I wanted to write about the Priceline Express Deals much earlier, but somehow I forgot about it. Fortunately Priceline extended this service until the end of the month, which is an excellent alternative to bidding (Name Your Own Price).
Update2: 10% off Priceline Express Deals with the promotion code: PLAYOFFS (book by 2nd February 2013)
Update: The Priceline Express Deal Service is back!
The Express Deals service allows travelers to specify the amenities they are looking for in a hotel. You still don't know the exact hotel you are staying at until after the payment. Since there is no bidding involved, it's a little bit similar to Hotwire.com, in my opinion.
How it works:
First of all you have to type in your travel destination, your check-in and check-out date as well as the number of rooms you want to book.
Right after you press the "Search Express Deals" button, Priceline shows you a webpage that lists amenities, such as a pool, restaurant, fitness center or free internet as well as the star level of the hotel and the area where the hotel is roughly located. You even see a guest satisfaction scores on a 1-10 scale and and a rate, still without knowing the name or precise location of the property.
If you book a Priceline Express Deal and find a cheaper rate for this hotel, any time until the day before check-in, Priceline will match that price and give you in addition $25, with some conditions, of course.
Even if you still want to use the "Name your own Price" service of Priceline, you can use the Express Deal rates as a reference.