Go Back   > >
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Dec 24, 10, 9:06 pm   #1
Original Poster
  
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: New York
Posts: 85
Should have never tried Priceline...

Never used priceline before, so I figured I'd give it a try to see if I could score a deal on a off night at a decent hotel. (Please stop reading now if you don't care to hear me vent...)

I started with searching for a "4 star" at my base rate and all I got were notices that they were unable to secure me a room. So I changed my search for "3.5 star" at the same base rate. While my search came up unsuccessful, it suggest that if I raise my price by a specific dollar amount I should be in luck. So I do so.

(First suspicion - why wouldn't they have made a price-raise suggestion on the 4 star? Seems to me that they try to sway business towards a certain hotel by doing this...)

So I was booked at what I knew was to be a decent hotel. I then called the hotel to confirm my res only to find out that the room I was booked in was a "standard double". I looked on the hotel page to find out that a "standard double" has the same exact description as a "single" at their hotel and consists of a full size bed in 136 square feet of total room space. I was disgusted. I cannot believe that they consider a double bed in a 136 square foot space as being adequately accommodating for 2 adults.

I called priceline multiple times and was repeatedly told that nothing could be done to secure a larger room or even cancel my reservation. I understand I signed an no-cancel agreement but they were certainly not living up to their end of the bargain with the room they gave me (which by the way only ended up being $10 cheaper than if I booked it directly for the hotel). I'd have gladly paid a few extra dollars to book somewhere else and get a normal room suitable for 2 adults.

Essentially pricelines customer service didn't give a crap about my satisfaction and fed me every rebuttal in the book to the point that after my repeat explanations of feeling screwed over and requests for a supervisor the rep said nothing and sat still in silence for full minutes.

I then called the hotel directly and they said they'd have no issue canceling the reservation if priceline would call them and do so, however priceline had no interest what-so-ever in doing so because of their "policy". Fortunately the hotel was willing to upgrade my reservation to a larger room at no additional cost. No thanks to priceline.

I learned from my apparent mistake and this first priceline experience will be my last. Horrible customer service and scam of a site.
KS530 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 24, 10, 9:10 pm   #2
Original Poster
  
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: New York
Posts: 85
Question - anyone ever try having their credit card company block a priceline charge? I wonder what would come of things if I were to call AMEX and try to have them deny priceline from charging my card.

Might not be the smartest of moves, but how far would priceline really go to pursue the matter?
KS530 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 24, 10, 9:27 pm   #3
Ambassador, New England
  
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Maineiac, USA
Programs: Amtrak, SPG
Posts: 2,311
Just goes to show you that you HAVE to be diligent and flexible when using PL. You might not think a full size bed is sufficient for 2 adults, but it does fit two people (maybe not what I would call comfortably, but fits nonetheless).
Possible stupid question - why the complaint about the rate you paid being only $10 less than the available rate if they offered it and you accepted it?
lo2e is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 25, 10, 2:57 am   #4
  
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Ireland
Programs: BA Gold, A3 Gold, BD..oh, wait..
Posts: 4,044
Quote:
(First suspicion - why wouldn't they have made a price-raise suggestion on the 4 star? Seems to me that they try to sway business towards a certain hotel by doing this...)
You were probably too far away from the 4* price. When you got close to the 3.5* price (or if you had of got close to the 4* price), Priceline trys to sweeten the deal.

Quote:
Horrible customer service and scam of a site.
How is it a scam? You got a room, which is exactly what you paid for. What you consider suitable and what constitutes a double room in terms of the hotel/Priceline may differ - but that's how Priceline works.

On the page after you choose to bid it says "All rooms will accommodate up to 2 adults. Requests for bed types (King, Queen, 2 Doubles, etc.) or other special needs (including preferences for smoking or non-smoking rooms) should be requested through your confirmed hotel and cannot be guaranteed."

I can't see how they failed to live up to that pretty explicit term.
colmc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 25, 10, 3:12 am   #5
  
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: ORD, MDW or MKE
Programs: No change fees keep me tied to WN. Choice and Marriott hotels primarily.
Posts: 5,604
I am sorry you had a bad experience, KS530. I know that I and most of my business associates are extremely happy with the Priceline / Hotwire method of obtaining hotel rooms.

Your story is a little fuzzy and I am not sure how to tell you where you went wrong. It could be that you only occasionally book hotel rooms and it just is not worth the time it takes to learn the best ways to use the Priceline system.
lougord99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 25, 10, 6:11 am   #6
Original Poster
  
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: New York
Posts: 85
I never said priceline did anything that contradicted its terms. It's just "let the buyer beware" situation and I got placed into a room where an argument could be made both that it is and isn't accommodating for 2 adults. I mean, you could argue that a refrigerator box is accommodating for 2 adults.

My issue with the site is that I feel it asks you to modify your search criteria in efforts to redirect you towards the rooms it's looking to unload. Saving $10 off the rack rate on a closet of a room doesn't seem like a great deal to me.

I'm not saying it can't work for anyone - just saying for me I was greatly disappointed. Which is why I prefaced my original post saying to stop reading if you didn't want to hear me vent.
KS530 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 25, 10, 8:03 am   #7
  
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 153
And where was this hotel?

I have seen pure single rooms----tiny rooms----rooms much smaller than the one you originally won----in some lower graded hotels. But normally----at least in my experience----the hotels I have stayed in above the 2 or 3 star level----they have double rooms----for double use and for single use----and yes a standard double can be a small room depending on the hotel and the city.

In Amsterdam or NYC for instance a standard double in a 3.5 or 4 star could likely be a very small room.

I am not really sure what the issue is here. You wanted to bid and win a hotel at a great price and get an upgraded larger room at the same time? A better room than people paying full price for that standard double?

Unless someone is just plain lucky IMO the satisfaction with PL is directly related to the homework done by the bidder.

Smart bidders tend not to be surprised as much as uninformed newbie bidders.

I am one of those that jumps for joy as far as PL NYOP. That is the only reason---now being retired---that I can go to expensive cities and stay in very expensive 4 and 5 star hotels for 1 and 2 star prices.

And I do my homework before I bid. A lot of it. And because of that I can say that I have been 100% happy during my last 10 years of bidding.

I'd suggest booking direct with the hotel next time and getting the exact room you want. For me I will take my chances on the room in order to save 50%-70% off the going rate.

For me staying in a $280 room for $80 is its own joy----even if the room turns out to be on the small side.
ReconDoc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 25, 10, 8:13 am   #8
  
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Louisville, KY, USA
Programs: DL Platinum, Hilton Diamond, Hyatt Platinum, Starwood Gold
Posts: 2,512
Have only had good experiences with Priceline both in US and abroad. Never had to cancel, but understand that if you do, you don't get your money back. What with all I have saved, if someday I pay for a room that goes unused, I am still way ahead.

An associate of mine had a bad experience in a trashy hotel (3 star claim) but then used Priceline twice in Cleveland and stayed in a lovely Doubletree. She thinks that she is still ahead. And the first experience could have happened if she had direct booked as the hotel was well located and had a decent brand.
KyRoamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 25, 10, 10:29 am   #9
  
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Tenerife, Canary Islands/Hannover, Germany
Programs: Celebrity Elite Plus, RCCL Diamond, Princess Platinum, Carlson Gold, IHG Platinum, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 658
Quote:
Originally Posted by KS530 View Post
Question - anyone ever try having their credit card company block a priceline charge? I wonder what would come of things if I were to call AMEX and try to have them deny priceline from charging my card.

Might not be the smartest of moves, but how far would priceline really go to pursue the matter?
What would you use as your basis of complaint in trying to have the charge reversed? You did get the room for which you bid ( maybe not the one you were hoping for -- but the one you might had expected to win, had you checked betterbidding etc).

If AMEX agrees to your claim and reverses the charges, you might just find your next try at bidding on PL curtailed.
Tenerife is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 25, 10, 11:11 am   #10
FlyerTalk Evangelist
  
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 37,490
136 sq. ft. is perfectly normal for a cheap 4* hotel room. I'm not sure what more you'd want from a Priceline room- you don't book those for the luxury, you book them for the price.
ScottC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 25, 10, 11:23 am   #11
  
Join Date: Jun 2002
Programs: Hyatt Platinum, IHG Platinum
Posts: 1,246
Quote:
Originally Posted by KS530 View Post
My issue with the site is that I feel it asks you to modify your search criteria in efforts to redirect you towards the rooms it's looking to unload. Saving $10 off the rack rate on a closet of a room doesn't seem like a great deal to me.
Priceline requires you make one change to a previously unaccepted bid if you want to go right back in and bid again immediately. A simple increase of your bid price doesn't constitute a 'change'. Keep in mind that Priceline doesn't determine the rates sold at any given property, but rather it's the hotel that decides. So with that in mind, when you place a bid Priceline's computer then searches for the highest rated hotel at your bid price. In your case I don't believe Priceline had an ulterior motive to redirect you toward a room it was looking to unload. There was simply no 4 star hotel that was willing to accept the price you offered. So you lowered your star quality on the next bid, and, bingo, there was a 3.5 star hotel willing to accept your price.

I'm sorry you had a bad first experience. Whether you return or not is of course up to you. However too many of us here have invested time over the years reading, sharing and learning from others and know how to get good results from Priceline (including saving money). If you have any interest in returning, I would encourage you read the bidding boards and learn some pointers so that your next experience will be positive.
Good luck!
BEAV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 25, 10, 3:56 pm   #12
  
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by KS530 View Post

I started with searching for a "4 star" at my base rate and all I got were notices that they were unable to secure me a room. So I changed my search for "3.5 star" at the same base rate. While my search came up unsuccessful, it suggest that if I raise my price by a specific dollar amount I should be in luck. So I do so.

(First suspicion - why wouldn't they have made a price-raise suggestion on the 4 star? Seems to me that they try to sway business towards a certain hotel by doing this...)
Not bashing, but you really didn't do your homework - PL will often suggest a new bid.... if you choose to raise your bid by the full amount rather than counter bid, then PL will happily take your money - that is how they make their profits by encouraging or allowing overbids.

I too would agree that your result wasn't spectacular but it falls within all the given criteria and you don't have a leg to stand on as far as trying to obtain a refund.

I would consider myself a competent bidder on Priceline but I still research and figure out the winning strategy for each hotel visit that I plan. No way would I have dived in and bid on something blind on my very first attempt.
ikelmay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 25, 10, 10:11 pm   #13
In Memoriam
  
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Easton, CT, USA
Programs: ua prem exec, Former hilton diamond
Posts: 31,802
Not really sure what you were expecting (or why you bid only $10 less than the going rate for the star level you were purchasing).

Priceline makes it very clear they can not guaranty a specific bed type (though in most cases the hotel has been very good about giving us what we wanted)

Can I request a specific bed type?

If you use our Name Your Own Price® hotel service rooms are guaranteed to accommodate up to two adults. We can only say for certain that the room we book for you is guaranteed for double occupancy, but you may get one king, one queen, two queen, one double, two doubles, two twin beds or any combination of the above. Once your hotel room is reserved, you may contact the hotel to request specific bedding. Special requests are at the discretion of the hotel and subject to availability. Keep in mind that if available, there may be an extra charge payable directly to the hotel. Your confirmed hotels phone number is listed on your itinerary page located on our website.


You got both what they stated you would get at the price you named, and you believe it's a scam of a site? Their end of the bargain was to give you a room with one of the above bed types in it at a price you agreed to in a star level hotel you asked for. Which is exactly what they did. Didn't turn out to be what you wanted, but that's not their issue, it's what you asked for.

You went into it not understanding how priceline worked and without doing your homework, it's not their fault you had buyers remorse after the fact.
cordelli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 25, 10, 10:53 pm   #14
FlyerTalk Evangelist
  
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: PERMANENTLY TERMINATED ACCOUNT
Posts: 13,907
I suggest checking out Hotwire to get a feel for rates of hotels in the area you wish to stay. After that, you can try Priceline and bid a little lower than the Hotwire rate.
Dieuwer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 27, 10, 3:24 pm   #15
  
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: SFO
Programs: UA 1P, AA Gold, SPG Gold, FPC Plat, Marriott Gold
Posts: 113
Also, sites like betterbidding and biddingfortravel are your friends...
balderdash is offline   Reply With Quote
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Thread Tools
Search Thread
Go to Top
Forum Jump
Contact Us - FlyerTalk - Archive - Top