Never ever rent a car from Budget Car rental via Delta Air Lines pay with points!

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… that is unless you know their stupid rules!

Let me ask you a question. First I am under the assumption you have at some point in your lifetime rented a car after getting off of an airplane. Next, let’s say your flight is scheduled to land at 5PM. You made the car reservation at 6PM for a one day rental. Now, your flight lands early, you get to the car rental counter at 4:30PM. What happens to your reservation? Naturally you get the car and must have it back 4:30PM the next day since you picked it up early – right? Even though you had it reserved for 6PM, since you picked it up early, your 24 hr “day clock” starts when you rent the car. There is often a small “grace period” for drop off but if you exceed that you pay extra. Are we all in agreement here that this is how it works with all rental agency’s?!?

Now, I have commented before on the fact that you can actually use miles to pay for car rentals and get a very good value for your SKYMILES at 1 cent per point or more as you can see.

Budget Car rental is one of the ones that often will show up at the best price value. Here this the kicker, or I could say kick in the teeth, SO PLEASE BE READY FOR THIS, if you reserve a car at 6PM, you CAN NOT no matter what and under any circumstances, pick the car up before this time or you have to pay for an extra day of rental. PERIOD! END OF STORY! This makes taking an early flight an even worse prospect as you may have 5 or 6 hours to wait at the airport to get your car! This is just the stupidest policy I have ever seen.

I have checked with just about every other major car rental agency, Hertz, Alamo, Enterprise, you name it and BUDGET is the ONLY one who has this crazy policy in place. And wait it gets even more stupid and ridiculous. Let me explain. Let’s say you have the situation I described above but this time you make the reservation to pick the car up at 6:AM the day you fly ( keep in mind you do not land until 5:PM). And guess what happens, you can pick it up any time ALL DAY LONG and your “24 hr clock” does not start until the moment you pick up the car! Yep – you have 23 ½ hr to pick up your car if you do it this way!

Now I know the above because I decided to try BUDGET car rental with Delta points on my last trip to RSW airport. I had the pleasure of waiting for over 2 hrs for my car. And, you would think after sitting and staring at the reps for that long, they would make sure my paperwork and car was ready when the clock at long last hit 11:PM? Well you would be wrong as that did not happen! Even worse, when at last I went to get the car, slot c19, THERE WAS NO SLOT c19 in the Budget lot. So, after finding a rep out in the lot to confirm there was no slot c19, comparing vin numbers for all the type car I was given, and finding there was no such car, ½ hour later I walk back in to the BUDGET counter RSW. I was told “this happens all the time”. Really?!? Customer service at it’s finest folks! So was it my fault. Did I simply not click on the “See Policies” on the Delta Web site? Look at how much info you get when you do that below!

I can tell you this travel writer will never, ever, rent from BUDGET again either through Delta or otherwise after my recent experience. If you decide to use the pay with points from the Delta marketplace be sure you call and get the latest rules before you do! – René

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16 comments

  1. is this policy (not getting car early without extra day charge/24 hr clock starting at reservation time) true for all Budget rentals or just for ones made through Delta?

  2. Wow! I have rented from Budget occasionally but don’t recall if I ever picked up the car early. You have peaked my curiosity so I may go through my itineraries and check it out. Thanks for the heads up!

  3. This is typical American work ethics. This is why USA is slowly falling and losing its power. Ppl want to get paid a lot for least effort possible.

  4. Sounds like just a poorly run outfit at RSW. I have used Budget a lot (and used to work for them actually) and I typically get great service at “budget” prices.

    I bet if Delta & Budget run the 5000 miles for 2-day rental stacked with the 50% bonus for using 4 partners in a month deal (like they did in 2010)….you’ll be back.

    During that deal I would rent a car for 2 days for a total of $39 (very inexpensive rental cars at PDX) and get 7700 Skymiles. Then I would turn around and exchange 5,100 miles for a $50 AMEX gift card to pay for the next rentals, ad infinitum (or at least till the deal died away as did the AMEX gift card deal). During my churning of this promotion the Budget desk folks were always awesome.

  5. Good friend of mine has an annual “$^%& Budget” party after an incident where while on a trip to Ireland, the Budget rental car quit, completely, and then proceeded to catch fire, burning completely along with all his luggage and belongings.

    As if that wasn’t bad enough, budget proceeded to sue him for the cost of the car despite the LDW because they claimed the fire was due to abusive driving.

    It took him 11 months, an Irish lawyer retained long distance and a lot of hassle but he got the lawsuit dismissed and reimbursed for his luggage plus quite a bit for the hassle….

  6. Well I usually rent through Hertz however, my parents go through Budget. Guess I’ll definitely never be renting through Budget and I’ll get my parents to switch out.

    Thanks for the info!

  7. My experience is not through Delta. However, I rented a car with Budget through Priceline. When I went to pick it up, they said they didn’t have that model but they had an upgrade. I asked multiple times if there would be an upcharge and he said it was just $20 dollars per day. That is what I paid Priceline and erroneously assumed there wasn’t an upcharge. When my Cr Card bill arrived I was charged by Priceline and budget. When I called Budget to have it reversed, they said they couldn’t do that because I signed their documents. No attempt to accomodate me whatsoever. Misrepresentation at best.

  8. By the way, I have been renting from Budget for about five years for business and pleasure. No issues at all.
    They are always very friendly and helpful.

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