You may find that you need to rent a car. It may be because you’re flying to your destination. Or you may choose to rent rather than putting miles on your vehicle. Whatever the reason, here are some simple ways that you can use to get a good deal on a car rental.
1. Use warehouse memberships
Most warehouse memberships (i.e., Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s), offer travel discounts, including car rentals. Check with yours to find out if there’s special member pricing or discounts.
2. Check with your insurance carrier
Insurance companies sometimes offer discounts to its customers. The only caveat is that you may be limited to the rental car company that you want to use. Visit your agent to learn more.
3. Ask for discounts
Whether AAA, military, corporate, senior or otherwise, many associations get price breaks from car rental companies. All you have to do is make sure that you ask.
4. Shop at online sites
Visit online sites such as Priceline, HotWire and CarRentals, as they offer competitive rates. You can pay for the basic rental online and then upgrade when you get to the counter.
5. Sign up for emails
Sign up for emails and notifications with car rental companies that you normally use. They often send money saving deals and offers to subscribers that aren’t available to the general public.
6. Frequent flier or rental clubs
You may be able to cash in your frequent flier miles to use towards rental cars. In addition, sign up for your favorite rental company’s club (if available) so you can accrue rewards and/or perks.
7. Be careful about add-ons
Watch out for any add-ons, such as insurance. Before you book you vehicle, check with your insurance company as you plan may cover rental cars. That means that you don’t need to pay for additional insurance.
You may even want to check with your credit card company as they may also extend coverage for your rental. You’ll should make sure that you have primary care insurance on your card. That way, if something happens, you can file the claim with the credit card company rather than the rental company insurance.
8. Look for coupon codes
Believe it or not, even rental companies offer coupon discounts. You can find these at RetailMeNot or even on the rental company’s website. Just sign up on the company’s site for emails and they will sometimes send them to you.
9. Fill the tank yourself
Never allow the rental car company to fill the tank for you. They often charge you more than what it would cost you if you fill it yourself.
Take a few minutes to stop by the gas station and you’ll pay less for that tank of gas.
10. Consider less popular companies
Check out less known companies for lower rates. These companies can charge less as they’re not under the umbrella of a big brand. I would recommend doing your research and read customer reviews before you book a car.
11. Don’t book a pre-paid plan
If you pre-pay for your rental car and the price drops, you’re stuck. Instead, book the car and then watch for a drop in price.
You can visit AutoSlash.com to track rental prices. If the price drops, you’ll get an alert and can then lock in the rate at that time.
12. Don’t pick up at the airport
This isn’t always an option, but if it is, try to pick the car up at the rental car company instead. Some locations charge an airport tax that can cost as much as 25% of your rental. When you return the car, you can drop it off at the airport, as the additional tax is charged only for pickups.
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