Priceline Express Deals: A January Deluge

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A Happy New Year to all! I’m going to get right to the point in this post and just post some calendars for you.

Good News

An absolutely ginormous drop of Priceline Express Deals came out earlier this week.
Fact: Several Deluxe resorts we haven’t seen in deals for awhile were included in the drop.
More Fact: The deals started NOW and ran all the way to next Thanksgiving!

Bad News

Not all of the deals were actually that good. Don’t get me wrong, they all had some sort of savings. But most weren’t on the order of $48 for Sports and all-the-churros-you-can-eat* deals.

(*There has never been an all-the-churros-you-can-eat* deal but that would be cool, right?)

Slightly Worse News

While trying to determine the extent of all them deals, I also noticed that many resorts had different amenities than they did before. As I waded hip-deep in Express Deals to report here PLUS kept track of changing amenities I noticed the deals further out in the year starting to ghost away with the old and dreaded “Sorry! This deal is no longer available” message.

That’s happened before in large drops like this – but in the past the deals would come and go over time. If you are looking for a nice room deal later in the year you would be wise to check back several times over the next few weeks to see if they’ve shown back up.

Back to the good news: As of now, you can still find deals available up to March 1st or so – and again: they are across all resort types, so something for everyone. The calendars below should give you a good picture of what you might find right now.

The Calendars

If you see relatively higher-priced deals for Art of Animation (AoA) in the calendar, I’d be inclined to opine that they are for Family Suites. Sometimes the deals even have bed selections, which will give it away as a suite away for you.

Tip: There are deals in these calendars that appear orphaned all alone in the middle of nowhere – but if you try searching sliding windows around them, you’ll often find that deal will expand to fit more than the single day. (I usually do that for these posts, but so much happened at once this drop!)

Finally, because of space constraints in the calendars I use short versions of Disney resort names. I think most of the time they are easily identifiable, but in the interest of clarity please note that “Jambo” is Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House, and “BRV” is the Boulder Ridge Villas.

Because there were a good number of deals, I’ve broken the calendars below down into Value, Moderate, and Deluxe calendars for January and February.

Value Resort Deals

Moderate Resort Deals

Deluxe Resort Deals

Let us know in the comments if you’ve found any particularly exciting deals in this drop!

John Tierney

Security. Genealogy. Dad. Husband. Securigenealodadsband. Also: Disney fan who likes deals. and numbers. and churros. You can find his tweeter @JJT and his Instagram is @johnjtierney

41 thoughts on “Priceline Express Deals: A January Deluge

  • January 3, 2020 at 10:18 am
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    So I was looking the other day too and realized the amenities had all changed, I had a pretty easy time spotting a disney hotel before and now it is not as easy. It kept telling me a 4 star that I had stayed in before (had to be akl) but I was thrown by amenities. I also notice I was only able to find the deals on the app and not the website. Website was telling me there were no hotel available in both disney springs and bonnet creek. When determining which hotel it is are you looking for matching amenities now or the price discount? Thank you. We have been getting disney hotels this way for past 3 years and I would like to continue doing so.

    Reply
  • January 3, 2020 at 10:22 am
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    I also notice it not listing all disney resorts as having free wifi which I assume they still have

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  • January 3, 2020 at 10:44 am
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    I’m trying hard to figure out how you deciphered which hotel is which. I used to be able to with 100 percent accuracy and the changes are throwing me. The only way I can make guesses is based on the “hint, you’ve stayed here before”

    Reply
    • January 3, 2020 at 10:53 am
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      Sorry, this last comment came in as I was replying to the others.
      My accuracy really comes down to my keeping track of all the variables – I use a spreadsheet to whittle down the possibilities.

      Until recently, I also had another tool in my toolbox but that has changed. You might want to check out Len Testa’s description of that in the last Disney Dish with Jim Hill Podcast (episode 250)… πŸ™‚

      Reply
  • January 3, 2020 at 10:49 am
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    Hi Lisa,
    The only consistent thing with Priceline is their inconsistency. πŸ™‚
    I think they keep changing things up to keep people on their toes – when it comes to identifying deals I take as many clues into account as possible. I keep track of all of the resorts’ star ratings, guest ratings, guest reviews, location, resort fees (if any), plus the amenities.

    As you can imagine that takes time – but worth it as I can spot a lot of Disney deals pretty quickly now.

    I mentioned the new amenity set in my previous posts, so you can refer back to those if you haven’t already. This new large drop was helpful because it showed my many more resorts and their amenity sets. (Some changed, some did not. Some have NO amenities!)

    As for Wi-Fi and other amenities: all of the resorts actually have many more amenities that are never listed on the Express Deals – they just chose some subset to show on deals. The non-Disney resorts have those change much more often on deals than the Disney resorts do, but they all can change at any time.

    But the good news is I only really need to use the amenities once in awhile to identify a resort. The combination of ratings and the number of guest reviews almost always give them away more simply.

    Reply
  • January 3, 2020 at 11:04 am
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    Thank you for taking the time for this great reply! I appreciate it!

    Reply
  • January 3, 2020 at 12:33 pm
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    John, thank you for all the work you do on this! My wife and I are taking a trip mid-March, and I’m hoping to score a Priceline deal. I know that’s prime spring break time, but in your experience, do you think more inventory will show up for March as we get closer?

    Reply
  • January 3, 2020 at 12:34 pm
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    I listened to Len’s podcast where he talks about this. I was fascinated! Thanks for the information!

    Julie

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  • January 3, 2020 at 1:09 pm
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    Hi Jon,

    Yep, prime times like holidays it is often hard to find deals – but not at all unheard of.

    You know, I’ve looked at thousands of deals over well more then a year, now and I still think any guess I make about when deals will appear would mostly be random luck if correct. πŸ˜€

    If last year is any indicator, then somewhere in the 2 to 6 week out range is the most likely time for deals to pop. But, as this week’s drop has shown is – Priceline might do anything at any time.

    I noticed earlier today that if you search multiple days you’ll see deals that reach out to about March 7th right now. If I were you, I’d just take time once or twice a day and see if anything new rolls out as time marches on. (pun alert.) Plus if your dates are flexible: always worth moving your start and ending dates around when searching – sometimes you’ll see different deals in different time frames.

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  • January 3, 2020 at 1:10 pm
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    My pleasure, Julie! πŸ™‚

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  • January 3, 2020 at 2:01 pm
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    Thanks so much John! We’re big fans of your work, of Touring Plans and Len!

    Reply
  • January 3, 2020 at 2:46 pm
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    I’m new to using Express – is there a way for a newbie like me to know which deals apply to which hotels? I think with Express you can’t “change your mind” after you have purchased. Thanks – any help is appreciated.

    Reply
    • January 3, 2020 at 3:59 pm
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      Howdy Lyle,

      First: Yes, Express Deals are forever, or at least are non-refundable. πŸ˜‰
      For the record, Priceline also only guarantees room for 2 adults in Express Deals – but since the vast majority of Disney resort rooms accommodate 4 people, it is not really an issue in that area. (I mention this because I want you and everyone to be aware of the potential obstacles.) But, with some homework, you can become very confident you have identified the correct resort in an Express Deal.

      I’ve sprinkled tips and tricks throughout many of my blog posts here, so if you are a glutton for punishment you can skim through those for info.

      I answered a similar question in my last post with some very basic tactics on searching, so check the end of the comments in Priceline Express: A Sportier December.

      However, that doesn’t really give you a one stop answer. Without any technical tricks, the answer comes down to comparing the star & guest ratings, the number of guest reviews, along with location and amenities on the deal and trying to simply whittle down to the one or two resorts that it could possibly be. There is certainly more technique to it than that, but I keep a spreadsheet with all of that info for reference, and keep it up to date as with the info from Priceline page for each resort and the info on the deals that I’ve figured out.

      For example, Say you see a deal that is for a 3* resort in Bonnet creek with an 8-guest rating. Also, the deal on the results page says it has 400 reviews.

      Because I have all of the resorts recorded, I know that the *only* 3* resorts in Bonnet Creek are the Disney All-Stars. 4 out of 5 those those resorts are rated 8, which doesn’t help much if I really want to know which exact resort. So, I use the number of reviews as a tie-breaker: if you visit each resort’s Priceline page, it tells you the exact number of reviews. Express Deals round those number down – the only All-Star with reviews in the 400s is Sports, so the deal has to be that resort. Some resort types are harder to figure than others; there are a lot of 4* 8-guest rated resorts. But, just takes some time and effort.

      This question keeps coming up, so I think it might be time for me to put together a primer to help people see the process from start to finish.

      Reply
  • January 3, 2020 at 3:21 pm
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    Thanks for more great work on this. But, one heads-up: there is a February 29 this year. (I should know, because it’s my birthday. )

    Reply
  • January 3, 2020 at 3:27 pm
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    Ha! Nice catch!

    That calendar is an Excel sheet I cobbled together to pull all of the deals I recorded into a simple interface and didn’t even think to have it check for leap year. πŸ˜€

    Happy Future Birthday!

    Reply
  • January 3, 2020 at 8:45 pm
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    John,
    Thanks for all the information and tips. It looks like The Yacht Club is available for January 26th and 27th for $272 per night. According to Priceline, this is a “42% Savings”. Do you know how accurate is the percentage savings and what type of room rate is it basing it off? Saving 42% seems like a great deal, but can this be trusted??

    Reply
  • January 3, 2020 at 9:29 pm
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    Randy,
    Good find – I hadn’t seen that one! The % off amounts are usually close, but not very accurate as indicators on their own. In one of my posts last year I went through the numbers as i had asked myself the same question you have.

    You’ll notice that on the booking page there is some info related to the % off: “This deal saves you 42% or more compared to similar hotels.” There’s also a little information icon – if you click on that you get a pop up that says “The rate displayed saves you at least this amount versus the published price for a hotel in this area and star level for the same travel dates.”

    So, if I read that correctly, Priceline is only telling you it is 42% off some similar hotel in this area – not necessarily the hotel the deal is for!

    In this particular deal, a $272 deal that is 42% off would mean that Priceline’s regular price for this room would be about $469. When I jumped over to look at the regular (unhidden) Priceline deals for Yacht Club, I’m seeing Garden view rooms for $422 and Water View for $492, plus some higher priced rooms.

    Can’t tell which one the deal is for with those amounts, but my gut tells me it might be the Water View. (Of course, Priceline surprises me all the time.)

    In a pinch, if all of the other factors like ratings and reviews don’t clue you in, the % off might help, but I don’t give it too much credence. Hope that helps!

    Reply
  • January 3, 2020 at 10:22 pm
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    Hey John, just listened to the podcast with Testa, and now I’m doubly impressed. Have you ever tried this for the 3 Disney hotels near Disneyland? Any tips? Thanks. Big fan!

    Reply
  • January 4, 2020 at 2:39 pm
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    Hi Tiffany,

    I did look into the Disneyland area awhile back, but deals for the Disney hotels didn’t really appear that often so I kind of stopped looking. I’ll have to give that another look one of these days…

    Reply
  • January 4, 2020 at 3:34 pm
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    John,

    Thank very much, just booked a trip for All Star sports on Feb 24-25 for $97 per night. How do I link the reservation to MDE? Do I call Priceline to get the WDW reservation # ?

    Reply
  • January 4, 2020 at 4:21 pm
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    As I understand it, when you get your confirmation email there is probably a Priceline confirmation number at the top and a 2nd hotel confirm down below that would be linkable in MDE.

    But, I’ve also seen a fair number of reports that the process isn’t always standardized and sometimes people had to call Priceline or try their chat support to get the actual number.

    If I did have to call anyone, I’d probably start with Disney Wholesale support – 1-407-939-7671. They seem to be able to get things done with PE deals. If the confirm numbers fail to help find you, they can probably look up your reservation by name and start date.

    Reply
  • January 4, 2020 at 4:38 pm
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    I go to Disney world app and add the confirmation number I got on the confirmation page of the express deal I booked. Calling Priceline can often be a painful experience. I’ve called to add my kids so that we can all get the 60 day out for fast passes (if you.all have annual passes, I learned you do NOT have to do this after talking with a disney tech person). If you are adding kids, call Priceline and do that before you link the reservation to the app. If not, the kids won’t show up and you end up having to call disney and it becomes hours of work.

    Reply
  • January 4, 2020 at 4:41 pm
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    If you are linking kids, as long as their tickets are linked on your account you may not have to call an add them either. There is something Disney does as a courtesy and if you are all linked you could schedule someone for fastpass at 60 days even if not staying in your room. At least this was how it was explained to me. I have started not linking my kids because the process was rather painful. Might be more info that you needed but enjoy your upcoming stay:)

    Reply
  • January 5, 2020 at 6:15 pm
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    Thank you so much, John! We got the Swan for 6 nights over spring break for $220! A little unsure of best way to get 2 teens added to our reservation/MDE, though.

    Reply
  • January 5, 2020 at 6:30 pm
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    Lori, Woohoo!

    For Disney resorts, the place to call is usually Disney Wholesale at 1-407-939-7671.

    With the Swan I’ve seen people report that when they called there they were told that Priceline had to add kids. BUT, I’ve seen at least one more detailed report that you should call Swan at 407-934-3000 to have it done. However, you may need to wait a day or two for the Express Deal to sync into the Marriott reservation system before any changes can be made by them.

    One person suggested using the Marriott reservation online tool to see if your reservation has appeared so you don’t waste any time calling before it does…
    https://www.marriott.com/reservation/lookupReservation.mi

    Good luck!

    Reply
  • January 6, 2020 at 2:10 am
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    John, an absolutely magnificent and inspired piece of work! As if being a modern day Tycho Brahe, WDW style, wasn’t enough by itself….
    And I mean that with the utmost appreciation and admiration!

    Reply
  • January 6, 2020 at 9:50 am
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    Mark,

    Well that is definitely my first comparison to a 16th century Danish astronomer!
    Thanks! πŸ˜€

    Reply
  • January 6, 2020 at 3:54 pm
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    John,
    First this is amazing! I always listen to the Disney Dish, and I enjoyed the episode a couple weeks ago discussing this topic. We are going to the 2020 Disney Wine & Dine race, arriving November 5th and departing November 9th. When should we start watching for deals on Priceline for this? We’d love to get a deluxe resort (2 adults) at a non-deluxe price πŸ™‚ Any tips you can give? Thanks for your work on this topic.

    Reply
  • January 6, 2020 at 4:02 pm
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    Erica,
    We have done this probably 11 times now. I have found deals as early as 3 months out but most often around 2 months out. I check usually twice a day every day as sometimes deals are available one day and not the next (though the do sometimes come back a few days later)

    Reply
  • January 6, 2020 at 4:03 pm
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    Howdy Erica,

    Priceline likes to change tactics, so any time frame is possible. In this last drop deals ran all the way to next November, but then everything after the first week in March ghosted away a few days later.

    But based on 2019’s drops I tend to tell people to start checking once or twice a week about 3 months out from your dates. Inside of 2 months I’d start checking 3 or 4 times a week – and watch the Touring Plans blog for any big drop announcements! πŸ˜‰

    Reply
  • January 6, 2020 at 4:43 pm
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    Thanks John and Lisa! I appreciate the tips! And I will certainly watch for any Touring Plans posts πŸ™‚ Lisa, have you always gotten the hotels you thought you were getting? Have you been able to successfully winnow down which one you will be getting based on review numbers, stars, etc.?

    Reply
  • January 6, 2020 at 8:23 pm
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    Hey Erica,
    Yes, i was always able to predict which one i was getting. I was using free wifi, pool and dining amenities and then it would say “someone in just paid_____ amount for the same hotel” and based on the price I could figure it out. That worked for me even in October, I am now seeing that that no longer works based on Priceline changes. I played around with it and John’s suggestions of guest rating and number of reviews was great advice. Also, once you have stayed at the hotel and booked through Priceline under the Express deal it will say “hint, you have stayed here before” and based on that and star rating I can tell. Good luck!

    Reply
  • January 8, 2020 at 10:45 am
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    Thanks Lisa! All great tips!

    Reply
  • January 9, 2020 at 3:35 pm
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    I am headed out to DW for the Rival Run in April. Will you be chance updating this deals calendar when/if you notice deals drop for April?

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    • January 9, 2020 at 3:43 pm
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      If I see ’em, I’ll post ’em! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  • January 10, 2020 at 8:49 am
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    This is fantastic! Thank you! Unfortunately, we still can’t get anything for our Feb 7-9 trip. Disney shows no rooms available (that we can afford), even at rack rate! Is there an event there that weekend?

    Reply
    • January 10, 2020 at 9:11 am
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      I do see a couple of higher priced Express Deals for Yacht Club those dates in results, but you get the “sorry!” page when you try to book them.
      The only thing I’m aware of that weekend is that it is near the start of the Festival of the Arts. Checking the Touring Plans Events calendar, there are some After Hours events those days as well, but I’m not convinced those alone would drive up bookings. To me, room inventory just seems to be tight all the time now.

      My advice is to keep checking – even when a drop of deals is out there, the deals within them come and go over time. Hope you find a good deal!

      Reply
  • January 11, 2020 at 11:14 pm
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    Thank you!

    Reply
  • January 13, 2020 at 5:36 pm
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    Hi John, fun thing I noticed when trying to get an express deal for Port Orleans –

    I noticed on the desktop version of the site you can’t see the “full amenities”, however on the mobile version, that is an option. It was real simple from there to determine if the deal was for Port Orleans, when I saw fishing was listed as an amenity. I don’t believe there are other resorts with fishing holes available.

    Might be old news for you but I thought it was interesting.

    Reply
  • January 13, 2020 at 8:02 pm
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    Hey Andres,
    I know people have used the mobile version in the past to see some different info like room photos. But your observation is completely new to me – Very nice catch! (Pun intended.) πŸ˜‰

    Reply

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