Autoslash (General Discussion)

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AutoSlash automatically searches thousands of coupon codes to find the best one that slashes your rental car rate!
How to use AutoSlash:
  1. Request a quote at https://www.autoslash.com/quote. You'll get an email usually within 10-15 minutes with the best rates (it takes a few minutes to scan through thousands of coupons!). The email will have a link to view your quote results. The quote will include the best rates (after discounts and coupons) from each major rental company that AutoSlash was able to find. Choose which one you want to book and you can then complete your reservation.
  2. If you've already booked a rental elsewhere (or after you book one through step #1 above), register your reservation at https://www.autoslash.com/track. AutoSlash will periodically check your reservation for lower rates and will email you if and when a lower rate is available.

AutoSlash searches and books two different types of rates:
  • "Pay Later" — retail pay-at-counter rates, just like the ones you can book directly at the rental car companies' websites, but with coupons applied to slash the rate
  • "Pay Now" — specially-negotiated "Slash Deals" prepaid rates that can often be a significant discount from retail rates
"Pay Later" rates are booked through affiliate travel sites. Currently, the main affiliate is Priceline, but additional partners may be added in the future. The quote from AutoSlash includes direct pre-discounted deep links to these affiliate sites so you can quickly and easily find and book the rate.
"Pay Now" Slash Deals rates are booked directly with AutoSlash.

FlyerTalk Advanced Questions (FAQs):

Is there a fee to use AutoSlash?
No, AutoSlash doesn't charge for its services.

How does AutoSlash stay in business, then?
AutoSlash gets a little bit of affiliate revenue from the booking links in the quotes.

What big evil corporation is behind AutoSlash?
None. AutoSlash is a bootstrapped start-up birthed by FlyerTalkers (and even still employing mostly FlyerTalk members) with an initial goal of automating what many FlyerTalk members were already doing (manually testing dozens or hundreds of coupon and discount codes for each rental) and now aiming to be the best and cheapest place on the Internet to book rental cars. There are no plans to shut down or sell out, but if someone wants to match or beat this offer...

Why do I have to provide my email address?
It takes a few minutes to scan through all of the different coupon and discount codes, so a real-time search system isn't really possible. An email alert will be sent when your quote is ready, usually within about 10-15 minutes.

Why haven't I still haven't gotten my quote after 15 minutes?
During periods of heavy demand, the system may get a little backed up. Quotes are generally processed in order of pick-up date (rates for rentals several months out usually don't fluctuate very often), though there's a bit of logic in the system to try to make sure that people don't wait too long (more than an hour or so) for a quote, even when AutoSlash is featured on national news money-saving segments. Also, if you request a quote that doesn't return any results (like trying to pick up off-airport at 3am or searching for a convertible in Duluth in January—yes, those are real requests), your request goes into a queue for manual review, where a support agent will review things to see if your quote can be adjusted to find a result. That should be processed within a few hours at most (but often much faster). Also, try checking your junk or spam folder. Some ISPs tend to be aggressive about bouncing AutoSlash quote emails; feel free to reach out to AutoSlash support to check on your quote email status if you can't find it.

How can I get support from AutoSlash?
[email protected] is the best way to get in touch. A support agent is usually online Monday-Friday 8am to midnight Eastern time and Saturday/Sunday 10am to 8pm Eastern time. During that time, you'll usually get a reply within five to 30 minutes or so and pretty much never more than an hour or two. Most agents are long-time FlyerTalk members, meaning your response generally comes from the perspective of a frequent traveler (if not an outright travel hacker), not some clueless offshore call-center script-reader. Since it's a small team, not to mention they're FlyerTalkers and often traveling themselves (and working from on-board wifi), phone support isn't currently provided. Messaging (privately) on Facebook works, too, with similar response time to email (it goes to the same support agents). Public Facebook wall posts and tweeting @autoslash on Twitter as well as posting in this thread aren't as fast (the support team doesn't monitor those, so they're not the best channels for individual support). (Original post)

Why should I use AutoSlash instead of just going directly to Priceline?
If you search on Priceline.com's homepage for a rental car rate, you'll just get the same rack rates that you'll find on the rental car companies' own sites (plus a mix of nonrefundable prepaid Express Deals rates). The pay-at-counter rates AutoSlash finds are different (and usually significantly lower) than the rates you'd find looking directly on Priceline due to the coupons and discounts AutoSlash applies.

Why are rates on AutoSlash the same or higher than what I've already found elsewhere?
Could be a couple of reasons. If any time has elapsed since you found the lower rate elsewhere, rates simply may have gone up. Compare rates within a few minutes of each other to make sure both results are fresh. A lower rate you found last week really means nothing if you compare it to a rate you found today. Also, make sure you're searching for the exact same itinerary--even adjusting the pick-up or drop-off time by one minute could affect rates, sometimes drastically, especially with all of the rate management games the rental companies engage in these days. Make sure, too, you're searching the exact same location--a small difference in location can be easily overlooked when searching for off-airport rentals. The easiest solution is to book what you found elsewhere and then submit it for price tracking—that way, it's assured to be an apples-to-apples comparison. If you found or booked the lower rate elsewhere within the last hour and AutoSlash can't beat it, there's probably something wrong somewhere. Reach out to [email protected] for assistance and you're virtually assured to come out with an even lower rate.

Are reservations I book through Priceline refundable?
The Pay Later rates AutoSlash finds are not prepaid and generally don't even require providing a credit card (a few exceptions apply depending on company and location—no-show fees are starting to make some appearances). Be sure to look for rates marked "Pay Later," "Pay At Counter," "Free Cancellation," or similar, or just avoid booking anything that asks you to enter a credit card number, to avoid accidentally booking one of Priceline's prepaid and nonrefundable Express Deals. If you match the rate AutoSlash quotes exactly (i.e. AutoSlash quotes a rate with Alamo of $142.62, and you find a rate with Alamo on Priceline of $142.62), then it should be fully cancelable without a penalty.


Why do I have to prepay now? Why did you change?
Nothing's changed—only a new, extra option! AutoSlash still searches the same pay-at-counter rates it always has, and they're still in your quote (marked as "Pay Later" and bookable via major online travel agencies). In addition, AutoSlash now also offers the option to directly book highly-discounted prepaid rates, which are often lower (they're marked in your quote as "Pay Now" or "Slash Deals"). But prepaying for your rental doesn't mean you're trading flexibility—prepaid Slash Deals rates can be canceled for a full refund up to 48 hours before the scheduled pick-up time.

Are prepaid Slash Deals rates booked directly through AutoSlash refundable?
Slash Deals reservations can be canceled up to 48 hours before pick-up (in the local time zone of the rental office) for a full refund without a penalty. Within 48 hours of pick-up, cancellations are subject to a cancellation fee equal to 1 day's charges. After the pick-up time, reservations are nonrefundable.

I booked a prepaid Slash Deal. What if my flight is canceled or the rental agency won't rent me a car?
The cancellation fees are set by contract between the car rental companies and the booking vendor AutoSlash uses. AutoSlash has a limited ability to request exceptions to the cancellation policy but can't guarantee refunds. AutoSlash recommends you always carry a good travel insurance policy to help minimize issues with prepaid travel arrangements. (Original post)

Can I add my loyalty program to a prepaid Slash Deals reservation?
Unfortunately, there isn't a way to do this (though it's understandably important to most people on FlyerTalk!). However, due to the way National's program works, you can still receive your Emerald Club benefits on prepaid bookings--just book and then use National as normal, including skipping the counter and choosing a car from the Emerald Aisle or Executive Selection as applicable, and the agent at the exit gate will associate the rental to your Emerald Club account using your driver's license number. While not guaranteed, rental credits (including One-Two Free hits) should post normally. To date, no one's posted any experiences attempting this with other rental companies (please post if you try this!).

Are prepaid Slash Deals safe to book? Can I trust AutoSlash?
The booking vendor behind prepaid Slash Deals rates, Connexions Loyalty, is one of the largest vendors in this sector. They power the booking portals for many major financial institutions' rewards portals, including Citi ThankYou Points and (until recently) Chase Ultimate Rewards, both products used by tens of thousands of FlyerTalk members (so hardly a fly-by-night operator). Connexions has robust contracts with the rental car companies for rates and inventory. At no point does AutoSlash ever have access to your credit card information; the travel.autoslash.com subdomain for booking Slash Deals rates is actually hosted by Connexions.

What happened to the grid?
The previous booking platform AutoSlash used was discontinued (it was a division of Travelocity that got bought by Orbitz and eventually folded into Expedia and then sunsetted). AirportRentalCars.com, a subsidiary of Priceline, does have a grid that actually works reasonably well, but their support for coupons and discounts is broken at the moment--hopefully they'll get it fixed at some point. Most other sites out there we've found with grids have half-baked or zero support for coupons and discounts, making them a non-starter.

Known Issues and Workarounds:

Off-airport rate not found: Occasionally, a rate AutoSlash finds in an off-airport quote request won't show up when you click on the Priceline link. This is usually due to Priceline's default search not including the location AutoSlash found. (Priceline dynamically adjusts their search radius based on a number of factors, and they also always search from the geographic center of the city, regardless of ) The current best workaround is to take the Priceline URL and append &radius=25 to the end, which will force Priceline to show all locations within 25 miles of the city center (this can be hundreds of results). You can use the filters on the left sidebar to help narrow down the results and make it easier to find the rate you're looking for. (Original post)

Customizing tracking results: AutoSlash support agents can adjust the reservation parameters (date/time/location/car size/membership affiliations/etc.) as well as filter out specific rental car companies and disable searching for prepaid rates. Reach out to [email protected] or reply to your tracking confirmation or offer email for help with this.

Feature Requests:
  • User profiles -- it's coming--slowly, yes, but it's finally on the development timeline
  • Mobile-friendly design -- in progress
  • App -- not much benefit to one until user profiles are rolled out. Let's get mobile-friendly design perfected first.
  • Retain membership/affiliation choices in a cookie -- RESOLVED
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Old Jun 11, 17, 8:47 pm
  #346  
Company Representative - Autoslash
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 3,351
Originally Posted by SixAlpha View Post
So if my understanding is correct, there is no change in the actual discounts you guys are able to find, it just requires the extra step of booking through (mostly) Priceline now?
Yes, that is correct.

Originally Posted by SixAlpha View Post
One thing I miss is the price grid your old system provided. On more than one occasion, because of that grid, I was able to book a much nicer car than what I had originally reserved at a better price than i had originally reserved.
We agree that the grid was very helpful, but Priceline's search UI is actually quite powerful and better than the grid in many ways. The filters down the left-hand side of the screen allow you to quickly narrow down options that work for you, and the sort options at the top allow you to quickly sort by lowest price, vehicle type, distance, company, etc.

Originally Posted by SixAlpha View Post
The new system seems to only display equivalent vehicles and lower.
Priceline's UI should show all options and our system will automatically search for the best pricing on your selected vehicle type and higher. For example, if you request discounted pricing from us for an intermediate car or higher, and we find that the price of a premium car for a certain company is less than the intermediate car (which happens), we will offer than instead.

I hope this helps. Feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions or need further assistance.
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Old Jun 12, 17, 7:00 pm
  #347  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Lexington KY/Coronado, CA
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Originally Posted by AutoSlash View Post

Priceline's UI should show all options and our system will automatically search for the best pricing on your selected vehicle type and higher. For example, if you request discounted pricing from us for an intermediate car or higher, and we find that the price of a premium car for a certain company is less than the intermediate car (which happens), we will offer than instead..
This is great to hear, thanks! You guys did indeed once track a Full Size reservation for me and found a Luxury car that was cheaper than the FCAR. My in-laws, expecting an Altima, were pleasantly surprised with the Lincoln MKT. I was worried that functionality had gone away.
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Old Jun 14, 17, 4:36 pm
  #348  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
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I'm not a fan of the new system via priceline. I am able to get much better rates using discount codes on my own.

I'm afraid it appears that Autoslash just funnels customers to the priceline site.

All good things must come to an end, I suppose. The original Autoslash product was great while it lasted!
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Old Jun 14, 17, 4:42 pm
  #349  
 
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Originally Posted by newsmanhoss View Post
I'm not a fan of the new system via priceline. I am able to get much better rates using discount codes on my own.

I'm afraid it appears that Autoslash just funnels customers to the priceline site.

All good things must come to an end, I suppose. The original Autoslash product was great while it lasted!
Saddened myself as well. Have been receiving emails and when you click to Priceline the location does not propagate if it's a non airport location. 600+ options were presented to me for PHL just today. Not interested in all the sorting by providers and locations and the drop down menu for selection is too generic.

I liked the old system was loyal saved me money and hopefully things will get better for AutoSlash going forward.
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Old Jun 14, 17, 6:09 pm
  #350  
Company Representative - Autoslash
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Originally Posted by newsmanhoss View Post
I'm not a fan of the new system via priceline. I am able to get much better rates using discount codes on my own.

I'm afraid it appears that Autoslash just funnels customers to the priceline site.

All good things must come to an end, I suppose. The original Autoslash product was great while it lasted!
Maybe we need to somehow make this clearer on the site, but the rates are exactly the same as before. The only difference is that instead of referring people to the old booking system (a white-label product of Orbitz based on the ancient legacy Travelocity booking engine), we're now referring people to a different booking system (which happens to be Priceline).

Our data source for rates and coupons is still exactly the same as before, and everything about the referral links is the same. We find the same coupons and discounts and embed them directly in the booking links so you don't have to do anything but click on them and see and then book the rate we found.

To be clear, when we refer you to Priceline, we are not referring you to Priceline's regular, retail rates that you'd see if you search Priceline on your own. We are including the very same discount codes we used to include on the links to the old Travelocity-based system.

Trust us, we would have loved to have kept the old Travelocity-based booking system around forever. It was bulletproof (and basically a direct link to Sabre--which is not surprising, since it was created back when Travelocity was owned by Sabre). It was a dated design, but it was functional, and the grid definitely made for easy comparisons. Unfortunately, between the rental companies protesting about us booking their rates and Expedia's (now the owner of all of legacy Travelocity's systems) decision to sunset the booking platform product, all we're left with are the remaining OTAs. Frankly, yes, they all fall short in some manner or another...but what has not changed is our ability to find the best discounts and our commitment to helping you book them.

Originally Posted by Flying Machine View Post
Saddened myself as well. Have been receiving emails and when you click to Priceline the location does not propagate if it's a non airport location. 600+ options were presented to me for PHL just today. Not interested in all the sorting by providers and locations and the drop down menu for selection is too generic.

I liked the old system was loyal saved me money and hopefully things will get better for AutoSlash going forward.
You'd think that Priceline, being the world's largest travel vendor, would have their act together. Unfortunately, we've discovered quite a few flaws in Priceline's booking engine. Depending on the rental company, Priceline seems to have some issues transmitting the discount, coupon, and/or frequent renter program number to the rental company's booking system. Sometimes Priceline overrides the discount code we send with their own, and in some cases, Priceline's system simply doesn't know about a given car class and so won't show it (for example, Priceline doesn't understand what a LFAR [luxury SUV] is). You're right about the geographic location issues, too.

We suspect that no one has ever tested Priceline's booking system quite like we have--certainly, it works OK for the 99.9% of people out there who never mess around with coupon codes or anything and are just browsing for rates. We're definitely putting it through its paces and demanding that it work effectively as accurately as a native GDS, and we're exposing a lot of weaknesses in their system that they probably had no idea existed. We've been in touch with their tech team and have notified them about some of the issues we're finding with their system, but the process of getting them to understand the issues, figure out the fixes, and commit to the development to fix them is not an immediate one.

And that's all just back-end broken stuff. That doesn't even touch on the user interface experience. Like we said above, the old Travelocity grid was great. An endless list of cars is much less efficient to browse through than a quick glance at a grid. But getting them to overhaul their entire UI is not likely to be successful.

And if you can believe it, Priceline is actually the least bad of the alternatives. All of the other OTAs we've tested are even worse. Some don't accept both coupons and discounts at the same time. Some don't accept coupons or discounts at all (!). Some don't work with local-to-local (non-airport) one-way rentals. Some just return junk rates. We chose Priceline as our first third-party site to refer people to because it worked the best (and yes, that is saying something). We're working on adding support for other OTAs, though not all rates will be bookable through those other sites due to the above-mentioned limitations (Priceline at least has the infrastructure to support all permutations of coupons, discounts, one-ways, locals, etc., even if their implementation is not perfect--the rest don't).

All of the above notwithstanding, our commitment to helping you book the best discounted rates is the same as it ever was. If something doesn't work on Priceline, all you need to do is reply to the email message with your quote and say you couldn't find the rate. We have a small but passionate team of deal-hunters (most of whom are long-time, experienced FlyerTalkers in their own right!) who will find a way to book the rate, even if Priceline doesn't support it. (And if you mention you're a FlyerTalker, we can speak FT-techie/geek to you. )

Long-term, we're very optimistic that things will get easier, between Priceline addressing some of their issues, the addition of other OTAs, and even some completely alternative booking channels that promise very attractive rates. One thing will always remain the same: our commitment to help people find the best discounts possible.
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Old Jun 14, 17, 7:11 pm
  #351  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
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Thanks Autoslash for the timely, detailed and most importantly Candid reply. I have always supported your site (while saving lots of money for myself). With these new challenges I will try and continue to do the same. However.. Frankly speaking I/we at FT have been on hold for awhile while you were suggesting a new and improved site (for quite awhile) that promised many new nuances for us to utilize. Whom would of ever known that we would be taking 10 paces backwards. With that said, I assume you were blindsided by the change and had little time to recover (thus the Priceline situation). Good Luck with this. I have a booking this weekend and Costco beat you out this time.. And its not a cheapo either.. Thanks and Safe Driving..
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Old Jun 14, 17, 8:16 pm
  #352  
Company Representative - Autoslash
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Originally Posted by Flying Machine View Post
Thanks Autoslash for the timely, detail and most importantly Candid reply. I have always supported your site and with these new challenges I will try and continue to do the same. However.. Frankly speaking I/we at FT have been on hold for awhile while you were suggesting a new and improved site with many new nuances for us to utilize. Whom would of ever known that we would be taking 10 paces backwards. With that said, I assume you were blindsided by the change and had little time to recover thus the Priceline situation. Good Luck with this. I have a booking this weekend and Costco beat you out this time.. And its not a cheapo either.. Thanks and Safe Driving..
Yes, the change did come as a surprise to us. Sometimes though, you need to take a few steps backward to take a leap forward. While changes are afoot, we've still got major plans to offer even more value and functionality in the near future, so stay tuned. We really appreciate everyone's support.

Lastly, it was mentioned above by newsmanhoss that he found a lower rate on his own. This is bound to happen occasionally, especially among the FT crowd who are extremely savvy. We're thrilled when people can beat the rates we find. We're on your side. We want folks to get the best rate possible. That's probably why we get no love from the industry. Whatever. We'll be happy if our customers love us.

If you've found a lower rate on your own, then just go to autoslash.com/track to track your rental for price drops. Rates can and do fluctuate over time. Let us do the work for you. Nothing ventured, nothing gained (and it's free).

Just keep in mind that we don't use corporate codes, so if you found a lower rate than us using some company or private organization's discount code, it's very possible we won't be able to beat it, but of course going that route has certain risks.
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Old Jun 24, 17, 10:22 pm
  #353  
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I understand why you had to go to a different booking engine, but boy, do I miss the old one.

I really hate the spammy nature of Priceline's shilling:

When you go to its booking page it ALWAYS says at the top "DEMAND IS HIGH! BOOK NOW" or some such, even when that is likely not true.

After booking through them and then using autoslash/track to track it (I tedious two-step process that didn't use to be the case), I always get a scary spammy email from Priceline telling me how I need to buy the extra insurance.

You've saved me hundreds of dollars over the last few years, so I'll be patient, but I really dislike the new regime.
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Old Jun 24, 17, 11:30 pm
  #354  
Company Representative - Autoslash
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: New York, NY
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Originally Posted by cblaisd View Post
I understand why you had to go to a different booking engine, but boy, do I miss the old one.

I really hate the spammy nature of Priceline's shilling:

When you go to its booking page it ALWAYS says at the top "DEMAND IS HIGH! BOOK NOW" or some such, even when that is likely not true.

After booking through them and then using autoslash/track to track it (I tedious two-step process that didn't use to be the case), I always get a scary spammy email from Priceline telling me how I need to buy the extra insurance.

You've saved me hundreds of dollars over the last few years, so I'll be patient, but I really dislike the new regime.
Trust us--we do, too. We're working on adding more vendors (some of whom should hopefully be less spammy than Priceline), but every other vendor we've reviewed is even more broken than Priceline (i.e. Expedia only supports a discount code OR a coupon, not both at the same time, and neither carrentals.com nor rentalcars.com even support adding a discount code at all--a surprise for two sites who are solely dedicated to booking rental cars, etc.), and so the options to provide direct booking links with other vendors are in many cases limited just by site design (and the rental company sites themselves don't support deep linking at all, so you'd have to manually type everything in). But we'll work on slotting in other options where they make sense.

We're also working on some easier ways of re-tracking reservations to remove some of the tediousness.

We do appreciate everyone's grace and forgiveness as we work through all of the challenges with the user experience, and we look forward to adding even more features and options to help you find even better rates down the line.
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Old Jun 25, 17, 6:25 am
  #355  
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I am a long time supporter of AutoSlash. I booked a SUV for November in Kona HI for 11 days back in April. After looking into my options I chose to book Hertz through AutoSlash as I have found value in booking with them in the past and most of the rates from the majors were with in a few dollars of each other. Over the past few months AutoSlash has re-booked me several times and reduced the rate by $168.00 so far. Great Job AutoSlash.
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Old Jun 28, 17, 10:48 am
  #356  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Is there a way to be a little more selective in where I rent the car from (non-airport locations)?

I put in my address and autoslash gives me a price, but that low price is actually pretty far away from my apartment (I have Avis/Budget, Hertz, Enterprise all within a reasonable distance).

With the Priceline UI, I can't seem to filter beyond just "Chicago Non-Airport".

To actually find the nearby locations, I need to scroll through the results looking for an address I recognize because there is no way to sort/filter by distance.
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Old Jun 28, 17, 12:18 pm
  #357  
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Originally Posted by ottothecow View Post
Is there a way to be a little more selective in where I rent the car from (non-airport locations)?

I put in my address and autoslash gives me a price, but that low price is actually pretty far away from my apartment (I have Avis/Budget, Hertz, Enterprise all within a reasonable distance).

With the Priceline UI, I can't seem to filter beyond just "Chicago Non-Airport".

To actually find the nearby locations, I need to scroll through the results looking for an address I recognize because there is no way to sort/filter by distance.
Priceline's geographical filtering options are unfortunately more or less nonexistent. The vendor who powers our internal search system centers the search on the specific address you enter and searches a fixed (unchangeable) 10-mile radius around that exact location. However, despite what information we pass to them in the link, Priceline centers the search on the city name only and does not take into account the street address. We've requested them to add street address search functionality but don't know of their plans for making any improvements to the site.
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Old Jun 28, 17, 1:48 pm
  #358  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Originally Posted by AutoSlash View Post
Priceline's geographical filtering options are unfortunately more or less nonexistent. The vendor who powers our internal search system centers the search on the specific address you enter and searches a fixed (unchangeable) 10-mile radius around that exact location. However, despite what information we pass to them in the link, Priceline centers the search on the city name only and does not take into account the street address. We've requested them to add street address search functionality but don't know of their plans for making any improvements to the site.

Ah, Kind of a bummer as it means the "lower rate" thing doesn't work very well for me.

I've got a rental for $150 and once I put in my info, it almost immediately came back with a way to save me $46. Not a bad deal, except that cheaper rental is 50 minutes away via public transit or 30 minutes via Uber (and the round trip uber is going to be ~$40).

I know you guys are trying to make things work, but this seems like it worked so much better in the old site...I only discovered it a few months ago and have loved it so far, but this change kind of hurts the usability as someone where >50% of my rentals are from neighborhood locations instead of airports.
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Old Jun 28, 17, 4:16 pm
  #359  
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It's interesting... Even though Priceline searches say up to 25 miles out, our system is still set to search only up to 5 miles out or so from the pickup location when looking for lower rates (same as before). That means, if we tell you we found a lower rate of $X it should be fairly close to your original pickup location. If you'd like to PM us your example (or reply to the quote notification email we sent you), we'd be happy to look into it for you. I have a feeling there is an explanation of why you're seeing what you're seeing.

Last edited by AutoSlash; Jun 28, 17 at 5:51 pm
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Old Jun 29, 17, 9:58 am
  #360  
 
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Originally Posted by AutoSlash View Post
It's interesting... Even though Priceline searches say up to 25 miles out, our system is still set to search only up to 5 miles out or so from the pickup location when looking for lower rates (same as before). That means, if we tell you we found a lower rate of $X it should be fairly close to your original pickup location. If you'd like to PM us your example (or reply to the quote notification email we sent you), we'd be happy to look into it for you. I have a feeling there is an explanation of why you're seeing what you're seeing.
I think that is the explanation. The cheaper location I was referencing yesterday is just barely under 5 miles away as the crow flies. Unfortunately, it is 5 miles of cross-town urban distance (so no highways or trains take you directly there...have to either take small streets or go downtown and then come back out on another "spoke"). The second cheapest location is now 4 miles away, but at least it is down the same "spoke" making it 20 minutes away rather than 50.

Probably not much you can do about that unless priceline adds distance sorting of a map view. The system obviously still works for someone doing an airport rental, or for someone living in a less dense area. The only think I could think of would be the ability to set something smaller like a 1-2 mile radius.

FWIW, I am not opposed to going that far if the savings is worth it. I returned a car last weekend all of the way out at O'Hare because you saved me like 4-500 on a one-way rental vs returning it in my neighborhood.
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