Rental car companies are trying to make things as easy as possible for their customers. They have a fleet of self-service kiosks, automated check-in processes, and even virtual rental options to keep things simple. But they don’t want to get too complacent either.
So they’ve come up with some handy rental car hacks you can use to your advantage. From getting around extra fees or renting cars that are available at the station where you’re staying, these tricks will help you get the most out of your next trip. Let’s take a look…
1. Pay with Your Frequent Flyer Card
If you’re a member of an airline’s frequent flyer program, you can use that card to pay for your rental car. Just make sure you have the rental company’s information on file so your credit card is charged correctly. Also, always be sure to go through the reservation process at your destination with the airline so your card is linked to your booking information.
If you don’t want to pay extra for this feature, you can rent a car without a frequent flyer program and put it on your own credit card. This can also be a good option if you’re visiting a country where there are extra charges for using a credit card. You can always get reimbursed for it by a rewards program after the charges were incurred.
2. Don’t Pay Extra for Collision Damage Waiver
If you don’t want to pay the full cost of the damage waiver (typically $2 or $3 per day), you can try a little negotiation. Let the rental agency know you don’t want to pay extra, then tell them you’d be willing to pay something if they reduce the price.
Most rental companies will usually be willing to negotiate a little. Sometimes they’re cash-strapped and can’t offer the best price. So be polite and offer to pay something. If you choose a car that doesn’t have a damage waiver, you’ll be responsible for any damage to the car. If you’re renting a mid-size or full-size car, you could end up paying a lot in excess fees.
Make sure to drive carefully and never park close next to other vehicles to avoid any hit-and-runs in the parking lot.
3. Get a Reduced Price By Renting From a Location You’re Staying At
If you’re renting from a location in your destination city, ask the rental agency if they’ll give you a discount. Many will happily offer you a price reduction if you ask. Just make sure you have the right information on file so the car is charged correctly. Another way to get a discount is to call your favorite car rental company and see if they have a partnership with a local hotel or attraction.
Most companies have partnerships with a few partners in each city. You can usually pick up a few dollars off your reservation by adding the name of the partner to the reservation. If you choose a car that doesn’t come from a location near your destination, you’ll have to pay full price.
4. Need to Return Your Car? Request a Refundable One
If you’re not sure when you’ll need to return the car, you can request a refundable rental. This means you don’t have to pay a deposit. All you need to do is call the car rental company and tell them you’d like a refundable rental.
Some companies will give you a rental that is non-refundable. If they do, just make sure you return it before the rental period ends. The rental company may charge you an extra daily fee. If you return the car at the end of your rental period, be sure to return it to the correct location. If you’re returning it to an airport, make sure it’s parked in the right area.
5. Book Through an Online Agency
If you’re renting from a car company that doesn’t have self-service kiosks, you can book your rental car through an online agency. Most online agencies like falconcarrental.com will give you a good deal on a rental car that you can book through their website or app. Some are even free to join.
You can often get a lower rate this way because the online agency doesn’t have the same overhead as the car rental company. And the online agencies have access to lower rates because they don’t have to pay the same interest rates on deposits and insurance.
If you have special needs like wheelchair-accessible cars or need an older-model car, try booking through an online agency. You can often get some really great deals that way. There’s an added benefit of not having to deal with the car rental company directly. That can be a real advantage when you’re trying to stay on top of your schedule and get the most out of your trip.
6. Don’t Rely on the Website Alone. Check the Fine Print First
If you’re booking through an online agency, make sure you look at the fine print of the rental agreement. Some agreements require you to return the car at the end of your rental period. Some require you to pay a damage fee even if you don’t cause any damage to the car.
Make sure you understand what you’re signing up for so you don’t end up with a surprise at the end of your rental period. If you have questions, call the car rental company and ask for a supervisor. Make sure you understand the terms of the rental agreement so you don’t find yourself stuck paying exorbitant fees.
If you want to save money when you rent a car, use these hacks to your advantage. Also remember, there are some situations where it doesn’t make sense to try to save money.
When renting a car for a short trip and it won’t take long for you to get back on the road, driving yourself isn’t worth the hassle. If you’re renting a car for a special occasion, renting through your favorite car rental company is best.