I just returned from a long weekend trip and wanted to share the process I used to lower my car rental rate by almost 40%.
First, I made the initial car rental reservation a few weeks before the trip. Right after booking the airfare. Using my standard and stealthy methods, I found a rate of $142 for a 3 day car rental from Hertz at Boston airport. It was a decent rate, based on my previous rentals. The $142 rate used my AAA code (20% off). The $142 rate, which included all taxes and fees, was already a discounted rate which I did not expect to reduce further.
However, second, I checked my reservation seven days before the rental car pickup date. This step is second nature to me (and highly recommended if you want to SAVE MONEY). I usually confirm my travel reservations a few days before the trip starts. The main purpose is to make sure that everything is OK; it is much easier to fix an issue from home than at the car rental counter or hotel front desk. A secondary purpose is to verify rates and perhaps find lower rates. In this case, a new PC code under the AAA Offers tab reduced my rate by $15. These codes typically expire at the end of the current month so it was not valid for my initial reservation. My new rate was now $127.
Third, I checked the Hertz website again, for the heck of it, three days before the trip. I found a new offer under the Featured Offers tab. It gave me a new daily rate of $16 (compared to the $30 AAA rate). My car rental rate dropped to $90. I tried to apply the $15 discount code but that did not work. No matter, I would rather save another $37 than use a certain discount.
I checked the following day but this fantastic rate was no longer available. The best rate I found was $127. Fortunate timing for me.
So, I essentially saved 37% from my excellent original baseline rate by spending an extra few minutes confirming reservations and rechecking rates.
Worth it? You bet!
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