A Stunning Vacation for Half the Price! Bidding for Hotels, Airfaire, and Cars

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A Stunning Vacation for Half the Price! Bidding for Hotels, Airfaire, and Cars

There are all kinds of ways to save money while traveling, but the one that has saved us the most is to bid for hotel rooms using Priceline.  A few months ago, I had to get a hotel room for my son and I because we were cleaning my father's home after an estate sale. Not having the time or energy to plan ahead, I simply booked a hotel in the area. The cheapest thing I could find that seemed 'safe' was $89.00 a night! It was a really scrungy place too. How depressing!


I have vowed never to let that happen again! My dear hubby's boss regularly bids for hotel rooms, flights, and cars and sometimes whole vacation packages for himself and the guys in the company. He's on the road 6 months out of the year minimum so he knows what he is doing. He's the one who originally walked us through the process of bidding for hotel rooms using Priceline.

View of San Diego Bay from Humphrey's

The first time we did this, we wanted to fly to San Diego California to watch my oldest son graduate from boot camp. We booked our flight and hotel through Priceline and bid for both.

Our room at Humphrey's

We paid around $60.00 per night to stay three nights in a gorgeous 3 1/2 star historic hotel on the bay.  I will never forget how beautiful it was!  There is nothing quite as amazing as Humphreys Half Moon Inn.

Holiday Inn Airport Lobby, Corpus Christi, Tx.

For Rebekah's spring break trip to Corpus Christi, we got a very nice 3 star hotel about 10 minutes from the beach, near the airport called the Holiday Inn Airport Corpus Christi, Tx.

 Holiday Inn Airport Lobby, Corpus Christi, Tx.

It was stunningly beautiful with a lovely indoor fountain and waterfall! We loved our room and the whole atmosphere. It was in the business part of town so the drive to the beach wasn't the most pleasant. But it was very convenient for our purposes.  I paid $45.00 per night for five nights during SPRING BREAK.

Our bedroom at Holiday Inn Airport,, Corpus Christi, Tx.

Recently, I bid for three nights near Galveston, Tx so we could attend the Texas Round and Square Dance Festival at the convention center.

We wanted something VERY budget, but clean and pleasant. This place was not a fancy hotel..just a La Quinta, but the rooms were very acceptable and they had a free breakfast and great WI-FI. Best of all, we paid only $40.00 a night and were 10 minutes from the beach during peak vacation season.  If we had stayed in Galveston on the beach the price, even with bidding was a minimum of $120.00 per night. We were already paying $50.00 per night in Virginia for Tim and Jacob for the Speech and Debate National tournament, so we couldn't afford to pay more than the bare minimum. 
Atrium and Lobby at the Crowne Plaza Suites, Arlington, Tx.

This week we got the second best deal ever in our bidding history! (Humphrey's was the very best!) We drove to Dallas, to help my mother and sister move into their new home but I needed to stay another night or two to pull out carpet in my dad's house in Grand Prairie, make a work list for repairs and check on the electricity, plus do some cleaning.   We also had to get the hospital bed and dryer out of the house and driven to a local donation center.  I price-lined a hotel in Arlington for $60.00 a night.

The pool at the Crowne Plaza Suites, Arlington, Tx.

Can you believe it was a FOUR-STAR hotel?? The Crowne Plaza Suites! We are really enjoying our evenings here..the pool..the room..the starbucks...the gorgeous atrium! I just typed in my info as I usually do, looking for something NOT in Grand Prairie, where the house is. It's in a very unpleasant location.

Our suite at Crowne Plaza in Arlington

We were given a beautiful suite right off I30 in Arlington.  I always look for the notation "Best Deal". Sometimes that best deal is a 2 1/2 star but usually a three. Who would have dreamed of a 4-star hotel having such a great deal?

The lobby at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott in Conroe, Tx. 
where Tim and I will celebrate his birthday next weekend.

Our suite at the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, Conroe, Tx.

I didn't get quite as exciting a deal for my birthday surprise for Hubby because I didn't want us to have to drive into downtown Houston. There were four star hotels going for $75 in the Galleria area!! This would have been super snazzy. But I wanted to stay closer to home.

I love The Woodlands Waterway and Market Street (see photos below)! It's one of the most romantic places, close by, that we can get to. Our hotel is only a few minutes away from all the excitement!

So for $50.00 per night,  I got a 2 1/2 star hotel in Conroe near The Woodlands, Tx. at the Fairfield Inn and Resort.  Not bad for a couple of nights away by ourselves!

How to Bid for a Hotel Using Priceline

Priceline offers the usual cheaper fares like Expedia and Travelocity, but once you type in your dates and other info, it pops up a button with an option to chop the fair in half by bidding.

Here are the steps:
1. Type in your dates and information on the main page. Then click on the "Chop Your Fair In Half"...

2. Pick your area. (You don't get to pick the exact hotel--just the area you want to be.)
3. Pick the quality of hotel you want...2,3, or 4 star. (They will label the best deals in your area.)

4. Type in a bid. They will show you winning bids in the area off to the side if you want to get an idea what to bid. Also, they tell you what the retail price is. I usually bid a third of that price first and if it doesn't get accepted I up it closer to half.

4. Type in your credit card info. 
5. If you are afraid you might have something come up, click to pay $5.00 per night for the option to cancel. Otherwise, you can't cancel.
6. Type in your initials after VERY carefully reading the fine print, terms and conditions.

Now,  click the button to submit your bid.

They will show you a bid number and you will have to wait a minute or two for them to process the bid. If they find a hotel that will accept your bid, I think you immediately get charged for the room. But your receipt  will show up with an itinierary you can print right away.

You can call the hotel afterwards to confirm and specify if you want one king versus two beds, or non-smoking versus smoking etc. You can't cancel once you've made the reservation, but I can honestly say we have NEVER been disappointed.  We never pay more than half the best prices you could ever find from Expedia, Travelocity or even Priceline's "pick your hotel' offers.

 We'll catch a movie, stroll the waterway, and take a nice long walk all five minutes from our hotel

The only downside is that you don't pick the hotel--they do. And you can't change your mind unless you pay the $5.00 per night fee.  But we've never regretted a single hotel arrangement we've ever made, and we've done a lot of them!

Dining at The Woodlands' Market Street (five minutes from our hotel!)

So the next time you have to make a trip somewhere and the hotel prices are terrifying you, why not consider bidding for your room? It will save you AT LEAST HALF the going rate of the best offers out there! Won't hubby be so pleased when he finds out I've planned a romantic getaway for $128.00!! If you haven't tried PRICELINE yet..you should!

Who says frugal living can't be fantastic!


Rae said...

Thanks for the tip...this will come in handy this coming month!

Laurie said...

Hey Donna, I always wondered about Priceline, but have been too chicken to try it in the past. This is very useful information :) Thanks so much!

Caroline said...

hmmm, something to think about. Hope your birthday getaway was lots of fun!!

Beautifully Veiled said...

Have I told you lately that i love you...r blog? I do!! I never know what sweet things I'll get to see or learn! And you may have saved Priceline's reputation from Captain Kirk for me! They should thank you!

Donna said...

I was so chicken too...but I'm so glad I went ahead and tried it. It was either priceline or not do some of the trips we've done. We are on a tight budget! But our teens are older now and some things just have to be done.

We are at Fairfield tonight. It's a brand new hotel..not ritzy but nicer than the one we stayed at in Texas City. Tim loves the modern decor and bright colors. Our view looks out into the forest.

It's funny 'getting away' with hubby only 30 minutes from our house. But we are loving it!

Maria Killam said...

I used I think it was hotwire.com, never again, that's the one where you don't know where you are staying until it's booked. Thanks for this great and thorough post Donna, you are so generous to share with us exactly how it's done!

Trudy said...

Thanks so much for posting this, Donna.


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