Cheap Car Rentals: Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price”

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Cheap Car Rentals: Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price”

Million Mile SecretsCheap Car Rentals: Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price”Million Mile Secrets Team

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[Disclosure:  Emily and I get a referral if you sign-up for Top Cash Back using our link.  You will get 3% cash back if you go to Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price” through Top Cash Back.]

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I’ve used Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price” to bid for cheap car rentals.

However, it takes a bit of work to determine the best price to bid for Priceline, but more importantly, you can’t cancel or modify a Priceline “Name Your Own Price” reservation.   So this is useful only if you know that your plans won’t change.

Priceline's Name Your Own PRice
Priceline’s Name Your Own Price

You can get an additional 3% cash back if you click through to Priceline using Top Cash Back.

Lately, I’ve had better luck with the Ultimate Rewards & Capital One Portal and Costco car rentals.

Cheap Car Rentals Series:

Priceline “Name Your Own Price” Quirks

You can’t use “Name Your Own Price” to rent cars at non-airport locations and for 1-way rentals.  And you can’t cancel or change your reservation, so don’t make a booking if you’re not 100% sure of your plans!

How To Use Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price”

Lately, I haven’t been using Priceline as much as I used to because I almost always find lower rates through the Ultimate Rewards & Capital One portals and Costco car rentals.

Step 1 – Find the Lowest Price Elsewhere

Since Priceline reservations can’t be cancelled or changed, you should make a Priceline reservation only if it is lower than reservations elsewhere.

You can spend a lot of time searching and searching for the lowest possible rate, but I usually limit myself to Ultimate Rewards & Capital One portals, Costco car rentals & Hotwire.

You can also check Bidding For Travel & BetterBidding to see winning bids in the cities you plan on visiting.

Step 2 – Make a Bid

Go to Priceline’s Name Your Own Price and make a bid.

I usually enter a TOTAL price which is 20% less than what I can find elsewhere.  And don’t forget to click through Top Cash Back to get 3% cash back.

However, Priceline adds a lot of taxes and fees (30% to 50%+) to the reservation, so sometimes it takes trial and error when entering the DAILY car rental rate to get a TOTAL price which is 20% less than elsewhere.

For example, if I want to bid $115 for a 6 day rental in Tampa, I shouldn’t enter $19 or $115/6 as the price I’m willing to pay per day.

Enter Per Day Price

Instead, I should enter ~$10 per day, and in the next screen I’ll see that the TOTAL price which I’m bidding is ~$115.

Make Sure That Total Price is What You’re Willing to Pay

If your bid is accepted, great!  Otherwise, you have to wait 24 hours to make another bid, unless you change the car category for which you’re bidding.  So it helps to start with the smallest car category and work your way to the largest category which you’d consider renting.

However, if you are traveling with family or friends, you can make another bid sooner than 24 hours by having someone else log into his or her Priceline account and making a bid.

Sometimes Priceline will make you an offer, but I usually don’t take the offer and wait until I can make another bid.  Priceline will also try to steer you towards making a higher bid than you otherwise would, but stick to the price which you researched!

See this post for screenshots on how to use Priceline’s Name Your Own Price for car rentals.

Bottom Line

If you have the time it doesn’t hurt to research and bid for a car rental using Priceline’s Name Your Own Price for car rentals.


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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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I want to use Priceline, this is my first time. But it seems like a scam to me?

I bid the lowest first, I started with $10, and then it just takes me to a summary of charges page! I’m renting a car for 20 days starting on January 26TH 2015. The total says $298 and that’s with taxes and fees included and it just gives me the option of paying now for it, But it seems fake to me ,And I don’t feel comfortable putting my credit card info on there and stuff. Am I missing something here? Will someone explain how this works, It’ll be so helpful! Thanks!

I am ready. What is my next step?

I’m ready to book a (name my own price) car. What is my next step?

For Maui rentals I have for the last 5 years I have bid 50% less than whats offered on priceline. I also make a reservation with no deposit at budget or dollar. Every year my bid (or close to it) is accepted 2-3 days before deparure. I cancel my other resevtion and enjoy the savings

How inflexible is using Priceline for car rentals. For example, I have reserved a car for 2:00 PM on day 1, returning at 2:00 PM on day 5. If I actually get my car at 2:45 PM, do I have until 2:45 PM to return the car? (I’ve pre-paid for the car rental using the name your price option). Will the rental car company (National) honor the contract if I pick up a bit later than planned as in this example?

I am interested in renting a car for our vacation through Priceline but I need to be sure that I am going to get a large SUV like a Tahoe or something like it to seat 6-7 people how can I be sure I will get that size vehicle? Has anyone anyone ever had a problem where they reserved a very large SUV but got a small car? Your comments are truly appreciated! Thanks

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