Why is National so Expensive Now?

Old Apr 27, 14, 5:57 am
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Why is National so Expensive Now?

I prefer National over other companies, however, it appears that in the last year or so, their rates are usually double and sometimes triple what most other agencies charge. They used to be competitive, i.e. within a few dollars of other companies, but it appears lately they have gotten out of hand. As all my rentals are now personal and not business, I can no longer afford their rates. Even weekend rates are not competitive anymore.

Last time that I rented with someone else, the CSA at the desk said that the increases started after being bought by ERAC. Anyone have input on this?
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Old Apr 27, 14, 6:04 am
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I found the same issue with National being a lot higher than their competitors.

I've been a long Enterprise user (being "underage" USAA waives under 25) and wanted to give National a try when I fly into DCA in a week. Though compared to all their competitors, their rates were much higher. Not to mention the tacked on airport fees etc were higher.

I brought this up to their Twitter relations team and they agreed with me after sending the breakdown. They forwarded it to their DCA branch, but as usual. They couldn't do anything about it and apologized.
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Old Apr 27, 14, 10:46 am
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I usually check rates against Hertz (our other corporate-approved agency) and Enterprise (my other Emerald Club earning partner) and haven't seen much of any difference in the last 6 months. I frequent SEA, TUL, LAX, PDX, and have also been to MSP and PHX in that time frame. It would have to be near 2x or more to get me away from National or Enterprise, but I've never seen more than 0.8x - 1.2x variation.
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Old Apr 27, 14, 8:14 pm
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National weekend rates at DCA up until mid-June are pretty good, ~ $20/day.
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Old Apr 27, 14, 9:07 pm
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I know that each individual experience isn't enough to make conclusions one way or the other, but with that said, I am paying more for rentals this year as opposed to similar trips last year.

BUT, National and Hertz (my other approved agency) have always been within a few dollars of one another for my trips this year.
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Old Apr 28, 14, 1:46 am
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Originally Posted by dcstudent View Post
BUT, National and Hertz (my other approved agency) have always been within a few dollars of one another for my trips this year.
Ideally they should be. Normally Avis, Hertz, and National are priced almost the same due to the fact they want to capture the business market.
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Old Apr 28, 14, 9:59 am
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I have found that National can be significantly more expensive than Budget, Dollar, or Thrifty on shorter, workweek rentals. That said, my company requires us to take out damage waiver -- and once that's factored in, the National Business Rental Program frequently beats everyone else out there.

I still find National rates to be very good for weekend leisure rentals, though sometimes I need to apply a coupon code.

Also, be sure to always check prices with the Emerald Club contract -- occasionally that is significantly lower than the rates reported through Kayak or its ilk.
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Old Apr 28, 14, 10:12 am
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I too have found National to be more expensive lately for most of my business rentals (midweek). For example: I'm going to LAX on a Tues-Thurs in June and National comes out at $169.06; Avis is $110.16--both using my corporate contract ID.

My only National rental so far this year was a weekday reservation in DTW, which was within a dollar or two of Avis and Hertz. I always prefer National if the rates are within +-10% of the other agencies, as the vehicles are newer and the pickup/return process is less hassle with Emerald Club.
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Old Apr 28, 14, 1:35 pm
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Originally Posted by dtremit View Post
I have found that National can be significantly more expensive than Budget, Dollar, or Thrifty on shorter, workweek rentals.
If you want a fair comparison, like those guys up against Alamo (ERAC's leisure division). Otherwise, you should be comparing National to Avis and Hertz, which is targeted to business travelers.

I have yet to hear Patrick Stewart narrate a commercial stating "Soccer Mom, you've scrimped and saved for that Disney World vacation so it's time to load up the kids and go..."
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Old Apr 28, 14, 11:20 pm
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Originally Posted by plagwate View Post
If you want a fair comparison, like those guys up against Alamo (ERAC's leisure division). Otherwise, you should be comparing National to Avis and Hertz, which is targeted to business travelers.
Other posters already compared National to Hertz and Avis, no need for me to repeat it.

My company's policy is "find the lowest priced car in the class." They don't really care who the agency's ad is marketing to. And from my perspective, either I'm getting EC credits, or I'm not.

(Incidentally, though, I rarely find Alamo to be competitive with Dollar/Thrifty/Budget on the specific occasions when National is overpriced -- probably because they're pulling from the same fleet.)
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Old Apr 29, 14, 12:15 am
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National I find to always be a drop more expensive, but better service
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Old Apr 29, 14, 3:38 pm
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At least three times this year I've made an advance leisure reservation with Budget via Costco Travel, as the National rate was just stupid high by comparison. All three times, National dropped their price at some point before the rental to be equal or better on cost, and I ended up switching over.

I'm finding that weekday rentals are still generally in the $75/day+tax range with National. I've rented less from them this year and used taxis and Uber black car more.
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Old May 1, 14, 12:46 pm
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The answer to this questions likely depends when you look, no?

I've watched the price on a reservations I'm holding at DCA jump around from a low of $23 to a high of $74 (generic Emerald Club contract ID). Obviously if you booked it at the highest price it's going to be pretty non-competitive. I got it at the lowest price, throw in a free weekend day, and it's the lowest among the competition.
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Old May 1, 14, 1:09 pm
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Originally Posted by zdcatc12 View Post
Even weekend rates are not competitive anymore.
I have a four-day weekend rental this weekend out of LAX, picking up Fri, 5/2. With the $20 off weekend coupon applied, it comes to a total of $63.21AI, with a Full Size reserved. Seems pretty competitive to me. ^
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Old May 11, 14, 10:23 am
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The pricing folks at National have lost their flipping minds when it comes to advance weekend 2-day rentals (Saturday AM to Sunday evening). Some upcoming examples:

early June PHX: National ES $42/day+tax, Budget/Costco: $21.50/day+tax for premium
early August MCI: National ES $66/day+tax, Budget/Costco: $22.00/day+tax for full-size

Now, every time I've booked through Budget/Costco, eventually National gets around to coming within 10% of the price, which is worth it to me for the likely upgrade and the 1/6 free day credit. I suspect that the Tuesday AM before each trip, National will get down to the $23-$25/day+tax range once they figure out that their weekend utilization stinks.

But one of these trips where an upgrade isn't going to matter, such as PHX where Budget is already giving me a Premium, I'm likely going to tell National to stuff it and give the business to Budget instead. Even if Budget gives me one of the last Grand Marqs, at least the grandpa car has a fierce air conditioning system and I'm only going to be driving about 30 miles each day.
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