Is Priceline Legit? Can it Get Me a Good Deal?

Priceline is a great travel tool, but it comes with the pitfalls of third-party booking.
Carissa Rawson
By Carissa Rawson 
Updated

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Is Priceline legit? This online travel agency is well known and joins plenty of others in promising good travel deals for flights, hotels, rental cars and more. But is this true? Is Priceline a safe and reliable site for booking travel? It can be.

Let’s take a look at how Priceline works, it’s reliability and how it can save you money.

How Priceline works

Like many other online travel agencies, travel can be booked through Priceline on its own dedicated website.

So, how does Priceline work? It essentially acts as a middleman between you and the travel operator. You search the website, and it provides you with a list of search results. Once you’ve found, say, a flight that suits your needs, you go through Priceline to make your booking.

Priceline then takes your information and brings it back to the travel company to let them know that you want to book the flight. The travel company approves the booking, and Priceline comes back to you to let you know that your reservation has been completed.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Be aware that booking hotels and rental cars through Priceline counts as a third-party booking; these bookings are not eligible to receive elite benefits or credits toward earning elite status.

The benefit of searching for travel through Priceline is that it will bring back search results from a number of different companies. This means that if you search for a flight, you’ll get information about United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Alaska Airlines and American Airlines all at once. This is simpler than going directly to each airline's website and searching one at a time.

Is Priceline reliable? Can I trust Priceline?

The short answer is: Yes, you can.

Priceline launched in 1998 with the ability to book otherwise empty airline seats. Since then, it’s grown to include hotels, rental cars and cruises, and the website hosts millions of visitors each month. This is all to say that Priceline is a very large and successful company; you aren’t booking with a sketchy operation.

You’ll want to note, however, that when booking through Priceline, you're technically booking through a third party. As can happen when you don’t deal directly with the travel provider, things may fall through the cracks.

To mitigate potential hiccups, always double-check your travel plans once they’ve been made. Use the confirmation code you receive and head directly to the travel provider’s website. From here, you’ll be able to manage your booking and ensure that it has been properly completed.

If you need to cancel, change and cancellation policies vary by booking and provider. Most big discounts Priceline advertises, like Express Deals, are non-changeable and nonrefundable.

Ways to get a good deal on Priceline

There is fierce competition for your business in the world of travel, which makes it easy to get good deals as a customer.

The best price guarantee policy

Priceline has a best price guarantee policy, which can help you save money if you find a better price elsewhere. To take advantage, you’ll need to sign up for Priceline’s free loyalty program, Priceline VIP Rewards Program.

The best price guarantee applies to the following:

  • Airfare.

  • Cruises.

  • Hotels.

  • Rental cars.

If you find a better price within 24 hours of booking for any of these services, Priceline will refund you the difference. Even better, if you find a better price on an Express Deal (up to midnight before you travel), Priceline will refund you up to 200% of the difference.

Get cash back when booking

Are you familiar with shopping portals? These free services track the purchases you make; in return you can receive points, miles or even cash back. Websites such as Rakuten will give you up to 5 American Express Membership Rewards points for every dollar spent when you book with Priceline.

There are a variety of shopping portals that’ll earn everything from United miles to Wyndham points, so pick the one you like best and use it to get yourself a little extra when you book with Priceline.

Roll the dice with Express Deals for hotel bookings

Priceline offers two different ways to save significant amounts of money on hotels: Express Deals and Pricebreakers.

🤓Nerdy Tip

You can also get special discounts when you call Priceline for cruise bookings. These are unpublished deals and not available online.

What are Priceline Express Deals? In short, these are Priceline’s most discounted offering. The catch? You won’t know the exact hotel you’ll be getting. All you’ll know about the hotel ahead of booking is the general location, amenities, rating and number of stars it has.

If you’re comfortable with being a little flexible, this can save you up to 60% on your booking.

Play it safer with Pricebreakers

The other way Priceline can save you money is through Pricebreakers. These deals will allow you to pay a discounted price for one of three separate hotels. You won’t know which of the three you’ll get until your booking is completed, but you’ll still be saving money overall.

Some credit cards are better than others

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

Getting a good deal with Priceline doesn’t stop at the website itself. In addition to using shopping portals, you’ll want to book your travel with a credit card that maximizes points on travel bookings.

Happily, there are quite a few different credit cards that earn bonus points on Priceline.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve®, for example, earns a flat 3 points per dollar spent on all travel — including Priceline — and you can stack this with a shopping portal. The Priceline VIP Rewards™ Visa® Card is also worth considering for frequent Priceline users.

How the cards compare
Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Apply now

on Chase's website

Barclaycard Priceline Rewards Visa Credit Card
Priceline VIP Rewards™ Visa® Card
Annual fee

$550.

$0.

Annual fee

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Earn 10,000 bonus points if you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days after account opening.

Still not sure?

The bottom line

Priceline started out more than 20 years ago as a way to sell discounted airline seats to travelers. Since then, it’s grown into a giant online travel agency offering flights, hotels, rental cars and cruises to customers. Along with its flashy promises of discounts, you can score real — and significant — good deals with Priceline by being flexible and stacking savings together.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

Travel Cards from Our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-5x

5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

Points

Intro offer

60,000

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Points
Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1.5%-5%

Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Cashback

Intro offer

Up to $300

Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
4.7
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

2x-5x

Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Miles
See more travel cards
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