Priceline offers a bounty -- no, not on the Travelocity Roaming GnomeNewsBy Dennis Schaal | March 4, 2010Share This article was originally published on Priceline began offering a "bounty," but thankfully Travelocity's Roaming Gnome is safe in that regard.Priceline made consumer and investor news today: It tweaked its Name-Your-Own Price hotel guarantee to add a $25 "bounty," or credit card refund, for consumers who find a lower hotel price up until the day before check-in, and it announced a $500 million convertible note offering for institutional investors, with a chunk of it going to repurchase shares.On the consumer side, Priceline's bounty, part of what it calls its Big Deals Guarantee, adds the $25 refund up to the day before check-in. Previously, consumers had to claim the refund within 24 hours of making the booking. As before, the guarantee includes a price match to the lower rate and a $50 coupon toward a future vacation package.The bounty provision is only in place on a promotional basis until the end of March, but sometimes these online travel agency promotions become permanent. Priceline claims the bounty is a first for an OTA and that the hotel guarantee overall is the most comprehensive in the industry.Priceline likens the bounty provision to its OTA leadership in eliminating air-booking fees and reducing hotel booking fees a couple of years ago, but relating that to an expansion of its $25 credit-card refund program may be a bit of hyperbole.Priceline also decided to expand the breadth of its displays of winning Name Your Own Price bids. Whereas previously Priceline displayed winning hotel bids from 15-20 of the largest U.S. cities, now consumers can enter a city name and see winning bids for various star categories from almost 1,000 cities.Priceline ties the tweaks to its hotel guarantee and winning bids displays with the branding it used for its TV Big deal ad campaign.The winning bids displays look like this:Having that information, of course, is no guarantee that a consumer's bid will be successful because these things change rapidly.On the investor front, financial analyst Jake Fuller of Soleil Securities says he expects downward pressure on Priceline's stock price over the next few days because of the convertible note offering."However, Priceline is bringing in inexpensive capital and should be able to repurchase shares accretively and that should be a positive beyond the near-term reaction," Fuller writes in a note to investors.