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Booked luxury (cheapest available), billed at premium and offered a Kia?

Booked luxury (cheapest available), billed at premium and offered a Kia?

Old Feb 1, 20, 12:33 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2019
Programs: American Airlines, National Car Rental
Posts: 57
Booked luxury (cheapest available), billed at premium and offered a Kia?

Is this how National works?

I am Executive or whatever (EE).

1. When I booked a car online, I wanted a midsize but luxury, SUVs and maybe premium cars were all less expensive. Midsize was about $150 and the others were all $125.

2. Before I arrived at the airport, the National location at the airport (small and no Emerald Aisle) charged my credit card $125 and printed a statement showing:

Rate Rules: Web 2 Day Weekend
Vehicle Information:
Reserved Luxury 2/4 Door Car Auto AC
Driven Premium 2/4 Door Car Auto A/C
Charged Premium 2/4 Door Car Auto A/C

3. When I picked up the car, I was offered a range of mid-tier sedans, from a Kia to a Chevy Malibu to a Nissan something to a Ford Fusion. The Ford Fusion was the nicest.

4. When I drove off in the mid-tier sedan, I saw a few BMW and Audi sedans.

So:

A. Luxury cars were available at prices lower than midsize cars.

B. But before I arrived, I was billed for a premium car (at the same price as luxury) and my statement noted that I was driving a premium car...before I arrived.

C. I was offered a Kia and the like.

So I ended up with the midsize car that I would have gotten had I booked a midsize, which is what I intended, so I canít really gripe, but I booked a luxury car and was downgraded...before I even arrived.

Is this normal?

Last edited by WeekendTraveler; Feb 1, 20 at 12:42 pm
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Old Feb 2, 20, 7:21 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Programs: DL DM, SPG Plat 100/LT Gold, Marriott Plat, National Executive Elite
Posts: 2,504
Originally Posted by WeekendTraveler View Post
Is this how National works?

I am Executive or whatever (EE).

1. When I booked a car online, I wanted a midsize but luxury, SUVs and maybe premium cars were all less expensive. Midsize was about $150 and the others were all $125.

2. Before I arrived at the airport, the National location at the airport (small and no Emerald Aisle) charged my credit card $125 and printed a statement showing:

Rate Rules: Web 2 Day Weekend
Vehicle Information:
Reserved Luxury 2/4 Door Car Auto AC
Driven Premium 2/4 Door Car Auto A/C
Charged Premium 2/4 Door Car Auto A/C

3. When I picked up the car, I was offered a range of mid-tier sedans, from a Kia to a Chevy Malibu to a Nissan something to a Ford Fusion. The Ford Fusion was the nicest.

4. When I drove off in the mid-tier sedan, I saw a few BMW and Audi sedans.

So:

A. Luxury cars were available at prices lower than midsize cars.

B. But before I arrived, I was billed for a premium car (at the same price as luxury) and my statement noted that I was driving a premium car...before I arrived.

C. I was offered a Kia and the like.

So I ended up with the midsize car that I would have gotten had I booked a midsize, which is what I intended, so I canít really gripe, but I booked a luxury car and was downgraded...before I even arrived.

Is this normal?
In one word - no. Did you push back on what was offered to you? Ask for something nicer?

Go back in after you saw the foreign vehicles and ask for one of those?
btonkid12345 is offline  
Old Feb 2, 20, 7:51 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 167
At a small station, as an EE they usually just offer you whatever you want 🤷‍♂️
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Old Feb 2, 20, 11:23 am
  #4  
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Programs: American Airlines, National Car Rental
Posts: 57
Thanks everyone. I didnít challenge anything because I wasnít sure what was going on.

I returned the car at the end of the rental period, and I was charged only a day and an hour instead of two days. So I was charged a much lower price than showed up in the invoice that I got when I picked up the car, and lower than anything available when I booked online.

This seems really haphazard, but I got the car I usually like to get, for a lower price than was available when I booked online, so Iím happy, but just confused.

If this were an airline and I booked first class for less than the price of coach, which happens every now and then, if I were then downgraded to coach even with a reduction in fare I would be irked, though.

Last edited by WeekendTraveler; Feb 2, 20 at 3:10 pm
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Old Feb 3, 20, 3:19 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 1,282
Unless it was a Kia Cadenza or Stinger, it sounds like they did downgrade you.
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m907 is offline  
Old Feb 3, 20, 8:33 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: SoCal
Programs: UA Plat, National Exec Elite
Posts: 819
This all makes sense, aside from the car offering. You were "charged" premium since that's one class less than the booked class of luxury (this is an EE benefit...the "guaranteed" upgrade). The fact that you were charged and were already "driving" a Premium stems from the fact that it is a small station without an aisle. They print everything beforehand and get everything ready so they literally only have to hand you keys when you arrive (and also update the actual time you "check out"). I would have for sure asked about other cars, however.
murphyUA is offline  
Old Feb 3, 20, 10:03 am
  #7  
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Programs: American Airlines, National Car Rental
Posts: 57
Thanks. Didn't realize about being charged one class lower- that's a nice benefit.

Why would the station mark me down as driving a Premium though, even though it marked me down (by printing the statement and charging my credit card) hours before I arrived?

Also, if I book a rental for 2 days and that time is only a day and an hour, it's actually really nice that I was charged for one day plus one hour. Is that normal practice? If so, it's really a nice gesture by National.

I also don't understand credit card charges. I get email notices whenever my credit card is used without the physical card being swiped. National runs my credit card for usually much more than the booked amount- and this time, indeed, I got the email notice saying that my card was being charged more than I was actually charged (and this time, this happened when I was turning in the car).

I guess I don't understand National at all- this all seems bizarre- but I always get good cars and the rewards program is generous. I guess my only legitimate gripe about this trip was that I booked a luxury but didn't get one, but I got what I originally wanted, for a lower price than expected, so I certainly can't complain.
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Old Feb 3, 20, 10:23 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: SoCal
Programs: UA Plat, National Exec Elite
Posts: 819
Originally Posted by WeekendTraveler View Post
Thanks. Didn't realize about being charged one class lower- that's a nice benefit.

Why would the station mark me down as driving a Premium though, even though it marked me down (by printing the statement and charging my credit card) hours before I arrived?

Also, if I book a rental for 2 days and that time is only a day and an hour, it's actually really nice that I was charged for one day plus one hour. Is that normal practice? If so, it's really a nice gesture by National.

I also don't understand credit card charges. I get email notices whenever my credit card is used without the physical card being swiped. National runs my credit card for usually much more than the booked amount- and this time, indeed, I got the email notice saying that my card was being charged more than I was actually charged (and this time, this happened when I was turning in the car).

I guess I don't understand National at all- this all seems bizarre- but I always get good cars and the rewards program is generous. I guess my only legitimate gripe about this trip was that I booked a luxury but didn't get one, but I got what I originally wanted, for a lower price than expected, so I certainly can't complain.
They just mark you as driving whatever was booked/charged before you arrive to make things faster. Negotiating the actual car you get and finalizing the CC charge happens only after you receive a car. Had you never showed up, the credit card authorization would have disappeared without a charge.
murphyUA is offline  
Old Feb 5, 20, 1:29 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 616
Should have asked for the Beemer. You did reserve a luxury car
nd2010 is offline  
Old Feb 8, 20, 12:32 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 641
Originally Posted by WeekendTraveler View Post
Thanks. Didn't realize about being charged one class lower- that's a nice benefit.

Why would the station mark me down as driving a Premium though, even though it marked me down (by printing the statement and charging my credit card) hours before I arrived?

Also, if I book a rental for 2 days and that time is only a day and an hour, it's actually really nice that I was charged for one day plus one hour. Is that normal practice? If so, it's really a nice gesture by National.

I also don't understand credit card charges. I get email notices whenever my credit card is used without the physical card being swiped. National runs my credit card for usually much more than the booked amount- and this time, indeed, I got the email notice saying that my card was being charged more than I was actually charged (and this time, this happened when I was turning in the car).

I guess I don't understand National at all- this all seems bizarre- but I always get good cars and the rewards program is generous. I guess my only legitimate gripe about this trip was that I booked a luxury but didn't get one, but I got what I originally wanted, for a lower price than expected, so I certainly can't complain.
Without seeing/knowing what final contract or invoice states much of this is thread is moot. We don't know why for instance you were only charged for one day and an hour.

Being as all this may as noted previously, for all non aisle locations National pre-prints all EC contracts. This way everything is ready to get EC members "out the door" quickly upon arrival. If inventory permits vehicle will be attached to reservation/contract before arrival, then assuming customer agrees with choice he/she is good to go.

Email message you received was contract that National pulled prior to your arrival to get things going. As such it only has information given at time of reservation including vehicle class reserved. Yes, National places a hold on CC at that time, and also "yes" for a few years now they have been upping amount held in excess of actual reservation. There have been several discussions on FT about this previously. Some claiming they never have been hit with more than total reservation, others more.

Rate change was because you were given a vehicle below class reserved. It would be morally wrong (and probably illegal) to charge someone for a "luxury" vehicle but gave them something of lower value instead. Equally National for EC members and sometimes anyone else when inventory is tight will give free upgrades. Anything from a ICAR on a compact reservation to a luxury, premium, any size SUV, or whatever on an ICAR (or smaller) reservation. When this happens customer pays original reservation rate but invoice/contract notes "upgrade" to whatever.....

If you wanted the Audi or BMW on lot you should have turned around, gone back to counter and asked why having a luxury reservation you were given some random mid-size instead. Depending upon model of Audi and BMW they may have been "luxury elite" which is a whole other ball of wax.
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