Here's how cheap a San Diego hotel can get: In early August, 2004, you could stay at 4-star Hyatt Regency La Jolla ($289 and up) for $73 a night and 3-star Hilton del Mar (starts at $179) for $70. If you want to find a cheap,nice San Diego hotel, we've simplified the process.
Seven Steps to Find a Cheap San Diego HotelYou'll use Priceline to find your cheap San Diego hotel, using biddingfortravel.com for research. After doing steps 1-2 below, you can do steps 3-5 yourself or get help. Just register at biddingfortravel, do the research to fill out an Bidding Assistance Form and post your request. Someone will respond with a strategy. Our do-it-youself process is quicker, but you may get a slightly lower rate with help.
- Pick Areas
Go to Priceline, click Hotels and select San Diego. Enter any date (you just want to see the map on the next page). Pick the area(s) you want to stay in. Write them down.
Most convenient: Downtown, Mission Valley
Most upscale: San Diego Coastal (includes La Jolla), Coronado
Cheap: Miramar , Carlsbad
- Pick Quality Level(s)
- Use the biddingfortravel forum to see sample hotels.
- A one- to two-star hotel might be cheaper, but if you can get a nicer place at prices that rival a really cheap hotel, why not?
- Maximum Bid
- Research rates at biddingfortravel, looking for the same quality level and area and same date.
- Check a few online services to gauge cheap rates for similar quality.
- Set your maximum bid, remembering it doesn't include 10.5% hotel tax (12.5% for hotels with more than 70 rooms). You may also pay extra for parking or resort fees later.
- How Many Rebids?
- To get the lowest rate, you'll start very low. If your first bid fails, Priceline won't let you just increase the bid. You must also either change quality level or add an area. You'll add areas. If your bid on a 3-star hotel in area A fails, add area B (which has no 3-star) and raise it. The hotel you get won't be in Area B, so you are making a "free rebid." The San Diego free rebid areas, as of August, 2004, are:
2.5 stars: 1 (Miramar)
3 stars: 2 (Miramar, Carlsbad)
4 stars: 7 (Miramar, Carlsbad, Del Mar, Mira Mesa, Escondido, Mission Valley, Point Loma)
Your total rebids will be the number of areas you want to stay in plus the free rebids from above for your quality level. If you want a 4-star hotel downtown, your total rebids are 8: 1 (area you want) plus 7 (from above).
If Priceline changes areas or you want to use this for another city, this is how to count: From the screen showing areas, check the box next to one. Click Next. Note the range of ratings available. Click Prev to go back.
- Starting Bid and Increment
- Priceline's minimums range from $15 for a 1-star to $55 for a 5-star.
- Calculate the difference between your starting bid and maximum, and divide by the number of rebids to get your increment. For example, starting at $70 with $100 maximum, the difference is $30. If you have 3 free rebids, increase by $10 each time.
- Start Bidding
- From Priceline, click on Hotels. Enter San Diego,CA, dates and number of rooms.
- Select your most preferred area only. Ignore messages saying to choose more.
- Select the quality level you want and enter your starting bid. Ignore messages urging you to raise it.
- Fill in the required information. Wait for your request to process.
- Don't expect the first bid to be accepted. You're trying to find the lowest possible cheap rate by starting below it.
- Add an area, raise the bid by your increment and try again.
- When you add free rebid areas, check whether they contain the quality level you've selected. Our information was accurate in August, 2004, but things can change, and you don't want to end up somewhere you didn't intend to be.
Follow Our Example to Find a Cheap San Diego HotelLooking for a 4-star hotel, Downtown or Coronado for $105 or less per night.
- Rebids: 2 areas we want + 7 free rebids =9
Minimum Bid: biddingfortravel shows about $75 per night around the time we want. We'll start at $50. The difference between minimum and maximum bids is $50, divided by 9 rebids, = about $5 per increment.
- Downtown, 4 star $50 - REJECTED
- Add Coronado, $55 - REJECTED
Add areas with no 4-star hotels
- Add Carlsbad, $65 - REJECTED
- Add Del Mar, $70 - ACCEPTED
What You Need to Know
- You won't know exactly where you'll stay until your bid is accepted. You WILL know the area, quality level and price.
- Your credit card is charged when your bid is accepted.
- Priceline guarantees a double occupancy room and nothing else. If you have special requests, don't use it.
- Some places hesitate to discount Saturday checkin, making it hard to get a cheap price, but you may have better luck if you wait until Friday to bid.