In these tough economic times, it’s nice to save some cash on hotels. I recently went to Chicago for a weekend getaway and decided to try out priceline.com for the first time. I ran across another very useful site called biddingfortravel.com that provides strategies for bidding, information on which actual hotels are in the bidding zones and a forum where people post their hotels with price which gives an idea where to start bidding. I learned that using priceline comes down to understanding and using free re-bid zones. A free re-bid zone is a city area where the highest star level available is lower than the star level you are bidding for. So in my case, I was bidding for a four star hotel in the River North area of Chicago therefore I had free re-bid zones in Lincoln Park, Midway, O’Hare South, and Skokie Niles Evanston. I started a bid at $75 for River North. Not accepted. $85 with adding zone Skokie Niles Evanston. Not accepted. $90 with adding zone O’Hare South. Accepted. I got Westin Michigan Avenue. I thought this was a good first experience with priceline and I’d do it again.