Thanks for the prompt feedback. It's very much appreciated.
Given your information, there's some incentive to consider the Express option if one is relatively confident in the specific hotel associated with the offer. It's a bit of a trade-off against a lower rate that might come via the Name Your Price offer. Under that option, however, any hotel could turn up, as you state, or I could see an upgrade to the next star level. I get occasional promo codes emailed to me from PRICELINE that would give me an additional savings off a PRICELINE EXPRESS deal. That could reduce the net cost of the Express price somewhat.
Regarding your suggestion to consider the 4.5* in the Madison Square Garden zone and the Even Hotel, yes that offer is compelling as well. That zone is not quite as compelling a location, but is reasonable nonetheless, as I will depart the city via Penn Station and could walk from the hotel to the station. The neighborhood is not as nice in my opinion. There might be some incentive to try bidding in that zone for the 4.5, as an earlier check showed no availability at the other 4.5 hotel in that zone for one or both days of my stay, (TRYP Times Square South). As a result, securing the Even Hotel is more likely. I noted some winning bids for that hotel on this forum from $136=$199, although some might reflect a less in-demand season or weekend stay.
Is there any rhyme or reason to the sweet spot out from the date of stay? If I wait until I'm say 30-60 days from my stay, will the reduction or discounting be any greater? Today, there are few Express deals showing savings greater than 30%.
I will certainly use the PRICELINE links on your site for all bidding and will update this thread once I have secured something. Regards.