The words five star hotel, and discount don’t usually belong in the same sentence. However, there is a way to save significant money on a 5* Amsterdam hotel stay using a website called Priceline. I tried it and managed to bag myself a 58% saving on the Hilton Amsterdam during peak season (which I was VERY excited about)
So, how does it work?
Priceline is a website which allows you to bid on a hotel room, and they say that you can save up to 60% off the advertised price. Instead of bidding on a specific hotel, they give you different areas in Amsterdam to bid on – for example Museum Quarter or the city centre.
Normally you are only allowed to bid once in 24 hours, but there is a loophole. If you add another area of the city, then you are allowed to submit another bid (as long as you keep adding areas, you can keep on bidding).
How far in advance should you bid?
I chose a date a month into the future, but it is entirely up to you. I wanted to get a hotel during peak season, and because there are several different schools of thought on how far ahead you should bid on your hotel room, I decided to just do it. I don’t think it matters too much (unless there’s a huge convention or event in town, so double check your dates to make sure.)
The first thing I did was to compile a list including
- 5 star hotels in Amsterdam (using TripAdvisor, and Pricelines own list of 5 star hotels)
- The address of the hotel
- The location that they appear on the Priceline map
- If they appeared in Priceline’s own list of 5 star hotels when searching for an express deal
Note that Priceline has their own starring system, though there didn’t seem to be too many differences between TripAdvisor and their own list of 5 star hotels)
I have done this for you:
The Dylan was not on tripadvisor as a 5 star hotel, but it did appear on Priceline, so I added it to the list to be sure.
As you can see, most of the 5 star hotels are in the Central Canals area 2, and City Centre 3 on the Priceline map. I took a quick look on tripadvisor to see the reviews, but generally speaking all of the 5 star hotels in Amsterdam have good reviews (though some are better than others, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll end up staying somewhere terrible)
Compile a list of the areas that don’t have 5 star hotels
I compiled a list of the areas without 5* hotels. I also excluded the areas I didn’t want to stay in (Schiphol North and Schiphol South areas) as I know there are 5* hotels in those areas and I didn’t want to win and end up having to go to Schiphol to stay in a 5* hotel.
The areas that are left are
- North (Area 5)
- East (Area 1)
- Rembrandtplein (Area 6)
BiddingTraveler helps you to come up with a bidding strategy for your individual stay. It also tells you the most recently refused bids, and the most recently accepted bids for the areas of Amsterdam that you’re looking for.
To use it you will need to enter the city and dates that you want to stay.
Remember to select all areas of Amsterdam, unless you are trying to avoid staying at Schiphol Airport.
Next, you need to input your lowest and highest bid, and the areas of Amsterdam that you want to stay in, and it will give you a strategy that you can choose to follow.
Once you have entered a minumum and maximum amount, make sure that you click on ‘ continue with manual bidding’ and it will generate a bidding strategy for you to follow.
Please note that this is an example, and it’s not guaranteed that you’ll have the same bidding strategy. The dates I picked for this example were July 12th to July 13th 2014.
Step 4: Start bidding
To bid you will need to enter the area of Amsterdam, and the bid you want to make for the hotel room on your chosen night. You will also need to enter your name.
Once you have continued you will be required to enter your personal information, before submitting the bid.
Note that you need to be over 21, and have a credit card if you are in the UK to use Priceline. If you are in the Netherlands you also have the option to use PayPal.
Once you have submitted your details, you will be told whether or not your offer has been accepted. If it has been accepted it will get charged to your credit card immediately.
The strategy that I used
I used BiddingTraveler as a guideline for my bids but I chose to go in a little lower as on the day that I was doing my bidding I saw that someone had been accepted for a 5 star hotel for $117. I chose to do my bidding directly through Priceline as I already had the window open, and it was easy to check what I should be doing.
IMPORTANT: Make sure that you check which currency you are bidding in. Because I was bidding from the Netherlands the currency was in dollars. If you are in the UK, the pricing is in GBP, so if you do use BiddingTraveler make sure that you convert the bids into GPB, otherwise you will pay more than you should.
I originally wanted a hotel in the central canals area, so my strategy was to bid first in that area, and then add the areas without 5 star hotels in (each time increasing my bid). This didn’t work, and so I started adding the other areas of Amsterdam with 5 star hotels in.
This is the order that I did my bidding in:
When I added Museum Quarter 4, my bid was accepted and I won the Hilton Amsterdam at $133. This translates to around EUR97.
Note, there is a booking fee to use Priceline which bought the total that I paid up to $153, which in total is EUR112
I checked on the Hilton Amsterdam website to see what their advertised price was for the same date and it was EUR249, so I was bouncing around the living room for about 15 minutes.
Did you manage to grab a 5 star hotel for less? I would love to hear about it.