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Consolidated "Renting at DCA; What Kind of Cars to Expect?" Thread

Consolidated "Renting at DCA; What Kind of Cars to Expect?" Thread

Old Mar 11, 17, 4:02 pm
  #1  
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Consolidated "Renting at DCA; What Kind of Cars to Expect?" Thread

I was at Reagan/DCA over the weekend. They just started at the end of February. They redid the whole place and seem to be adding some sort of waiting lounge inside the garage, not sure what for since there's already a counter inside. I confirmed that intermediate and above qualifies you for Ultimate choice. Some observations:

Main difference between Five Star and Gold was mostly full size cars with lower mileage in Five Star, versus mostly smaller cars with higher mileage in Gold.

Gold: A lot of Hyundai Elantras, Nissan Sentras, Chevy Cruzes. But there was one Kia Sedona minivan and a Nissan Frontier pickup truck.

Five Star: Full of Hyundai Sonatas. They're good cars but they were all pretty basic with cloth seats and base trims. Mixed in were a couple Kia Optimas, a Jeep Compass with leather, a Nissan Rogue, and a Nissan Pathfinder or two. There were also a couple Chevy Cruze Premier models with leather and MyLink. Also interesting was a Subaru Impreza and a Subaru Outback, again basic trims. I didn't check all the cars obviously but most of them seemed to be under 15k Miles. The nicest car in the bunch was a Nissan Altima SL with leather and 300 miles on it, classified as a Special Fullsize.

Presidents Circle: More Sonatas, though I didn't check the trim levels. More Pathfinders. Nicest thing I saw was an Infiniti QX80 (ugly car but nice inside). There were a couple Kia Sorentos.

Upgrades: Mercedes C300, Cadillac SRX, a couple Infiniti sedans.

Overall it was fairly underwhelming but the ability to choose your own car is great. The key is to find something special or uncommon. Gold Choice was all cheap basic cars; now you actually have a chance at something good.
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Old Mar 11, 17, 6:02 pm
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I also rented from DCA this weekend, came in around 9 a.m. this morning (Saturday).

The Infiniti QX80 was still there, so was a Ford Explorer.

President's Circle -- Lots of Kias, Hyundais, Subarus. Not impressed--except that in the first PC spot was a fairly new Volvo S80. I asked the attendant to make sure it was PC (the "Ultimate Collection" started in the next spot over) and she said it was, so I took it, quite happy with the car on a C rate.

Unfortunately I think it was an accident -- the car had been pre-assigned to someone else, but the check-out agent let me take it because the other attendant had said I could.
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Old Mar 11, 17, 8:54 pm
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Originally Posted by platbrownguy View Post
I also rented from DCA this weekend, came in around 9 a.m. this morning (Saturday).

The Infiniti QX80 was still there, so was a Ford Explorer.

President's Circle -- Lots of Kias, Hyundais, Subarus. Not impressed--except that in the first PC spot was a fairly new Volvo S80. I asked the attendant to make sure it was PC (the "Ultimate Collection" started in the next spot over) and she said it was, so I took it, quite happy with the car on a C rate.

Unfortunately I think it was an accident -- the car had been pre-assigned to someone else, but the check-out agent let me take it because the other attendant had said I could.
You lucked out. I saw a Mercedes parked in the gold section but an employee was walking towards it to move it to the upgrade section.
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Old Mar 20, 17, 12:16 pm
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Originally Posted by platbrownguy View Post
I also rented from DCA this weekend, came in around 9 a.m. this morning (Saturday).

The Infiniti QX80 was still there, so was a Ford Explorer.

President's Circle -- Lots of Kias, Hyundais, Subarus. Not impressed--except that in the first PC spot was a fairly new Volvo S80. I asked the attendant to make sure it was PC (the "Ultimate Collection" started in the next spot over) and she said it was, so I took it, quite happy with the car on a C rate.

Unfortunately I think it was an accident -- the car had been pre-assigned to someone else, but the check-out agent let me take it because the other attendant had said I could.


I was back at DCA again this weekend (Saturday morning, around 9 a.m. again), and the car selection was more or less the same as before.

Thankfully, the Volvo S80 was still there (!) in the President's Circle collection, so I took it again. The employee asked whether I wanted to "upgrade" to an Infiniti crossover for an upcharge. I didn't bother to let him know that the Volvo was worth much more than the Infiniti -- and it's a good-looking S80 to boot (midnight blue exterior, tan leather interior).

We'll see what next weekend brings.
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Old Mar 20, 17, 7:17 pm
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Originally Posted by platbrownguy View Post
I was back at DCA again this weekend (Saturday morning, around 9 a.m. again), and the car selection was more or less the same as before.

Thankfully, the Volvo S80 was still there (!) in the President's Circle collection, so I took it again. The employee asked whether I wanted to "upgrade" to an Infiniti crossover for an upcharge. I didn't bother to let him know that the Volvo was worth much more than the Infiniti -- and it's a good-looking S80 to boot (midnight blue exterior, tan leather interior).

We'll see what next weekend brings.
Good call on the Volvo.

I was passing through DCA again Monday morning and took a peek at the garage. The upgrade section was only Jaguar XEs - 5 of them I believe.

Most DCA rentals are probably M-F business types, so the selection will probably vary depending on the day of the week.
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Old Mar 28, 17, 11:43 pm
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Another great experience at DCA last weekend (this time Friday 7 p.m. to Sunday 7 p.m.). Most of the PC aisle was junk: Kias, Hyundais, Subarus, and minivans. I was almost upset after finding nothing all the way to the right and most of the way to the left... but I kept walking left and hidden behind a giant minivan or SUV were an Audi A4 and a Cadillac XTS, both with <5000 miles. I happily took the XTS for the weekend.

Of course, if two people had come in before me (and according to the board there are a ton of PCs at DCA), then I would have been stuck wandering the rest of the lot for something presentable. But I figure worst case scenario I can go upstairs and pull something off the Exec aisle at National.
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Old Apr 1, 17, 10:15 pm
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DCA again. Infiniti Q50, Mercedes GLA250, Cadillac CTS, and one of those humongous Infiniti SUVs. Bunch of ordinary stuff & minivans. I took the CTS.
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Old Apr 2, 17, 12:50 am
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Originally Posted by platbrownguy View Post
DCA again. Infiniti Q50, Mercedes GLA250, Cadillac CTS, and one of those humongous Infiniti SUVs. Bunch of ordinary stuff & minivans. I took the CTS.
Those were upgrades or PC?
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Old Apr 11, 17, 2:58 pm
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Originally Posted by m907 View Post
Those were upgrades or PC?
Originally Posted by Originally Posted by platbrownguy
DCA again. Infiniti Q50, Mercedes GLA250, Cadillac CTS, and one of those humongous Infiniti SUVs. Bunch of ordinary stuff & minivans. I took the CTS.

These were the PC aisle selections on Friday 3/31 -- very pleasantly surprised by the nice offerings.


Unfortunately, I was back at DCA this weekend (morning of Saturday 4/8), and the combination of cherry-blossom weekend and the bad weather beforehand had led to a nearly empty lot -- I took the lone car in the PC aisle (a newish Camry) after unsuccessfully trying to negotiate for the lone upgrade option (a Porsche SUV, for which the computer wanted $101/day, extra, minimum on top of the base rate). There was one vehicle in the 5* lot (a soft-top Jeep), and two or three scattered minivans elsewhere, apart from some vehicles in the Reserved section. National was fully booked or else I would have gone up there.
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Old Apr 13, 17, 12:37 am
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I was at DCA in late March. I'm PC but it was a priceline booking, so no status. My flight got in around midnight, and the Midsize row had but two cars: a Corrola and a Sonata. (And a QX30 they stashed there but didn't make available, darn). I took the Sonata, and it had ~40k miles on it. Everything worked, and it had XM, so can't really complain.

But "Ultimate Choice" it was not.
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Old Apr 15, 17, 10:03 pm
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DCA again (it's like a surprise every weekend), 9 a.m. this morning (Saturday)

largely empty PC aisle. to the right: Kia, Altima, various C/D/F cars.

to the left: one Chrysler 300, good trim, <2000mi, working XM.

Took the 300. No keytag but I imagine it's a G or better.
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Old Apr 16, 17, 9:33 am
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Originally Posted by platbrownguy View Post
DCA again (it's like a surprise every weekend), 9 a.m. this morning (Saturday)

largely empty PC aisle. to the right: Kia, Altima, various C/D/F cars.

to the left: one Chrysler 300, good trim, <2000mi, working XM.

Took the 300. No keytag but I imagine it's a G or better.
Chrysler 300 is an I and the 300C is a YI.
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Old Apr 22, 17, 11:29 pm
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DCA this morning - what a crazy experience.

Mostly junk in PC, couple of F's (Altima, etc.), a big Ford SUV and a Mercedes GLC (SUV). I take the GLC, what the heck, it's new and has satellite radio.

Get to the booth, it's the same agent who has in the past made up rules like "you can't take pictures here, it's against the law and you will be fined" (umm, okay, but WestLaw says no). I see him periodically. It's fine, I try to stay out of his way. Today he says, "well I see you've upgraded yourself to a luxury SUV for the low price of $25 a day." I say, "no, it was in stall 117. it was in the PC aisle, no extra charge."

He proceeds to tell me it doesn't matter where it was parked; it's a luxury SUV so obviously it's a premium upgrade, and if I read the rules I would know better. "I've read the rules. I teach people how to read legalese for a living. There's no charge." Still no dice, he says "I don't have to tell you this, there's a sign that even says premium upgrades are $25 a day. What's the mileage."

I say 3118, he says "wow, it's brand spankin' new." So I decide to play the game, "yup. brand spankin' new. 3118, can't beat that. go on and charge me your $25, you win."

So he prints me a receipt. And there's no upcharge on it. But he doesn't say a word.

So...
-Did he mean to charge me but forget?
-Did he take the charge off?
-Did he wish he could charge me but realize that the computer indeed had the vehicle logged in as a PC vehicle? (my presumption)
-Something else?

It's always bizarro world with this guy. One time he was working at the gold booth and no one was checking in cars; he refused to give me a receipt and I was later charged $90++ for a 1/4 tank of gas (Hertz CS reversed it, obviously).

On a positive note, the GLC isn't a bad little SUV, and it maneuvered into a pretty small parallel spot in DC today.
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Old Apr 23, 17, 2:51 am
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Originally Posted by platbrownguy View Post
DCA this morning - what a crazy experience.

Mostly junk in PC, couple of F's (Altima, etc.), a big Ford SUV and a Mercedes GLC (SUV). I take the GLC, what the heck, it's new and has satellite radio.

Get to the booth, it's the same agent who has in the past made up rules like "you can't take pictures here, it's against the law and you will be fined" (umm, okay, but WestLaw says no). I see him periodically. It's fine, I try to stay out of his way. Today he says, "well I see you've upgraded yourself to a luxury SUV for the low price of $25 a day." I say, "no, it was in stall 117. it was in the PC aisle, no extra charge."

He proceeds to tell me it doesn't matter where it was parked; it's a luxury SUV so obviously it's a premium upgrade, and if I read the rules I would know better. "I've read the rules. I teach people how to read legalese for a living. There's no charge." Still no dice, he says "I don't have to tell you this, there's a sign that even says premium upgrades are $25 a day. What's the mileage."

I say 3118, he says "wow, it's brand spankin' new." So I decide to play the game, "yup. brand spankin' new. 3118, can't beat that. go on and charge me your $25, you win."

So he prints me a receipt. And there's no upcharge on it. But he doesn't say a word.

So...
-Did he mean to charge me but forget?
-Did he take the charge off?
-Did he wish he could charge me but realize that the computer indeed had the vehicle logged in as a PC vehicle? (my presumption)
-Something else?

It's always bizarro world with this guy. One time he was working at the gold booth and no one was checking in cars; he refused to give me a receipt and I was later charged $90++ for a 1/4 tank of gas (Hertz CS reversed it, obviously).

On a positive note, the GLC isn't a bad little SUV, and it maneuvered into a pretty small parallel spot in DC today.
Which is why I add my dashcam first then record all the conversations at the gate.

Once saved me 80 odd pounds as hertz tried to charge me for a full tank. They held firm until I sent them the video which I said that I would gladly show in court.

In this situation I would also film the bit leaving the PC area. Other security cameras would also back you up if needed
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Old May 6, 17, 10:08 am
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Interesting (in a good way) experience at DCA this morning.

Had a reservation for a G, name wasn't on the board. Went to Gold desk, agent wrote down "G, Pres Cir" on a folder and I was told to see manager and have him assign a vehicle.

I walked out to the lot and sure enough, the Pres Cir area (and the lot generally) was nearly empty, with four F's in the Pres Cir area (Sonata, some others) but nothing G or better. Manager found me, asked my name, went to back booth, came back and offered either an Infiniti sedan or a new Jaguar XE from the reserved area. I took the Jag, he thanked me, I went on my way.

I'm kind of curious what happened to all the G's at DCA, maybe they were driven away on one-ways or something... the lot used to be chock full of Impalas. But, all in all, so far I've had two good experiences when I've had a reservation for a G but the lot hasn't had one: this experience at DCA, and one at MIA where I was given a $50 and a $25 rental voucher for my trouble.
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