Rental Car Programms? How do i get Status?

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by Blue2, Apr 27, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Blue2

    Blue2 Active Member

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    That is the question!
    See, the point is, i am going to the States for 4 weeks in July. Its three weeks in California and one week East Coast. We are two people and of course need a car to travel down Highway 1..As it is planned to go to Santa Fe too, an SUV might be an option - and unlimited mileage...So here starts the problem, as i dont have any Status at the Car Renters and its a) pretty expensive renting a car for 3 weeks and b) even more expensive to rent a fine, nice and cool car!
    Is there any idea, link, gossip, how i might get Highend-Status with a car rental agent and rent a fun car? Help is really needed!
     
  2. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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  3. javacodeguy

    javacodeguy Gold Member

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    If you just buy National Emerald, you can get your pick of any car you want from the Aisle. Usually there are a few SUVs and just having a choice between cars is nice. I believe it's $60 a year, but it more than pays for itself after a few rentals. If it means you can have your choice of car, it might be worth it just from your one rental.

    Online it looks like you can only buy Emeral if you are a US/Canada citizen, but it might be worth calling and seeing if you can do it from other countries. I'm not sure where you're coming from.
     
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  4. Blue2

    Blue2 Active Member

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    Thanks a lot both of you! Im from Germany/Switzerland, lets say Central Europe! Is there any link to buying Emerald?
     
  5. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Here is the enrollment page.
     
  6. Blue2

    Blue2 Active Member

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    Done! Thank you!

    I did send them an Email, as it seems to be not possible enrolling as non-US-citizen...So Emerald is something good, you would say?
     
  7. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    National is nice since they have the Emerald aisle. This lets elites reserve a mid size car and pick any car in the aisle, usually a full size, somethimes an even better car.

    From the website:

    Emerald Club members:
    • Simply reserve a Midsize car at participating locations in the U.S. or Canada.
    • When you arrive at the location, go directly to the Aisle or Executive areas.
    • Choose any car - any size, color, make or model - and only pay the reserved Midsize rate. The keys are in the cars.
     
  8. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Were you planning to drive through the Arizona and New Mexico desert instead of taking highways or interstates, or why are you looking for an SVU? ;)

    While gasoline is a lot cheaper here than in Europe, you will likely still spend a lot more on gas if you rent an SVU.

    I am Hertz Gold Five Star, and I tend to rent cheap economy - midsize cars. Only once have I gotten "upgraded" to an SVU. Oh, and once I got upgraded to a nice convertible... in Las Vegas over the 4th of July weekend when it was literally 120 degrees F and driving with the top down was quite impractical during the day. So I am not sure what you actually would have to book in order to have a decent chance of getting the SVU you're hoping for.

    For me the main status benefit so far has been that the car is waiting for me and with my name on the Gold Canopy board I can walk straight to the parking space, get in and drive to the gate without having to wait in line at the counter to reject insurance options and other upsells.
     
  9. Blue2

    Blue2 Active Member

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    Yeah...Ok, the main attention should on be the price..As we need the car for +/- three full weeks, every dollar saved is a dollar to be spend on other things...so...what is a "good", what is a "normal" price? What rental station should i tend to?


    And noooo, we dont do driving through the desert :-D
     
  10. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Are you planning to do a round trip (ie returning to the same place where you picked up the car)?

    I've often found that car rental reservations made and prepaid in Europe are the better deal for long rentals in the US. They tend to come with insurance (do you have other ways to cover the car in case of loss/damage/theft?). 21 days of CDW fees adds up to a nice chunk of money.
     
  11. Blue2

    Blue2 Active Member

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    Yes we do. Starting point is End-Point and that is San Francisco. I checked the common sites, Avis, Hertz, National...But three weeks is around 4-500 Euro...Smallest Category...I have no idea, whether thats expensive or a good price - thats why i am asking you, for some advice, to help me find the best rate..
     
  12. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    July is prime travel season in the US. Checked hertz.com -- 386.54 USD Per Week prepaid for the cheapest car from SFO. Pick it up at OAK instead and the price drops to $288 USD per week. SJC: 437.19 USD per week. Note: that's a AAA rate, and it doesn't come with insurance.

    I checked http://www.dertour.de (there are others in Europe that sell US rental packages) and the cheapest car (Chevy Aveo class) is Euro 534 for THREE weeks with excellent insurance and 2nd driver included for CA rentals.


    Things you should consider:

    - are alternative rental locations cheaper? (local vs. airport, different airports, ...)
    - do you need a second driver, and will you have to pay for it? (different companies have different rules)
    - under-25 drivers?
    - what insurance do you need/want and what does it cost?
    - make sure you get both unlimited miles *and* no geographic restrictions that prevent you from driving to the states you want to visit (I have seen rentals that were restricted to CA, NV, OR)
    - get a car that has a real trunk... if you travel around and move from hotel to hotel, you probably don't want to leave your bags and valuables (or even just stuff that might look valuable) out in the open in the back seat visible to anyone who walks by your car.
     
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  13. Blue2

    Blue2 Active Member

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    These are good points to consider! Thank you!
    What i will do is checking online the big 5 - Avis, Hertz, National, Dollar...I guess, i forgot one..I will be focussing on the insurances, the milage and the restrictions, thats something really important to me - and the trunk-thing is really a good idea!

    July is prime travel season in germany too, its holidays in schools, so everybody is leaving for some travelling - just like us, haha!

    Edit: National is offering Chevrolet Tahoe total price 1170 US-Dollar...Good Price?
     
  14. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Sounds painful to me (unless that's the price they sell the car at that price), but then the prices I quoted above for that Aveo tin can are scary, too. :D

    Couple more things:

    - check sites like kayak, travelocity, expedia, orbitz, autoslash for easy comparisons
    - does priceline work for you from Europe?
    - prices do change. You can save some money upfront by prepaying, but I have often saved more by keeping an eye on rental prices and rebooking a non-prepaid rental at a later time for a lower rate. 20-50% drops are not unheard of, but you shouldn't count on it either.
     
  15. Blue2

    Blue2 Active Member

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    Thank you again!

    So i will check again...and again :D
    I was hoping for some easy business, but there's soooooooooo much to consider - your help is sving time, thank you! and hopefully its saving money too, haha
     

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