Booking travel can be frustrating when prices fluctuate wildly between sites. You find a great deal on Priceline, but will the hotel actually honor that rate if you book directly? Understanding hotel rate matching policies is key to getting the best value.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Most hotels will not match pricing from opaque booking sites like Priceline’s Name Your Own Price. However, they may match rates from other online travel agencies or their own websites.

How Priceline’s Name Your Own Price Tool Works

Priceline’s Name Your Own Price tool is a popular feature that allows users to bid on hotel rooms without knowing the name of the hotel in advance. This can be a great option for travelers who are flexible with their accommodations and are looking to save money on their hotel stay.

Users bid on hotels without knowing the name in advance

With Priceline’s Name Your Own Price tool, users enter the city, dates, and star rating for their desired hotel stay. They then enter the price they are willing to pay for the room. However, users do not know the specific hotel they are bidding on until their bid is accepted.

This element of surprise can be thrilling for some travelers, as they are essentially getting a hotel room at a discounted price. However, it’s important to note that users can only choose the general area or neighborhood where they want to stay, such as the downtown area or near a specific attraction.

Hotels can choose to accept or reject the bid

Once a user submits their bid, hotels have the option to accept or reject it. This is because Priceline works with hotels to fill their unsold rooms, so hotels have the final say in whether they want to accept a bid or not.

Hotels consider factors such as their current occupancy rate, their average daily rate, and the time of year when deciding whether to accept a bid. This means that during low season or periods of low occupancy, hotels are more likely to accept lower bids.

On the other hand, during high season or periods of high demand, hotels may be less likely to accept lower bids.

Lower bids likely accepted during low season

If you’re looking to score a great deal on a hotel room using Priceline’s Name Your Own Price tool, your chances may be higher during low season or periods of lower demand. This is when hotels are more motivated to fill their unsold rooms and may be more willing to accept lower bids.

It’s worth noting that there is no guarantee that your bid will be accepted, especially if you’re bidding during a peak travel season or in a popular destination. However, by being flexible with your travel dates and destinations, you increase your chances of finding a hotel that will accept your bid.

Why Hotels Won’t Match Priceline Rates

Priceline rates are opaque and variable

One of the main reasons why hotels are hesitant to match Priceline prices is because Priceline rates are often opaque and variable. Priceline operates on a model where customers can name their own price for a hotel room, but they don’t find out the actual hotel until after they make the booking.

This lack of transparency makes it difficult for hotels to determine if they can truly match the price offered by Priceline.

Additionally, Priceline rates can vary greatly depending on the time of year, day of the week, and even the time of day. Hotels may find it challenging to keep up with these constantly changing rates and may not be able to match them exactly.

Hotels don’t want to undercut third-party sites

Hotels often have agreements with third-party booking sites such as Priceline, and they don’t want to undercut these sites by offering lower prices directly to customers. These agreements ensure that hotels have a steady stream of bookings, and they don’t want to jeopardize that relationship.

Furthermore, hotels rely on third-party sites to market their rooms to a wide audience and attract new customers. By offering lower prices directly, hotels risk losing out on the exposure and reach that these sites provide.

Last-minute deals sell distressed inventory

Last-minute deals are a way for hotels to sell distressed inventory, such as unsold rooms or canceled reservations. These deals allow hotels to generate revenue from rooms that would otherwise go empty, but they don’t want to make these deals available at the same price offered by Priceline.

Hotels may offer last-minute deals at a discounted rate, but they usually reserve the lowest prices for their own website or loyalty program members. This helps hotels maintain a sense of exclusivity and reward their most loyal customers.

Exceptions: When Hotels May Match Rates

While it’s true that hotels don’t always match Priceline prices, there are certain exceptions where they may be willing to do so. Here are a few scenarios where hotels are more likely to match rates:

If the rate is available directly on the hotel’s website

Hotels often prefer customers to book directly through their own websites, as it helps them avoid paying commissions to third-party booking platforms. In order to incentivize direct bookings, many hotels offer a “best rate guarantee” where they promise to match or beat any lower rates found elsewhere, including on Priceline.

This is especially true for larger hotel chains that have their own online booking systems.

For members of loyalty programs

Hotels value their loyal customers and often go the extra mile to keep them satisfied. If you are a member of a hotel’s loyalty program, there is a higher chance that they will match Priceline prices or offer you a better deal.

Loyalty program members are seen as valuable customers who bring repeat business, so hotels are more likely to accommodate their requests.

During special promotions or sales events

Hotels frequently run special promotions or sales events to attract more customers and fill up their rooms. During these periods, they may be more inclined to match Priceline prices in order to stay competitive in the market.

Keep an eye out for such promotions and take advantage of them to score a great deal on your hotel stay.

If there is a big rate discrepancy

While hotels may not always match Priceline prices for small differences, they are more likely to do so if there is a significant rate discrepancy. If you find a substantially lower rate on Priceline compared to what the hotel is offering, it is worth reaching out to the hotel directly and asking if they can match the price.

Sometimes, hotels are willing to negotiate in order to secure your booking.

It’s important to note that the policies and practices of hotels can vary, so it’s always a good idea to check with the specific hotel you are interested in booking. Additionally, keep in mind that while hotels may match Priceline prices in certain situations, there are also cases where they may not be able to do so due to contractual agreements or other reasons.

How to Get the Best Hotel Rates

When traveling, finding the best hotel rates can make a significant difference in your overall budget. Here are some tips to help you secure the best prices for your hotel accommodations:

Leverage loyalty program membership perks

If you frequently stay at hotels, it is worth considering signing up for loyalty programs. Many hotels offer exclusive discounts and benefits to their loyal customers. By becoming a member, you can often enjoy lower rates, complimentary upgrades, and access to special promotions.

Take advantage of these perks to save money on your hotel bookings.

Book early for lowest prices

One of the simplest ways to get the best hotel rates is to book your stay well in advance. Hotels tend to offer their lowest prices to guests who book early. As the demand for rooms increases closer to the travel dates, prices tend to rise.

By planning ahead and making your reservation early, you can secure the best rates and avoid any last-minute price hikes.

Be flexible with travel dates when possible

If your travel plans allow for flexibility, consider adjusting your travel dates to take advantage of lower hotel rates. Hotels often have fluctuating prices depending on the day of the week or the time of year. By being flexible with your travel dates, you can potentially find significant savings.

Certain websites and apps can help you compare rates for different dates to find the most affordable options.

Use metasearch sites to compare options

Metasearch sites are valuable tools for finding the best hotel rates. These platforms allow you to compare prices from multiple booking websites, giving you a comprehensive view of available options. Some popular metasearch sites include, Kayak, and Trivago.

By using these sites, you can quickly compare prices, read reviews, and make an informed decision about the best hotel for your needs.

Remember, getting the best hotel rates requires a bit of research and planning. By leveraging loyalty programs, booking early, being flexible with travel dates, and using metasearch sites, you can increase your chances of finding great deals and saving money on your hotel accommodations.

Other Ways to Save on Hotel Stays

While using Priceline to find great hotel deals is a popular option, there are other strategies you can employ to save money on your hotel stays. Here are a few alternative methods to consider:

Look for package deals

One way to save on hotel stays is to look for package deals that combine your hotel accommodation with other travel components such as flights or car rentals. Many travel websites offer these package deals, allowing you to save money by bundling your travel expenses together.

Be sure to compare prices and read the fine print to ensure you are getting the best deal.

Avoid hidden fees when possible

Hidden fees can quickly add up and inflate your hotel bill. To avoid unexpected charges, carefully review the hotel’s policy regarding additional fees. Some common hidden fees include resort fees, parking fees, and Wi-Fi fees.

Consider staying at hotels that offer these amenities for free or look for accommodations that have transparent pricing policies.

Consider alternate accommodations

Hotels are not your only option when it comes to finding accommodations. Consider staying at alternative lodging options such as vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts, or hostels. These alternatives can often offer unique experiences and lower prices compared to traditional hotels.

Websites like Airbnb and VRBO can help you find these alternative accommodations.

Travel during shoulder seasons

Traveling during shoulder seasons, which are the periods between peak and off-peak seasons, can help you save money on hotel stays. During these times, hotels often offer discounted rates to attract travelers.

Additionally, popular tourist destinations are usually less crowded during shoulder seasons, allowing you to enjoy a more peaceful and relaxed vacation experience.

Remember, while searching for the best deals, it’s essential to prioritize factors such as safety, cleanliness, and convenience. Doing research and reading reviews from trusted sources can help you make an informed decision.


While most hotels won’t price match the opaque and variable rates found on Priceline, travelers still have some options to find the best deals. Booking directly, leveraging loyalty programs, being flexible with dates, and taking advantage of sales and specials can help you score below-market rates.

With some persistence and insider tips, you can unlock hotel savings without relying on opaque sites.

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