Many rental car companies offer discounts based on your group affiliations or memberships. These include AARP, corporate codes, and university or volunteer associations.
Another tip is to keep checking prices after booking. You can cancel your reservation and rebook if you find a cheaper deal.
Check the fine print
Many leading car rental companies offer promotional codes and discounted rates that save 25% – 35% on your next booking. These are often bundled with insurance coverage such as collision damage waiver (CDW) or loss protection. Check your eligibility for these discounts through your credit card or frequent flyer programs.
Codes on coupons such as Expedia or the individual rental company’s website may be found. These are sometimes promoted on social media or through their email newsletters. You can also sign up for a loyalty program. It will earn you points that can be redeemed for free rentals and other rewards.
Some codes are only suitable for specific types of cars or a particular rental period, so make sure you use the right one. Other codes may exclude certain extras such as insurance or fuel. Make sure you also check the return time and dates carefully, as some companies have a grace period before they start charging hourly fees on late returns.
Another great way to save is to book through a cash-back shopping portal. These will often offer a percentage of the money you spend with the rental company back to you. You can also compare prices using a site, often saving you a lot on rental rates. Check the price of your car rentals with several different sites before you book, as they can often change.
Use corporate or university codes
Most major car rental companies offer their own corporate or university codes. These heavily discounted rates negotiated between the company can save you a lot. Some companies will make these codes available on their website, whereas others are more obscure and may require some digging.
Another way to save is by signing up for a rewards program with the company. Many of these programs offer bonus points for each rental and can also offer other perks like free rentals or waived fees. Some programs even allow you to “stack” codes for the best possible deal.
Signing up for a rewards program can also help you bypass some of the extra insurance fees that car rental companies try to charge you. Many premier credit cards include rental car coverage covering your loss or damage to the vehicle. It can save you a lot of money compared to the extra fees that car rental companies will try to charge you.
Some car rental companies will also let you use their corporate codes on personal rentals. It can be a great way to save on your next rental while supporting a good cause.
Check for discounts on opaque sites
If you’re a member of an airline or hotel loyalty program, it pays to check their booking portals. They often offer a range of discounts for car rental that you may not have otherwise found. Moreover, many of these bookings can earn you frequent flyer or hotel loyalty points (or even cash back) that are a great supplement to any coupon code you use.
Some opaque booking sites are also worth checking for deals. They offer a deep discount in exchange for not revealing the exact rental agency until after you book.
You can also save with prepaid rates offered by certain rental companies. These are typically 5% to 15% lower than the published rate and are nonrefundable. The best way to find them is by setting a calendar reminder for a few minutes weekly. If the price drops after booking, cancel without penalty and rebook at a lower rate.
Another great way to save is by signing up for the Enterprise Plus program. This free membership discounts all rentals and earns you one point for every dollar spent, which can be redeemed for a free car rental day. If you’re a frequent renter, this can add up quickly. It also has other benefits, including complimentary class upgrades and guaranteed vehicle availability. Moreover, you can use your points to buy a damage waiver, limiting your out-of-pocket expense in case of a fender bender or theft. It is significant for travelers who don’t have a credit card with coverage for rental cars.
Rent during off-peak times
The best way to save money on a rental car is to go during off-peak times. While peak season can be lucrative, it comes with higher costs and less flexibility. It’s essential to be aware of these periods and avoid them if possible.
During off-peak times, many car rental companies will offer special deals that can save you up to 30% or more on your rental. These can be a discounted rate, a free gas tank, or a combination.
Check out your favorite car rental company’s website or social media channels to find these deals. You can also sign up for their newsletters and get exclusive offers. Additionally, if you’re a member of a loyalty program, you can receive discounts and other perks.
Car rental companies often inflate their rates to cover costs, so finding discount codes can be a great way to save some cash. For additional savings, you can also use shopping portals like RetailMeNot. Additionally, if you’re using a credit card offering primary car rental coverage and bonus points, you may save even more.
While it’s always a good idea to be flexible, sometimes you must stick to a schedule. During these times, you can save a lot of money by renting an economy sedan instead of a rare convertible. The extra cash saved can pay for other luxuries you might have missed. And, as a bonus, you’ll still be able to make your trip happen!
Don’t forget to read the fine print
Car rental companies are notorious for milking customers with often grossly inflated rates. However, you can reduce these expenses by using promo codes, renting during off-peak times, and avoiding extra fees like insurance or tolls. Additionally, checking the fine print when booking your reservation is essential, especially if you’re making a reservation through a cash-back shopping portal.
You’ll also want to ensure the website is legitimate by visiting the company’s customer service hotline or using online lookup tools. It’s important to avoid fraudulent sites that redirect you to a different site or charge you hidden fees.
Finally, don’t forget to check your credit card or debit card account to see if the rental company has placed a hold or block on the amount of money you will be charged at the time of pickup. These holds can cause issues if your account is overdrawn or you have insufficient funds. If this happens, the rental company must wait until you return your vehicle to release the amount.