We love international travel, but can't figure out why people always want to run off to Jamaica and Mexico for a a luxurious hotel getaway. Some of the best resort hotels in the world are right here in the US, and using Priceline.com you can book a stay for about the same price as your local Days Inn. Unlike your local Days Inn however, your room won't feel like it was decorated by your accountant, and unlike Mexican hotels, you'll be able to drink the water without spending the next 48 hours in the bathroom wishing for death. Sounds like a winner!
Using Priceline.com and the methods in the article below, you should be able to spend about $100 a night for a 5 star suite with a marble bathroom bigger than your master-bedroom at home, 2 giant plasma televisions, and 30 feet of plate glass windows with jaw-dropping views of the Las Vegas Strip. Or, if you're more into Disney's Animal Kingdom than Frank Sinatra, book a luxury resort outside the Disney Gates for the same price.
The trick to going 5-star on a Day's Inn budget is using Priceline strategically. People often get intimidated by the "name your own price" feature of Priceline. We try to always have an idea what bid will be accepted before we bid. To do that, log onto the following websites that post what bids have been accepted recently:
Both of the above sites have listings for cities around the world, but they have the most postings for cities that have absurdly high numbers of hotel rooms (Orlando and Las Vegas top that list). Hotels with unsold rooms prefer to let rooms go for a 50 or even 75% discount before they let that room go empty. Priceline is how they get rid of those rooms without devaluing their brand. Here's a couple of links to hotels that can often be sniped on Priceline for $100 or less:
Using the BiddingforTravel and BetterBidding forums is the key to saving money, but read the steps below if you'd like some more detail on how to book on Priceline.
1. Pick a neighborhood (or zone). We’ll use Las Vegas as an example. The city is divided into several zones. Decide if you want to stay on the North part of the strip, the South… Just select one zone to start (more on that later).
2. Pick a hotel class. In Vegas we won't stay anywhere but a 5-star (why not, they're cheap! ) and even in other cities we always try for a 4 or a 5 star hotel first, we can always try later for a 3 star.
3. Pick a price for your bid. Remember priceline.com will add a few dollars in taxes and fees.
TIPS: You never know for sure where you'll stay until your bid is accepted, but using websites like betterbidding.com and biddingfortravel.com you can get a pretty good idea. Always check those sites to see if a 4 star bid is going to put you in the Westin or the Hilton.
You can’t technically make more than one bid in a day, but you can get extra bids if you add zones or star levels. For instance, if in Las Vegas your $80 bid for a 5 star on the North strip doesn’t work, try $85 and add the Central Strip zone. If that still doesn’t work, bid $90 but with a third zone of the city.
OUR FAVORITE HOTELS- To really enjoy using Priceline you have to channel your inner gambler (which might be why Priceline works best in Las Vegas). We love the Vdara, the Venetian, and the Wynn, all of which show up often on Priceline.