I am probably the last person to figure out priceline.com, but my sister recently got a nice hotel room in downtown Houston for $60 a night by bidding through the site. Since Mr. J and I are traveling to Denver/Cheyenne in a few weeks, I thought I'd give it a try.
Here's the thing, though: You can't be picky. You basically choose what kind of hotel you'd like (up to 4 stars), indicate the area of town where you'd like your hotel to be located, plug in your credit card number, and post your "bid" -- how much you'd be willing to pay per night for your hotel. Now, I know what you're thinking.... I'll just bid a ridiculously low number and just up my bid in $1 increments. Unfortunately, Priceline is on to you and your crafty tricks. You can only bid once a day, so if your bid is too low and isn't accepted, you're kicked off the site for 24 hours.
But, if your bid is accepted, you're good! Just remember, there's no backing out. You'll be charged and you'll have to be ok with wherever you end up. (But is that really that scary if you know you have a 4-star hotel booked? I don't think so.)
I knew we wanted to be near downtown Denver, so I checked that location, typed in my credit card number, and decided that $65 was a reasonable amount. Priceline then put me on hold while it scoured 4-star downtown Denver hotels that would accept my $65 a night bid. If no hotels in your area/star rating accept your price, then you have to re-bid a higher amount.
But after waiting just 30 seconds, I ended up with this:
It's a Hyatt in downtown Denver that's normally $150 a night -- score! Now I just have to figure out how to get a cheap flight and rental car...