Car Rental Question

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by sveta, Dec 14, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. sveta
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    sveta Silver Member

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    I am a newbie when it comes to renting cars, so I am hoping for some guidance from the experienced ones :)

    My hubby and I are going to rent a car for 1 week in San Diego. We have miles here and there and everywhere. How many miles does 1 week rental usually cost? We don't care about a fancy car, by the way.

    So I am not sure whether it's worth using miles or not. Or should we just use our current mileage programs (Ultimate Rewards, Delta, AA, United) to earn some extra miles? Or maybe there are other options... ?

    Thank you in advance!

    sveta
     
  2. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    I've never used miles for a rental car, not sure how that goes, but I know with the Delta program some of the peripheral (non flight) uses can be very good redemption methods. I've used miles for hotel rooms a number of times, typically getting a 1.5 to 2 cent per mile value.

    Some people value miles at 1 cent per mile, so that any redemption better than that is a good deal, some put the value higher, like 2 cents per mile. Keep that in mind when comparing rental cost in dollars to cost in miles.
     
    Mikel, miles and smiles and sveta like this.
  3. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    There are many ways to save money on car rentals. My personal favorite is autoslash.com because they do the searching for inexpensive rentals fro you. Priceline is also good for car rentals. From what i know airline companies do not give you good rates for car rentals.
     
  4. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    Smarter Travel just had an article on this today. You can download a pdf with the full research results from their site. (see page 11 of the report).

     
  5. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I've used AA and Delta miles a few times for rentals. The redemption rates are horrible (Delta worse than AA) but you have the option of using as many miles as you want or combine them with cash, which is a relatively good deal if you have more miles than you know what to do with -- or if you have "some" miles and you just wanna get rid of them.

    You can head over to https://www.useaamiles.com/carhotel/ and select just the car and plug in your dates to see. The rates vary wildly by company and car type of course, but you can expect to pay anywhere between 13k for an economy with Alamo up to 30-35k for a standard with Hertz.

    With Delta miles being worth what they are (there's a reason why they're referred to as SkyPesos), you can expect that rate to be much, much, MUCH higher. You can see for yourself here: https://travelmarketplace.delta.com/travel/arc.cfm

    You might want to consider one of the many discount coupons out there as an alternative. Some of the promo codes out there will give you 25% off or money off a weekly rental and you can keep your miles for something else.

    Keep in mind that you earn no points or anything of the sort for the rental and that although it's fully prepaid you can't check/un-check items as if you were making the reservation directly with the company. Plus it's final and non-refundable and I don't think any sort of changes are allowed.
     
  6. sharris503

    sharris503 Silver Member

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    Don't waste your miles on a car rental. I use priceline for car rentals. My method is to reserve a car from a website like travelocity or expedia at a rate I'm comfortable paying. Then about a week and a half before my departure I get on priceline and start bidding on cars. After I have a successful bid I then cancel my previous car reservation. With this method the most I have ever paid for a rental car was $15 a day for a small SUV when I was in Hawaii last year.
     
  7. deant
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    deant Milepoint Guide

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    I have also started using Priceline for car rentals. We have a wedding to go to and the lowest rental price I could find was about $160 including taxes for the days I wanted. By using Priceline I got a price of $120 for a larger car.

    If you don't want to use Priceline then the best rates I have found are with Costco.
     
  8. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I think priceline is a good strategy but as always it depends on the market and the time of year. I have an upcoming HNL week-long trip and attempts on priceline to go "below the watermark" as I call it have been consistently unsuccessful. The going rate -- depending on who you're looking at -- is $250 a week for the cheaper rides, with taxes and fees adding $100 or more to the final amount (declining insurance, fuel service, etc).

    I jumped over to AA to see what would show up and the list showed a compact for 14k miles or even full sized for about 18k. Even if you don't feel like using that many miles, you can bring the price down to $99-125 for the week (a steal in a market like HNL) by adding in a splash of miles (6k in my case).

    I would agree that most of the time using the miles for rentals might not turn out to be a good redemption option, but in some cases it's actually a pretty good deal. Unless you have a serious aversion to spending miles, it makes sense to at least consider the option and see what prices you can get.
     
  9. sharris503

    sharris503 Silver Member

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    Your certainly right that priceline is no guarantee which is why I book a rental that I am comfortable paying and can cancel at anytime. My method on priceline doesn't work until about a week before my departure date. Only one time was I not successful at getting a rental car on PL but that was because it was for last year's national championship and I think every car in the Phoenix area was rented out. You certainly get a better deal if demand is low.

    As an aside, when I am in HNL I only rent a car for the specific days when I leave the city. If I am just going to be in the city I use public transportation or a cab. Its cheaper than paying the per day parking fees at most resorts.
     
  10. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    To ask a newbie question, priceline for rental cars is blind bidding, right? Does it include off-airport rental agencies? Can you specify car type? And can you hook up a confirmed reservation to your Hertz #1 Gold number, for instance, to avoid standing in Iine to sign a contract?
     
  11. deant
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    deant Milepoint Guide

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    On Priceline it will show you which rental agencies they are booking with and where they are located - so you do know that you will not get stuck with an "off" agency. Yes you do specify the car type.
     

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