8 Car Rental Hacks That Will Save You Money
Skip the airport pick-up
Yes, I know, it is super convenient to go from the flight straight to the rental counter and get your car rental. If you are not careful, you will have to pay additional airport fees for their services. Go ahead and either have a friend pick you up or take a cab or Uber to a local car rental place away from an airport. Often times it is substantially cheaper to rent at a car rental location further from the airport.
If you do pick up at the airport considering joining a rewards program that lets you skip the line.
Fill ‘er up
Whatever you do, don’t return the car with an empty tank. They tell you when you are renting the car up front and it is on the paperwork what the charges will be if you do so. Stop on your way back to the return center and fill up the gas tank because the up-charge is astronomical. I know because I have made this mistake three times now! Now I just pre-pay for gas.
Rent longer to save money
The longer the length of time you rent your car, the more money you will save. Yes, the daily rate is advertised to reel you in, but the weekly rate is always best. Always ask when you are picking up your car if they are running any weekly specials too. If you need the car for less time it still makes a difference. My most recent rental car was cheaper for two days than it was for a day and a half.
Book your car and flight together
How many times have you booked your flight online and then it asks you if you want to rent a car? I usually skip it, but here is where it actually is a good idea and by reserving it with your flight you secure that rate. Most travel websites have a Flight + Car tab that you can click on and here you will find tons of deals and discounts. This is not always the case, so go ahead and check the price separately as well.
Don’t opt for the insurance
As you probably already know, most of the major credit cards out there offer coverage for car rentals. Just check on yours first before picking up your car so that you can deny the coverage offered by the car rental agency. My personal car insurance covers all car rentals as well.
If you cannot handle not getting insurance at least look for a cheaper option. For example: If you are renting a car in Ireland then you should check out https://www.theaa.ie/car-insurance.aspx that is offering comprehensive, low-cost Car Hire Excess Insurance in Ireland.
Earn some rewards
Make sure when you are using your rental car, you are using your debit or credit card that earns you miles and/or rewards. If you don’t have one already, consider getting one before a long vacation when you will need a car rental. Also, use the same type of credit card that earns you rewards when you get gas as well. You might as well get something back!
I personally use the American Express Platinum. It offers a lot of travel benefits.
Obey the speed limit
Ok, well, this is no brainer, but while in your rental car obey the speed limits at all times. The last thing you need is a ticket. Not only will you have that fine to pay, but you will possibly have other fees to pay from the rental car company, so slow down!
Use a promo code aka a car rental discount code
Any time you are surfing the net looking for a deal on a car rental, try to find a promo code to enter for extra savings. This way when checking out during the online reservation process you will save some money that way. There are usually promo codes for every major company out there too! The military bank, USAA, offers car rental promo codes for their members and it is always what saves me the most money.
Renting your car through Costco might save you money too. That’s right, Costco has a car rental program! Here are some of the Costco car rental perks:
- Executive Members earn an annual 2% Reward on Costco Travel purchases
- Shop all coupons and discounts for the best value
- One additional driver fee waived
- No cancellation fees
- No credit card needed to reserve
- Rentals are offered in Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S., including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
New in 2021, I’ve learned the company, parkingaccess.com will be launching a new Chrome extension that allows you to add airport parking with your flight booking on airlines like Delta and United as well as Expedia.
I hope these car rental tips help secure you a great deal.