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iahphx

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Everything posted by iahphx

  1. Yes, it was my first bid -- I did start at "resorts" for $70 with no luck. Based on historical experience, I don't think it will go for less than $65 this time of year, but somebody with patience could try. There aren't really free zones in Palm Springs, but you could try first bidding a little lower for the Palm Springs zone and then adding that other zone (Rancho Mirage, etc.). Or wait 3 days.
  2. Good deal for the holidays. I think some other mid-week days between X-mas and New Years might also be available. I tried for the New Year's weekend at $65, however, and it was not available. But my previous experience with Palm Springs at that time of year tells me to rebid closer to arrival for the peak days. BTW, I've stayed in this hotel and it's a nice one. Not quite the lavish grounds of the "resorts," but better rooms (they really are suites), good location "in town" and there are nice mountain views from many of the rooms. The Hyatt website's cheapest rates are $225, so I think this is my "best value" (at least domestically) on priceline this year.
  3. A couple different nights at this hotel for December at $42. Rejected at $40.
  4. Needed a hotel in the San Fernando Valley (north of LA) and went to Hotwire first to get an idea of what might be available. They had a 4-star Hilton in my zone for $68 (I determined it was the Hilton by looking at the "packages" feature). So I bid on Priceline (3 stars) to see how well I could do. I got the Hilton for $42. That's a pretty shocking differential, and I don't think it's THAT different from others I've seen. Even with all these bonuses Hotwire is throwing out, it's hard to get very enthusiastic about using their service. Sure, given their slightly different business model, you'd expect Hotwire to charge more (there are no "dumb bidders" to soak). But this kind of markup is simply excessive.
  5. Try using this. http://www.megaproxy.com/freesurf/
  6. I've gotten this hotel for a couple more stays since this bid, including one for next week. It's only failed once -- on a night when the hotel was sold out. It's always $70, although I start lower in case another resort (like the Eden Roc) happens to pop up. There are so many "free zones" when you're bidding for a resort in Miami that only your patience is the real limit!
  7. It sure would be nice if they were to indicate INDOOR pools. Frankly, it might make me more likely to use hotwire, since the guarantee of an indoor pool (especially with the kids) is worth something during the colder months.
  8. An excellent observation, skelman. I've printed off several copies as well (you never know when they'll pull the pdf file, although copying the book would work much the same). I would very much like to hear from folks who have successfully received the rebate, especially multiple times using the pdf form. Also, it would be worth knowing whether fees and taxes and be included to meet the $95 threshold. This does now look like a "top 10" travel deal for the next year, and we have a very long window of time to use it.
  9. Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. But look, the "Soup ****" sells a lot of soup (in fact, I recently read he's going national). No doubt some people believe the "order" she brings to her board compensates for the sometimes gruff responses and often easy-to-disagree-about posting restrictions. And it's hard to fault her for trying to drum up some business for her affiliate link: these websites don't pay for themselves, and no doubt she feels her advice is worthy of some monetary remuneration. That said, for those of us who believe there is a better way to run a bidding website, and who don't appreciate being browbeaten by the moderator, there is an alternative. And you've found it.
  10. One somewhat unusual place to consider using this coupon is on car rentals -- especially if you're renting few a few days and the cost is slightly above the minimum $95 charge. A 30% discount (on a $100 purchase), for example, would make hotwire the cheapest car rental option in many circumstances.
  11. Very true, bbbb. Every once in a blue moon I hear a true Priceline horror story (like the Charles de Gaulle airport hotel with no plausible way of getting to the airport in a cost efficient manner), but these are extremely rare. In general, booking a hotel on priceline is about as "safe" as booking a hotel directly. The only real difference is that you don't get to choose your specific hotel (just your area and quality level), and you usually save a ton of money.
  12. Generally, no. The really big theme parks (Universal, Disney, Sea World, etc.) usually only offer a few dollars off in coupons in the Entertainment Books. You can get the same discount from numerous other places -- AAA, fast food restauarant coupons, supermarkets, etc. I have seen some local ediitions have valuable 2-1 coupons for more local "theme park" type attractions -- like Polynesian Village on Oahu, Old Tucson in Arizona, etc. If you want to check whether a specific attraction participates, you can comb each local edition on entertainment.com.
  13. It's not 100% explicit, but from the wording I'm 99% certain that the total value of the hotel, car rental, etc. has to add up to $95.
  14. Yeah, you could look at it that way. :)
  15. BTW, whenever someone tries this, I'd be curious if the $95 threshold is before or after taxes and fees. The offer seems ambiguous.
  16. Just received my 2005 Entertainment Card book and there's a surprisingly good Hotwire coupon. Spend $95 on any airline ticket, hotel, car rental or package and mail in the rebate coupon for $30 back. No apparent limit on how many times you can do the offer (1 coupon per reservation), but you do need the actual Entertainment Card coupon. Since Entertainment books typically go for $25 or $30, it's not worth getting the book just for this offer. But if you were thinking of getting a book anyway, this is a useful incentive. Also, in a few months, Entertainment sometimes unloads its remaining books for $10, so it might make sense to pick up a copy (or an extra copy or edition) then. The coupon is good for travel through December 31, 2005, so there's plenty of time. This website address may have more info: www.hotwire.com/epi.jsp EDIT by thereuare: ENTERTAINMENT BOOKS are now only $9.99
  17. Whoops. Inverted number! Please change to September.
  18. There's a new promotion if you're an existing 2004 Entertainment Book owner. You can get 2 free movie tickets if you refer someone to buy a 2005 Entertainment Book. Your "friend" also gets free shipping. I referred my wife, who bought the book in her name this year instead of me. They then let you choose which theatre you want the tickets for (looks like all the majors to me), and they're your typical discount passes that aren't good for the first week of a release. Entertainment also gives your "friend" the option of saving another 5 bucks by signing up for a subscription for future editions (which also come with free shipping). If you don't want it, you have to cancel before they ship next summer. Probably a hassle, but I did sign up (we do buy the book every year). I'll probably cancel and see what offers come down the pike next year. BTW, for folks who are curious, Entertianment is now owned by Cendant, which also sells things like timeshares. I think that explains some of the "creative" attempts to sell these books, and perhaps the gradual decline in the worth of them.
  19. You are bidding for the Columbus Day weekend and prices may be higher than successful bids (like mine) for off peak days this month. I might look at t he Holiday Inn website and compare available rates for the Royal Palm Crowne Plaza for your days vs. others. The Crowne Plaza seems to be the hotel you're most likely to get for 4 stars in S. Beach, so if the rates spike that weekend -- indicating availability is limited -- you're probably going to have to bid more or stay elsewhere. That said, no reason to rush into something you don't want.
  20. 6/18-6/21. After getting the FOUNTAINBLEU for 3 nights -- and being unsuccessful in adding nights -- I dropped to 4* (bidding only for Miami and South Beach and free rebids) and got this property. Seems to come up frequently in S. Beach bids.
  21. Just used many rebidding opportunities in Miami until I got hit. Had to break up stay into two components (see Royal Palm post) as Fountainbleu was sold out for some nights. Price seems within range of other successful Miami Resort bids, but the price seems to fluctuate a little based on demand. Considering how many re-bid opportunities there are, I'd start at $50 or $55 and keep bidding up in $5 increments. If you get too high, break the stay into pieces and see what happens. FWIW, the hurricanes do not seem to be affecting priceline prices much yet.
  22. It is a shame that the Rt. 202 area is now in the same zone as the downtown area of Wilmington. The two are vastly different experiences. I suspect most folks would prefer the more convenient suburban experience of 202 over the downtown area -- unless their specific reason for being in Wilmington was a downtown event. FWIW, there seem to be 3 3-star hotels that pop up: the Doubletree (202), the Wyndham (downtown) and the Sheraton Suites (downtown). All seem about equally likely, so I guess the odds that you go downtown are about 67%.
  23. I've got a couple of trips planned for Miami in the next few weeks and am wondering whether the hurricane (hopefully singular) will affect priceline bidding. Will hotels be more likely to dump inventory, on the assumption that Florida tourism will be depressed for a couple of months? Or are there still folks camped out in Miami from places north (without power) that will make hotels less likely to discount now (at least for a couple of weeks)? Or will it make no difference? I'll let you know what my experience is.
  24. Thanks. I guess most of the books are sold through charities and "buying direct" cuts out the benefit they receive. Of course, this is an easier way to get the book. My experience with the Entertainment books is that the benefits are not as good as they used to be. Of course, my experience is obviously subjective, as I've only used them in a handful of cities. My biggest "gripe" is that the "better" restaurants seem less willing to participate these days. This makes the books less valuable for travel (also, the hotel discounts have become somewhat of a joke over time, and are almost never better than what you'd find on priceline). Still, it probably pays for most folks to buy their hometown book, and maybe another city's if they're going to be there for more than a week. Using a couple of restaurant and attractions coupons will usually pay for the book.
  25. A little off the beaten path, but they have a bunch of hotels there, including a Hilton. Tried $35 for a 3 star, $30 for a 2.5 star, $25 for a 2 star. Kept getting a message to buy a room from their affiliate lowestfare.com -- which suggests to me they have no inventory. Hotwire didn't seem to have any "deals" either. FWIW, there's a Red Roof Inn for about 35 bucks (I presume that would be the equivalent of a 2 star), so it's hard to get excited about bidding more. Maybe I'll go to $40 on the 3 star, but I suspect there's nothing to hit.
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