#1
Old 03-03-2012, 10:09 PM
Elephant Whisperer
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
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Priceline

I am trying to use Priceline to find a hotel in Washington DC. The billing address for my credit card is Bangkok, Thailand. However, their form covering credit-card billing information allows only two choices -- the US and Canada. It will not accept my request because of this. However, under Telephone Number, it does say to include the country code if outside the US or Canada, so that would seem to indicate they can handle foreign addresses.

I sent them an inquiry about this and am awaiting their reply. In the meantime, I was wondering if anyone else has had any experience with this and was able to work around it?
#2
Old 03-03-2012, 11:00 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Chicago
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Some merchants deliberately allow only North American billing addresses because that's who they want to do business with, whether it's for legal considerations or fraud concerns.

Do you have any US addresses at all? Your credit card company might be willing to let you change your billing address to the US one while keeping your mailing address in Bangkok.

Otherwise, these pages suggest either faking a US address with your Bangkok street address and a random zip code/state or possibly the UK version of Priceline.

ETA: Also, in the past I've had certain cards point to US addresses of friends or family. The credit card company doesn't particularly seem to care where you say you live as long as you pay your bills.

Last edited by Reply; 03-03-2012 at 11:01 PM.
#3
Old 03-04-2012, 11:17 AM
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Thanks. No, I have no address at all in the US anymore. Even my American credit cards bill to here.

But I have heard back from Priceline, and they said no, they don't accept credit cards that bill outside the US and Canada. And just in case I thought about getting creative about my address, they helpfully explained that for my "protection," they "use an automated address verification system to verify the billing information."

I've heard of some Priceline clones out there. Might look at those. At least we do already have a reservation in Washington. Was just looking to see if I could bump that down a bit.
#4
Old 03-04-2012, 12:04 PM
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From what I understand (past hiccups-wise) is the automated verification just verifies with the CC companies the address you enter is the same they have on file at the moment. A day or so and a call to the CC should take care of short-term updates.

What about using a temporary secured Walmart-bought card? I don't know how those work, but don't see Priceline having an issue with accepting them.

Do whatever it takes. We're rounding out a two-week jaunt here in southern Florida--Priceline saved us about $3,000 in hotel and car. That's three grand over Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity and Priceline itself when comparing the rack (I'll stay 'here') rates. DC is one of the cities ripe for this kind of savings. It's a foolish waste of serious ducats to go anywhere else.
#5
Old 03-04-2012, 07:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhythmdvl View Post
What about using a temporary secured Walmart-bought card? I don't know how those work, but don't see Priceline having an issue with accepting them.
I don't know what those are or if I could even obtain one from here.

I'm tempted to go ahead and try Priceline and be creative with my address just to see what happens. There is a place in the US that I correspond with sporadically that would accept my registration only if I was in the US, so to them I'm in Bangkok, Hawaii (figured that was geographically close, relatively.) But that's not a payment situation, and there was no address verification involved. If it did go through, surely the hotel would not cancel my reservation when I showed up just because my address is slightly different from what I told Priceline. Or would they?

Last edited by Siam Sam; 03-04-2012 at 07:25 PM.
#6
Old 03-04-2012, 09:08 PM
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I've had some pretty extensive experience with Priceline. Well, extensive to me--NYC or other hotels once or twice a month on and off. Whenever I've checked in, the clerks note that the registration is prepaid through Priceline. So from what I gather, once P'line has accepted payment, that's all you have to worry about. The hotel is concerned with matching the name to the reservation, but that's about it. I've never had to monkey with payment, though, so YMMV.

The prepaid card I'm referring to is a basic, blank credit card for sale on the racks of Walmart, Target and the like. You buy it and register it online (I think you can add money to it as well). I have very limited experience with them, but a GQ thread will get you plenty of background info.

If you do figure out how to use P'line, definitely do their bid option. Their neighborhood maps are pretty good (especially with a major city like DC) and their star rating is spot on (probably been in 100+ four star hotels through them in the past couple years and have never been let down star-wise). Look over the list of neighborhoods and star ratings, set what you want and bid one neighborhood at a time low-balling their 'average' price (fifty percent at least). When it doesn't work out, add neighborhoods that don't have hotels at that star rating (do the check ahead of time), but don't change the star rating (i.e. just add a neighborhood). That let's you re-bid on the same areas/star rating and ensure the lowest price.

Again, we're on vacation at the moment. Hyatte Regency in Bonaventure, Dream in South Beach, and the Crowne Plaza in Fort Lauderdale. Check the 'retail' prices. We bid and haven't paid more than $120 for any of the rooms. Over two weeks, that really adds up. The hassle of figuring out the card issue is really worth it.
#7
Old 03-04-2012, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhythmdvl View Post
The prepaid card I'm referring to is a basic, blank credit card for sale on the racks of Walmart, Target and the like. You buy it and register it online (I think you can add money to it as well). I have very limited experience with them, but a GQ thread will get you plenty of background info.
Thanks. I'm afraid we don't have those stores over here or any cards like those. But we'll be in the US for a couple of weeks before hitting Washington, so I might look for that.

Meanwhile, I may try Priceline using a slightly altered address. It's not like we're trying to rip anyone off. Indeed, the credit-card bill will be paid before we even leave here.
#8
Old 03-04-2012, 10:59 PM
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I don't know if this is an option for you, but I've had very good experiences with Hotwire.com, which DOES take international credit cards.

If you're not familiar with it, it's also a bidding system, but one where hotels bid against each other anonymously but publicly, by star rating. So you choose an area and see all the 4-star bids, 3-star bids, etc. for a particular time period. The bids are guaranteed too, so if you book it, you get it.

The catch is that because the bids are anonymous, you don't know which specific hotel you get until you finish booking. But Hotwire guarantees location and star rating and the accuracy of its information and I've always been satisfied with the deals I've received there.
#9
Old 03-04-2012, 11:55 PM
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Hotwire is excellent--especially as it will avoid the credit card hassle. To put a bit of perspective, I bounce back and forth while bidding on Priceline. We just booked a night in the city (Balkan Beat Box is touring with a new album -- if you've got any sense of groove, check them out) for March 9 to 10. We bid a bit early, but Priceline put us in the Andaz Wall Street for $100 (rack rate is $195). Hotwire right now is all but equal with a similar starred hotel for $130. Thirty bucks is thirty bucks, but the real savings pile up on a longer stay. Again, we've booked with Hotwire before for a lot of trips; great option if you can't get priceline to work (or it's too much trouble).
#10
Old 03-05-2012, 06:27 AM
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You can obtain a PO Box in any US Post Office online, and then use that as your address, which Priceline should accept. If you're going to Washington, DC, get one at the Post Office across the street from the White House, zip 20006. They are currently available; cost $35/3 months. $60/6 months. That seems a reasonable price if you expect to save a lot on Priceline.

There are also private companies like Mailboxes Etc. or the UPS Store which offer similar services. They also can offer street addresses rather than a PO Box, and can forward your mail to you each week. But they don't seem to want to tell what their price is online.
#11
Old 03-05-2012, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
You can obtain a PO Box in any US Post Office online, and then use that as your address, which Priceline should accept. If you're going to Washington, DC, get one at the Post Office across the street from the White House, zip 20006. They are currently available; cost $35/3 months. $60/6 months. That seems a reasonable price if you expect to save a lot on Priceline.

There are also private companies like Mailboxes Etc. or the UPS Store which offer similar services. They also can offer street addresses rather than a PO Box, and can forward your mail to you each week. But they don't seem to want to tell what their price is online.
Can you apply for either with an international address? The PO Box signup form isn't set up for international addresses, and in my experience private mailbox companies are a bit wary of non-local or ID-limited signups after 9/11. That's not a guaranteed no, but is it safe to assume that it will be possible?

Furthermore, do credit card companies allow PO boxes as billing addresses? (In my experience they do allow private mailbox companies with regular street addresses, but not sure about PO boxes)

Last edited by Reply; 03-05-2012 at 06:53 AM.
#12
Old 03-05-2012, 07:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Siam Sam View Post
Thanks. I'm afraid we don't have those stores over here or any cards like those. But we'll be in the US for a couple of weeks before hitting Washington, so I might look for that.

Meanwhile, I may try Priceline using a slightly altered address. It's not like we're trying to rip anyone off. Indeed, the credit-card bill will be paid before we even leave here.
Turns out there are online virtual credit cards these days. A google search found entropay, which I've never used, but supposedly for a 5% fee you can load up a virtual Visa or Mastercard and use it anywhere, presumably also with Priceline. The best part is their address policy:

Quote:
When making payments with EntroPay Virtual Cards note that you may input any address and name however as some merchants may insist on verifying orders manually we do suggest you enter your own name/address.
For $10 extra they can also send you a real plastic card if you're worried about acceptance at the hotel.

Essentially, you're buying a pre-loaded debit card that works with most merchants.
#13
Old 03-05-2012, 10:37 AM
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Thanks. The PO box sems a bit of trouble, but I think I'll check out Hotwire if Priceline won't let me fudge my address. And I'm intrigued by the virtual and prepaid credit cards.
#14
Old 03-05-2012, 11:19 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Posts: 38,670
Hmmm. Just checked out Hotwire, and it's giving me the same price we're already scheduled to pay at our existing resevation. (Although it says the place it's suggesting goes for $300 normally.) I may be too picky with star rating and area.

I wonder what would happen if I finally did manage to get through on Priceline or an equivalent and it gave me a good price on what turned out to be the hotel I'm already booked at. That would be interesting cancelling one while keeping the other, heh.

Last edited by Siam Sam; 03-05-2012 at 11:19 AM.
#15
Old 03-05-2012, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhythmdvl View Post
...
What about using a temporary secured Walmart-bought card? I don't know how those work, but don't see Priceline having an issue with accepting them.
....
Yep. And another hint with Priceline: we've gotten nicer hotels for less money when we've done "same day" reservations. And you can usually extend your stay (beyond the initial 1-night visit) for the same rate.

The downside of course is that you have limited choice for what kind of room you get - e.g. you might get stuck in a smoking room, and when travelling with kids you have no guarantees of having 2 beds. Since you're not travelling with kids that's not an issue for you.
#16
Old 03-05-2012, 09:21 PM
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Thanks, everyone. What I think I'll do is try to get slightly creative with my address for Priceline, and if that doesn't work, then I'll keep an eye out for a Walmart or a Target in New York and investigate those cards. Although I've not really looked at the Entropay solution yet; that might bear some scrutiny.

I once read that Thailand was second in the world for credit-card fraud, so I don't blame some companies for being careful. (Tops was the US, just because of the sheer numbers involved, so obviously we're trying hard.)
#17
Old 03-31-2012, 05:12 AM
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Just an update. Was rejected again by Priceline this weekend. But it's not clear if it was because my "Bangkok, Hawaii" gambit didn't work or because my bid was way too low for a 3-1/2 to 4 star hotel. But we've decided to keep what we've got a reservation for now, a pleasant little place near Dupont Circle that's really not all that much more than I was bidding. Good location and recommended.

We may still try one of those temporary Walmart-style cards once we get to the US.
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