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5 years since reserving car for personal use, advice

5 years since reserving car for personal use, advice

Old Jul 20, 19, 1:31 pm
  #1  
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5 years since reserving car for personal use, advice

Hi, I am reserving a car next month in Nashville. I realized that I haven't reserved a car for personal use in the USA in about 5 years. I've rented for work but it was portal or specific process. No choices really for me to make.

So many changes in the travel world in that amount of time. From my research so far: I could rent a car through one of my mileage plans, Marriott Bonvoy membership, booking.com, priceline, travelocity, other OTAs.... so many ways to go now. I've seen lots of websites that offer deals too, many of which I know nothing about and would need to vet. What should I prioritize of these in my research?

In case this helps your answer, here's what I'm looking for: Small to midsize sedan for less than one week in Nashville. Not a compact. Need to rent from the airport location, and will return it there. Prefer a 4 door if not a big jump in price. Would like a mainline rental company--Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Budget. Not sure about Thrifty.

As a starting point, I looked at Hertz and a 25 percent off Groupon, $85/day, I assume pretax, must be prepaid. Is that good, great, keep hunting?

Thanks in advance.
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Old Jul 20, 19, 1:39 pm
  #2  
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$85/day sounds like a lot for a basic vehicle at BNA airport. I think you can do better. There are lots of coupons and discount codes available. For companies like Hertz, Avis, Budget, Alamo, National, you can stack both a discount code and a coupon. Dollar and Thrifty (both owned by Hertz) only support discount code or coupon code. Enterprise supports discount code only. AutoSlash makes the process of finding the best discount and/or coupon code simple by taking you through a mini-interview process about your rental details and what groups and memberships you have to find you the best deal.

Also keep in mind that the best deal today may not be the best deal tomorrow, or next week, or even the day before pickup. Rental rates can change multiple times a day. In order to truly get the best deal, you'd want to keep checking rates, or use AutoSlash's free tracking service to be notified when a better deal comes along.

As far as companies go here's a handy guide to company ratings we put together.

Lastly, it sounds like you probably want an intermediate (midsize) car or larger. You should probably also look at intermediate and standard SUVs. They can be very price-competitive with cars depending on the situation--sometimes even lower in price, so worth checking.
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Old Jul 20, 19, 1:45 pm
  #3  
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Do you have a credit card that covers insurance on the rental car? [Check the details carefully.] If you have a regular AmEx Plat/Centurion charge card, PTS/CTS have discounted rates that give you a grace period to return the car late without a fee, so depending on the timing of your flights, you can save a full day's rental cost.
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Old Jul 20, 19, 4:08 pm
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Originally Posted by AutoSlash View Post
$85/day sounds like a lot for a basic vehicle at BNA airport. I think you can do better. There are lots of coupons and discount codes available. For companies like Hertz, Avis, Budget, Alamo, National, you can stack both a discount code and a coupon. Dollar and Thrifty (both owned by Hertz) only support discount code or coupon code. Enterprise supports discount code only. AutoSlash makes the process of finding the best discount and/or coupon code simple by taking you through a mini-interview process about your rental details and what groups and memberships you have to find you the best deal.

Also keep in mind that the best deal today may not be the best deal tomorrow, or next week, or even the day before pickup. Rental rates can change multiple times a day. In order to truly get the best deal, you'd want to keep checking rates, or use AutoSlash's free tracking service to be notified when a better deal comes along.

As far as companies go here's a handy guide to company ratings we put together.

Lastly, it sounds like you probably want an intermediate (midsize) car or larger. You should probably also look at intermediate and standard SUVs. They can be very price-competitive with cars depending on the situation--sometimes even lower in price, so worth checking.
Thanks for your thoughts.That price seemed high to me, but I really had no basis. I will follow some of your tips to research. I hadn't really known about Autoslash until checking this website today.

I am not fond of driving a really big vehicle, so I had hedged on the SUV idea. We may have some tight parking, although the back-up cameras on new models are pretty cool. I am also thinking about booking for a week rate and turning it in early.
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Old Jul 20, 19, 4:11 pm
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Originally Posted by Plebian View Post
Thanks for your thoughts.That price seemed high to me, but I really had no basis. I will follow some of your tips to research. I hadn't really known about Autoslash until checking this website today.

I am not fond of driving a really big vehicle, so I had hedged on the SUV idea. We may have some tight parking, although the back-up cameras on new models are pretty cool. I am also thinking about booking for a week rate and turning it in early.
Be careful about the weekly rates. They're generally good if you keep the car for 5-7 days, but if you return the car in 4 days, it will revert to a daily rate and could cost much more. You need to read the terms carefully. Also, some very cheap weekend rates (usually quoted as per weekend day) ren from about noon Thursday through noon Monday, but this depends on the location.
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Old Jul 20, 19, 4:12 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Do you have a credit card that covers insurance on the rental car? [Check the details carefully.] If you have a regular AmEx Plat/Centurion charge card, PTS/CTS have discounted rates that give you a grace period to return the car late without a fee, so depending on the timing of your flights, you can save a full day's rental cost.
I don't have the card you suggest. I don't recall having this coverage but certainly can check. Otherwise, I will probably add a rider through our auto insurance. As I recall, that rider was very economical and covered things like "loss of income/loss of use" for the rental company while they repair the vehicle.
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Old Jul 20, 19, 4:17 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Be careful about the weekly rates. They're generally good if you keep the car for 5-7 days, but if you return the car in 4 days, it will revert to a daily rate and could cost much more. You need to read the terms carefully. Also, some very cheap weekend rates (usually quoted as per weekend day) ren from about noon Thursday through noon Monday, but this depends on the location.
That's a trick we didn't encounter in the past. Good to know.

Not to be nit-picky, but assuming your are correct for the car I rent:
Let's say I get the car at 9 pm on Day 1.
Would I need to return the vehicle AFTER 9 pm on Day 5 to count as a week?
I can do that, but I will need to schedule around this possibility.
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Old Jul 20, 19, 6:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Plebian View Post
That's a trick we didn't encounter in the past. Good to know.

Not to be nit-picky, but assuming your are correct for the car I rent:
Let's say I get the car at 9 pm on Day 1.
Would I need to return the vehicle AFTER 9 pm on Day 5 to count as a week?
I can do that, but I will need to schedule around this possibility.
The devil is in the details (of your particular rate). Some companies will only let you pay the weekly rate if you keep the car for at least 99 hours (four days plus three hours). If you keep the car for four days plus two hours, you might be charged the higher daily rate, plus the "additional hour" rate for the extra two hours.

Most -- but not all -- credit cards offer at least "secondary" rental car loss/damage coverage. If your personal insurance does not cover rental-car loss/damage, and you decline to buy the rider from your personal insurer, then secondary credit-card coverage would be primary in your case, since you would have no other collectable insurance.

I'm assuming that your rental would likely be for something like Monday-Friday, and not Thursday-Monday (which might qualify for lower weekend rates).

Do you belong to any organizations like AAA, AARP, USAA, Costco, etc., which offer discount codes with many of the major car-rental companies? Are you an alumnus of a college or university that has contract rental-car rates, and that also allows alumni to use those rates for leisure travel?

There are lots of ways to skin this cat.

Last edited by guv1976; Jul 20, 19 at 6:59 pm
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Old Jul 20, 19, 7:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Plebian View Post
What should I prioritize of these in my research?
Brand's own website first (for the baseline). Then any OTA portals.

IME, if you can't find a good price from the above channels, all other channels are meaningless.

Originally Posted by Plebian View Post
Would like a mainline rental company--Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Budget. Not sure about Thrifty.
While someone may disagree, Thrifty (owned by Hertz) is based on Avis's Budget.

You should definitely not exclude Thrifty.

Originally Posted by Plebian View Post
As a starting point, I looked at Hertz and a 25 percent off Groupon, $85/day, I assume pretax, must be prepaid. Is that good, great, keep hunting?
Not sure what the price includes, but it is very high.
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Old Jul 20, 19, 8:21 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
The devil is in the details (of your particular rate). Some companies will only let you pay the weekly rate if you keep the car for at least 99 hours (four days plus three hours). If you keep the car for four days plus two hours, you might be charged the higher daily rate, plus the "additional hour" rate for the extra two hours.
I will study that before attempting a weekly rate.

Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
I'm assuming that your rental would likely be for something like Monday-Friday, and not Thursday-Monday (which might qualify for lower weekend rates).

Do you belong to any organizations like AAA, AARP, USAA, Costco, etc., which offer discount codes with many of the major car-rental companies? Are you an alumnus of a college or university that has contract rental-car rates, and that also allows alumni to use those rates for leisure travel?
Thanks so much for your suggestions!

I actually am going on a Wednesday through Monday but I needed to turn the car in Sunday because of hotel parking. I belong to Costco, great reminder. I don't believe my college has ever offered car rental discounts, but I will check. It sounds like the most obvious ways to rent a car might not be the cheapest. I was afraid that might be the case.

Thanks again.

​​​​​​​
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Old Jul 20, 19, 8:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Plebian View Post
I will study that before attempting a weekly rate.



Thanks so much for your suggestions!

I actually am going on a Wednesday through Monday but I needed to turn the car in Sunday because of hotel parking. I belong to Costco, great reminder. I don't believe my college has ever offered car rental discounts, but I will check. It sounds like the most obvious ways to rent a car might not be the cheapest. I was afraid that might be the case.

Thanks again.
If you don't mind the hassle, renting the car for one day from Wednesday to Thursday, and then returning it and picking up a three-day weekend rental might be cheaper. For example, a Thursday-Sunday rental of an intermediate with Avis at BNA next week is running $101, taxes included, on a prepaid (non-refundable) booking using the AARP code. (I imagine that the Costco code would yield a similar rate.)

If you aren't renting until the Fall, Avis' free-weekend-day coupon might once again be available. (It tends to be blacked out over the Summer.)
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Old Jul 20, 19, 9:00 pm
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I think that Costco might well be your best bet, either for a Wednesday-Sunday four-day rental, or for a Thursday-Sunday three-day weekend rental. Costco's low rates do not require prepayment.
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Old Jul 21, 19, 2:36 am
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Just go to autoslash.com and get a quote there. It saves all the speculation here.
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Old Jul 21, 19, 7:57 am
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Costco is a great source. Will show you on a grid major rental companies and there prices for each category of car. Easy to see the cheapest acceptable car. Booking through them gives you a free second driver. Reservations are cancellable.

As noted by many others car rental prices bounce around. After making a reservation I check periodically to see if costco has a better deal.
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Old Jul 21, 19, 8:04 am
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Originally Posted by mary mary View Post
Costco is a great source. Will show you on a grid major rental companies and there prices for each category of car. Easy to see the cheapest acceptable car. Booking through them gives you a free second driver. Reservations are cancellable.

As noted by many others car rental prices bounce around. After making a reservation I check periodically to see if costco has a better deal.
Costco is a great source, however, they only support Enterprise, Avis, Budget, and Alamo. That means that if there's a better deal at National, Hertz, Dollar, or Thrifty you're basically blind to it when only searching Costco's site. AutoSlash searches across all the major companies and even lets you specify that you are a Costco member so we'll check those discounts as well. It's the only site where you can get a true picture of whether you're really getting the best deal possible.
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