Big Island Resort: $90

Last week my husband and I booked the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii for $90 a night.

The current best deal on the hotel’s Web site is $300 a night with the third night free, effectively $200 a night. That’s more than twice what we’re paying. The rack rate is even higher.

We got the deal through Priceline, and it was not a random surprise. We were aiming for the Hapuna Beach Prince because we’d been seeing reports for months on boards such as Better Bidding and Bidding for Travel that it was going for as low as $75 a night on Priceline.

Nevertheless, when we bid for it, we were taking a chance. There are several other resorts in that part of Hawaii that might have accepted our bid.  Our research suggested the Hapuna Beach Prince was the most likely. It also gave us a pretty good idea of what the alternatives might be, and those were also acceptable to us. But there are no absolute guarantees that we wouldn’t end up at a resort we’d never heard of.

We started bidding at $75 but that price was not available for our dates. So we raised it. We also knew from our research that taxes would bring the rate up to about $100 a night and that we’d have to pay $15 a day for parking.

Using the Web boards is a great way to nose around for bargains, and you can thank them by using their links to make your bids (they get a small commission) and posting the results of your bids. But don’t use this method unless you are flexible and enjoy can accept a little surprise now and then.

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