Second class treatment for Priceline guests?

By Wiseguy,

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I'm new to the board, but I've been using Priceline for a while. I haven't received any negative treatment for booking through Priceline, but I have noticed that hotels won't always extend you the same benefits as they might for full rate guests.

Last July I was staying in Halifax for a wedding. A friend and I decided to share a room to cut down on costs. We were researching hotels a few months in advance. He had called around, and the lowest rate that he was quoted was $180 per night from the Westin Nova Scotian. On a whim, I used Priceline, and offered a low ball bid of $89 for a 4 star in the same area. I ended up getting accepted. That was also the first time that I realized that you could get great deals by booking so far in advance.

In any event, we arrived at the hotel shortly after 1 pm. Check in wasn't until 3 pm. The front desk was pretty firm about not giving us early check in, although they were obviously checking in other guests at the time. They did store our luggage, and assure us of a room with two queen beds. The situation irked my friend a little, but I was more than happy to relax in the hotel bar until the room was ready.

There were a couple of issues with the room, but the front desk was helpful in fixing them. Two of our friends were staying in the same hotel (and paying double what we did), and while their room was slightly bigger than ours we had a better view.

Also, it's always in your best interests to be friendly and polite when you are dealing with the front desk staff. I think that a lot of people don't realize how rude, or inconsiderate, they may be acting when they ask for things at a hotel. In one of the posts in this thread, the author used the term, "the help" to describe hotel staff. That sort of mindset comes across when you deal with people, and they won't go out of their way to help you. As guests, we should expect good customer service, but their is no entitlement to treat hotel employees like indentured servants.

Furthermore, it's often out of the front desk's authority to grant some of your requests, so getting frustrated will do you no good. For example, I was driving back from Florida and decided to stop in Princeton, West Virginia for the night. I pulled into one hotel, and asked the desk clerk what the best deal he could give me was. Even leveraging things like government rate, or a law enforcement discount, the best he said that he could do was $120 per night. I used the free wifi in the lobby to see if any priceline hotels were available in the area, and put in a bid of $59 or so. It was accepted, and it turned out to be for the same hotel that I was standing in. The guy at the front desk was a bit embarrassed, but he said that it was out of his control. I was understanding about it, and he was cool about giving us the best room that he could.

Long story short, I think that in many cases "second class treatment" has less to do with the fact that someone booked through priceline, and more to do with how they treat the people that they are dealing with at the hotels. If the front desk staff is actually being rude, or difficult, always politely but firmly ask for a manager. If it's a chain hotel, make it clear to the manager that you are willing to follow up with the corporate head office if need be.

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I guess it would depend on the Hotel and their attitude. For the most part your doing them a favor, filling rooms for some money rather than an empty room for nothing, as a business decision it is a no brainer. Personally I have used PRICELINE more times than I can count and HOTWIRE a couple of times and I was never treated nasty or anything but gracious courtesy. Although would I put up with a snotty desk clerk to save a bunch of money, any day of the week. We have stayed at some unbelievable places that other wise we couldn't afford, such as the Hyatt Harborside for $99 with a great view of the harbor and shoreline at night is of course very nice, and the water taxi, best of all right outside the hotel, it is the only way to travel. Out of all the places we have stayed the Courtyard in South Portland Me, was by far the best, the room was huge and spotless, never stayed in a cleaner room and it was $55, what a bargain. I was shocked at how large the room was, nicer than Hyatt's, Sheraton's and full Marriot's we have stayed at, just an aside for those traveling to South Portland.


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  • 1 month later...

I have secured great hotel rooms all over the US and in Australia with Name Your Own Price through Priceline. Only once Have I felt any discomfort or feelings of discrimination due to using Priceline. Occasionally I run into a front desk person who doesn't totally understand the concept, but using patience and a friendly attitude I have ALWAYS had great overall experiences. I always bid for 3+ stars, and find the service tends to be friendlier and better informed. :rolleyes: I just love the great feeling I get when staying in a great hotel for a nominal price.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Some hotels are dreadful when it comes to Hotwire/Priceline.

A couple months ago a friend of mine booked a room at the Royal Sonesta, 4*, Cambridge, MA on Hotwire for herself, husband and their two girls (10,14). She decided on Hotwire over Priceline because she wanted to make sure there were two beds for the four of them (She plugged in 2 adults, 2 kids). She told me about this trip only after it was booked so I couldn't hook her up here with BetterBidding.

When she went to check in, the hotel clerk said Hotwire had booked them for a room with one queen bed. The clerk said the hotel was sold out and couldn't give her a room with two beds.

My friend was so upset she called me while arguing with the clerk because of my experience with Hotwire. I spoke to the clerk on my friend's cell phone and the clerk was firm - "Hotwire only booked one queen bed and that's that."

I told my friend to stay there and I called Hotwire. The Hotwire spokesperson was livid, she said that was an unacceptable response from the hotel. She reviewed my friend's order form and told me it had been filled out properly for 2 adults and 2 kids. She said she would call the clerk right then and straighten it out.

Then the BIZARRE happened - The Royal Sonesta's telephone lines went down and hotwire couldn't get through to them. The clerk was sick of dealing with me over my friend's cell phone, and I heard her say "You all can share one bed." My friend responded, "We aren't sharing one bed with our daughters!" The clerk then said they had a full-sized double rollaway bed that would fit in the room. My friend, who had an appointment to go to, accepted the offer of the rollaway. The clerk also said they would be given free breakfast for the inconvenience.

When they came back that night there was no rollaway bed in the room. They called the front desk, which sent up a tiny cot. One of the girls took it, the other slept on the floor. They had breakfast the next morning and when they went to check out they were charged $100 for it. After arguing that it was supposed to be free, the hotel agreed to remove the charge.

Needless to say, my friend will NEVER use Hotwire again, and I tell people to avoid the Royal Sonesta.

So never say never. I too have never had a problem like this, but I saw firsthand it CAN and DOES happen.

Did Hotwire do anything for you to make things right?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Weighing in from the other side of the reception desk...

There actually ARE hotels (I work in one) where it is absolutely impossible to change the room type for a Priceline reservation. In our system, for example, the room type code (KING or 2DBL) is tied to a rate code (PRLK or PRLD) that is linked to the rate Priceline pays our hotel. By changing the room type, the rate code and corresponding "internal" rate change automatically. Because the the hotel has already received payment from Priceline, in the form of an advance deposit, I have no way to override the payment or change any of the components. Everything must match or the system will not allow me to check you in. Period.

Keep in mind, please, that most hotel property management and reservations systems have been around a lot longer than Priceline (and the internet, even.) They were set up to do things in a certain way, in a certain order, and can be very inflexible.

You can throw a tantrum at the front desk. You can threaten me. You can swear at me. You can become demanding. You can stomp your feet while you huff and puff. When I tell you that I cannot change a Priceline reservation, I'm not trying to treat you as a "second class" guest. I'm just telling you that I (seriously) cannot change it. Trust me, I wish I could...

I also wish I could make it stop raining in our parking lot so your shoes don't get ruined. I wish I could halt rush hour traffic while you're trying to get to our hotel. I wish I could give you windows that open up to let fresh air into the room. There are so many things I wish I could do that are out of my control. Changing a room type on a Priceline reservation is just another one of those things. It frustrates ME as much as it frustrates YOU.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just to update the treatment I got from 2 HW and 1 PL bids..

Nov 2011...I got the Sheraton in Station Sq Pittsburgh for 8 nights through HW and found no prejudice and no complaints for the Price I paid HW,even though I did not get a room with a view,though the room met the standards ...even if the facilities like Dining was very expensive( so dined out )

May..2012..5 Nights in Pittsburgh at the 4*Westin for $90 and 8 Nights the 3.5* Downtown Marriott bought through Priceline....The PL bid was for 3* and the HW offered the same but HW gave me two more star rating...GREAT Hotels and no prejudice even though I mentioned at the Westin that I got it through HW..In fact BOTH gave me rooms with great views and the Westin gave me a room on the 20th floor..Minor frustration at being charged for internet use in the business Centre at the Westin and only told on arrival..

Definitely no prejudice and both good hotels this year and no complaints about last years bid..

I'm in the UK and use this site...and looking as I write to book for Las Vegas in September..

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  • 2 months later...

Do you have any recourse with Hotwire or Priceline if the room you get doesn't match the stars they list?

I ask, because today I booked a 4* in Niagara falls for 5 days from now. Got the Sheraton Falls View. Looks like a great hotel, but when I went on tripadvisor to read some reviews, there are a couple from Hotwire customers who got shafted. In my opinion, a 4* hotel should have a bathtub, or at least a pretty nice shower, right? Well these reviews show pictures of an old run-down shower stall with visible mould/darkness, and no tub. They say they have a Queen-size bed in a room so small you have to turn sideways to get around it, and the view is an interior brick wall. That doesn't sound 4* to me!

So, I went on the hotel's web site to check the rooms there, and it only lists rooms that are 2 Queen or 1 King. I really don't care either way, but I figured I'd phone them to request a 2 Queen room to see what would happen. The man on the phone was polite, but he said the problem with booking Hotwire is you will get no choice in what room you get. Then he said we will be in a room with 1 Queen bed, even though that isn't even listed as an option on their web site.

I probably shouldn't be worried until I see it, but if I get the gross old shower stall room, I will feel really swindled by Hotwire. For the same price, I could have booked a 3* and known that there would be a clean bathroom.

Is Hotwire allowed to advertise you are bidding on a 4* hotel, and then you get a 2* room? Any advice would be appreciated -

I will also log back on next week and update what the room was like...

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I probably shouldn't be worried until I see it...

Exactly!! If you're assigned a room that is not satisfactory speak to the front desk and request a room change. If unsuccessful speak to the manager, take him/her to the room, and show them any mold, dirt, etc. and explain that it is not indicative of what you expect from the brand and from a x* rated hotel. Usually if you can point out specific things (like dirt) rather than 'the room is dates' or 'i don't want a stand-up shower' management is more than happy to re-accommodate you. If you're still not satisfied call HOTWIRE while at the hotel and get them involved, indicating that the room you received is not up to the standards of the rest of the hotel or the star rating you had agreed to purchase.

Please post any follow-up in your hotwire hotel purchase thread rather than here.

Thanks, and good luck!

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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  • 2 months later...

so i guess a single person can take the risk of waiting the night before the flight to book his/her hotel to get the better rates than booking a few weeks in advance? i was thinking about booking my hotel at the airport once i arrive..also, since i am by myself so i guess i shouldn't be worried about double beds or big size ones from all the posts about issues with beds in this thread. my only concern is that i might get a smoking room which i dont want since i dont smoke and dont want to smell the fumes from previous guests.

also, if the hotel doesn't accomodate you if there are problems, you can also mention it on reviews online...no need to be rude, just let people know how they treated you with the reviews online.

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I recently had the exact opposite of 2nd class treatment as a Priceline guest. I'd successfully bid for 5 nights at a 4* Budapest hotel, and was already happy I'd gotten the Artotel.

When I checked in I was told I'd been given an upgrade. I got a room overlooking the Danube river. Incredible view. Sunrise over the opposite shore, interesting river traffic all day, and gorgeous lighted bridges at night. Oh, and the room was very nice too. Spacious and attractively decorated.

For the record, I arrived looking fairly road worn as I'd had a difficult transit there. Casual dress. Backpack. The clerk was a very young man and I'm clearly an oldish grandmother. No $20 trick. No membership. I was of course polite at the check-in process, but other than that I've no idea why I got so lucky.

Priceline was only acknowledged with a mention that I was "prepaid".


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  • 3 weeks later...

Even though I am a new official member to this community, I have been following the posts for a long time now. My approach when this occurs (and there have been initial onsets when it appeared it would), I just tell them that I know how to manipulate the reservation system; so why not get the hotel I want for a fraction of the cost? If they ask specifics just smile and say "the Internet is a powerful tool."

In reality, this is not far from the truth. We are all hear to either find the best deal on our specific hotels, or the best deal for a hotel class. Either way, as someone else posted earlier, you will sleep on the same pillow - just for a lot less $$.

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I had a similar experience as KatiesMom did in this hotwire hotel post while at the Crowne Plaza, Paramus NJ. Booked Hotwire for 3 adults; room provided was one queen. Hotel claimed Hotwire had booked for one bed. They offered a rollaway, which would have been fine except it would not fit in the room! Hotwire customer service was great, and rebooked us to the Hilton Hasbrouck Heights without charge. Whether this was a hotel error or a Hotwire error I can't swear, but I am inclined to think it was the hotel, as I would with the Royal Sonesta (especially as they kept botching things). Hotwire has resolved three issues for me over the years with reservations and has always been great -- and was apparently prepared to make this one right as well for the friend but for the hotel phones going down.

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  • 4 weeks later...

When I first started using PL/HW I did notice some unfair treatment. However, as time has gone on they certainly seem to have eased up. Some hotels have mandatory policy for how guest are treated. Hyatt Place has their clerks walk around the counter to give you keys and offer to show you the hotel.

However, I try to dress up nicely when checking in and if I stay in a 3+ star hotel I will buy atleast 1 meal, usually breakfast from the hotel even if it's $20 with tip. I like the comment the person said about spending your own money versus a corporate account. I pay all hotels out of pocket...there's people like flight attendents an those who travel for work who don't have to pay anything to stay in their rooms. I don't have that luxury. My hotel spending between November and January has almost certainly exceeded my monthly rent. That's not even paying full price.

I also used to suggest cash deposits for incidentals, but I don't bother anymore. However, when going from one city to the next, having 3 holds from different hotels can add up. I recently got a new credit card, and used it at hotels for incidental holds thinking it'd be placed right back after checkout. 2 hotels took 15+ days to return $25...another hotel held $100 for 2 weeks, and it took 4 calls to my bank/hotel to clear it up...only for it to appear on my card again when trying to get a rental car. Waited 7 hours in rental car lobby thanksgiving night to get it reversed.

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Maybe I should post this in the Nevada section?

But in Las Vegas, many or most of the hotels have coupon books that they hand out when you check in. They have discounts on buffets, spas, shows, etc.

If we use Priceline or Hotwire for a Las Vegas hotel, will the clerk see a note that says "Don't give these Cheapskates a coupon book."?

I don't care that much about the view from the room. But I'm cheap and I want a coupon book.

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Some coupon books are only given out with certain room rates/packages (usually for off-site non-hotel events)... others are given to all guests of the hotel (usual good for restaurants at the hotel and at the hotel's affiliate properties).

The coupon books that are given to all guests you'll likely receive as well, those that are only given to those who booked certain rates/packages you will likely not receive, but i have found that most of these types of discounts are usually also found in the give-away advertising magazines and at kiosks on the strip.

If you'd like help with an upcoming stay please post in the Nevada section of the board.

Please use the PRICELINE and HOTWIRE links on the board to begin your travel purchases.

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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In 2011 I won the Hilton Paddington London on PL. I emailed them soon after requesting a smoke free room. As per norm they replied that they could not guarentee this.

I replied, thanking them for their response and that I had to request it due to my asthma, and thus proving to my travel insurance company I had requested a room well in advance.

When we arrived at the hotel not only were we given a smoke free room, but I was asked if i would like allegy free pillows.

So in the few times I have used PL/HW since I always emailed the request for a smoke free room.

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In 2011 I won the Hilton Paddington London on PL.

Please begin to share all your wins with the board so that others can benefit from the information... and please follow-up your Priceline NYC and Hotwire Lompac threads with whatever you ended up doing for each of those trips.

Please use the PRICELINE and HOTWIRE links on the board to begin your travel purchases.


Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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  • 1 year later...

#1) I have gotten the poor Priceline treatment at many hotels including the Holiday INN Express in Milton Florida February 14, 2014. Courtyard Hotels in Lafayette Indiana, etc.

Sometimes I call the hotel using their direct line in advance, and make sure the reservation has my elite, ask about special rooms etc. I try to do this when they are not busy.


#2) Other times, Hilton in Venice Italy, I was upgraded to Executive Suite with gold status. Marriott Reno. in Palm Springs, I was treated like a queen. with my Gold level status.


 #3 Roaches. I strongly prefer not to have them in my room.  BUT if you do ever encounter one...spray it with hairspray, vinegar  or any other liquid. Then change rooms.

If you want to feel better in any rental, pretreat rooms with Home Defense.  I may do that if I rent a villa or something.   I wrap my garbage and take it out of rooms.

If you have to stay somewhere. leave your suitcases in car and just take what you need...


The reason I Priceline is to avoid the bad bugs, and try to opt for a better level of hotel.   I've never had bad bugs  in any Priceline hotel. 

I do due diligence and use Trip Advisor, and other reviews to predetermine if bad bugs  are going to be a problem and avoid booking those hotels.




I did give the HIE a steller review on priceline so they get MORE Priceline guests they disdain. he he he, and appropriate reviews everywhere else.

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#1) I have gotten the poor Priceline treatment at many hotels including the Holiday INN Express in Milton Florida February 14, 2014. Courtyard Hotels in Lafayette Indiana, etc.

It would be appreciated if you strated to share your wins with the board so that others can benefit from the information.

Please use the PRICELINE and HOTWIRE links on the board to begin your travel purchases.

Please use this HOTWIRE and these PRICELINE LINKS: HOTELS, CAR RENTALS, and AIRFARE to begin your travel purchases

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