How to Save Money on Airfare with Priceline Express Deals
Have you ever heard of Priceline Express Deals? The flight deal market is expanding, with different websites, phone apps, and travel booking companies entering the arena. A recent addition to the flight deal offerings you should be aware of is Priceline Express Deals.
What Are Priceline Express Flight Deals?
Have you ever seen a box that looks like this pop up when searching for flights on Priceline’s website? This is a Priceline Express deal.
As you can see above, Priceline Express Deals pop up when you search for a flight deal in Priceline. Typically, this option shows up for more popular international routes, and are not as common to see on a domestic or less-traveled route. In the example above, the Express Deal offer is for $141 less than the next cheapest flight on Priceline.
Priceline’s website states that Express Deals can save users up to 40% off their airline ticket for their desired departure, destination, and travel date range. Trusted airlines give discounts to travel booking companies like Priceline, allowing Priceline to offer deals on airfare to consumers that won’t be available elsewhere.
What Should I Know About Priceline Express Deals?
You’re probably thinking to yourself, this is too good to be true. However, Priceline makes it easy to understand why these flight prices are cheaper, and what to know before booking an Express Deal. Outlined below are a few things to know about Priceline Express Deals:
- According do the Priceline website, Express Deals are different from published price services. When booking through Express Deals, the airline you will be flying is shown only after booking the ticket. This flight deal service is similar to the Hopper Secret Fare: airlines sell a certain number of flights to booking companies to sell at lower prices. The airline (trusted airlines and not budget carriers, as shown in the photo above) is revealed once the ticket is purchased and booked.
- An Express Deal’s full itinerary is not disclosed prior to purchase. This means that only details of general timing are given prior to purchase, such as “evening takeoff” or “morning takeoff”, as seen in the photo above. Departure and return times are revealed after purchasing the ticket.
- According to the Priceline website, Express Deal flights are non-refundable and non-changeable. All Express Deal airfare sales are final. This is in contrast to other flights booked on Priceline, which typically honor a 24-hour cancellation and full refund policy. Again, similar to Hopper Secret Fares, the sale is final.
- Priceline indicates that the Express Deal fares do not earn frequent flyer miles. However, we can not yet confirm this. We suspect this is highly dependant on the carrier you are flying.
- The graphic shown on each Priceline Express Deal denotes that advance seat assignment may not be available, and there may be additional costs for baggage, but the purchaser will not know the airline, and therefore these details, until after booking.
How Do I Use an Express Deal?
When searching for an international flight deal for a trip you’re looking to book, or a deal you receive through our Thrifty Traveler Premium subscription service, head over to Priceline and input your desired departure city, destination, and travel dates.
If there is an Express Deal available for that route, an “Express Deals” box will pop up before the first regular flight option listed on the Priceline search results page.
To learn more about the Express Deal, click “View Details.” On the Express Deal page, Priceline reminds you that the flight details will be revealed after you book. They also show several trusted airlines through which the flight will be booked.
Priceline Express Deals offers an estimation of when the flight will depart and arrive, as well as when it will return. As you can see below, this deal will have a mid-day takeoff between 10 am and 6 pm. Due to the length of international flights, you can see this flight may arrive early the next day. For the return flight, Priceline notes that it will be a morning takeoff between 6 am and 2 pm, and will arrive the same day.
Be sure to also note the estimated number of stops and the maximum layover time. In the example above, there is an estimated 0-1 stop, with a maximum layover of 3 hours. Not too bad for a flight to Rome!
Towards the bottom, you’ll see a total price, compared to the cheapest non-Express Deal price for that route and date range. In the example above, we would save 28%. Keep in mind that this price includes taxes and fees, but additional baggage fees may apply.
Further down the page, you can select other departure options, such as a later or earlier takeoff, and more or less stops. The flight deal listed first, however, is the one with the greatest savings.
If that all sounds good to you and you’re ready to book your cheap flight, click the green “Continue” button to fill out your personal and billing information. Once you confirm and submit, Priceline will immediately open a new window with your flight details, including departure and return times and airline.
Example Express Deals Flight Details
Emily, our summer intern, recently booked a Priceline Express Deal for her trip to Amsterdam from Minneapolis. After booking the flight, she received an email with her flight details.
As seen in the screenshot of the email above, all flight details are disclosed immediately after booking on the Priceline site, as well as in the confirmation email. The email also includes the details below. Again, something to note is that Priceline states these fares may not earn frequent flyer miles. However, as we mentioned, this is likely dependent on the airline you are flying.
How Do Priceline Express Deals Compare to Other Flight Deals?
All things considered, if you are looking for a cheap flight deal and are flexible on departure and return time frames, Priceline Express Deals are worth considering.
In comparison to a similar product, the Hopper Secret Fare doesn’t provide as deep of discounts, or nearly as much flight deal availability. I’d definitely pick Priceline Express Deals over Hopper Secret Fares as both programs stand currently.
To double up on your flight deal finds, become a Thrifty Traveler Premium member. When we send out a Premium flight deal to you from your departure city to an international destination, we provide details on how to book.
On several of the flight deals we have sent out recently, you can save even more on your flight by booking the Priceline Express Deal at the top of the page. A Premium tip-off of a mistake fare, flash sale, or fare war takes your flight deal savings from 15-30% with Priceline Express Deals alone to 50-60% by double-dipping.
Overall, we’re pretty impressed with the Priceline Express Deals offers that we’ve been seeing in our flight deal searches. If you are reasonably flexible in what times you depart and return and don’t mind which airline you fly, this is a great option to save money on airfare.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.