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Old 06-27-2010, 09:14 AM   #1
robinb
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Priceline Car Rental Tutorial

Priceline is great for rental cars. I wouldn't book too far in advance, though. You never know what will happen and your reservation is non-refundable.

The following companies work with Priceline:
Hertz
Avis
National
Alamo
Budget

Quick tutorial on how I bid on PL:

(1) Go to Hotwire and check your dates for a car and write it down for each car class you would be interested in. Be aware that the smaller cars are not always the cheapest! I would personally not ever bid on an Economy sized car for a family. Many people report being upgraded to a Compact for free but I have also seen people "stuck" with the smaller car. I usually create a quick spreadsheet with this information.

(2) Calculate 60% of the Hotwire price. This is your starting point. How does that compare to your current reservation? Remember to take into account taxes and fees, there will be more fees on a Hotwire or Priceline reservation. If your current reservation is less, then you cannot do better with Priceline.

(3) Have a maximum price in mind.

(4) Start bidding on Priceline using the number calculated in (2). You may rebid if you change the car type. I will bid a few types (typically Compact, Midsize, Standard, Full Size) in one sitting. If a bigger car is available for your bid, but a smaller is not I think that you will be upgraded so bidding the same amount for each car type is a waste of time.

(5) IGNORE any comments that Priceline makes about "good chances" and "great chances" when you enter your bid. They are designed to trick you into paying more than you have to.

(6) If your bids are rejected you may try again in 24-hours. I will increase my bid by $1 on each car type per day. This is where the spreadsheet comes in handy . Sometimes I will re-check the Hotwire rates to make sure they are the same. If they go up then I stick with my $1 a day increase. If they go down, I retry a previous failed bid.

(7) I usually start bidding about a month before my dates and have scored some amazing rates.


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Old 09-20-2010, 11:14 PM   #2
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thanks - this is great!

do you happen to know if these five car companies all let spouses drive with no additional charges? i know budget has no extra charge, but i'm not sure about the others. thx.
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Old 09-21-2010, 06:09 AM   #3
KJ Luvs Pluto
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Thank you!! Great information. I may have to go this route if the rates stay so high. The fact that they are non-refundable so I can't cancel if the rates come down with the rental agencies themselves have kept me from trying this right now but I'm getting desperate . This will help me alot if/when I decide to bite the bullet.
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Old 09-21-2010, 08:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dj2 View Post
do you happen to know if these five car companies all let spouses drive with no additional charges? i know budget has no extra charge, but i'm not sure about the others. thx.
Some of the car companies do charge extra for an additional driver even if that person is a spouse. If having two free drivers is a requirement then I don't think Priceline (or Hotwire) is for you. You run too much of a chance of getting a company that will charge you extra.
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Old 09-21-2010, 09:30 AM   #5
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Thanks for the tutorial...Very helpful!
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Old 09-21-2010, 12:13 PM   #6
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I read somewhere that Priceline doesn't accept credit cards with a non-US billing address - is this true, does anyone know?
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Old 09-21-2010, 06:58 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by U2_rocks! View Post
I read somewhere that Priceline doesn't accept credit cards with a non-US billing address - is this true, does anyone know?
I believe that's the case for flights, but I know it's not the case for hotels or for car rentals. I've used priceline for both without a US billing address.
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Old 09-21-2010, 08:59 PM   #8
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I typically use Priceline for our trips as well. One tip I would add is to go on biddingfortravel.com or betterbidding.com to check the posts and see what price others have gotten recently.
I love Priceline but you do have to do your research and know what you are getting. Our best deal was a compact for $9 per day which was then upgraded to a minivan at Hertz...WOOT!
Just last weekend my DH and I got a fabulous 4 star hotel in Providence RI for my birthday. They accepted our bid of $52 and their website was $189! You just need to plan the bids, star level and zones so there are no surprises.
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Old 10-27-2010, 12:28 AM   #9
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Old 10-27-2010, 08:28 PM   #10
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Betterbidding.com members post what deals they got listed by city renting from!

Great resource for Hotel rental too!
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:50 AM   #11
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I would guess that Priceline works best when you are doing a shorter rental. For a week or more, there are usually equally cost effective deals booking directly with the rental agencies. For example, we currently have a 9 day full size rental through National for early December for the equivalent of a $12/day bid. As Executive members, we get to choose from the Executive aisle after skipping the line, my DH can drive for no additional cost, we get some additional insurance coverage through AARP using their booking code and it is fully refundable if we find a better deal. -- Suzanne
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Old 10-28-2010, 03:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuzanneSLO View Post
For example, we currently have a 9 day full size rental through National for early December for the equivalent of a $12/day bid. As Executive members, we get to choose from the Executive aisle after skipping the line, my DH can drive for no additional cost, we get some additional insurance coverage through AARP using their booking code and it is fully refundable if we find a better deal. -- Suzanne
Is the AARP code all you're using to get that? I can't get National down past something like 17.95 for our December trip no matter what the code combo I use. Meanwhile, hotwire has lowered to 12.95 (sneaky hotwire, they did that a day after showing 13.95, and they didn't tell me that it had lowered even though I'm signed up to get alerts about that timeframe) and I still feel that it's too much total. picky picky.

Anyway, I have definitely been thinking about priceline, and I appreciate Robin's post! Easier to wade through than betterbidding, which yesterday only had two posts about MCO, and neither were for my timeframe...
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Old 10-29-2010, 04:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by U2_rocks! View Post
I read somewhere that Priceline doesn't accept credit cards with a non-US billing address - is this true, does anyone know?
It accepts my Canadian one ....
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Old 10-29-2010, 09:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bumbershoot View Post
Is the AARP code all you're using to get that? I can't get National down past something like 17.95 for our December trip no matter what the code combo I use. Meanwhile, hotwire has lowered to 12.95 (sneaky hotwire, they did that a day after showing 13.95, and they didn't tell me that it had lowered even though I'm signed up to get alerts about that timeframe) and I still feel that it's too much total. picky picky.

[snip]
I used the AARP code and the $30 off coupon. As a Executive member, I get a full size for the price of a mid-size, so this is the price of a mid-size. We pick up on 12/5 and return on 12/14. -- Suzanne
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Old 05-29-2012, 11:58 PM   #15
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Thanks for the tips!
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Last edited by 1guy4galsmickeynpals; 05-29-2012 at 11:59 PM. Reason: Posted on wrong thread.
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