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How to get the best price from Priceline's negotiator

by The Review CrewAugust 16, 2011

Best Price Price Line Negotiator

How to get the best price from Priceline Negotiator

So I’m sure by now you’ve seen “Captain Kirk” from Star Trek playing his ongoing priceline negotiator character on television.  Some of you are probably wondering if it really works, and others have probably tried it and had OK results.

As with anything useful there are tricks to adhere to and Priceline’s Negotiator is by no means an exception.  About a week ago my wife and I had an anniversary, and we thought it would be nice to grab a hotel somewhere and get away (we have 5 grown-up children, one of which lives with us, but there is always something going on at our house and well getting away has its attractions).

I went for the best hotel in the area so out of the 5 stars available I could only select 3 1/2 stars or less (because there were no 4 or 5 stars in our area, outside of Chicago and we didn’t want to go into the City, parking is always a fiasco and taking the train sucks).

So settle we did on a 3 1/2 star place.  I did the search on priceline.com thinking that I’d get a good deal and it returned a decent value… a $350 a night suite for $254 (or something like that).

In the search results there was a selection that said “negotiate your own price” and so click away I did.   The way this works is kinda interesting, but it’s a bit of a gamble.

You give them your name, billing address, phone number, email, and credit card.  Then you select 3 1/2 stars (in our case) and choose the region (it gives you blocks of towns to choose from, for instance (Naperville, Lisle, Downers Grove).  You do the search, if they find one at your price they book it, no further notice.  The deal is basically “Hey if you want a good deal you have to mean it, you need to be ready to accept the deal on the spot if we take it”.  So that’s why I say it’s a bit of a gamble, you don’t know which hotel they are going to book, you just know that it will be  a 3 1/2 star hotel in the area you selected at the price you want to pay.

Once you have finished doing that it asks you how much you want to pay for a room.  Now the Priceline Negotiator commercial says “We even give you the average price people pay for a room, and the other guy says “Great so I know what to bid to get my room” and blah blah.   The price it said was $180. I put in $60. (I know, I know, but this is the trick). The Priceline Negotiator website came back with a “Sorry your bid is too low”

I went back in and selected the same deal, added another block of towns (because you have to change something beside the price in the deal to get it to search again).  I put in $65.

It came back “Your bid was too low”.

I went back in, took off the new selection of towns, and entered $70.  Low and behold “We have booked your room appeared”.  So according to this setup, I paid $70 for a $350 a night room, that usually sells for $180 through the priceline negotiator.

That’s a pretty hefty savings (80% off, I’ll take that).

I went to the hotel with my wife, we had a great time, I was treated like I paid $350 and everything went very well.  So that’s my secret for the Priceline Negotiator, start low, be patient, and go up in $5 increments.  Just see/saw between town blocks to change the deal, toggle the extra set of towns, then deselect them.  Eventually the Priceline Negotiator website will accept your deal because…. letting a room sit there empty is dumb, and hey… $70 is $70 bucks :)   Have fun and please comment to tell us how much money you saved using the Priceline Negotiator!

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The Review Crew
The Review Crew is a group of beat editors, writers, and consultants that have been working together for years. They know just about everything about everything collectively and have published their collective work under the Review Crew brand moniker for almost 20 years.

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