As we regularly see questions come up from people not living in the USA regarding their ability to use Priceline, Sheryl asked me to set up a kind of "FAQ" for non-US residents. As I have used Priceline extensively during the past 18 months for hotel rooms, airline tickets and rental cars while living in Germany, I would like to share my experience with you. So let's start with the questions I have seen come up periodically:
Q1: Can I use Priceline if I am not a US resident and do not live in the USA?
A1: In a word: Yes. There is currently no reference in Priceline's Terms & Conditions to your citizenship or to the place you live; however, Priceline does reserve the right to modify or change their Terms & Conditions at any time. Stated in there under the "acceptable use" heading is that Priceline is for "personal" use only (i.e. not commercial or business use) and that you need a "major credit card" to guarantee your offer. For more details on Priceline's terms and conditions, see
However, it may be advisable to check if there is a local version of Priceline in your country. So far there is a UK-site, and other European countries are said to follow some time later this year, with Germany being one of the next countries according to Priceline.
Q2: When I try to submit my offer, I am required to give my credit card's billing address. Some parts of my foreign address do not match the fields, however. How can I go on?
A2: In very simple words: Make your foreign address look like a US one. The address you give there will usually not be needed at all, since Priceline stopped sending out confirmations by regular mail last year. It is just asked for the unlikely case that there will be any problems with your reservation, in which case Priceline will try to contact you by all possible means, if necessary including regular mail. Therefore, though, this address should be as correct as possible. In my experience, usually three fields are problematic for foreign addresses: The "state" field, the phone number and the missing country field. People from countries like the UK and Canada that have alpha-numeric ZIP-codes may also encounter problems with that field as well. A German address usually looks like this:
First and Last Name: Thomas Mustermann
Street Address: Musterweg 1
Zip and City: 12345 Musterstadt
The name and street address can obviously be used without any transformation, as well as the ZIP code. In the City field on Priceline's submit page, I recommend entering the city as above, and in the absence of a country field, add your country in CAPITAL letters to that. The state is dropdown-field only, so entering "useful" information there is slightly more tricky. You have to know that the addresses Priceline stores are only made up from the two-letter abbreviation of the state, so e.g. Delaware transforms to "DE" and California to "CA" in what they store. Coincidentally, "DE" is also the international two-letter code for Germany, as is "CA" for Canada. So if possible, choose the state whose abbreviation is equal to your country's two-letter code. If you cannot find an appropriate state, choose the closest match. You may have to adapt your phone number also as in some countries these numbers are made up in a different scheme than in the USA and sometimes consist of more or less than 10 digits. If your number does, make sure it fits that ten digits, and either drop or add digits. Filling the fields on Priceline's submit page with the data from the sample address above, it looks something like this:
First Name: Thomas
Last name: Mustermann
Billing address: Musterweg 1
City: Musterstadt GERMANY
Q3: When I rent a car through Priceline, is there anything special I have to look out for?
A3: Most important: Check your insurance! You will need both extended liability protection (rental cars in the USA are only insured up to the legal minimum, which can be ridiculously low compared to European standards) and coverage for damage or loss of the rental car. If you cannot obtain these coverages through your credit-card or any other means (which both can be very difficult in Europe), try to find a different way to rent a car. Buying the additional coverage from the rental-car company will eliminate any savings you may have and cost you as much as 30$ a day, independent of car-size! For Germany, the only credit card I know of offering loss and damage coverage for rental cars is the "Lufthansa Miles and More Visacard Gold", and the only place I know where you can buy extended liability coverage at a reasonable price here is the local ADAC-office (you may want to check any other automobile club like ACE as well).
Q4: I had some trouble with the hotel/airline/rental car. Will my money be lost because Priceline does not refund to people outside the USA?
A4: Again in a word: No. They simply make no difference where you live. Keeping in mind that purchases through Priceline are non-refundable/non-cancellable/non-changeable, there have been some instances where the product/service was misrepresented. I twice had a problem with my hotel (once a misrating of a still acceptable hotel, the second time a dump place where I did not stay), and in both cases I got a refund of my money from Priceline, partially the first time as I stayed all my nights there and full in the second case because I moved out after seeing the disastrous state the rooms were in. In the first case, I even got some Amex-Giftcheques, that time the way of Priceline to say "sorry" mailed to my German address.
Hopefully this small list will help all those who want to use Priceline from "the outside" of the USA, ease most of your concerns you may have and gets you on the way to become Priceline-addicted as much as I am...;-)!
Just some statistics about my use, in case anybody is interested and continued to read until here: So far I have reserved about 200 room nights, about 20 airline tickets and 15 rental car days through Priceline for us and friends, and in addition to the fact that my wife and I got slightly spoiled by the hotels we got ("Hey, this time we only got a Hilton..."), we saved about half of our planned hotel expenses on average.
So I can only recommend to try your luck with Priceline, and please come back to this board to ask any questions you may have! If you have specific questions about using Priceline from abroad that are not addressed in here, just eMail me. It can take me a while to respond, but I definitely will. My current email address is stored in my profile, which you can access by clicking on my username "djohannw" on the topic entitled "Orlando Hotel List" in the Orlando category in the Hotels section of this board.
Greetings - Dirk
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