Can Priceline Get Me a Good Deal?

by Ann deBruyn

Is Priceline legit? This online travel agency is well known and joins plenty of others in promising good travel deals for flights, hotels, rental cars and more. But is this true? It can be. Let’s take a look at how Priceline works, whether it’s reliable and how it can save you money.

Like many other online travel agencies, travel can be booked through Priceline on its own dedicated website.

So, how does Priceline work? It essentially acts as a middleman between you and the travel operator. You search the website, and it provides you with a list of search results. Once you’ve found, say, a flight that suits your needs, you go through Priceline to make your booking.

Priceline then takes your information and brings it back to the travel company to let them know that you want to book the flight. The travel company approves the booking, and Priceline comes back to you to let you know that your reservation has been completed.

Nerdy tip: Be aware that booking hotels and rental cars through Priceline counts as a third-party booking; these bookings are not eligible to receive elite benefits or credits toward earning elite status.

The benefit of searching for travel through Priceline is that it will bring back search results from a number of different companies. This means that if you search for a flight, you’ll get information about United Airlines , Delta Air Lines , Alaska Airlines and American Airlines all at once. This is simpler than going directly to each airline's website and searching one at a time.

Is Priceline reliable? Can I trust Priceline?

The short answer is: Yes, you can.

Priceline launched in 1998 with the ability to book otherwise empty airline seats. Since then, it’s grown to include hotels, rental cars and cruises, and the website hosts millions of visitors each month. This is all to say that Priceline is a very large and successful company; you aren’t booking with a sketchy operation.

You’ll want to note, however, that when booking through Priceline, you're technically booking through a third party. As can happen when you don’t deal directly with the travel provider, things may fall through the cracks.

To mitigate potential hiccups, always double-check your travel plans once they’ve been made. Use the confirmation code you receive and head directly to the travel provider’s website. From here, you’ll be able to manage your booking and ensure that it has been properly completed.

Ways to get a good deal on Priceline

There is fierce competition for your business in the world of travel, which makes it easy to get good deals as a customer.

The best price guarantee policy

Priceline has a best price guarantee policy, which can help you save money if you find a better price elsewhere. To take advantage, you’ll need to sign up for Priceline’s free loyalty program, Priceline VIP Rewards Program.

The best price guarantee applies to the following:

  • Airfare.

  • Cruises.

  • Hotels.

  • Rental cars.

If you find a better price within 24 hours of booking for any of these services, Priceline will refund you the difference. Even better, if you find a better price on an Express Deal (up to midnight before you travel), Priceline will refund you up to 200% of the difference.

Get cash back when booking

Are you familiar with shopping portals ? These free services track the purchases you make; in return you can receive points, miles or even cash back. Websites such as Rakuten will give you up to 5 American Express Membership Rewards points for every dollar spent when you book with Priceline.

There are a variety of shopping portals that’ll earn everything from United miles to Wyndham points , so pick the one you like best and use it to get yourself a little extra when you book with Priceline.

Roll the dice with Express Deals for hotel bookings

Priceline offers two different ways to save significant amounts of money on hotels: Express Deals and Pricebreakers.

Nerdy tip: You can also get special discounts when you call Priceline for cruise bookings. These are unpublished deals and not available online.

What are Priceline Express Deals? In short, these are Priceline’s most discounted offering. The catch? You won’t know the exact hotel you’ll be getting. All you’ll know about the hotel ahead of booking is the general location, amenities, rating and number of stars it has.

If you’re comfortable with being a little flexible, this can save you up to 60% on your booking.

Play it safer with Pricebreakers

The other way Priceline can save you money is through Pricebreakers. These deals will allow you to pay a discounted price for one of three separate hotels. You won’t know which of the three you’ll get until your booking is completed, but you’ll still be saving money overall.

Some credit cards are better than others

Getting a good deal with Priceline doesn’t stop at the website itself. In addition to using shopping portals, you’ll want to book your travel with a credit card that maximizes points on travel bookings.

Happily, there are quite a few different credit cards that earn bonus points on Priceline.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® , for example, earns a flat 3 points per dollar spent on all travel — including Priceline — and you can stack this with a shopping portal. The Priceline VIP Rewards™ Visa® Card is also worth considering for frequent Priceline users.

Priceline started out more than 20 years ago as a way to sell discounted airline seats to travelers. Since then, it’s grown into a giant online travel agency offering flights, hotels, rental cars and cruises to customers. Along with its flashy promises of discounts, you can score real — and significant — good deals with Priceline by being flexible and stacking savings together.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022 , including those best for: