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Priceline NYOP vs. Express Deals, or watch out for "taxes/fees"!

Priceline NYOP vs. Express Deals, or watch out for "taxes/fees"!

Old Dec 27, 19, 11:39 am
  #1  
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Priceline NYOP vs. Express Deals, or watch out for "taxes/fees"!

I was an avid user of Priceline's Name Your Own Price feature for a long time, but haven't had the occasion to use it in the last few years. It's been a while since I've booked any hotel through an OTA and not directly, in fact.

mrsmicah, however, has an upcoming solo trip to ATL where she's paying for her own hotel and doesn't have any particular requirements other than wanting to be in the Midtown area, so I dusted off the old Priceline chops. Most decent Midtown hotels for her dates seemed to start around $140/night through normal channels. Priceline had a 3.5* Express Deal for $81 that I was 95% sure was the Marriott Suites, which would work just fine. But I figured I'd give NYOP a try first, especially since ATL has a million free rebid zones, so why not?

Observations:
  • The forums biddingfortravel and betterbidding where I used to go to check other folks' bidding experiences seem all but dead.
  • There don't seem to be amazingly cheaper deals via NYOP vs. Priceline's listed Express Deals, but...
  • Priceline's Express Deals have a truly outrageous priceline profit built into the "taxes/fees" that must be factored in.

Data points:
  • ATL hotel taxes appear to be about 20% all-in. Booking the Marriott Suites via Marriott's own site ($169 prepaid) or via Priceline's regular retail booking ($179 prepaid) yielded taxes on the checkout page of just under 20%. Other hotels in ATL seem to have similar taxes.
  • That $81 Express Deal had taxes/fees of over $36/night, which works out to about 46%!!! I knew that Priceline might pad that line item a bit, but I find it extremely hard to understand how it's legal for them to list an "$81" rate alongside the regular retail rates in their search results when they add an extra 25% to the $81 rate on the checkout page that they don't add to the others.
  • After a few low-ball NYOP bids to test the waters, I started bidding in $1 increments from $79 and eventually hit it (with the Marriott Suites) at $84. The NYOP $84 win only had $25/night taxes/fees, which (at about 30%) still built in a nice extra 10% for Priceline, but wasn't anywhere near the 46% that they were charging on the Express Deal. In fact the "$84" NYOP win was $8/night cheaper all-in than the "$81" Express Deal.
Morals of the story:
  1. Especially in zones with lots of free rebids, NYOP can still save you a few bucks.
  2. When comparing opaque hotel rates like Priceline Express Deals you MUST compare all-in rates and not the listed rates.
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Old Dec 27, 19, 4:47 pm
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Thank you for the update. It was interesting to read. It has been years since I used for PL NYOP for hotel stays in the US (or elsewhere for that matter).
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Old Jan 19, 20, 5:31 am
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Originally Posted by themicah View Post
Morals of the story:
  1. Especially in zones with lots of free rebids, NYOP can still save you a few bucks.
  2. When comparing opaque hotel rates like Priceline Express Deals you MUST compare all-in rates and not the listed rates.
Good advice...

Been a while since I've compared them, but seemed to me that Hotline's "fees" for their hidden name deals were even higher than PL.

Also, PL will add significant fees to its promoated VIP deals on hotels where the name IS disclosed...what is often promoted as a 30-40% discount "since you're a VIP" is dramatically slashed once you click through and see that taxes and fees include much more than hotel /sales taxes.
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Old Jan 19, 20, 10:42 am
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Originally Posted by NYC Flyer View Post
Good advice...

Been a while since I've compared them, but seemed to me that Hotline's "fees" for their hidden name deals were even higher than PL.

Also, PL will add significant fees to its promoated VIP deals on hotels where the name IS disclosed...what is often promoted as a 30-40% discount "since you're a VIP" is dramatically slashed once you click through and see that taxes and fees include much more than hotel /sales taxes.
With higher or lower fees than Priceline NYOP bookings, Hotwire Hot Rate Hotels with hidden name deals for US hotels seem to be cheaper on average for me than Priceline NYOP hotels when controlling for specific hotel that came up during the last few years. Not sure why, but it may be a case of YMMV.
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Old Jan 27, 20, 2:53 pm
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I also was trying to use Priceline's NYOP. Last year, I needed to make some reservations and didn't have time to figure out why I could no longer find the NYOP link on my desktop computer. So I just used Hotwire, which still worked well and saved a decent amount over booking/travelocity and the hotel's own website. Recently, I tried again with Priceline. From my research, I saw this link, saying that NYOP is only available on mobile.

https://skift.com/2018/03/26/the-dea...-drawing-near/

I also have found recent posts on betterbidding.com, but yes, it seems like far fewer people are posting on their wins. I never used the biddingfortravel site previously but in doing this research, I came across an official statement posted on Dec 13, 2019, saying that moderation would cease as of Jan 1, 2020.

https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/bidd...d-t137159.html
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Old Jan 28, 20, 10:06 am
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Originally Posted by Plebian View Post
From my research, I saw this link, saying that NYOP is only available on mobile.
Interesting. NYOP was available on the desktop website last month, but now the website does in fact say that NYOP is exclusively available in their app.
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Old Jan 28, 20, 10:51 am
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Originally Posted by themicah View Post
Interesting. NYOP was available on the desktop website last month, but now the website does in fact say that NYOP is exclusively available in their app.
Isnít this a way to kill off the use of cashback/rebate reward portals/affiliate links for NYOP bids?
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Old Jan 28, 20, 7:58 pm
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Yeah, I suspected the same. On my last one I used a 7% cash back site, although I've only been awarded 4% (they said I have to wait until April to claim the other 3% at which point they'll probably have "forgotten" about the temporary increased rate).
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Old Jan 28, 20, 10:52 pm
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If assuming Priceline killed off NYOP from being able to be used to generate cash/rewards rebates from affiliate links, that may explain the BFT December 2019 announcement about BFT moderation ending in January (since Sheryl M probably was like a hawk on this kind of info). Keeping the BFT site up as long as it generates enough ad revenue is not that surprising. There is some business case for some zombie sites.
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