Consumer Survey: Priceline Consistently Offers Lowest Rates

A multi-city survey by Washington Consumers’ Checkbook finds that hotel rates on Priceline are 40 percent lower than on other online booking services.

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The nonprofit organization compared prices for a specific 4 or 5 star hotel in seven cities, and the Priceline rate was consistently the lowest.

The survey compared Priceline room rates to Hotwire’s opaque bookings, Hotwire’s specific hotel rates, the hotel’s website, the hotel via phone, Cheap-tickets.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Orbitz, and Travelocity.

The hotels surveyed, and the successful Priceline bids, were as follows:

  • Boston – Hyatt Regency Boston ($99)
  • Chicago – The Palmer House Hilton ($84)
  • Manhattan – The Roosevelt Hotel ($88)
  • Minneapolis – Radisson Plaza Hotel ($98)
  • Orlando – Marriott Orlando World Center Resort ($97)
  • Portland, OR – Hotel deLuxe ($75)
  • Seattle – The Edgewater ($77)

Hotwire’s opaque site had room rates 10 to 25 percent higher than the Priceline rates for the same dates.  Hotwire’s transparent bookings were generally the same as the other online vendors.

Calling the hotel generally did not result in any savings over the rate found on the hotel’s website.  The exception was Hotel deLuxe in Portland where the hotel website rate of $139 was higher than the $111 available from online travel agencies.  A call to the hotel also produced the $111 rate.  In contrast, the Priceline “Name Your Own Price” bid was $75, and Hotwire was $101.

In the case of the Hyatt Regency Boston, calling the hotel resulted in a higher rate quote than the hotel’s own website.

$88 — not bad for the luxury Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.  How would you like to stay at the 5 star Edgewater in Seattle for $77 a night?

“These deals aren’t flukes,” reports Consumers’ Checkbook.

We regularly shop for hotel rooms in dozens of major U.S. cities at different times of the year, and almost always get steeply discounted rates from Priceline — both several weeks in advance and the day before the trip.

The article recommends beginning your bidding at about $50 to $60 for a four or five star hotel in a major U.S. city, depending on the prices quoted on Expedia or Travelocity.  If the online rate quotes exceed $300, Consumers’ Checkbook advises starting your bidding at $70.

What has your experience been in bidding on hotel rooms on Priceline in these places?

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4 thoughts on “Consumer Survey: Priceline Consistently Offers Lowest Rates

    • rovingrecluse: When and where do you do most of your traveling? I’ve had the best luck on Priceline bidding for business class hotels on the weekend. However, I am now working on a series of posts on wonderful historic properties where I have had success on Priceline.

  1. We travel a lot for weekends or extended weekends of we’re only venturing a few hours from Indy, but we also take week-long trips to farther-away destinations. There’s really not much rhyme or reason as to what time of the year we travel, either. That said. we are looking at going to Cincy for a weekend trip in the near future, so I think I will give Priceline another shot then!

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