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Category Archives: Rental Cars
National Rental Car is running a promotion where you get a free rental day after 2 rentals of 2 or more days. Registration is required. The promotion is running from August 22 through January 31.
The Points Guy has a post about how you can get a free rental day from Hertz. All you have to do is fill out a couple of registration forms – one for a Hertz Goldplus account if you don’t already have one and one to register for the free day promotion.
Update: They have expanded the time to June 24, 2011 for this deal.
Rental car companies need to move cars between locations based on expected demand. For example, during Spring Break, they need a lot of cars in warm weather locations. As the weather gets nicer, they need to move cars to more northern locations. If you’re willing to transport the car between 2 of the locations, you can save a lot of money on your car rental and on traveling back home.
Most rental car companies have a program for one way rentals from the South to the North (most for $20/day), but Dollar Rental Car and Thrifty have the best deal. Dollar Rental Car and Thrifty (same parent company) have a program that allows you to rental a mid-sized car for $1/day. To get this rate, you have to pick up the car at one of their eligible pick up locations (most of them in Florida) and you have to drop it off at one of their eligible drop off locations (most around NYC) between April 19 and May 31, 2011. It appears that they run this deal every year. They also run deals in the Fall to move the cars from north to south.
I can see this working really well for northern families taking April vacation trips to Disney. You could purchase one-way tickets down. Rent the car in Orlando. Use it all week for only $1/day. And then drive back using the car, saving on the airfare back. I realize that it’s a long drive and may not be for everyone. But it could save a family a lot of money and could make a trip to Disney World a lot more affordable.
I am planning a trip to Wyoming for my family this summer. In my research, I learned about something I’ve never used before – BJ Wholesale Club’s Travel Discounts. I needed to book a rental car for the trip and couldn’t believe that the rates were running over $550/week for a full-sized rental. I could not bring myself to pay that much, so I was going to try Priceline. I went to Better Bidding and Bidding for Travel to try to get an idea of where I needed to start bidding. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of information about Wyoming on those sites.
So I looked at the general discussion about rental cars. I came across a post where someone said that they had good luck with the BJ Wholesale Club’s Travel Discount program. Technically you need to be a member to use the discounts, but most of the rental car agencies don’t ask for your number (only Enterprise did in my searching). I am a member regardless, so if they ask to see my card when I go, I have one.
I searched each of the rental car agencies and was shocked when I saw that renting a full-sized car from Dollar Rent A Car was only going to cost me $240 for the week! I thought that I must have entered my location or dates incorrectly, but I hadn’t. I thought maybe it didn’t include unlimited miles, but it did.
I’ll write more about my trip planning for our Wyoming vacation in another post, but I wanted to make sure everyone knew about this site considering it saved me over $300! And since it’s booked directly with the rental car agency (and not through a discount site like Priceline or Hotwire), we can get frequent flyer points.
Reminder: Tomorrow is the last day to sign up for the British Airways credit card with 100k sign-up bonus.
I understand that many people will not want to play the credit card game. Also it’s hard to cover all travel expenses through credit card sign up bonuses. So I want to talk about some of the other ways that I save money when booking travel.
First, I almost never book hotels or rental cars through the main travel sites. I generally use Priceline, Hotwire or Last Minute Travel. Priceline allows you to name your own price, while Hotwire and Last Minute Travel give you discounted prices, but you don’t know the company you’re booking with until after you book. Both of those methods may have people nervous – 1) because you don’t know which company you’re going to end up with 2) with Priceline, you may not know where to start bidding.
Luckily, there are ways around these concerns. There are forum sites where people post winning Priceline bids and Hotwire bookings. They also have information about which hotels participate in the programs. They do not have Last Minute Travel information, but you can use similar techniques to Hotwire on Last Minute Travel. My 2 favorite forum sites are Better Bidding and Bidding for Travel.
Rental cars are really straight forward. I really just use the sites to know where to start bidding.
For hotels, each of the forum sites gives you a list of hotels that participate in the Priceline and Hotwire programs by level of hotel. The Hotwire list gives you a list of amenities to help you figure out which hotel you might get. Better Bidding also has a feature I love. It’s the Priceline and Hotwire Calendar of Wins. It allows you to easily search winning bids for a given time period for a location. It’s a great feature to help you gauge what you should bid since hotel prices vary based on the time of year.
In tomorrow’s post, I’ll cover bidding strategies so you don’t have to wait a day between bids if your first bid is not accepted.