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PRICELINE: new 3.5* star rating... no more Boutique

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MAJOR PRICELINE CHANGES NATIONWIDE!

It appears that Priceline has created a new layer of hotel bidding with the advent of 3.5 star hotels. At first I discovered the changes in San Francisco and thought Priceline was simply changing the former boutique category to 3.5 stars. However in looking a little further (Oakland/East Bay and Denver, for example) it appears 3.5 is a new quality level across the board.

Changes of this degree are going to require a lot of legwork in order to determine which former 3 star hotels are now 3.5, which former 4 star hotels might now be rated 3.5, etc, etc. One of the easiest ways to determine at hotel's current rating is to research the Priceline vacation package product. And perhaps accessing previous and future bids in your Priceline profile will shed some light as well. If there are any cases where you had an accepted bid at a 4 star hotel and it has now been rerated 3.5 stars, I would think Priceline would be obligated to refund your stay IF that is what you want.

For starters, here are the changes I've discovered in San Francisco:

Former 3 stars now 3.5 stars:

Hotel 480 (USE)

Marriott Fisherman's Wharf

Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf

Hyatt Fisherman's Wharf

Former Boutique now 3.5 stars

Harbor Court (Embarcadero zone)

Former Boutique now 3 stars

Triton (USE)

Will report others as time permits.

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Digging a little deeper, I'm seeing several former 2.5 Marriott Courtyards upgraded to 3 stars, with Radissons, Holiday Inns, etc, remaining at 3 stars. This is surprising to me as I view a Courtyard as a completely different product than a Radisson or Holiday Inn which usually offers things like full restaurant, room service, etc. We've obviously got a lot of work ahead getting the hotel lists updated. It's not going to happen overnight!

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Former Boutique now 3.5 stars

Harbor Court (Embarcadero zone)

My mistake. Harbor Court is rated 3 stars, not 3.5

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We've obviously got a lot of work ahead getting the hotel lists updated. It's not going to happen overnight!

Indeed! Not sure the best way to go about attacking this just yet, but for those willing to assist please send me a PM and we'll figure out a gameplan.

Thanks!

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It appears that former 3-star hotels that offers a full service restaurant (one that serves breakfast, lunch & dinner) as well as room service has been upgraded to 3.5 stars. I believe this used to be the requirement of 3-star properties. The new 3-star description now covers hotels that offer limited type meal service (such as breakfast only) and room service is no longer a requirement. That explains why we're seeing Marriott Courtyards (for example) being upgraded from 2.5 to 3-stars.

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It appears that former 3-star hotels that offers a full service restaurant (one that serves breakfast, lunch & dinner) as well as room service has been upgraded to 3.5 stars. I believe this used to be the requirement of 3-star properties.

It seems not EVERY former 3-star with a full-service restaurant and room service has been upgraded to 3.5* though. The Holiday Inn-SFO still comes up as 3* and it has the restaurant and room service.

Here are the upgrades I see in SFO Airport area zones:

SFO zone: Doubletree, Embassy Suites-Burlingame, and Marriott---upgraded from 3* to 3.5*. The Hyatt and Sheraton are still 4*.

South SF zone: Hilton Garden Inn, Residence Inn, Homewood Suites, Courtyard---all upgraded 3* to 3.5*.

San Mateo zone: Crown Plaza upgraded 3* to 3.5*. Courtyard upgraded 2.5* to 3*.

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It seems not EVERY former 3-star with a full-service restaurant and room service has been upgraded to 3.5* though. The Holiday Inn-SFO still comes up as 3* and it has the restaurant and room service.

Exactly. For the sake of updating hotel lists it would be beneficial to have all former 3-star hotels that offer full service restaurant and room service be rerated 3.5 stars. But apparantly there is a degree of brand separation going on here as well. Priceline's own description of 3.5 includes "these hotels feature high quality hotel rooms and well-decorated public spaces.". I wonder if this is their way of leaving the Holidays Inns at 3 stars as they are often criticized as being run down and in need of renovation. If a zone has a decent Marriott property and a "so-so" Holiday Inn, then I think Priceline has done a good thing here. But I can see disadvantages, too.

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But apparantly there is a degree of brand separation going on here as well. Priceline's own description of 3.5 includes "these hotels feature high quality hotel rooms and well-decorated public spaces.". I wonder if this is their way of leaving the Holidays Inns at 3 stars as they are often criticized as being run down and in need of renovation.

The new 3.5* category is a boon to former 3* bidders who prefer Marriott/Doubletree/Hilton/Sheraton brands---now mostly rated 3.5*---over Holiday Inn/Radisson brands---which mostly remain 3*.

But the new setup is bad for bidders who preferred 2.5* hotels (Courtyard, Homewood Suites, Hyatt Place) because those 2.5* brands have been upgraded to 3* and are now in a category with the former 3* hotels that didn't make the upgrade to 3.5*.

3* used to be a mix of "Good 3*" and "Bad 3*". An oversimplification, but allow me. Now 3* is a mix of "Good 2.5*" and "Bad 3*".

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Overall i think this is an EXCELLENT change... i was never a fan of Boutique bidding as there is/was so much variation in hotel quality. (case in point that some previously rated Boutique hotels are now rated 3* while others are rated 2*... two very different hotel ratings with different expectations for each).

This new 3.5* rating also (in theory) gives some borderline 3*/4* hotels a 'comfortable' home with a realistic 3.5* rating. However, the new star ratings will take some getting used to... i can already see the complaints of a Courtyard (and others) being rated 3 stars as users accustomed to the old star rating will claim that this is 'overrated' (just as many complain HOTWIRE hotels are overrated as they were being compared to PRICELINE's star rating system... i suspect the two services will begin to be much more inline with each other)

EXCLUSIVELY at BetterBidding:
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(click here) and use promo code: BB5JUL19
(3+ stars / 2+ nites... expires 7/31/2019)

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

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I just checked several old PRICELINE "wins", it appears that the following hotels have been upgraded by .5*

Mahwah - Nanuet (Mahwah - Ramsey - Allendale)

Sheraton Crossroads Mahwah 3.5*

Courtyard By Marriott Mahwah 3*

Mahwah - Nanuet (Woodcliff - Park Ridge)

Marriott Park Ridge 3.5*

Newark - Meadowlands (Jersey City)

Hyatt Regency Jersey City On The Hudson 3.5*

Newark - Meadowlands (Meadowlands - Rutherford)

Sheraton Meadowlands Hotel 3.5*

Renaissance Meadowlands Hotel 3.5*

Courtyard Lyndhurst 3*

Newark - Meadowlands (Secaucus - North Bergen)

Hyatt Place Secaucus 3*

Somerset - Brunswick (Clinton - Lebanon)

Courtyard By Marriott Lebanon 3*

Somerset - Brunswick (Edison - Woodbridge)

Sheraton Edison Hotel Raritan Center 3.5*

Parsippany - Morristown (Morristown - Florham Park)

Hyatt Morristown 3.5*

Tinton Falls (Red Bank - Middletown)

Courtyard By Marriott Lincroft Red Bank 3*

Long Island - Suffolk County (Hauppauge)

Hyatt Regency Long Island At Wind Watch Golf Club 3.5*

New York City Airports (JFK)

Courtyard By Marriott New York Jfk Airport 3*

Westchester County (Rye - White Plains)

Renaissance Westchester 3.5*

Westchester County (Tarrytown - Elmsford)

Courtyard By Marriott Tarrytown 3*

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Here are the changes I've found. Unless noted, all 3.5* hotels below were previously rated 3*, and all 3* hotels were previously rated 2.5*.

VANCOUVER, BC

Airport

3.5* Delta Vancouver Airport

3.5* Hilton Vancouver Airport

3.5* Marriott Vancouver Airport

Downtown Vancouver

3.5* Pacific Palisades (previously 4*)

3.5* Renaissance Vancouver Harbourside

3* Residence Inn Vancouver

Surrey - Pitt Meadows

3.5* Sheraton Guildford

SEATTLE, WA

Bellevue - Redmond

3.5* Hilton Bellevue

3.5* Marriott Redmond Town Center

Downtown

3.5* bidding now available, but I have not found any 3.5* hotels in this zone

3* Homewood Suites Seattle Downtown

3* Homewood Suites Convention Center Pike Street

Lake Union

3* Courtyard Lake Union

3* Residence Inn Lake Union

Lynnwood - Edmonds

3* Courtyard Lynnwood

Renton - Kent

3* Courtyard Sea-Tac

3* Courtyard South Center

3* Hilton Garden Inn Renton

University of Washington - Northgate

3.5* Hotel Deca

PORTLAND, OR

Beaverton - Hillsboro

3* Courtyard Hillsboro

3* Hilton Garden Inn Beaverton

3* Residence Inn Portland West

2.5* Wingate Inn is now the Holiday Inn Express Portland West/Hillsboro

2* Red Lion (previously 2.5* - this hotel was downgraded some time ago)

Clackamas

3* Courtyard Portland Southeast

Convention Center - Lloyd Center

3* Courtyard Lloyd Center

Downtown Portland

3.5* Hilton Portland

3.5* Marriott City Center

3.5* Marriott Downtown Waterfront

3* Residence Inn Riverplace

3* Paramount (previously 4* - downgraded a few months ago)

Lake Oswego - Tigard

3* Courtyard Beaverton (Courtyard Tigard is 3* also)

3* Hilton Garden Inn Lake Oswego

3* Residence Inn Portland South

North Harbor - Jantzen Beach

3* Courtyard North Harbor

3* Residence Inn North Harbor

Vancouver, WA

3* Residence Inn Portland North Vancouver

3* Staybridge Suites Vancouver Portland

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I checked four cities in Europe (London, Paris, Venice, Munich) for Name Your own Price, and it appears none of them have incorporated a 3.5* rating, so European cities are probably still the same.

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I also checked my recent wins, and report some changes below:

Las Vegas Monte Carlo has been downgraded to 3.5* (from 4*)

Santa Rosa (CA) Flamingo Resort has been upgraded to 3.5* (from 3*)

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Exactly. For the sake of updating hotel lists it would be beneficial to have all former 3-star hotels that offer full service restaurant and room service be rerated 3.5 stars. But apparantly there is a degree of brand separation going on here as well. Priceline's own description of 3.5 includes "these hotels feature high quality hotel rooms and well-decorated public spaces.". I wonder if this is their way of leaving the Holidays Inns at 3 stars as they are often criticized as being run down and in need of renovation. If a zone has a decent Marriott property and a "so-so" Holiday Inn, then I think Priceline has done a good thing here. But I can see disadvantages, too.

In the long run I think that this will be a good thing. It will take some getting used to.

This may have been done at the request of the hotel chains. I know if I had a JW Marriott or a Crown Plaza I would not want to compete on price with a HI.

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I've also noted a couple changes in my past wins on PRICELINE:

Toronto (Vaughan - North York)

Courtyard - Marriott is now 3* up from 2.5*

Kalamazoo

Residence Inn - Marriott is now 3* up from 2.5*

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i have checked my winning bids and can see no change in the status of any of the hotels i have used

boston - the hyatt and sheraton at the airport are still coming up as 4*

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I bid and won on a 3-star in Charlotte, NC and got a Courtyard by Marriott for $53, which apparently used to be 2 1/2. Not sure yet how I feel about this, as I haven't stayed there yet. Wish I had read this thread first. I very much appreciate the moderator pointing out this thread to me.

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Here are the changes I found from my past wins.

California

Los Angeles (Downtown) Westin Bonaventure downgraded from 4 to 3.5

Ventura (Thousand Oaks) Renaissance Agoura Hills upgraded from 3 to 3.5

Nevada

Las Vegas (Airport LAS) Courtyard by Marriott Green Valley Upgraded from 2.5 to 3

Las Vegas (Airport LAS) South Point Upgraded to 3.5

Texas

Galveston Hotel Galvez upgraded from 3 to 3.5

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California - Los Angeles

Residence Inn LAX/Manhatthan Beach now named Residence Inn Manhattan Beach and up from 2.5* to 3*

Courtyard By Marriott Lax Century Boulevard up from 2.5* to 3*

California - Other

Courtyard By Marriott Milpitas up from 2.5* to 3*

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Tampa Busch Gardens Hyatt Place is now 3 stars

Hilton Garden Inn Tampa North is now 3 stars

Courtyard by Marriott (Brandon) Tampa is also 3 stars

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What is the primary differentiator between 2.5* and 3* under the new PL Levels....?

Do you have any evidence of old 2* hotels becoming 2.5* under the new PL Levels....?

Also wondering how this will effect the FREE RE-BID strategy, since there is now an extra rating level to choose within a zone.

I am going to review my old bids on PL - to see what has changed ratings in my usual zones.

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Overall i think it's a positive, especially for 3* and 4* bidders as there now becomes a clearer distinction between 'borderline' properties which will now find their way into the 3.5* classification. As you point out, also will probably give more re-bid zones available for most areas, although there will also now be fewer 4* hotels, so uses will likely have get rid of the mindset "i only want a 4* hotel" in some areas where many of the 4* properties have become 3.5*.

EXCLUSIVELY at BetterBidding:
5% OFF PRICELINE EXPRESS COUPON
(click here) and use promo code: BB5JUL19
(3+ stars / 2+ nites... expires 7/31/2019)

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

Want to know if Rates Drop?? Get alerts at RateDrop.com

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