Saturday, March 04, 2006

Best Techniques to Save on Rental Cars

Do not go to priceline first. Recommend using Sidestep is essentially an online travel agency bot that searches for the best rate amongst many sites. Once you're done at sidestep, you've now established the highest rate you're willing to pay. Take this and then go to priceline. Typically you can get in a range between 10 and 20% below the sidestep rate and bank the savings!

This technique is only good if you're confident in the period you'll use the rental car. If you end up having to extend a day or more, you'll be stuck paying the full retail rate per extra day. In these cases, it's generally best to use AARP, AAA, Government or other organizational rates that you qualify for.

I've also received free upgrades and one day off w/ these following techniques:

1. If the rental car agency doesn't advertise that their cigarette lighters are disabled, complain about it and emphasize that you need one for your business cell. I found success in this coincidentally after leaving the lot and driving back to the place to complain. I ended up getting my car upgraded and a day off my rental fee to boot.

2. Some rental agencies have you pay at a desk and then you get your keys from a separate clerk on the lot itself. There you'll typically find any underpaid worker who is typically isolated and may not communicate frequently with the rental car desk. I've simply asked before, knowing the answer, if the lot has any intermediate grade cars w/ cruise control. The clerk said no but volunteered to upgrade me on the spot at no cost to a full size model that did... Doesn't hurt to ask.

Sites: Sidestep
General Rental Car Search

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