With all the luck we've had using fare bidding sites, especially when booking last-minute emergency trips, we can't help but find their mysterious grab bag approach a bit off putting. Once you decide to go the Priceline Name Your Own Price route, you're basically agreeing to fly whatever airline accepts your bid, departing at whatever time of day. Sure, you do get some say, such as what airports you're willing to depart from, the number of stopovers you're willing to make, and -oh, how they word it? Something about what aircraft you're willing to fly on? Non-jet? Crop-duster? A cluster of helium balloons tied to a lawn chair? Something undesirable. Then there's the matter of the bid itself. If your offer is too low and no airline accepts, you must make a change to your trip criteria, be it upping your price, or adding a new airport, or saying yes to the chair with helium balloons.
That said, we were pleased to stumble across this handy new feature from Priceline, which provides you with all the statistics you'll need to make an informed bid on your particular route: Previous bids vs. retail, total savings, days bought in advance, layover length, and departure times. For example, if you're bidding on Atlanta to New York, you have an 88% chance of departing between 6am and 10am, you have a 100% chance of having a layover which will probably be about 79 minutes long, and the lowest bid accepted on this route was purchased 19 days in advance by user Darlene D for $152, compared to the going rate of $298, which saved Darlene 49%. What about the shortest advance purchase on this route? User Melvin M purchased his trip just one day prior to traveling for $191. Not bad!
So while users still don't know exactly what their bid might bring, these numbers do give a better idea of what to expect. Isn't that comforting? We think so.
This info is currently available only for Priceline's 30 Most Popular Routes, and 50 Routes with the Best Savings.