Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Saving More on Airfare - Priceline

As I mentioned last week in Saving on Airfare, I recently got a good deal on tickets to my honeymoon destination. Beyond the good deal, I was also able to use a coupon for American Airlines that was in the Entertainment Book and get some extra money back from Discover Card's current 5% Cashback Bonus program.

Coupon Mom just picked up my tips for one of her blog posts today. (Thanks, Stephanie!) And in that post, she also mentioned that Priceline will give a contribution to your Upromise college savings account when you book a reservation. I love Priceline!...and I love that they are a Upromise partner! But why, you ask, didn't I use them for my honeymoon flight reservations?

There is a potential drawback to bidding for your airfare on Priceline: flight times. Their website states, "Domestic flights are scheduled to depart anytime between 6am and 10pm unless your city pairs require off-peak travel. International flights can depart anytime on your travel dates." In the case of this part of the honeymoon, we aren't going to be gone a full week, and we want to see, do, and relax as much as we can. So, for this trip, we opted not to go the Priceline route for fear that we'd arrive late and have to leave early, which would cut into our already short vacation. The savings wasn't worth the risk.

However, we have bid on airfare on Priceline in the past. Here are some of what I think are their great benefits (pulled from their website): "Your flights will be confirmed for the dates and airports you agree to. Your flights will have a maximum of one stop each way, unless you agree to two connections each way. If you have a connection, your layover time will never be longer than three hours for domestic flights. You will never be put on a red-eye or off-peak flight unless you agree to one. You will know the total amount of your purchase before completing your transaction."

So, if arrival and departure times and the carrier aren't important to you, Priceline is a great option.

Here's an example from a trip we took last spring:
For the flights we took, the airline website was offering $330 (total price with fees and taxes). found the best deal on these flights to be $321 (total price). Our winning bid on Priceline was $263 (total price). That was a 18% savings over the lowest fare we could find. At the time, Priceline was offering a 1% contribution to a Upromise account, which meant another $2.63 in savings for me. Currently, Priceline is offering a 2% contribution to your Upromise account when booking through them -- so check it out, travel, and save!

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