Car Rental

Rookie Wednesday: You help me this time – all about renting cars!

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


RenesPoints Rookie

Welcome to a weekly feature on the Renés Points blog. Each week this series covers in a “rookie” way either a Delta or travel related theme and attempts to break down to a basic level each topic. You can read up on all the previous posts HERE. Now on to this week’s feature.

car rental counters in AZO delta points blog

On my last mileage run in September (more about that later on) I had an issue and ran into the mess with the Chicago ATC fire and the result was my flight from Detroit (DTW) to Kalamazoo (AZO) was canceled. The next day there were only two flights and they were all 100% full. Not good.

What I did manage to score was a morning flight to Grand Rapids (GRR) only about 1 hour drive away from AZO. But that would mean renting a car one-way and that can be costly to say the very least. Even as a Diamond I did not even TRY to get Delta to comp me for a rental as they would have said just standby for AZO and maybe you can get on. Maybe. No thanks I will pay for rental. I decided to just call to check prices (was this wrong? – you tell me)!

First I called my “preferred” car company Hertz. They quoted me $110+ for this one way rental. Not good. How about National? They wanted $230+! YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! We are we are talking less than 75 miles for this trip (and I am never, ever renting from Budget again). So lastly I called AVIS $35 all in – sold – and I even got SPG points for the rental! As a non-frequent renter I am shocked by the insanity of both the price range and the high end numbers!

evrewards hertz

tcb hertz

When I have more time to compare and I am not mid-trip I do tend to check all the “big boys” and normally start at EVRewards.com to check and then go DIRECT to sites like TopCashBack and then search there to get the best cash back.

I personally tend to avoid smaller rental firms but that could be a mistake on my part. I do always, in the USA, reserve the car with a VISA card of my choosing. The Chase Sapphire Preferred now offers Primary rental coverage but other ones work fine for most folks as well like my Chase INK+ card.

Now it is your turn. I freely admit I am no pro when it comes to cars as I just don’t rent more than a few times a year. What are your rookie tips for renting cars and getting the lowest price possible for both one-way and “round trip” rentals? – René
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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

René de Lambert is a contributing writer and the founder of RenesPoints. He is an avid Delta and SkyTeam flyer who has held Delta’s top Diamond Medallion status for many years and flown millions of miles.

10 Comments

  1. I treat rental cars like I do flights.

    I use Hertz (can be more expensive) because of the reliability, the connection to earning Delta miles (points) and NO WAITING in line. After you get their President’s Club Gold status, they send you discount coupons for upgrades and free rental days.

    It all works out in the wash and I’m in the car in 20 seconds. Compare that to waiting in line…

  2. Santastico Reply

    Hate Hertz same as I hate Delta 🙂 Jokes apart, National provides a way better experience than Hertz. By having their Executive status through Amex Platinum makes a huge difference since you have access to the Executive Aisle and you can get whatever car is parked there no matter what size of car you reserved. Usually I get full SUVs, standard SUVs, mini vans or full size cars for the price of an economy car.

  3. I’ve had good luck using Autoslash; initially they book me with a so so provider (Payless, etc) but they constantly check for a cheaper rate and the last 2 times they booked me with Hertz and I got credit for the rental on my Hertz Gold.

  4. Really loving silvercar lately. They are in that new guy promo mode and on a recent trip I found them with the first rental promo and some other codes floating around to be cheaper than hertz, avis and national for a midsize and above… Plus you are riding in an Audi and not a Toyota. With all due respect to Toyota…. Also seamless check in process. Other than that I too feel rookie and overwhelmed with rentals. Love the CSP primary coverage though!

  5. JP Traveler Reply

    I have found Costco Travel to have very good rates (if you are a member).

    But my big tip with rental cars is to continually seek out a better deal. With no penalty to cancel, I sometimes re-book 5-6 times between the time of my initial reservation and my travel date. I find it’s not uncommon to easily save hundreds of dollars with this tip.

    Also, be sure to join whatever frequent renter program the company has. Skipping what can be a long line after travel is the ONLY way to go!

  6. Like JP, I have had a good experience with Costco Travel for rental cars, so if you happen to have a membership, they’re a great resource. I also often make two or three reservations because I can keep getting a better price.

    I used to only rent Hertz because of the earning tie as a Medallion and usually the extra cost is still worth it for the bonus miles. That said, my last two Hertz rentals, even as en elite within Hertz itself, were not ready and left me waiting more than AN HOUR past my reservation time. In one case, I had to reschedule a photo shoot because of the delay (almost 2 hours), costing me over $500 in business. After almost three weeks, I’m still waiting on a response that their apologetic desk clerk escalated for me. That seems to be the typical “speed of Hertz,” however.

    All of that said, if I’m going to be staying someplace with great public transportation and an easy route from the airport to my hotel, I’ll often rent from an off-airport location. A good example was when I was last in Portland. I didn’t NEED the car the day of my arrival, so I took the train to my downtown hotel (35 minutes, $2). I rented from a location three blocks from my hotel, walked over, and saved $200 on the reservation compared to the airport-location quote. I was able to return it to the airport location for a $10 fee. Totally worth it.

  7. I use zalyn.com. You have to make a profile to trigger those possible discounts for yourself, but it works great. I’ve rented out of SFO for $40/weekend (three days, inclusive), and even less than that at SMF (where I visit often). Worth checking out.

  8. My husband loves national because he is the highest elite and walks out onto the lot and picks whatever car he wants. Last week he rented a convertible for the same price as a mid size car and had a blast driving in Southern California.

  9. I was looking for a car for a trip to Tampa in November and getting frustrated. Autoslash, which I used a few years ago and worked well, did absolutely nothing… did not respond at all!! I tried many avenues and was not happy with the prices nor the number of miles or points required by going that route.

    I am new to Ultimate Rewards and did not think about trying that until a friend mentioned it. Score!! Via the Ultimate Rewards site, both the cash and rewards points prices were a LOT less than anything else I had found! And they offer a choice of paying cash, using cash and points or using just points!

  10. Pingback: Rookie Wednesday: A look back on what we have covered so far (and beyond)! - Delta PointsDelta Points

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