Priceline also caters to passengers traveling on short notice, and allows them to bid on last-minute airfares through the Priceline.com Air feature. Here are a few tips on how you can get a cheap, last-minute Priceline airfare for your next trip.
1. Check airfare prices for your travel dates before you go for last-minute Priceline airfare options
For this, you may want to visit another site such as Expedia to find out how much it will cost you to fly to a destination on a particular date. Find out how many flights are available on those dates and whether or not most of the seats are sold out. If you are flying to cities popular among tourists, such as Macau, include at least one Saturday night stay in your search. Avoid travel dates to vacation spots that fall on a Friday and flights out of these areas on Sundays because these dates are either fully booked or the seats are more expensive. The information will give you a better idea on how much to bid for your last-minute Priceline airfare.
2. Compare the price of advance purchase airfare with last-minute Priceline airfares
The next step is to find out how much a trip would cost if you left three weeks later. Make sure to use the same travel schedule as your current one. Going back to the Macau example, keep everything the same – length of stay, and the return and departure on the same days of the week, only the dates are three weeks later. To make sure that you receive updated information, research fare prices on the same day that you need to book your last-minute Priceline airfare.
3. Consult Hotwire for airfare prices so you don’t overbid on last-minute Priceline airfare
4. Decide on your bid for your last-minute Priceline airfare
When it comes to last-minute Priceline airfares, bidding about 15% less than the price of an advance purchase ticket is best. You also want to add to this amount based on the following guidelines:
• There are fewer available flights on the dates that you want
• You intend to travel during a peak season to a major vacation spot like Macau or Thailand
• Your departure is on a Friday and your return is on a Sunday
• You cannot afford to be flexible and have designated specific dates for your travel
• You don’t want to use an alternative airport if your bid doesn’t fall through
• You don’t want to fly out in the evening or don’t want to use a nonjet flight if your bid fails
Also consider your destination when you make a bid for last-minute Priceline airfares. Since international travel to Asia remains weak given the current terrorist warnings, you’ll probably find better rates to Asian countries even at the last minute.
5. Take note of Priceline’s rules even for last-minute airfare bids
Even when you are bidding for a last-minute Priceline airfare, the same rules still apply. You cannot place another bid for the same travel information within 24 hours. You can only re-bid if you can afford to change some details of your trip, such as the date, the airport, or the time of your flight. Your flexibility will greatly influence your first bid.
Bids for last-minute Priceline airfares are nonrefundable once accepted. You cannot change the travel date or the time once you’ve confirmed payment, although some airlines will allow you to standby for other flights on the same date.
It is also important that you write down the transaction number for your last-minute Priceline airfare bid. Confirmation that your bid was accepted should come out within a few minutes.