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The Secrets To My Rental Car Success

September 1st, 2010 No Comments


The Secrets To My Rental Car Success

Let me start off by saying, getting a decent rental car is all about perception and expectations.  If you think you’re going to get a Ford Fiesta and you end up in a Toyota Corolla, that could make your day.  For someone else, they might see the two as the same, while another guy could be pissed. So it’s all about what you THINK you’re getting and do you believe it’s a fair value for your money.

Then comes luck.  Luck is a huge part of this scenario.  The right cars have to be on the lot, you have to get a nice person at the counter, the wind must be blowing from the southwest, I mean, you never really know.

All of that being said, here’s how I work the system of rental cars.

  1. Go to Priceline and see what the rates are for the car you want.  Make sure to asses the difference in levels.  Sometimes it’s not much.
  2. Navigate to the “Name Your Own Price” page and bid half of the price for the body type you want.  If the page refreshes with a message that your bid is too low, go for two-thirds, that should work.
  3. You’ll get a car and the name of the company you’ll be renting from.
  4. Go to that company’s home page and sign up for their Preferred Member program.
  5. When you get to dept, you can skip the big line and head to the short one because you’re a VIP!
  6. At the desk politely ask if they have any upgrades available.  Sometimes they’ll do it for free or at a discounted rate.  You can also ask about the different models available in your price range.
  7. Bring your car insurance card with you so you don’t have to pay for theirs.

That’s pretty much it.  The key is signing up for the Preferred Member program to skip the lines.  If you received a discount on your car from that company so did the rest of the world and they will all be waiting in line when you get there.

The drawback to this plan is usually location of the rental car lot.  Usually the ones offering discounts are not attached to the airport, but these days, most of the companies aren’t anyway.

I know it doesn’t sound like much of a plan, but it works!  I used to pay a fortune at Enterprise and even though this is a little more chaotic, it’s saved me hundreds.

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