get back.
- Flights can also be canceled by calling Priceline’s Customer Service at 800-774-2354.
Pros and Cons of Priceline
- Displaying upgrade options: After you select your flights, it displays upgrade options and associated costs at checkout, including the price difference between basic economy and main economy.
- Booking transparency: Before you complete your booking, it clearly communicates the fare class and cancellation policies for your chosen flights.
- Package deals: It offers package deals, which allow you to combine your airline tickets with a car rental and/or hotel reservation for greater savings in a single transaction.
- Express Deals: Through an opaque booking option called Priceline Express Deals, it offers flights at significantly lower prices. However, until you purchase, you won’t know which airline you’ll be flying with or your exact departure and arrival times.
- Best Price Guarantee: If you find a lower price for your exact flight itinerary (same airline, flight numbers, dates, airports, number of ticketed passengers, cabin, and fare class) on it within 24 hours of booking, the Best Price Guarantee program will refund you 100% of the difference for regular tickets and 200 percent for Express Deals.
(Note that some airlines, such as Spirit, Frontier, Lufthansa, Swiss, British Airways, Iberia, Air France, and KLM, are not included.)
- Location flexibility: Priceline does not allow you to enter multiple cities into their “Leaving from?” and “Going to?” search fields, so your results will only include flights between one arrival and one departure city per search.
- Date flexibility: Clicking “Flexible Dates” in the More Options drop-down menu of the search box only shows flights departing one day before and/or returning one day after and cannot be adjusted to show wider windows.
- Direct booking: Because it does not allow you to book your flights directly with the airline, you cannot easily compare prices or access the airline’s specific offerings. All transactions take place on its website.
- Access to prices from other OTAs: Priceline, like Momondo and Kayak, does not display search results from multiple OTAs, so you may miss out on the best deal.
- Destination mapping: Because it lacks map functionality, it is difficult to compare prices to different destinations within the same region.
Priceline customer service
Use the Priceline Help Center for assistance with issues such as changing or canceling your trip, obtaining a refund, or filing a complaint.
If you can’t get help from Priceline’s self-service tools, there are a few other ways to contact customer service:
- Text Priceline’s customer care team at 33296.
Call and speak with a live person.
- The general phone number for Priceline is 877-477-5807 or 009 1 203-220-6946.
Is Priceline trusted?
It is extremely secure. They are a reputable company that only works with the most well-known lodging providers in the travel industry. It is safe to book accommodations through them and to pay for them with a credit card or a PayPal account.
Is it the same as Expedia?
Priceline became Expedia Group. The change came about a month after the Priceline Group was renamed Booking Holdings. Expedia Group is the world’s second largest online travel company, trailing only Booking Holdings, with $10 billion in revenue in 2017.
Skift has provided an explainer about Expedia Group’s brand portfolio.
Can you negotiate on Priceline?
One of the many benefits of our VIP program is our Best Price Guarantee policy, which allows Priceline members to book with confidence.
We will refund the difference if you are a member and find a lower price within 24 hours of booking.
Is Priceline refundable?
Express Deals-Priceline deals that reveal the entire itinerary only after you book are non-changeable and non-refundable.
Other reservations may be more accommodating.
You can view the fare rules for your flight on the contract before booking and on your itinerary after booking.
What company owns Priceline?
Booking Holdings Inc. is an American travel technology company based in Norwalk, Connecticut that owns and operates several travel fare aggregators. It was founded under Delaware General Corporation Law.
What is price breaker on Priceline?
Priceline launched Pricebreakers today, a new platform innovation that algorithmically groups popular hotels together to deliver the best possible price.
Pricebreakers displays three similar, highly rated hotels at a single low price to travelers.
Does it still allow you to bid on cars?
To bid on Priceline rental cars, follow these steps:
- Go to www.priceline.com and then click Cars.
- Start Your Rental Cars Bid Now by clicking the button.
- Enter your pick-up/drop-off location, dates and times, preferred car class, and desired price.
Does Priceline have a fee?
It appears to levy a sliding fee based on the total cost of the hotel nights you bid on.
The minimum fee (for example, for a 1* $20 bid) is usually $6-7. However, if you bid for one night at $200/night, the fee rises to more than $10.
Do you have to be a member to use Priceline?
It’s completely free to join, and you’ll immediately gain access to VIP discounts and benefits.
Can you reschedule on Priceline?
It should be able to locate your itinerary.
If your booking can be cancelled or changed, you should be able to find a link to do so (for example, “Change My Flight” or “Cancel My Car Rental” or something similar).
Can I cancel hotel on Priceline?
Call customer service at 877-477-5807 once you’ve determined your hotel room is eligible for cancellation.
Prepare to provide the agent with your trip number, which can be found on the website under the “My Trips” tab.
Priceline reservations cannot be cancelled online
Is Priceline VIP free?
It’s easy — and it’s free!
To join the VIP program, all you need is a Priceline account.
With each Priceline booking, you can accrue more benefits and perks.
Every trip moves you closer to the next tier, so the more trips you take, the more money you save.
How does free cancellation work on Priceline?
Priceline accepts cancellations until 11:29 p.m. Eastern the following business day.
If you purchase on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, you have until MONDAY at 11:29PM Eastern time to cancel.
This cancellation policy does not apply to Name Your Own Price Airfares on Priceline.
We do not publish any Name Your Own Price offers.
How do I get my money back from Priceline?
Contact Priceline’s customer service department.
If you purchased a ticket with a specified flight time, you can cancel it and receive a refund the same day. Contact customer service at 1-800-774-2354 before 11:30 p.m. ET on the day of booking.
Refunds are not available for flights with Air India or JetBlue.
Can you cancel hotel reservations?
If your travel plans change and your hotel is willing to give you a full refund, this is always the best option.
That being said, regardless of the cancellation policy for your specific reservation, you always have options if you need to cancel it.
Does Priceline do airline tickets?
It offers package deals so you can purchase your airline tickets, a rental car, and/or a hotel reservation all at once to receive greater discounts.
Finally, through the use of its website, Priceline meets the needs of consumers while also providing a service and information to the travel industry.
Customers who have gotten a good deal are helping them build customer relationships. Those people will likely tell their friends and return. The travel industry gains valuable information about its customers, and Priceline benefits from their knowledge of their schedules, excess capacity, and pricing requirements. It has created a win-win-win situation on all fronts.
It is yet another useful tool in your flight search arsenal. It does have some limitations (most notably those related to multi-city and flexible date search), but it is simple to use and has clear cancellation policies as well as a price-match guarantee. Furthermore, Express Deals can uncover significant savings when a low price is more important than knowing all the details ahead of time.