Bidding Help -- Montreal YUL (or) Plattsburg (or) Ottawa TO San Franci

By OliverB,

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Hello everyone,

I have never Pricelined flights before but am in a real bind... yesterday morning I was alerted to an unadvertised discounted fare through Delta for ROUND-TRIP flights from Montreal to SFO at only $365 CAD TAX-IN!

As soon as I saw this, I booked a trip for 11 nights. I then called up a friend who I had been planning to travel with to tell him to do the same. To both of our major disappointments, when he attempted to book his flights early this morning, the sale had already expired and flights were back at the $750 mark. He lost out and I am now traveling solo.

I would REALLY like to try and find a way for him to be able to come along... I'm trying to find RT flights for under CAD $500 (with as many connections/layovers as necessary) from either YUL Montreal (ideally) or a nearby airport - either Plattsburgh, Ottawa... or if there's huge cost incentive in savings, then Toronto or NYC as well.

Could anyone please help me out with advice and suggestions for flight bidding with Priceline as I'm not sure where to start or what kind of savings are to be had with this?

The dates are somewhat flexible I suppose (approx 2 days give or take), but I would ideally like to find something from JAN 20 - JAN 31 (2012)

As mentioned, seats are going for around $700+ now round-trip at rack rate.

If anyone could help me/us out, I would be sooo appreciative!!

Thanks in advance!

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The cheapest fares that I can find through the sponsored BetterBidding link are for $469 (595 tax-in) with United. 2 stops. I assume this is CAD?

Again, flight class is unimportant, we'll book lowest economy and don't mind connections... would like to try and bring the price down at least $200 if at all possible!

If I can score this flight at $400 tax-in, I'll book it right away!

The dates once again are JAN 20 to 31, 2012

Thanks so much for ANY help that you can offer!!

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Sorry to post multiple times in a row, but I just used the BetterBidding Airfare Checker to verify rates from (PBG) Plattsburgh NY to (SFO) San Francisco on the same dates [01/20/12 - 01/31/12] and I'm seeing $475 cheapest tax-in.

If I selected the Canadian version of Airfare Checker, is it safe to assume that this would be in CAD currency? Are there any unseen costs not factored in these price checks?

If this is the lowest price recorded... what should I start my bid at through Priceline?

Would I be best to search flights from Montreal first or Plattsburgh to SFO? Will international always be significantly higher priced?

There isn't a huge difference int he lowest advertised rates through United Airlines, so I wonder if it matters through Priceline?

It's not a big deal to drive to Plattsburgh and fly out to SFO from the US instead of Canada... but ideally, would prefer a flight out of Montreal.

So what's the nest step... should I Priceline for $150 under the lowest rate recorded on Airfare Checker; is that reasonable?

Do I start with Montreal or PBG?

Thanks again!

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Sorry to post multiple times in a row, but I just used the BetterBidding Airfare Checker to verify rates from (PBG) Plattsburgh NY to (SFO) San Francisco on the same dates [01/20/12 - 01/31/12] and I'm seeing $475 cheapest tax-in.
What is the breakdown of base fare and taxes/fees?
If I selected the Canadian version of Airfare Checker, is it safe to assume that this would be in CAD currency?
There is no canadian version of the Airfare Checker, but likewise, there is almost no difference in the US and Candian Dollar, they are virtually on par with each other.
It's not a big deal to drive to Plattsburgh and fly out to SFO from the US instead of Canada... but ideally, would prefer a flight out of Montreal.
You can only bid on PRICELINE for fights originating from the US.

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Thanks Thereuare,

I didn't realize it was only US departure flights... I guess we'll have to Priceline from PBG in that case.

Here's what I'm seeing through Airfare Checker:



Total $475 ROUND-TRIP Per Person


CAD 425.70

Taxes & Fees: (excluding GST) CAD 42.80

GST Tax (GST Registration No. RT0001121769566) CAD 0.00

Total payment due: CAD 468.50


1 adult C$396.00

Taxes & Fees C$72.50

Total C$468.50

So $468.50 CAD tax-in seems to be the cheapest published fare.

If I can knock this down $100 (to compensate for the drive to Plattsburgh) I will be thrilled!

I am ready to start bidding right away... please let me know how I should begin.

Thanks so much!!

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Should I set my MAX bid at $400 and bid in increments of $10 (is that the min. you can go up?)

If so, what's a reasonable starting bid; $300?

Does Priceline have set fares in their system that will be accepted no matter what, as long as you meet their rate... or does Priceline have any interference in determining what they will let their unpublished fares go for?

In ither words, if United has allocated 10 seats to Priceline at the cost of $300 p/p tax-in but Priceline doesn't like your starting bid, can your bid be rejected even if it meets whatever alloted seat sales Priceline would have in their system, or is it an automated purchase in such cases?

Using the re-bid strategy outlined in another thread, is $10 the min. bid increment that one can go up?

What would be the suggested starting bid in this particular case... I would ultimately like to try and score this flight for around $300 - 350 CAD (tax incl)

I'd be willing to bid up to say $420 given the advertised rates on Travelocity and Expedia.

Anything above and it would make sense to just select flights through one of those two brokers instead and have more discretion over flight times, seat selection, etc.

Since Plattsburgh is a small airport and only have 4 airlines servicing (Allegiant, Spirit, Direct Air, US Airways Express) I think it's a pretty safe bet that bids would likely be accepted through US Airways. I doubt they have any redeyes from PBG to SFO (wouldn't make sense) so flight times are not much of a concern. Airport economy parking is only $3/day (x11 days = $33) and gas woulod run another $45 there and back. So I'd be looking at an additional $85 in expenses and inconvenience over flying out of Montreal (YUL). As such, I'd like to try and get something for around $365 or $100 less than the published fares that Expedia and Travelocity are quoting.

Do you think this would be possible?

Thanks for all of your help, and as soon as you advise how to bid - I'll go for it!

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I'm a member, not a moderator, but thought I'd take a swing at some of your questions just to move things along.

You can increment in any exact $ amount - $1, $17, $352 - up to you. I did try to enter some pennies once, and the space just won't take that.

I think you've answered your own question in terms of your maximum bid. Essentially the formula is the next best alternative minus the aggravation/inconvenience/?? of the bidding results. The monetization of the subtraction is based on you.

You really won't know what is possible until you jump in and try. I'd suggest for your very first bid that you just enter something low so you feel totally safe (and will be really happy) if the thing happens to go through. And take close note of the page with all the taxes and things. This is what you will really pay, not your bid amount.

The airlines make the call in what might work. Priceline just facilitates the process. Priceline does seem to have some minimums below which bids just get rejected, but these are sufficiently low that if one is being even semi-realistic one doesn't run into them. To use your example, if you bid $300 and United said they are OK with $300, your bid will work. Priceline will tack on their fees and of course the taxes will be paid. If you bid $1, Priceline might just reject your bid out of hand.

I've seen a list of the minimum bids for hotels, but don't remember the details just now. I do remember they were pretty low. And I don't know if there is a minimum for airlines. If you are curious, it is easy enough to just test and see. Just don't be bidding for something you actually don't want, just in case it happens to go through.

Go for it - carefully.


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Okay, I'm looking at the Priceline bid screen now and understanding this a bit better... What I want to know however, is whether the 1st screen with all the departure and arrival city options -- if I should check ALL options at once, and then simply select m true desired departure and arrival cities ont he 2nd screen... OR... whether I need to play with the first screen by selecting combos (ie. 1st BOS and PBG - then PWM and PBG - then SYR and PBG - and so on, for each try) - ?

If I select ALL airport options on the 1st screen and then specify my true desired cities ont he next screen... will I then be limited in my options with the first screen when I got to re-bid, since I would have already selected all cities previously? Would I still have the same options? Is it only the 2nd screen where you need to specify that truly matters?

Thanks for explaining this to me... it's the only aspect I'm unsure of and want to verify before continuing.

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