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Priceline's Fraudulent Practices - Beware!
Posted by MisterB on 08/31/2010
I used the "name-your-own-price" service of Priceline.com and named a price for a 4-star hotel in Las Vegas of $69 per night for five nights. I received a confirmation for the Luxor Hotel at $69 per night and was informed that there were "Taxes and Service Fees" of $55.20 per night and I was charged $400.20 for the five-night stay. The confirmation informed me that any other incidental charges, such as room service, parking, telephone, minibar, etc. would have to be paid by me to the hotel at the time of my stay. When I arrived at the hotel, however, I was informed that there was a mandatory "Resort Fee" of $14.50 per night that I would have to pay (in addition to the $55.20 of taxes and service fees for the five-night stay). I was informed that it covered free local phone calls, admission to the health club and a free daily newspaper. I told the hotel that I did not want any of those additions to my hotel room and that I had named a price of $69 per night plus taxes and that was all that I wanted to pay. I was told that I did not have a choice and that I must pay the $14.50 per night. I said that I wanted to cancel my reservation because I was tricked into believing the room would be $69 per night and it was in fact going to cost me $83.50 per night. I was told that the room was not refundable.

When I returned home, I contacted prceline.com's customer service and customer relations (apparently the company's higher level of customer relations) departments. They were completely unhelpful and just kept saying the same thing over and over again - there was a statement in the small print that said that you could be charged by the hotel additional incidental fees. I said that I read that statement to mean optional fees that I choose to incur such as parking, telephone, Internet, movies, minibar, etc. I argued that if its a mandatory fee than its part of the cost of the room and should be part of the price of the room and not HIDDEN from the purchaser. I noted that I was never informed that I would be charged a mandatory $14.50 fee per night until I arrived at the hotel. I was not informed of this charge on-line, nor in my confirmation that I printed out, nor in the email that I received the next day from Priceline.com. The "customer service" personnel just said that there was nothing that they could do because I had been given all of the terms of the deal. I argued that if they did not inform me of a $14.50 per night mandatory charge in addition to the taxes and the $69 price I had "named", than I was not informed of every material item. Like robots, they kept saying that I had been given all of the material terms of the deal.

To me, Priceline.com is a scam in that it deliberately and knowingly uses hidden fees to misrepresent the cost of the price of a hotel room. It deceives you into believing that you are paying one price when in fact you will pay a much higher price. They think that its ok to do this because they warn you in small print that there may be additional fees that you may be charged without stating what those fees are. This is fraudulent activity and Priceline.com should be ashamed of itself.
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Posted by Ben There on 2010-08-31:
Many hotels in Vegas and Orlando charge these resort fees - they are always paid at the hotel when you check in regardless of how you book.

Here is where Priceline spells out these fees right above where you initial and pay for the trip:
The reservation holder must present a valid photo ID and credit card at check-in. The credit card is required for any additional hotel specific service fees or incidental charges or fees that may be charged by the hotel to the customer at checkout. These charges may be mandatory (e.g., resort fees) or optional (parking, phone calls or minibar charges) and are not included in your offer price.
Posted by Carrie on 2013-07-15:
I agree Priceline scams it's customers. I,too, had the same experience. I agree optional fees should be charged but mandatory should not be allowed. Our hotel was40 percent higher when resort fees were added. There is no way to know in advance what resort fees will be. Priceline can make any excuse but they simply don't care about customers. Beware of Priceline.
Posted by Danny on 2013-09-13:
I was about to make the mistake of "naming my price" scam. I filled my info out until I reached the credit card info part. I stopped and started thinking: If I write my cc info down I will have more chances to loose than win. I search for reviews and "bingo", found all this helpful information. Sorry all of you had to go through that. Thank you for your posts.
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Don't Use Priceline For Any Bookings
Posted by Anjalipai84 on 01/03/2013
SUNNYVALE, CALIFORNIA -- I booked my hotel accommodation in Hawaii through this 'forbidden site' called Priceline, couple of days back. My trip is due in March 2013, I had to cancel due to some reason. They would cancel and not provide a single penny in refund. I can't move reservations to any other dates in future.
NOT AT ALL CUSTOMER FRIENDLY, Do yourselves a favor don't book on this site ever.

PS: They do not have any great deals or prices!

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Posted by Alain on 2013-01-03:
This is exactly why I like to book directly with hotels, airlines, etc. You may (or may not) get a lower price with these third party contractors, but if there's any problem, they keep your money and don't offer a bit of customer service or assistance.
Posted by At Your Service on 2013-01-03:
It's very truthful that these third party sites allow for no adjustments or cancellations. That is something one must expect when booking with any of them.

Book direct if you want to save the hassle.
Posted by Obsfucation on 2013-01-03:
It wouldn't even cross my mind to ever use Priceline, but in the interest of fairness, they tell you ahead of time that your purchase is final and cannot be changed or cancelled.
Posted by jonthethird on 2013-01-03:
Most hotels will come close to the deals Priceline and the others offer. When you figure in all the fees, hidden charges, it is best to book direct or through a travel agent. That way you have recourse if something is wrong.
Posted by PaulR on 2013-01-08:
After a number of failed attempts at bidding a specific price for a hotel in Ft Lauderdale, I followed the advice of the site and expanded the search to an other area of the city. The bid was successful but the system had changed the date request to a period of time 2 weeks prior to my original request. I immediately called Priceline back and they are refusing to change the reservation. I fully explained the fact that all prior requests were for the Feb 1 date and that Priceline itself , through a programming or other error, had altered the specific date of the reservation to Jan 11. They continue to state that they have a contract that I agreed to the specified wrong date. Very frustrating and perhaps a fraud.
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Priceline does not post all consumer hotel reviews
Posted by Trpljjj7 on 06/30/2011
I received a follow-up email about my stay and filled out Pricelines review of my hotel stay... My review was NOT posted (as I am sure many others were not, as if were I NEVER would have booked hotel)
MY EMAIL TO PRICELINE: I booked a hotel in Florence SC (travel inn) though Priceline, and was VERY dissatisfied with it. I received your email asking me to review hotel, which I took time to do. Review is not showing up. WHY? Why would my review not show? because it was bad? I wish I had been warned that this hotel was NOTHING like pictured. And now it is appearing like Priceline only puts favorable or semifavorable reviews? I will think twice before ever using your service and forward my complaints to my brother in law, who uses Priceline all the time and told me to use. I would appriciate a response as to why my comments were not posted on my horrible stay. I was trying to WARN others the hotel and area could potentially put their families in a dangerous situation as we were put into unknowingly.
Thank you for taking the time to send us an e-mail. We understand that
you are dissatisfied with your reservation at the Travel Inn Florence
and that your review were not posted.

We apologize if you are dissatisfied with our service. Customers are our
number one priority, and we work hard to make your experience with us a
positive one. Your feedback is appreciated.

When you filled out your survey, we disclosed that your review of your
recent hotel stay may be posted on our website; however, we did not
guarantee that it will be posted. All reviews are first read by the
appropriate department, and then they will decide which reviews to post.

Please note that we do update reviews frequently, and encourage you to
check back often to inquire if your review has been posted or not.

Once again, we apologize for the inconvenience and hope you find this
information helpful.


Varis K.
Customer Service Specialist

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Posted by Ben There on 2011-06-30:
I suggest that you post your complaint on tripadvisor.com as that seems to be the biggest website that consumers use when booking hotels.

One thing to note, though, is that most hotel review sites - including tripadvisor and even my3cents.com - will remove or not post a review if you do things like include names like "the front desk clerk Mary Clark was very rude" or imply criminal activity like "I think the maids were smoking weed".

If trip advisor refuses to post your review as well, you might want to rewrite it.
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Beware of Priceline's "Bait and Switch" and deceptive charges.
Posted by JamezG on 03/02/2010
Recently, I used Priceline's, "name your own price" feature on it's website. I named my price, the offer was accepted and I was put in a 5 star hotel near the Las Vegas Strip. The hotel was "Trump Hotel" which was very disappointing as there is no casino, rooms only have 1 bed, and it is off the strip. Regardless, I knew it was the risk I took naming my own price. What I did not know however, is that the price I agreed to pay and was charged on my card was NOT the final price. The hotel told me that I would be charged an additional $20/nt upon what I had already paid Priceline for what they are calling "Resort Fees". I was told this fee is charged to cover the cost of newspaper, fitness center, internet, pool, and parking - All the things that would typically be included and expected in a 5 star resort, but Priceline is claiming that it is their legal right to tack on these hidden fees and that their contract states that theses fees may be charged. Upon research, they are indeed stated in their contract, but it is very hard to find and as a first time Priceline user didn't expect a company this large to be so deceptive. I asked for a refund from the Trump Hotel and they stated that only Priceline can issue refunds. I contacted Priceline's customer service twice and was given the run around and was basically told that I should have read the agreement closer and these hidden fees are very typical although I have never paid them before and have traveled extensively all over the world. I don't understand the need to be so deceptive and these fees seem so unnecessary. Why not just include them upfront in price of the room? Also was told that I would have to pay these extra fees whether or not I even used the services that they are intended to cover. (pool, newspaper, business center, parking, and fitness center). After being tricked into paying $20/nt more than I was willing, I am really hoping that a class-action law suit will be filed. Apparantely there are many others who fell for this "Bait and Switch".
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Posted by Anonymous on 2010-03-02:
If its on the contract why would you get a refund? Class action suit? Any lawyer would laugh at you once they read the disclosures.
Posted by dan gordon on 2010-03-02:
you must have bid as a resort vs standard hotel room, correct?
Posted by localgod on 2010-03-03:
"I contacted Priceline's customer service twice and was given the run around and was basically told that I should have read the agreement closer and these hidden fees are very typical"...this is not a "bait and switch", this is a "customer didn't read their customer agreement and feels screwed afterward".
Posted by JamezG on 2011-04-18:
One only has to Google "Priceline bait and switch" to find numerous consumer complaints about Priceline's misleading tactics. In fact Priceline was booted from the Conneticut BBB in 2000 for having over 300 consumer complaints. (Forbes.com) The good news I did get a full refund with a little help from Trump Resort who sympathized with the way I was mislead.
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Buyer Beware!! Priceline is a scam
Posted by Sage026 on 02/23/2010
I have been satisfied with Priceline in the past, but will never use this website again.
I bid $180 per night on Priceline Name Your Price for a 4 star hotel in Miami in May 2010.
I received a 2 night stay for $420.42 at the Sonesta Bayfront Hotel (after additional Priceline fees were added). When I looked up the standard room rates for this hotel on line, I discovered that
$180 per night is the regular rate for the dates in question! Also, this hotel does not appear to be a true 4 star hotel when compared to other 4 star hotels in Coral Gables. I complained to Customer Service and was told told that Priceline does NOT guarantee discounted hotel rates. I was told that Priceline ONLY guarantees that the reservation cannot be cancelled or refunded or exchanged under any circumstances whatsoever.

I am now unable to change or cancel a hotel reservation for which I paid FULL standard room rates. In addition, I paid additional fees to Priceline ( so I am now paying MORE than the standard rate) and the hotel is not a true 4 star hotel when compared to other 4 star hotels in Miami. Priceline no doubt benefits financially at my expense (under the guise of being a "discount" website). BUYER BEWARE!!!
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Posted by Anonymous on 2010-02-23:
Priceline, as everyone should know by now, is a tool to choose the price you want to pay for a product/service. The company that owns that product/service will then decide if they want to accept that price. You wanted a 4-star in a certain area and were willing to pay 180 per +taxes/fees. You knew going in what priceline is all about. Your bid was accepted. After the fact, you found out it would have been better to book with the hotel directly. I wonder why nobody has said before to book with the service provider directly???

As far as the star system....this is Priceline's explanation of how it works.


Sorry, I can't post links, you'll have to copy and paste but it basically says they are not responsible, as all these weasel companies do.
Posted by goduke on 2010-02-23:
So when you go to the casino and put a dollar in the slots, do you get really upset and complaint when it doesn't pay you $1 million? Priceline is online negotiation. You negotiated badly.
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Misleading Vegas Strip hotel--Name your own price
Posted by Nintendogirl33 on 01/19/2010
I was very disappointed when bidding on Priceline for a North Las Vegas strip hotel. I bid $150 per night on a 5 star north strip hotel. I was awarded the Trump Hotel which is located at the very far end of the Vegas strip but not even directly on the Strip. They don't even have a Las Vegas strip addresss. Trump Hotel is on Fashion Show Blvd.

This was very misleading. I thought I was bidding on NORTH STRIP HOTELS per Priceline's description. The Trump hotel should not be included in this area/map for North strip 5 star hotels. I am thinking of just going direct with my reservation and staying somewhere else closer to the action. Needless to say I will not ever use Priceline's name your price ever again, especially for Vegas. I feel duped and taken advantage of. Especially since this was my first Priceline experience.

So just FYI for other bidders, keep in mind when bidding on a 5 star North strip hotel you will probably end up at TRump. You will have to take taxis to the strip etc. You will be across the street from strip clubs and it's not the safest area at night.

Of course, there are no refunds on Priceline....
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Posted by goduke on 2010-01-19:
In Vegas you are always better off going directly to the hotel. If you are looking for good properties on the north end, you won't want to go further than the wynn and encore. Gets pretty run-down after that.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-19:
You mention it's within the shaded area of the North end for Priceline. I didn't check but is it? If it is, you really have no complaint. If it isn't, bring it to the attention of priceline and see if they can move you closer or refund your money.
Posted by PepperElf on 2010-01-19:
and you're going to get better prices in the older areas compared to the main strip
at least that's what i've been told
Posted by goduke on 2010-01-19:
You can get some pretty sweet deals at the far north end (sahara, strat, riveria), but if you plan to go down to the main areas you'll be hoofint it quite a bit, or taking cabs. I prefer some of the mid-strip properties like the flamingo -- good rates, decent property, good place to get anywhere.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-19:
You can use the monorail system or free shuttles to get around the strip area. Yes they are crowded at peak times so give yourself some extra time.
Posted by Slimjim on 2010-01-19:
I think this is a fair review. When I think strip, I think Las Vegas Boulevard. Something off the north end to me, isn't the strip but the older section. It isn't as nice and if someone wants to be on the main drag, that's not it and shouldn't imply it is because it's close. The Freemont area is off the north end of the strip too, and yet is hardly considered to be on the same road as say The Luxor.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-19:
I've stayed at the Stratosphere which is at the very end of the strip.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-19:
The Fremont is old downtown, Fashion Show Lane crosses Las Vegas Blvd at the north end of the strip. The Trump is a long ways away from downtown Vegas. The mall on Fashion Show Lane is a popular mall for both locals and tourists. It's a few minute shuttle from the Center Strip area, you can walk it when it's not hot outside.
Posted by Anonymous on 2010-01-19:
Back to the point....the OP touched on it briefly when he/she said it should not be included in the area for North end hotels. That, to me, means it's included, the OP knows it's included, thus, there is no complaint here. Saying it's misleading is just not true.
Posted by Ben There on 2010-01-19:
Priceline calls the region "Las Vegas Strip Vicinity North", so it is pretty clear by the word vicinity that it might be near the strip and not on it.

Also, your hotel can fall anywhere within the zone on this map. As you can see, it covers a lot more of the hotels directly on Las Vegas Boulevard: http://tickets.priceline.com/hotels/Lang/en-us/zone_popup.asp?session_key=5D0011AC400011AC20100119181658873180508490&plf=pcln&ZID=50899&R=N&SMO=Y&show_map_back=N
Posted by Crown Jules on 2010-01-19:
For what it's worth, it looks like Priceline also considers Rio to be a strip hotel and anyone familiar with Vegas knows that Rio really isn't anywhere near the strip (at least compared to Caesar's, Luxor, etc.). I agree with goduke, you're going to be better off dealing directly with the hotel. In this economy they are desperate for business and likely to cut some sweet deals.
Posted by calioasis on 2010-02-17:
I had the exact same experience as the author. Priceline must have some sort of deal with the Trump, because there is NO WAY it is 5 star. I definitely felt duped, and once I saw the hotel I felt even worse. The hotel is just downright tacky, and with no casino and 1 restaurant, it's depressing having to go back there after being on the strip. The staff is also a bit cold and the lobby is just uncomfortable. I would definitely NOT recommend staying here. Boring hotel, unsafe walk to the strip (enjoy walking in the street), and no parking lot!!
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StarStarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Name Your Own Price Is A Scam
Posted by Chrisculley on 09/15/2013
Unfortunately, I have to agree with all the other negative comments regarding Priceline. We have been traveling for six months now and have used Priceline on many occasions. We have experienced everything that many others have complained about: you get the worst room in the hotel, often by the lift and vending machines, you are not able to specify what beds you would like and hidden charges for parking etc are not disclosed. Weighing everything up, we still thought it was worth taking a chance to help save on costs. However, the final straw was when we booked a hotel in Barcelona on name your own price. I bid $90 (plus tax, making a total of $107.86).

I then discovered the hotel we had been given only charged $73 (tax inc) for the same room !!

I contacted Priceline and asked if they would be prepared to refund the difference but they aren't.

This makes me feel that name your own price is a complete scam! The whole point is to hopefully get a hotel at less than the published price as you are taking a chance on not knowing which hotel you will get. Priceline advertise that you can make savings of up to 60% on the published price with name your own price and I ended up paying 45% more! Goodness knows how many other times this has happened as we don't normally have reason to check.
I am not prepared to pay more than the going rate for a, normally substandard, room.

For this reason I will not be using Priceline again and would suggest that others use caution if using name your own price which clearly does not do what it claims to do.
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Posted by cmthru on 2013-09-16:
How is it a scam? All they offer is a room. There's no guarantee you will get the nicest room in a desirable location. When you pay the lowest price for a room the property will give you the cheapest and probably the worst located room(s) available.

As to the your other complaints you can always do some research online or use a travel agent (yes, they still exist). Blindly bidding is very risky as many have found out. You pay your money and you take the chances.
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Do Not Trust Hotel Ratings, Plan to Pay More for Less
Posted by Jmorhome1 on 01/30/2013
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- Booked what was supposed to be a 3 star hotel through Name your price in San Francisco and was booked in a run down hotel with poor ratings that prior reviews clearly highlighted the issues. Price was even higher than the regular booking rates of hotel. Customer Service totally unwilling to fix the booking prior to the arrival date. Priceline has no commitment to protecting their users.

Go Elsewhere for your prepaid hotel bookings.
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Posted by leet60 on 2013-01-30:
"Star" ratings for hotels are of little to no value in most cases. There is not true standard for these ratings and aside from a few travel based websites the ratings are rarely verified and some "star" rating systems are actually reported by the location and never verified.
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Don't Use Priceline
Posted by Schumacr1 on 11/29/2012
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY -- I booked a hotel through one of their affiliates, Kentucky-hotels.org, which is just Priceline. First, no better deal that just calling the hotel. Second, when I came down with a raging flu and couldn't keep the reservation, even though all hotels provide a 24-hour cancellation/grace period (and some 8 hours), Priceline charged me $25 to cancel. Further, an odd thing happened. The representative I was talking to first told me that if she could talk to my doctor, she could waive the $25 fee. I gave her my doctor's number, she put me on hold, came back, said she had called my doctor and verified my information, but then said she was going to charge me $25 anyway. Why do that to someone? Was this an identity theft attempt? I don't know, but I'll never use Priceline again.
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Posted by Old Timer on 2012-11-30:
Just more reason to avoid the scam called Priceline. Best to book direct, save your money and your sanity.
Posted by CowboyFan on 2012-11-30:
No matter what you buy, you are held to the contract that you enter into. Regardless of whether a direct reservation would have meant no fee, on Priceline there is a cancellation fee to which you agreed.

This is a helpful review, however, because it shows the importance of shopping around before you purchase, and booking directly with the hotel, airlines, or car rental place where possible. I use such sites only to find the cheapest deals, and then book directly with the service provider.
Posted by engchin on 2012-12-29:
I learned my lesson. Thanks for the tip, I will book directly with hotels, airlines and car rentals.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Charged even though transaction was never completed by me.
Posted by Legalavin on 07/01/2012
A few days ago I tried Priceline.com to get a reservation for a hotel in NYC for 3 days. I entered a price and location. The site could not find a hotel for me at my price in these areas. They kept seining me back to my original screen and asked me to change my parameters which I did, four times. I changed neighborhoods, raised my price, lowered the star rating. I finally got to a screen that told me to check back in 15 minutes. When I pressed the CHECK YOUR PRICE button it came back with my original screen again. It could not find me a hotel. So I logged out and went to Hotwire where I immediately found what I wanted. When I went to get the confirmation email I found I had communication from Priceline as well. When I opened it up it said they had found a hotel and my account was charged $600.00. I almost threw up I was so freaked. I immediately called the 'Phillipines' and spoke with 'Chris'. Now I have A LOT of Phillipino friends and none are named Chris. Anyway, I might as well have gotten a recorded message. I explained the situation, that I had never confirmed the deal and had actually logged off. She read me a script and said there was nothing I could do. So I ran crying to my husband, the master debater. He called, went up the food chain and got the same message with each person. So I called Mastercard. I love that company. The agent calmed me down, told me not to worry they would take care of it. Apparently this happens quite frequently. She deleted the authorization nd it never showed on my bill.

Lesson learned...don't bother with Priceline.com customer service, it is nonexistent.

* Don't bother with BBB. Or rather check their website on all companies you've never purchased from before. That was my big mistake AND I should have known better.

*Do file a report with your state and the federal consumer affairs division. They can't/won't do anything for a few years but it will be on record. You can try writing directly to your state attorney general though that did work for me once with a contractor.

*Do contact your credit card company immediately. They can't do anything then but the complaint will be on record. Then call them back in 48 hours, that is when the charge gets authorized. Ask them to remove the authorization and explain why. This too will be on record. Then check your account online if you can. As soon as it appears on your bill call again and make your formal complaint. They will send you papers to be notarized. DO IT ASAP! The fee will be removed immediately and the review will start. 9 times out of 10, for Priceline.com, they will reject the charge and you will be home free.

*Do keep a detailed record of who you talk to, date, time, what you said and what they said. You'll need it for your dispute. Send a COPY of that along with your notarized paper to the CC company.

*Do not use Priceline.com again.
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Posted by Dell Hell on 2012-07-01:
That is pretty crazy. Priceline's sight shows nothing but later after you log out they find a room and hit your credit card. That is just plain not right! Stay far, far away from these 3rd party sites unless you can afford to get ripped off or end up with nothing for your hard earned money. Use someone like Kayak, then book direct. You can even use the compare Priceline option to show you're getting a better deal than Priceline. (Bottom left of the page, just check Priceline) http://www.kayak.com/hotels

If the Priceline pundits wonder by, they will twist this around that you did something wrong. Ignore them, they probably travel once a year on Thanksgiving.
Posted by Digi on 2012-07-01:
I just wanted to let you know, my brother-in-law's name is CRIS (Chris)...and he's Filipino (all of them were born in the Philippines). FYI.
Posted by Baffled on 2012-07-02:
I have read complaints about priceling, hotels.com and all of the other online booking services adn I still wonder why anyone would use them or think they are getting some kind of a deal through these services. Call the hotel's local number, speak with the person at teh desk or in reservations, ask about discounts (AAA, AARP, Military, Corporate, whatever), talk about room types, amenities offered, parking, and whatever else you need to know. You will get the room type you need, on the date you want (if they aren't sold out), and you won
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