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UPDATED 11/10/10
My FAQ for the Car Rental Thread, trying to cover more angles than the other one. This is the first draft, still subject to revisions as I think of them. In an effort to keep from having to repost the same info repeatedly, I suggest we point to this for all new requests that fail to show any homework. Hopefully, it'll become a sticky. In the works- a short list of safe, reliable codes.

NOTE: this is NOT the correct thread to ask for deals on cars. Those should still go on the Matrix thread (http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/travel-discussion/790643/).

1) How to ask for help. When posting a request, be sure to give all the pertinent info: type of car you would prefer (and what you might settle for); dates and p/u times (along with how flexible you may be on this, and remember there isn't much of a grace period nowadays and that extra hour may cost a LOT) and WHERE you will be picking up and dropping off. Also, you MUST post a bare minimum of 3 codes and companies from the Matrix thread you have already tried (preferably something you can qualify for) and what the results were for each, including fees and taxes. Glance at the first page of the thread and thoroughly review the most recent 5-6 pages to see what's working well lately and what topics are under discussion This way, we don't re-create your work; your post may help someone else; and perhaps you will have learned something valuable doing your homework. Remember that this is all volunteer and it's just as much work for the old-timers to plug in the numbers as it is for the newbies. You must make an investment of time if you want to save money.-- pretty much like with everything else.

2) Flexibility. The more you have with your dates, times, and type of car you will accept, the better your deal power. Need a car from Tues to Thurs? Insisting on an SUV for that mountainous Florida excursion? Must have a convertible? You limit your options for a cheap rental. Short-term midweek rentals make you a business-class renter, the RAC's meat and potatoes. There is little incentive to offer you a deal. It will cost them more to turn the car over than they will make renting to you.

Unless you have saved up some reward points or days, your best bet for these cases may very well be Priceline or Hotwire. Refer to bidding educations sites like betterbidding, biddingfortravel, and tripducky to see what kinds of bids are being accepted for your approximate dates. Remember that if you use an opaque, there is a good chance you will lose the perks of your loyalty program (ie, Emerald Aisle, miles, free drivers, upgrades,etc) so that is one of the opportunity costs of the savings; and, of course, you don't get your money back if your plans don't work out, so don't lock yourself in too early.

Timing is important, so if you can be flexible here, that can work to your advantage. Usually weekly deals are available for a rental of 4 days + 1 or 2 hours. It may be worth it to play with your p/u and drop times to snag a weekly deal and use a weekly coupon on top of that. HOWEVER-- don't try to beat the system by dropping off early on a weekly deal. You could wind up paying the walk-up rate at $$$$$.


3) THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS "THE ONE BEST CODE". If there were, the Matrix thread would be one page long. A corollary to this is that there is no "best price" or even "average price" for any particular car or date or area. The "best price" can only be judged in relationship to what everyone else is charging at that moment, in that place, for that type of car. Prices in the RAC biz fluctuate literally minute to minute depending on Supply and Demand; it's all constantly re-computed, so don't even try to understand it. Which leads to the motto -- WHEN YOU SEE A GOOD DEAL, BOOK IT IMMEDIATELY. Why would you hesitate as long as no prepayment is necessary? Blink your eye and it could be gone- we see that happen over and over again on the matrix thread. Continue to hunt for a better deal, if you have the time and energy; and when you find one, book it FIRST and then cancel the old one. Cancelling is a courtesy and a CYA that should be extended so that others may still get deals on cars and so that the industry will allow us to continue to book without prepaying- a luxury in the travel biz that applies to no other venues.

4) If you are going to use a code you that probably wasn't intended for your use ---say, State of FL Employee, or Red Cross, or Military personnel-- I suggest you don't, at least, not til you've exhausted other possibilities. Try other, safer codes FIRST which may very well produce similar or even better deals than the "iffy" ones. Why sweat it at the desk, wondering if you will have to present ID. This goes double if there is insurance included in the code . Many of the codes that include insurance are self-insured thru whatever company made the contract- do you think they won't check to see if you are an employee before paying out on a claim? There are plenty of codes listed that anyone can use. Join whatever's free to be able to use their codes-- you may even get a joining bonus.

ETA 7/7/10-- to prove my point:

Blackhawkfan said:
______________________________________________________________________________________
Topspin14m said:
I have regular Emerald status. They never check anything at National. My buddy gets the carpenter's union discount all the time. He barely knows how to hold a hammer. If you can get the Exec. status card then I am sure that you are good to go.
_______________________________________________________________________________________
That's what I thought until my last rental!

I picked up my car at Emerald and drove up to the exit booth with my DL, Emerald Card, and the car's hang tag.

They wanted proof of my qualification for the rate code in my profile!

She ask me to produce an employee ID, but she accepted a business card showing my employment with the company on my profile.

I complained about the hassle and asked what was going on.

I was told that there has been a great deal of abuse of rates being posted online and they are now spot checking for rate qualifications.

In all the years of renting from National, nothing like this has happened to me.

Apparently the purchase of National by Enterprise is resulting in new policies.

I know that in the past National has cancelled out codes that were being abused, but I was never asked to provide proof of qualification at the exit booth.

AND YET ANOTHER ONE:
"i used one of the codes and picked up the car without any issue, but when i returned it they asked for some proof which i didn't have. so they are now charging me for more than triple of the original rate. i'm still disputing this with my credit card company but am doubtful if i can win."

This was with Avis State of FL code, and if you follow the Matrix thread, you will learn that the poster was not successful with the credit card company. The poster was probably flagged sometime during his/her trip in a crackdown on fraudulent code use and was shocked at dropoff to learn tbere was another $250 being charged.
Most of the contracts mention something about being "subject to audit".
__________________________________________________________________________________________
AND YET ANOTHER ONE:

naveenee221 said:
Hello guys i need a Help, i used TX720 coupon for car rental,and accident occurred and the enterprise people sent me a letter saying that talk to the respective insurance company if they pay it is fine ,if not i need to pay,can you guys please help me regarding this,i am in big trouble.

(This code is for employees of University of Texas)

FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED.



5) Insurance is a whole separate topic. Check your coverage thru your own insurance company and your credit cards, and consider investigating AMEX's policy, which is much cheaper than buying thru the RAC. See the other stickied thread for more discussion.

6) Consider whether you will be needing an additional driver. You may have to pay a daily fee of up to $10 or more for the privilege OR you may be able to get that for free. Policy will vary by company, state, and code. CA and NV don't charge for spouses driving. Budget doesn't charge for spouses; National won't if you are an Emerald Club member; and Hertz won't if you are both AAA holders. Alamo's WalMart code will include almost anyone for free. These are just some of the variations.

7) More reasons to join the loyalty clubs- advance emails of deals and coupons; better likelihood of an upgrade; opportunity to earn free days (this can be valuable on pricy one-ways!); quicker escape with your car.

8) If you have a larger group to transport and multiple drivers, consider renting two smaller cars. ( this goes back to #1, flexibility). When minivans and SUV's are at a premium, it can save you more than half the price and give you more freedom besides.

9) One-way rentals can cost BIG $$$$. Join promotions for free days (like National's 1-2-Free) and save them up. Consider seasonal relocational deals, especially into Florida in late fall and out of FL in mid-spring. "Drive out specials" can be had dirt cheap post- spring break into late spring/early summer. Also, an understanding of how different companies price them can be handy. Some companies will charge a drop off fee of as much as $600 or more. Others, especially National, will build the fee into the daily charge. When that is the case and your travel plans permit, consider multiple reservations: one for the days you will be driving locally, and one for the days you will be traveling to the new location.

A car is not always the most economical means of transportation for one-ways. Consider other options.

10) International and long term rentals-- we don't seem to get a lot of input with these special circumstances here so far. Both of these could probably use their own FAQ's.

Common Sense Summary

Check the RAC sites for specials- there's usually a tab.
Put your codes and your coupons in the correct boxes on the page.
Check back often, both on the Matrix thread and on the RAC sites
More flies with honey- be nice here, say thanks when someone helps you, be polite to the rental agent. It goes a LONG way towards an upgrade or whatever else you'd like.

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Thanks for sharing this rules and regulations in such details. Many users don't know the rules and spoil the forum quali... (more)

adamvore (Dec. 30, 2013 @ 1:51p) |

I used a National Car Rental contract ID for Air France 8572130 after I signed up for their frequent flyer program ...$3... (more)

Nisky411 (Mar. 10, 2014 @ 9:18p) |

Thanks for this.. very helpful I might add..

info5250 (Aug. 12, 2014 @ 12:06p) |

Quick Summary is created and edited by users like you... Add FAQ's, Links and other Relevant Information by clicking the edit button in the lower right hand corner of this message.
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Why not just use http://www.autoslash.com/?

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niktobos said: Why not just use http://www.autoslash.com/?

Because the codes they supply are worthless in comparison to the ones posted here.

I tested them for my upcoming rental and they came up almost $200 per week more, compared to the rates I got provided by the members here.

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I've set this thread to not archive. Not sure on the sticky idea yet.

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Blackhawkfan said: niktobos said: Why not just use http://www.autoslash.com/?

Because the codes they supply are worthless in comparison to the ones posted here.

I tested them for my upcoming rental and they came up almost $200 per week more, compared to the rates I got provided by the members here.


can you post the example?

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niktobos said: Blackhawkfan said: niktobos said: Why not just use http://www.autoslash.com/?

Because the codes they supply are worthless in comparison to the ones posted here.

I tested them for my upcoming rental and they came up almost $200 per week more, compared to the rates I got provided by the members here.


can you post the example?


I didn't retain it, but I tried a few of my "favorite" codes and all of them beat the results on Autoslash.

Give it a shot.... Pull some of the codes identified as the best and compare the results to Autoslash.

You should get the same results.

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Many of the codes identified as "best" are IFFY codes.
Caveat emptor.

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Bumping, with a few edits.

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BUMP.
Thought this was getting stickied?

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Unbump--

Not sure why it didn't sticky. I've re-applied the sticky, so let's see what happens.

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Not sure what happened there riaesq, my internet is extremely poor here, must have been an off click. To add some helpful notes though, alamo fixed an error in their reservation system that disallowed coupon use if your reservation exceeded the days the coupons were valid for. The coupons should be good now as long as your pickup time is before the coupon expiry date (as of yesterday their system rejected coupons if your rental dropoff was after the expiry). Anyway ty for the faqs!

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muppetx said: Not sure what happened there riaesq, my internet is extremely poor here, must have been an off click. To add some helpful notes though, alamo fixed an error in their reservation system that disallowed coupon use if your reservation exceeded the days the coupons were valid for. The coupons should be good now as long as your pickup time is before the coupon expiry date (as of yesterday their system rejected coupons if your rental dropoff was after the expiry). Anyway ty for the faqs!
Canadian, eh?

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yep, currently in Iqaluit, Nunavut ^^.

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RE: autoslash.com...

I just checked for PHL for 12 days and Costco's price with Alamo for a Full Size was $40 less than their cheapest price for a Compact. Their "cheapest" Alamo price was @ $200 more than Costco's.
Just FWIW

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Swive said: RE: autoslash.com...

I just checked for PHL for 12 days and Costco's price with Alamo for a Full Size was $40 less than their cheapest price for a Compact. Their "cheapest" Alamo price was @ $200 more than Costco's.
Just FWIW

Agreed. Blackhawkfan is apparently correct about the site being worthless. It looks like you both found the Autoslash rates to be $200 more expensive.

I also tried it and I got much better rates using the codes in the FW thread as well.

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muppetx said: yep, currently in Iqaluit, Nunavut ^^.
I could tell by your accent!

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hi, guys,
I am planning a trip and need to rent a car with a decent rate for a week(from Aug 7 to 15).
need to pick up from Las vegas(LAS) and drop off Los Angeles(LAX)
any full-size or SUV is ok.
Thank you

rated:
fey10 said: hi, guys,
I am planning a trip and need to rent a car with a decent rate for a week(from Aug 7 to 15).
need to pick up from Las vegas(LAS) and drop off Los Angeles(LAX)
any full-size or SUV is ok.
Thank you


Why do you keep posting this over and over with no research.
You posted this three times asking for us to find you a car with no research.
If you don't have the time to search call a travel agency.
We don't take orders and plan your car rental for you.
There is and entire matrix of codes for you to try.
Try three and update with research...maybe someone will tell you if better can be found.
You obviously didn't read this thread and this is NOT to become a begging for help thread either....

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That sound is me banging my head against the wall
Ouch.

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riaesq said: That sound is me banging my head against the wall
Ouch.


You try over and over and over...some people have such think basic common sense and courtesy doesn't apply to them!
Amazing isn't it!!

rated:
mom2boys said: riaesq said: That sound is me banging my head against the wall
Ouch.


You try over and over and over...some people have such think basic common sense and courtesy doesn't apply to them!
Amazing isn't it!!
What's amazing to me is that we keep trying to make this forum succeed through our contributions, with little appreciation by many of the people we help and little appreciation by FW.

Many of the best contributors no longer post, although you sometimes see them rate other posts as red or green.

Did you ever think about the number of views vs. the number of contributions to the travel forum? And by contributions, I don't mean the posts asking for information and providing nothing to the community in return. Only the smallest fraction of the users of this forum actually contribute anything.

It's a shame since IMO this was once an excellent medium to help people save money on travel.

Now it has become a place for people to come in, place orders for travel service, and leave without making any effort on their own behalf and without sharing any information with the community.

IMO one has to be a masochist to continue to contribute to this forum.

I will continue to read the posts but I am finished contributing to this sinking ship.

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Yesnick, your absence will be a big loss for the forum. Sorry to hear but I understand. I went "on strike" awhile ago.

To look on the bright side, at least a few others are contributing on the cars lately, so I will hang in for awhile longer until I've had enough. I really was hoping these FAQ's would help more than they seem to be doing. Folks complain about having to wade thru almost 200 pages of the Matrix, but apparently even 1 page is too many to have to manage for some.

rated:
I wan to share that I am as lazy as the next person but will run a marathon to save a dollar. With that said I want to thank you guys for saving me tons and I do mean tons of money on car rentals currently I am using a great discount with enter*prise so much so I am the go to in my family for car rentals esn9rep is 15% off weekly rentals. I have rented quad cab dodge 1500 for a week at the rate of $150 incl taxes with them the key is search different locations and if you are willing to travel a little bit its worth it.

I booked a compact for a week under a 100 bucks in los angeles at the off airport location caught the hertz shuttle and walked across the street to the prise.

I run into a lot of bad attitudes and non helpfulness from the managers because I get rates cheaper than the regular price of their economy car. They try and make me take insurance.

Yesnick, rlaesq I hope you guys continue helping I never really say anything but I want to say your help is very appreciated and much needed. Thank you!

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sorry deleted.

rated:
I think it's good ,thanks OP!

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havent rented in over a year, is this normal? i got back on the computer after an hour and refreshed(this was for the Orbitz search engine) and the prices shot up by about 1/3rd. (i am looking in los angeles within 15 mile radius) i kept everything the same, location, pick up and drop off and number of days and time of rental.

Ditto for the individual sites, enterprise prices shot up a ton, i am guessing they will drop back down later. Enterprise looked pretty good after coupons and after tax, about $19/day(for a one week rental, about 133 total). but i refresh, and poof. it was at 240$ instead of 130$

then on Travelocity, nothing changed at all. wtf. I could have pulled the trigger on that same deal, same car, but no coupons, but slightly more, about 150 after taxes for the same enterprise location.

Maybe I am not as picky as the rest of you, but anything under $20/day after tax is pretty good for los angeles(i think). i probably should know better than to question the logic of travel deals, and esp credit card deals, none of them make much sense really. and deals change all the time

visa lets me cancel their credit card as soon as i got the free 50000 bonus points after satisfying the 3 month minimum purchase, and avoid the annual fees by cancelling early.

but just seems odd that one matrix changed(orbitx and Hotwire) and another(Travelocity) doesnt.

rated:
I would prefer that this thread remain strictly FAQ's, with perhaps some general advice if anyone cares to contribute. In fact, if the mods could fix it so that's the case, that would be great.
Please repost your question as a new thread or on the car rental thread.

rated:
The matrix thread seams to have only JFK, LAX and LAS in the matrix. Are other cities go into this thread too or is there a different thread for say anywhere in California..? Wanted to check before doing my homework according to the rules above.

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Agreed. Blackhawkfan is apparently correct about the site being worthless. It looks like you both found the Autoslash rates to be $200 more expensive.

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its really good...............

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Some of us only rent from 1 or 2 companies. Why not let people compare, for example, 3 CDP & PC codes at Hertz?

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pesterthespian said:   havent rented in over a year, is this normal? i got back on the computer after an hour and refreshed(this was for the Orbitz search engine) and the prices shot up by about 1/3rd. (i am looking in los angeles within 15 mile radius) i kept everything the same, location, pick up and drop off and number of days and time of rental.

but just seems odd that one matrix changed(orbitx and Hotwire) and another(Travelocity) doesnt.


Maybe I'm just a conspiracy theorist, but I feel like this happens to me with everything I search on Orbitz/Travelocity/Expedia - the price rises every time I go back to the site to search again. I guessed that it does this based on cookies, to give you that feeling of "I must book now! Prices are rising!"

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One corporate code to rent two cars.

I am planning a trip in Boston. The company I work for has a code for a good discount. But we need two cars. I called Thrifty and they told me I can use one company badge to rent two cars at the same time. Has anyone done that before. I don't trust just someone answers me over the phone. Thanks.

rated:
MVP9596 said:   Unbump--

Not sure why it didn't sticky. I've re-applied the sticky, so let's see what happens.

Thread is is full of informative posts, why dont make it sticky thread, so more peoples will get benefited.

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Hi, I am looking for a National car rental code for 5 day trip @ Las Vegas.
Thanks and appreciate your help.

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dealinmydays said:   Hi, I am looking for a National car rental code for 5 day trip @ Las Vegas.
Thanks and appreciate your help.

Too busy to bother reading the the OP/FAQ for this thread?

--> NOTE: this is NOT the correct thread to ask for deals on cars. <--

rated:
Thanks for sharing this rules and regulations in such details. Many users don't know the rules and spoil the forum quality. Thanks for this description again.

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I used a National Car Rental contract ID for Air France 8572130 after I signed up for their frequent flyer program ...$30 off NDA2324BR coupon I got a good rate for MCO... try it at your airport

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Thanks for this.. very helpful I might add..

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