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Article source: What is Priceline + How Does It Work by TechBoomers.com

Booking travel accommodations online has become a popular alternative for people looking to plan a getaway.  The main draw of booking online is the convenience: you can book your flights, hotels, rental cars, and many other reservations from the comfort of your own home, and often all on the same website. As an added bonus, many booking sites offer rewards programs and other discounts so you can take a vacation without breaking the bank. 

One drawback is that it can be more difficult to cancel arrangements made through a booking website than when dealing directly with the hotel or rental company (see our Priceline Cancellation Policy article), so be sure to plan extra carefully.

With Priceline, you can flexibly book travel amenities when you’re planning a trip. Or, if you think you’re a good haggler, you can try out the “Name Your Own Price” function.  Pick a few details about your trip, decide what you’re willing to pay, and then let Priceline find you a company that’s willing to accept your offer.  That’s the power of negotiation!

What is Priceline?

Priceline.com is a travel accommodation booking website that allows you to reserve airline flights, hotel rooms, and rental cars.  Its “Name Your Own Price” system allows you to place bids on accommodations that have some of the details hidden from you.  The details will be revealed if your bid is accepted.

Priceline is similar to websites such as Orbitz.com, Travelocity.com, and Expedia.com.

How Priceline works: 5 main features

1. Hassle-free bookings for various accommodations

Priceline makes it easy to be in control of your trip booking from start to finish. You can reserve seats on an airplane flight, rooms at a hotel, rental cars, or even cruises or entire vacation packages.

2. Drive a hard bargain with “Name Your Own Price”

Feel like taking a gamble to get a better deal?  Try booking a hotel room through Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price” function.  You get to choose some of the essential details regarding your booking, then tell Priceline what you want to pay. Based on your bid, Priceline will try to match you with a hotel or car rental company willing to accept your price.  If they succeed, they will reveal the rest of the details about your booking. Unfortunately, Priceline no longer offers this option for air travel.

3. Alter or cancel bookings if you have a change of plans

Usually, if you go through the regular channels for booking an accommodation on Priceline, you can change or cancel a booking if your plans change. Simply enter your email address and itinerary number and you should be able to change a few details about your accommodation or cancel it outright.  You can also try contacting Priceline customer service, or the company that you booked with through Priceline, to see if they can help.

4. Sleep and save with coupons for hotel bookings

Chances are that you’ll already be getting a bargain on your hotel room when you book through Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price” system.  But you can also sign up for Priceline’s email newsletter and get exclusive coupon codes to reduce your costs even more. You might even be able to find some of these codes on virtual coupon websites.

5. Get in touch with customer service through multiple channels

Need some extra assistance with using Priceline?  Head to their “Help” page and start a live text chat with one of their customer service representatives, or send the customer service department an email by using a convenient inquiry form. Or, you can just call the toll-free customer service phone number.

The History of Priceline

Priceline was founded in 1997 intending to help its users get the best travel deals on airline tickets and hotel rates. The company is best known for the “Name Your Own Price” system that allows people to bid on travel deals. Recently, Priceline introduced another way for travelers to save money with their “Express Deals” program.

Is Priceline safe to book travel on?

Priceline is definitely safe to use. It’s one of the oldest and most well-established online booking sites. They only partner with legitimate airlines, hotels, and rental car services, so you know you can count on your travel booking. You’re safe to pay for your bookings with your credit card or PayPal. The only thing about Priceline that may be questionable is if you book through their “Name Your Own Price” system, because you won’t know the specific hotel or airline until your booking is finalized. To learn more about how safe booking with the website is, check out our article on Priceline safety.

Priceline pros and cons

There are lots of reasons to book a vacation with Priceline, but there are also a few not-so-great things about booking on Priceline could make you go elsewhere. Let’s go over a few of the pros and cons of the service to give you an idea of whether or not it’s right for you.

A great feature is that it has multiple options and ways to book your vacation. You can use their basic booking system if you’re not looking for the best bargain, or try to get a deal with their “Name Your Own Price” system. They also occasionally have coupons to save money on hotel bookings, and their customer service representatives can be reached in multiple ways.

On the other hand, some cons are that when you use the “Name Your Own Price” system, you have to be patient waiting for the details of your booking. You won’t be told the airline or specific hotel until you’ve completed your booking, and during the booking process, if your bid is too low you may end up having to re-start the entire process.

In the end, it’s up to you. You’ll probably find find there is nothing to lose by trying Priceline — and you just might end up with more money in your pocket to spend on vacation!

Priceline competitors

Priceline is one of many online travel booking websites, so it’s not the only option if you’re looking to book your next vacation. If it isn’t quite right for you, you could check out some other great travel booking websites such as Orbitz, Expedia or Travelocity. If you’re looking for more affordable accommodations and are okay with not staying in a hotel, you could rent a space from a property owner through Airbnb or VRBO. If you’d like to find more information about an area you’re thinking about visiting, check out Tripadvisor to learn about the best restaurants and attractions in the area.

More websites like Priceline can be found in this article if you’d like to learn more.A review of Priceline can be found here, and some notes about Priceline’s safety and reliability are in this article.  If you want to jump right in, though, go on ahead to Priceline.com and start with the tutorials in the “How to Book on Priceline” section located on the Priceline course page.