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Priceline.com

Courtesy of Priceline.com

Score a Cut-Rate Room: Priceline.com

Click Factor: The Name Your Own Price feature of this dotcom-era pioneer of travel deals is still the best place to score a luxury room: choose the neighborhood and star ratings you'd prefer, enter the price you’re willing to pay and your credit card information—and then bid away. If your bid is accepted, your credit card is charged and the room is reserved. If it's too low, you won’t be charged and can try again. The same functionality goes for airfares and car rentals.

Drawback: Unless you’re willing to downgrade your request by resetting the filters (e.g., fewer stars), you have to wait 24 hours to bid on the same hotel again.

T+L Tip: Forums like betterbidding.com can tell you what hotels Priceline tends to use in different markets, so you can try selecting certain neighborhoods in a particular city to get the hotel you want.

App: iPhone.

Runner-up: hotwire.com.

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