Oh, Express Deals. I have such a love-hate relationship with them. On one hand I can save a ton of money, but on the other I'm taking a big non-refundable risk.
If you're not familiar with Express Deals, they are heavily discounted hotel rooms on Priceline. The only catch is, the name of the hotel remains hidden until your booking is confirmed; and once you've booked your room, there's no turning back.
I recently booked a 5-Star hotel in St. James London that was normally $355 per night for only $132, with breakfast. Although I saved a ridiculous amount of money, what if a terrible hotel was revealed at the end? I'd much rather skip the discount and put that $600+ toward a more desirable hotel.
The unknown is what deters a lot of people from using the Express Deal feature. Thankfully, I've always been able to unveil the identity of the "mystery" hotels so I know exactly what I'm getting before I commit. Here's how you can do the same:
1) Go to Priceline. Enter your dates and destinations.
2) Click on "EXPRESS DEAL." Choose a neighborhood and desired star rating (I suggest going 3.5 or higher because there are usually fewer hotels the higher you go.)
3) Click on the hotel. It will prompt you with something like this in the right hand corner:
Note the original price on the bottom. It will be the price in the "Browse All Hotels" search.
3) Then take note of all of the amenities (i.e. pool, fitness center, airport transportation, etc.), the guest ratings, and the number of verified guest reviews. This is key.
4) Now go back to "Browse All Hotels," choose the same neighborhood, star rating, and amenities. This should narrow down the list significantly.
5) Then compare the prices and guest ratings. This should leave you with the hotel being offered. If you're still left with more than one hotel, compare the number of "verified guest reviews." Works every time for me.
6) Check out the hotel; if you like it, book it through the Express Deal. Done
Even if you end up with more than one hotel, but you're comfortable with staying in any of them, then definitely take advantage of the deep discount.
(This post is not sponsored. In fact, they probably don't appreciate me doing this... Too bad.)