Author Topic: Travel hacking rental cars  (Read 6359 times)

slugsworth

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Travel hacking rental cars
« on: February 09, 2016, 02:09:32 PM »
I was wondering if anyone had some resources about travel hacking a rental car - either using miles, or perhaps just a better way to find discounts, etc.

I would love to see a good travel hacking guide for MMM (have I missed it?)!

Thanks!

boarder42

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Re: Travel hacking rental cars
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2016, 02:16:23 PM »
subscribe to travelzoo's email. and check out their website. i often get rentals for 9 bucks a day or less.  you can also you chase points for these or use your barclay card or captial one card to pay for them then write them off with your points you have on that card.  i have a jeep for 10 days in hawaii for 250 bucks.  pretty much a steal.  i use the hawaii jeep rental sites that guarantee you a jeep and keep checking back over and over.  Also never prepay for a rental ... if prices go down you can always rebook you dont even have to cancel your previous rental.  putting that 250 on my braclay card so it will be free

bognish

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Re: Travel hacking rental cars
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2016, 02:21:18 PM »
Look for car rental locations away from airports or crowded city centers for cheaper rates. When I lived in San Francisco the airport and downtown had tourist taxes and fees that pushed the daily rate way up. Since demand was so high those locations also opted out of any national discounts. I would catch the BART to a suburban town for a weekend rental at about 50% discount to the airport. You can usually drop off at any location within 50 miles of pick up without paying a penalty or extra fees & taxes.

johnny847

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Re: Travel hacking rental cars
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2016, 02:25:43 PM »
If you have a Discover It you can get $40 rentl car certificates for $20.
http://milestomemories.boardingarea.com/discover-car-rental-certificate-national-book-online/

Somewhat recently National car rentl started enforcing their 1 certificate per booking.
http://milestomemories.boardingarea.com/national-car-discover-certificate-chargeback/

Dicey

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Re: Travel hacking rental cars
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2016, 03:51:41 PM »
I generally rent from Hertz and get big discounts using my AAA card. Last car I rented (a full size with unlimited miles) was $88/week. Before that I rented a Mazda 5 van for a month for $340 which inclyded taxes. My CC covered the damage liability wavier up to a 31 days rental and I earned points towards free rentals from Hertz in the future. They have many other promotions and deals on their website. Look for a local car rental agency rather than an airport location and check difference days and times for best rates.

All of this.^^ I used to rent nearly twice a month for personal travel (don't worry, some of it involved rental property, so reasonably mustachian). I also preferred Hertz, as spartana suggests. I always rented via their website. The trick for me was to try every link and every discount, sometimes multiple times. SWA and AAA always had reduced rates, free upgrades, etc. Eventually I'd hit on some combination that scored a good deal. Also Hertz Gold meant no lines. I'd just hop off the shuttle, look for my name on a board and walk directly to my car. Easy peasy. One more thing, I'd often check back a couple of days later with the aim of beating the deal I'd already reserved. Yeah, that worked too. Just had to remember to cancel the first one, which is a snap on their website. Went to Florida after more than a year of no travel. The website and Hertz Gold still worked perfectly.

slugsworth

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Re: Travel hacking rental cars
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2016, 02:21:44 PM »
Thanks everyone for your suggestions! I signed up for travelzoo and am looking at all of the various discounts for my next trip!  Right now, I'm looking at ~$100 for 3 days with a drop off a few hundred miles from the origination, I think last year I spent ~$300 for 2 more days.

charis

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Re: Travel hacking rental cars
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2016, 02:48:31 PM »
You can use your southwest RR points to "buy" car rental gift certificates (only a handful, Budget, Hertz, etc) in increments of $50 or $100.  I recently made a reservation with Alamo and then bought gift certs with RR points to cover the cost. $150=15,000 RR points.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2016, 06:04:54 AM by jezebel »

norabird

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Re: Travel hacking rental cars
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2016, 03:10:06 PM »
I have booked with hotwire and found good rates that way.

JLee

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Re: Travel hacking rental cars
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2016, 03:15:58 PM »
I usually go through Costco's car rental service, but I'll have to keep some of these options in mind as well.

Nothlit

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Re: Travel hacking rental cars
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2016, 03:23:39 PM »
I have used CarRentalSavers.com with decent results in the past. It's basically a meta-search-engine that apparently knows about all the current valid coupon codes for each rental company. The one bad experience I had with them was trying to book a one-way rental once; the rate they quoted me said it included unlimited mileage, but when I double-checked with the actual rental car company, it turns out it didn't -- and that would have been a massive extra charge had I not caught it ahead of time. But for standard roundtrip rentals I think they're fine.

My biggest "hack" or tip or renting cars, especially from airports, is not particularly a financial one, but a time-saving one: if you sign up for the company's free frequent traveler/rewards program even if you don't intend to become a frequent renter of theirs -- and then use your ID number when you book the reservation -- that often allows you to skip the reservation desk in the terminal (where there are always long lines and minimal staff) and just go straight to where the cars are. In many cases, you will find they already have a car pulled around waiting for you, or in the case of National (my current favorite when I go on work trips) you get to pick whatever car you want out of a certain row and just hop in and go. Saves a ton of time.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2016, 03:30:22 PM by Nothlit »

boarder42

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Re: Travel hacking rental cars
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2016, 04:25:06 PM »
You can use your southwest RR points to "buy" car rental gift certificates (only a handful, Budget, Hertz, etc) in increments of $50 or $100.  I recently made a reservation with Alamo and then bought gift certs with RR points to cover the cost. $150=150,000 RR points.

Please don't do this. This is a really really bad use of rapid rewards points

Mr.Tako

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Re: Travel hacking rental cars
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2016, 04:46:15 PM »
I usually go through Costco's car rental service, but I'll have to keep some of these options in mind as well.

Wow, thanks for this suggestion!  I had already booked through another site, for our family's 8 day vacation to Hawaii.  We did a bunch of research and found a rate that was considerably less than the standard travel sites.  But, after reading this thread I will be canceling, and going with Costco's service.  I will save $50 from what I had already booked!

Fantastic!  Stupendous!

If you can't tell, saving $50 made my day! :)

JLee

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Re: Travel hacking rental cars
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2016, 08:56:58 PM »
I usually go through Costco's car rental service, but I'll have to keep some of these options in mind as well.

Wow, thanks for this suggestion!  I had already booked through another site, for our family's 8 day vacation to Hawaii.  We did a bunch of research and found a rate that was considerably less than the standard travel sites.  But, after reading this thread I will be canceling, and going with Costco's service.  I will save $50 from what I had already booked!

Fantastic!  Stupendous!

If you can't tell, saving $50 made my day! :)

Awesome - glad it worked out!

kpd905

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Re: Travel hacking rental cars
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2016, 05:55:58 AM »
You can use your southwest RR points to "buy" car rental gift certificates (only a handful, Budget, Hertz, etc) in increments of $50 or $100.  I recently made a reservation with Alamo and then bought gift certs with RR points to cover the cost. $150=150,000 RR points.

Oh god, can you get a refund?  150,000 RR points can get you around $2,000 in flights.

I hope you meant 15,000 RR points.

charis

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Re: Travel hacking rental cars
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2016, 06:01:47 AM »
You can use your southwest RR points to "buy" car rental gift certificates (only a handful, Budget, Hertz, etc) in increments of $50 or $100.  I recently made a reservation with Alamo and then bought gift certs with RR points to cover the cost. $150=150,000 RR points.

Oh god, can you get a refund?  150,000 RR points can get you around $2,000 in flights.

I hope you meant 15,000 RR points.

Yes, obviously I made a typo.  Thanks for pointing it out.

Saving in Austin

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Re: Travel hacking rental cars
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2016, 10:31:14 AM »
On a related note, this is a good company: https://flightcar.com/

You can park for free at airports and they will pay you to rent your car to other travelers.

You can also rent a car from them.

eliza

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Re: Travel hacking rental cars
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2016, 02:44:35 PM »
Autoslash.com

I'll keep looking for deals, but because rental cars are generally refundable with no penalty for no-showing if I think I might need a car I always reserve one.  Then, I use autoslash.com to track my rental and I get an email from them if they find a better price.  They've saved me a lot of money over the last few years.