Hertz HLE vs Airport?

Old May 12, 19, 11:56 pm
  #1  
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Hertz HLE vs Airport?

Hello everyone! I知 planning a monthlong trip in California next month, and I have chosen to use Hertz because of the AAA underage fee being waived.

i do have a concern with choosing between an airport location and HLE. The HLE would likely be easier for me and cheaper, but I知 not sure if they can be trusted to keep reservations. Am I more likely to be hung out to dry at an HLE than an airport location? What would I have to do if there was no car available even with my reservation?

On top of this, do you need a plane ticket to access the in-terminal Hertz locations? I will not be getting a car directly after my flight.

Lastly, is there anything to look out for in terms of making sure I don稚 get charged for the underage fee? I will book directly through my AAA location and will have the ID with me.

Thanks for any input you all can provide! I知 just a bit anxious or being screwed over, as Hertz is my only option that will waive the underage fee.
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Old May 13, 19, 1:41 am
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Originally Posted by LAHertz View Post
The HLE would likely be easier for me and cheaper, but I知 not sure if they can be trusted to keep reservations. Am I more likely to be hung out to dry at an HLE than an airport location? What would I have to do if there was no car available even with my reservation?

Yes, definitely *more* likely, although still not *likely* as long as you book at least a day or two in advance. What is more common at an HLE is not having the exact car class you want. I've seen people reserve compacts and get Suburbans, I've seen people reserve SUVs and get Nissan Versas, etc at some of the busier HLEs around here. It depends on the location, I think some locations have much better inventory management than others. If they don't have a car, I think typically you can either wait until they can bring one over (I've waited 30 mins - an hour a few times) or cancel the res and try elsewhere. The worst I've personally ever had at an HLE was "we're totally out of cars right now, it'll be 15 minutes" and it ended up being 45 only to get a higher mileage base model sedan (and I had booked really last minute).

Originally Posted by LAHertz View Post
On top of this, do you need a plane ticket to access the in-terminal Hertz locations? I will not be getting a car directly after my flight.
No, all airport rental facilities I've ever been to are accessible to the public.

Originally Posted by LAHertz View Post
Lastly, is there anything to look out for in terms of making sure I don稚 get charged for the underage fee? I will book directly through my AAA location and will have the ID with me.
I wouldn't expect any issues. If they try to charge something you can show them the AAA site stating fee waiver. If they try to charge on return you can contest it then, or with customer service after the fact (I've had them remove incorrectly added fees on several occasions).

Overall if you're anxious you might lean toward an airport rental. They're generally much more professional and on top of things than HLEs, and less likely to sweat minor scrapes etc.
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Old May 13, 19, 6:54 am
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Originally Posted by LAHertz View Post
i do have a concern with choosing between an airport location and HLE. The HLE would likely be easier for me and cheaper, but I知 not sure if they can be trusted to keep reservations. Am I more likely to be hung out to dry at an HLE than an airport location? What would I have to do if there was no car available even with my reservation?
You are much more likely to be assigned a car that is nothing like what you reserved, or no car at all. I have had multiple reservations made weeks in advance where either all they have is something very undesirable (compact, no cruise control, etc) or literally no cars at all and no plans to get more that day. Unless it was much cheaper (which it may well be for a month long rental) I choose a major airport location over an HLE every time even if more inconvenient. Not worth the risk of the HLE.
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Old May 13, 19, 8:25 am
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Originally Posted by Lyaec350 View Post
Unless it was much cheaper (which it may well be for a month long rental) I choose a major airport location over an HLE every time even if more inconvenient. Not worth the risk of the HLE.
Would you consider airports like SNA and LGB to be large enough for this purpose? Going all the way to LAX from where I値l be prior to the rental would be a PITA but I壇 do it if needed.
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Old May 13, 19, 2:32 pm
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SNA is a pretty busy airport, comparable to SJC so I would expect them to have a pretty good fleet. LGB will still have a much better selection than an HLE.

Last edited by missingcolours; May 13, 19 at 3:35 pm Reason: Mistaken about UC
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Old May 15, 19, 2:50 am
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You're not likely to get any grief about the underage fee waiver, because the amount charged is between you and Hertz and the CDP.

But if you reserved an SUV they are likely to give you trouble. Some locations never let under-25 rent an SUV; some don't care; some depend on the mood of the agent.
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Old May 16, 19, 3:16 pm
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You can find online reviews of some HLEs on Yelp or similar sites; just remember that complainers are much more likely to post than happy customers. I regularly deal with an HLE to avoid high costs at SEA and so far I've had no trouble - they seem to do a good job on inventory control. I do call before I show up and I often make a backup reservation for some time later at the airport, and then cancel.

For your need, you might do the opposite. Have a backup at a nearby airport and if the HLE is being a real PITA just walk away and take an Uber or whatever to the airport location. In general you'll pay a bunch more at the airport, though, due to facility fees.
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Old May 18, 19, 3:09 pm
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Assuming the cost savings are significant, rent from the HLE. The likelihood of not getting a car at all is pretty small, and in the LA area there are so many locations (HLE and airport) that somewhere will have something.

If you do get a car type you don't want, then at your convenience take it to an airport property (since they have larger selections) and swap it. You should check in advance that they have inventory, though, probably by calling and telling them you'd like to do a swap. (Weekends are probably best.) Don't bother calling LAX though, I've never gotten through to anybody on the phone there.

If you do end up picking an airport location, be sure to price compare. I've gotten much better rates at SNA and ONT vs LAX, though of course YMMV according to when you rent.
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Old May 20, 19, 2:19 pm
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What bennos said. If the savings are significant, go with the HLE. The worst case scenarios are that you'll either have to wait a while for a car to arrive or you'll have to take an undesired car and swap it at another location (likely the airport) if you want something different. Whereas the BEST case scenario of renting at an airport is that you have to schlep to the airport (and likely pay more). Note that if you're within a certain radius of most HLE's, they will also pick you up from home (or hotel or whatever--but not the airport) for free, which is an added bonus. Just call them and ask. I suspect that using the pickup service also makes it more likely that they'll have your car ready since they clearly know you're coming if they're picking you up.

As for the underage fee, if you are 20-24 and put in your correct age when booking and use the "CDP" (Hertz discount code) that's on your AAA card, you shouldn't have a problem. Bring your AAA card with you when you pick up the car. Almost all my rentals use a AAA CDP and I've never been asked for my AAA card, but I always bring it just in case as they could in theory refuse to give you the CDP benefits (including the underage fee waiver) if you don't have your card.
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Old May 20, 19, 11:11 pm
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One benefit of an HLE is that you aren't paying the airport fee. Given the length of your rental, this is significant.
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Old May 21, 19, 3:38 pm
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How can you agree to take an undesirable car from a Hertz Local Edition only to turn around and "swap it" at a nearby airport location? Isn't it the case that when you sign your rental contract at the Hertz Local Edition, you are affirming you are renting that vehicle and will by the end of the contract period return that vehicle to that location?

Wouldn't you pay significant penalties for swapping a vehicle, as it becomes in effect a one way rental?
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Old May 21, 19, 6:13 pm
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No, because the inventory levels at each location wouldn't change, just the car.
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Old May 21, 19, 8:53 pm
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Originally Posted by bennos View Post
If you do get a car type you don't want, then at your convenience take it to an airport property (since they have larger selections) and swap it. You should check in advance that they have inventory, though, probably by calling and telling them you'd like to do a swap. (Weekends are probably best.)
With this being said, what if they gave me a compact when I reserved a minivan? Would they let me swap the compact for a minivan at another location, or just a different compact?

Also, what difference in price do you think would be worth going with the airport vs HLE? Right now the HLE is $140 cheaper over a 24 day period.

Originally Posted by m907 View Post
You're not likely to get any grief about the underage fee waiver, because the amount charged is between you and Hertz and the CDP.

But if you reserved an SUV they are likely to give you trouble. Some locations never let under-25 rent an SUV; some don't care; some depend on the mood of the agent.
Is there a good way to check which locations allow this? We are likely going to need to rent an SUV or minivan, so this could be a problem.

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; May 26, 19 at 12:19 pm Reason: Consecutive posts merged
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Old May 22, 19, 10:55 am
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Originally Posted by LAHertz View Post
With this being said, what if they gave me a compact when I reserved a minivan? Would they let me swap the compact for a minivan at another location, or just a different compact?

Also, what difference in price do you think would be worth going with the airport vs HLE? Right now the HLE is $140 cheaper over a 24 day period.
Book the HLE. $140 is not insignificant. I would be quite surprised if they give you a compact when you reserved a minivan -- of course anything can happen, but if it did happen I would expect them to figure out a solution to make it right. I would book the minivan you need and call the specific location a day or two in advance just to confirm that all is set and that they'll rent to you as a 20 year old. No, it doesn't matter what age you are when you make the reservation.
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Old May 22, 19, 8:53 pm
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Originally Posted by sunpass View Post
How can you agree to take an undesirable car from a Hertz Local Edition only to turn around and "swap it" at a nearby airport location? Isn't it the case that when you sign your rental contract at the Hertz Local Edition, you are affirming you are renting that vehicle and will by the end of the contract period return that vehicle to that location?
When you swap they print you a new contract identifying the correct car, but don't charge you anything extra. If they're busy and you're just being picky because you want a sunroof or something, they might tell you to take a hike. But if they have a car in the right class and you have a valid reason for wanting/needing to swap (wrong car class, something wrong with the car, etc.), they'll usually make it happen if they have the inventory. For example I arrived at FLL during spring break a couple years ago and the only minivan they had for my FLL-TPA roadtrip was a base model Sienna with 55k miles, the smell of stale cigarettes, a broken power door, and a missing fog light. I took it since i had no choice but arranged to swap it at RSW (which is right off the highway between FLL and TPA), where they gave me a brand new fully-loaded Pacifica.
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