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Old Jul 2, 08, 10:49 pm   #1
 
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HUGE increase in rental car rates, and nothing about in on Flyertalk???

I rent cars 365 days a year. From ALL rental companies, including Thrifty. I've been doing this for years. So suddenly my $94/week rental in PDX I see is as high as $300+ if I was crazy enuf to book it for next week. I see rates also have been hiked in SEA.

So what gives? Don't tell it's the summer, it has NEVER been like this. Don't tell me it's the olympic trials in Eugene...the rates there are LOWER. High gas prices? Uh, how does that relationship work? I saw a news item that rental car companies are losing their ......so they hike prices twice or three times higher? Nah.

So what's the explanation. Do a search for rates in PDX or SEA and you'll see what I mean. Haven't looked elsewhere. $94 vs. $300... something is going on, what???? by the way, I called the local thrifty office in PDX and the guy stuttered, said "I dunno...summer?"
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Old Jul 3, 08, 12:00 am   #2
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To be honest, $94 per week isn't fair to the rental company. That translates to $376 per month.

That car is costing the rental company $450-600 per month to lease. If they own it outright (what's called a risk car--they're taking the risk of the depreciation hit), it's costing them more than $376 per month in depreciation.

For their value, rental cars are insanely cheap compared to other rentals. I just checked, and here's a guy renting a lawnmower in Gilroy, CA. The lawnmower probably retails for $400, give or take a bit. He rents it for $35 per day, $175 per week, and $289 per month.

Given the same cost-to-rental rate ratio, that means a $20,000 Dodge Caliber should rent for $1,750 per day, $8,750 per week, and $14,450 per month. So, it's really the equipment rental places that are screwing you!

Rental agencies are tightening up their fleets so they don't have as many cars sitting around. That's why you used to get such cheap rates--the rental agencies figured that getting $94 per week for the car was better than having the car sit on the lot and earn $0. But with travel down and fleet costs skyrocketing (as the American car manufacturers tighten their cheap program cars), the rental agencies are reducing capacity to lower their overhead, which reduces supply and therefore increases price. And it's not that the rental agencies are doing it to screw with the public: they're really not doing very well--look at their stock prices. Last time I checked, all of the majors were down in the single digits (Dollar Thrifty was, at one point, over $40 per share).

That's just my take. I could be off-base, though--I don't have inside info into the overall country-wide financials.

Edit: there may be a reason you haven't heard of it on FT. For one, those $94 per week rates are typically only available in low season in leisure markets (business markets typically have consistently higher weekly rates but fairly low weekend rates). You may have gotten them often, but for many other people, $200-300 per week was normal. Secondly, a lot of business travelers on FT have corporate accounts which have negotiated rates regardless of the time or location. Their corporate travel offices book their rental cars, and they don't even really pay much attention to the rate (it always hovers somewhere between $30 and $50 per day, usually). Therefore, they are not seeing these "giant price increases." Just a couple of thoughts...feel free to take them with a shaker of salt...

Last edited by jackal; Jul 3, 08 at 12:59 am.
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Old Jul 3, 08, 1:34 am   #3
 
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Nope, don't buy that. Every single rental company, not only Thrifty, has doubled or tripled their rates approximately 2 weeks ago in the Portland and Seattle markets. I can go to Salem or Eugene (Oregon) and still pick up a rental car at more than 1/2 the price than Portland or Seattle. The price change has been recent in the Portland market, and as I say, by every rental company. Was just curious WHY it suddenly happened in those particular markets. There is a reason out there, and was curious that it has not caught anyone else's attention. This is not "normal summer" activity.

And sorta off topic, no, I don't feel sorry for the car rental companies and could care less if what they choose to price their rentals is not "fair" to them--they did it to themselves. As an experienced renter, I can take care of myself. I have seen how they treat Q public. If their stock is in single digits, they deserve it. Their obscene rates they charge for "coverage", their willingness to accept the public's ignorance to take advantage of their own published discount rates, and how they treat the public, puts them on the bottom of my list. I abide by their own policies and I come out fine, but anyone not as knowledgeable, is at their mercy at the rental counter, and gawd forbid they have to negotiate over a claim.

Rates did NOT just double or triple in the pdx and sea markets because rental car companies suddenly discovered a reasonable economic model. I just found it odd that (1) it happened; (2) thrifty could not "explain" it themselves; and (3) no commentary on flyertalk. We're not talking a 10% increase, we're talking doubling or tripling of rates.
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Old Jul 3, 08, 1:52 am   #4
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I guess it's a giant conspiracy, then.
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Old Jul 3, 08, 7:13 am   #5
 
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MSP rates Sky High Also

For the past year and a half I had been renting cars through various agencies, and have noticed a triple rate increase for the next few weeks.

Have been renting for $89 or $94 per 4 day week, the rates are now $300+.
I was surprised that I haven't seen anything posted on FlyerTalk about it also.
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Old Jul 3, 08, 2:21 pm   #6
 
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Thanks for the post. For a moment there, I thought I was the only one

Quote:
Originally Posted by sfo_jfk_flyer View Post
For the past year and a half I had been renting cars through various agencies, and have noticed a triple rate increase for the next few weeks.

Have been renting for $89 or $94 per 4 day week, the rates are now $300+.
I was surprised that I haven't seen anything posted on FlyerTalk about it also.
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Old Jul 3, 08, 2:30 pm   #7
 
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Oh, it is ridiculous!!!! I sort of posted about it on the Budget forum.

I'm trying to get a mini van for a week at SFO in August. I struggled to find one for 400.00 a week (inc. taxes). Plenty of places wanted 700.00 a week. OUTRAGEOUS!!!

I tried PL "name your own price" and was rejected up to 35.00 a day.

So I booked through PL regular service and used a coupon and since I can cancel it, I'm going to try again 2 weeks before I go to get a cheaper price by using PL.

Since everyone wants sub-compact and compact, I figure I'd be o.k with a mini van. Hey, I'd even take an SUV as long as it fit 7 people.

Crazy...
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Old Jul 3, 08, 2:36 pm   #8
 
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What size car are you looking to rent?
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Old Jul 4, 08, 9:01 am   #9
 
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Whew!.. I've been wondering why nobody has posted about this either. I spend a week in SFO every September and have always been able to get a standard/mid-size car for around $20 per day from Thrifty. This year most companies are quoting upwards of $70! I knew rates were up a notch due to fuel and loss of manufacturer discounts, but a 300% increase?
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Old Jul 6, 08, 4:39 pm   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randix View Post
Nope, don't buy that.
Neither do I. I just checked a weekend rental for both SEA and IAD in late July and even in later August. Found much higher weekend rates being quoted on Orbitz than my last rental at either location.

Even FOX at SEA, which has charged me $15 or less a weekend day my last two rentals, is quoting in mid-$30s. Two weekends ago at IAD I got a Thrifty economy (which was automatically upgraded to next class due to unavailability) for $10 a weekend day. Now Thrifty there is showing $37 for a economy and $44 for a compact, almost two months out.

Well, since the higher car rates sure can't be be tied to the increasing price of oil, if anyone finds out the real reason, let us know please. Bad enough the rise in airfares, and the cost of gas for the rentral cars...but now this.
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Old Jul 6, 08, 7:40 pm   #11
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Must be a giant conspiracy in the sky--the car rental gods are randomly increasing rates at some (but not all) locations and at multiple companies for absolutely no reason.

Or how about thinking logically:

[shrinking availability] + [skyrocketing fleet costs] = [higher prices].

Then:

[higher prices at one agency] + [market consolidation (AlamoNationalEnterprise, DollarThrifty, AvisBudget, Hertz--really only four companies out there)] + [industry-wide low or negative profits] = [reduction of rate wars] = [prices going up across the board]

Why only some markets? How about the fact that rates are market-sensitive. Rates in SEA and PDX have almost absolutely nothing to do with rates in Salem or Eugene. They are different markets. They may also be owned by different franchisees (actually, SEA and PDX are likely all corporate and Salem and Eugene are probably franchises). Each location can do whatever it wants, so if nobody tests the price-increase waters (opposite of a rate war, I guess) in Eugene, then the rates in Eugene will stay low.

I tried to explain it. If someone can come up with something better, by all means, go for it (I'm not an economist). What makes you discount my answer? Or do you just want to complain and don't actually want your question answered?
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Old Jul 6, 08, 7:45 pm   #12
 
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Also look at the airport fees. Have they passed any new ones. Everytime I turn around it seems a city has passed a new tax.
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Old Jul 6, 08, 10:40 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackal View Post
I tried to explain it. What makes you discount my answer? Or do you just want to complain and don't actually want your question answered?
Ease up abit partner.

Unlike higher airline fares and their associated new surcharges, new fees, and the downward spiral for long established in-flight amenities and service, all being tied to increased fuel costs, there has been a sudden and as yet unexplained significant increase in car rental rates noted, at multiple locations. I myself mentioned two locations at which I presented valid "before and after" rate comparisons. In my initial post, I failed to mention the $120+ per weekend day rate for a compact I saw, for every company listed on Orbitz, for last weekend in July. A daily rate this exorbitant is inexcusible, no matter the reason.

Guess what we are hoping for is for more fact, vice supposition, being offered by someone working in the industry, so our "complaints" can be put to rest.
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Old Jul 7, 08, 9:30 am   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColoBill1 View Post
In my initial post, I failed to mention the $120+ per weekend day rate for a compact I saw, for every company listed on Orbitz, for last weekend in July.
Sorry, should have said this very high weekend rate was viewed on Orbitz for LGA, as was thinking of making a two night mileage run to there. But with cars this expensive, and Priceline hotels at LGA also pretty steep, forget about that run.
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Old Jul 7, 08, 11:21 am   #15
 
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LAS is the same as it was last week with one exception - Avis bumped their rates up which they do every summer.
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