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 Mar 20, 13, 4:30 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Seattle, WA
Programs: UA Gold, Hilton Diamond
Posts: 141
Autoslash (General Discussion)

Sorry if on the wrong board, but I don't see info elsewhere. Is Autoslash still functioning? I'm getting confirmation of tracking (booked elsewhere, tracked on Autoslash), but whereas in the past I got numerous rebookings, I've gotten nothing for the past few months--and I've found better pricing when I go back and re-check pricing myself.
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Old Mar 21, 13, 4:56 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: New York
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Posts: 558
I was just aware of Autoslash recently and used it to track my car rental a few months ago. Everything seems fine and out of the blue, I get an email from them saying that they don't support tracking the rental company I went with.
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Old Mar 22, 13, 10:18 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 47
I have not checked Autoslash for a month or so, but the versatility of it was limited a bit when several major car rental firms declined to cooperate with him "awhile back."

So, while the site was still up and running several weeks ago when I checked, the number of available rental agencies was smaller than had been available in the past.

That probably accounts for lack of messages regarding any new "opportunities" for you. However, as always, the best way is to check with Autoslash yourself. He was always pretty responsive to any of my concerns.

He may have a whole new slew of ways to save you $$$
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Old Mar 24, 13, 9:09 am
  #4  
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Thanks. While not able to book through Autoslash for many of the major companies, tracking would still result in updates with price savings from just about all the companies. Seems that's no longer the case, making the site relatively worthless.
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Old Apr 4, 13, 1:47 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 4
Used Autoslash for the first time 3/26-4/1. It rebooked me twice. Saved over $100 for the Spring Break/Easter holiday in Orlando. No complaints!
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Old Apr 16, 13, 1:51 am
  #6  
RLG
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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I think it stopped working for a while and recently came back to life.

I also noticed a few months ago that I had stopped getting updates on any of my rentals. As a test, I booked a duplicate of one of my rentals at the highest priced company on Kayak and gave it to autoslash to track. I was just notified this week that they found an 80% lower rate. Of course, a lower rate was there all along.

This was a great tool. However, if they go offline for random undisclosed periods, I'll probably go back to checking rates myself.
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Old Apr 17, 13, 3:37 pm
  #7  
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Basically, they work for Sixt at this point - nobody else that I'd actually want to rent from. Unless the majors are letting them back in now...

I just finished an Autoslash rental. They rebooked once from $102/wk. down to $81/wk. for a Sixt rental at PHX. No problems at all with pickup/dropoff.
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Old Apr 17, 13, 3:45 pm
  #8  
RLG
 
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
Basically, they work for Sixt at this point - nobody else that I'd actually want to rent from. Unless the majors are letting them back in now...
I don't think it's correct that they only work with Sixt. I've gotten several notices in the last week or so about rebookings with Thrifty. Unfortunately, these are bookings that I made months ago and for which I long ago found cheaper alternatives.

Autoslash doesn't have any value to me if I can't count on it working. If i have to manually recheck the prices myself I'll just rebook them myself.
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Old Apr 17, 13, 3:50 pm
  #9  
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Originally Posted by RLG View Post
I don't think it's correct that they only work with Sixt. I've gotten several notices in the last week or so about rebookings with Thrifty. Unfortunately, these are bookings that I made months ago and for which I long ago found cheaper alternatives.

Autoslash doesn't have any value to me if I can't count on it working. If i have to manually recheck the prices myself I'll just rebook them myself.
If Thrifty's back on the table, then I assume Dollar is too?

I'm not a *huge* fan of Dollar/Thrifty, but at certain locations I'd have no problem with them.

Contrasted to the Payless type stuff of the world, which I avoid at almost all costs. (I say "almost" because I did rent from Advantage recently thanks to some wacky pricing going on during Spring Break at PHX.)
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Old Apr 17, 13, 3:52 pm
  #10  
RLG
 
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
If Thrifty's back on the table, then I assume Dollar is too?
Yes, both Dollar and Thrifty.
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Old May 15, 13, 4:50 pm
  #11  
Company Representative - Autoslash
 
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Here's the deal. We've been focusing most of our energy on the development of a completely revamped version of the site that will both vastly improve the experience (with customizable search parameters, etc.) as well as work with all agencies regardless of their willingness to work with us.

As such, while our automated system has been humming along mostly smoothly (resulting in the references made by disadventurer and pinniped to being automatically rebooked), we haven't had the staffing resources to handle a lot of the more manual work required. Unfortunately, the "tracking" system is virtually 100% manual, and we just haven't had a chance to get through the growing backlog of requests.

The good news is that a few days ago, we brought on some additional help with the goal of going through these backlogged requests and getting them processed and submitted into our system. We've already made decent progress towards that goal, and if you've submitted a tracking request, we should be getting to it soon. (Note that if the reservation you submitted is canceled, we won't be able to retrieve the details, and the tracking request will be discarded.) We're hopeful that we'll be able to get through them all in the next couple of weeks and then be able to stay on top of them until the arrival of our new site.

Here's a copy of a post we made recently in another thread on FT that might help illuminate the situation--and also provide a couple of suggested workarounds until we get the new site launched (I've underlined the suggested workaround):

Originally Posted by AutoSlash View Post
We haven't updated the open letter on our site in awhile, but unfortunately, pretty much the entire industry doesn't like us and won't allow us to show their rates on our site. However, if you use our site and get a search result from anyone, even a low-end company like Payless, go ahead and book it. Our systems are designed to try to find a better price with a better agency, and in most cases, you should get an email within a few hours asking if you'd like to switch to a different (better) company, and we can still book you that way. If you check our site and don't get any results, either post here or send us an email (support at our site's domain name) with the same information requested at the beginning of this thread, and we can get you a price quote and help you with booking through all agencies.

Reservations booked on other sites and submitted to us for tracking need to be processed manually (we actually need to look your reservation up on the rental company's website and hand-copy all of the rental information into our price-tracking system), and we currently have an extremely long backlog of those requests. It's far faster for you to book with whatever company you find in our search results and wait a few hours for our automated system to send you a better offer or, failing that, to email us directly for a price quote. We recently brought on some additional help to work on clearing the backlog of tracked results, though, so we should have much better luck getting to those in a reasonable amount of time going forward. We're also working on a completely new version of our site that will make everything work much more smoothly. We'll announce more info on that as we can.
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Old May 15, 13, 5:01 pm
  #12  
RLG
 
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Originally Posted by AutoSlash View Post
We haven't updated the open letter on our site in awhile
I had to figure out for myself that you weren't tracking my reservations.

Unfortunately, this approach seriously damages your credibility and makes me less likely to trust you in the future. You decided not to tell people that tracking isn't working or taking tracking requests off your website. You just encourage people to make tracking requests and then ignore them.
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Old May 15, 13, 5:12 pm
  #13  
Company Representative - Autoslash
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Originally Posted by RLG View Post
I had to figure out for myself that you weren't tracking my reservations.

Unfortunately, this approach seriously damages your credibility and makes me less likely to trust you in the future. You decided not to tell people that tracking isn't working or taking tracking requests off your website. You just encourage people to make tracking requests and then ignore them.
We do apologize for that. We never intended to fall behind on processing the tracking requests and had actively been looking for ways to speed up the processing, but we didn't have the resources to do so (or even to update the website with an updated message). We were still processing tracked reservation submissions, albeit at a much slower pace than they were coming in, so they weren't being ignored so much as we just couldn't handle all of the demand--especially as it's a completely free service. As I said, that is changing now and will soon (with the launch of the new site) be a complete non-issue.

I do hope we can re-earn your trust in the coming weeks.
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Old May 16, 13, 7:07 am
  #14  
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When you re-launch, will the site automatically monitor our reservations and will it include more of the mainline agencies? (Hertz, National, Alamo, Avis, Budget, etc.)
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Old May 16, 13, 10:55 am
  #15  
Company Representative - Autoslash
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Originally Posted by pinniped View Post
When you re-launch, will the site automatically monitor our reservations and will it include more of the mainline agencies? (Hertz, National, Alamo, Avis, Budget, etc.)
In order to avoid further delaying the launch of the new site, the former probably won't be available in the initial release (due to the complexity of programming it requires) but will definitely come soon after, as we know that it is a key benefit of the service.

And a definite yes on the latter. We'll be able to support searching for rates across all agencies, regardless of their willingness to allow us to.
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