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Expert Tips To Easily Save Big Money On Car Rentals

I’ve been there, staring at a computer screen, trying to figure out how to get the best deal on a car rental for that much-needed vacation or crucial business trip. It’s a daunting task, isn’t it? But don’t worry, I’ve got your back.

In this article, I’ll share some insider tips and tricks to help you save money on car rentals. From booking strategies to little-known discounts, I’ll guide you through the process of getting a great deal. So buckle up, let’s take this journey together and help you keep more money in your pocket.

Understanding Car Rental Pricing

Understanding Car Rental Pricing

Delving into car rental pricing can help you find ways to save more. It’s essential to understand the various factors that influence these costs and how prices fluctuate depending on the time of year. Let’s break down these concepts.

Factors Influencing Rental Costs

Several factors can make rental car prices take a leap or fall. Predominantly, these include the type of car, duration of the rental, location, and additional insurance or services.

  1. Type of car: Compact cars typically cost less than SUVs or luxury cars. For instance, a Toyota Corolla’s rental cost may be substantially lower than that of a BMW X5.
  2. Duration of the rental: Car rental companies often provide discounts for longer rentals, e.g., a week’s rental may be cheaper per day than renting for just a couple of days.
  3. Location: The rental cost might increase if you’re renting from an airport location compared to a city center. A study showed that at many US airports, extra fees can hike rental prices by over 30% compared to downtown rates.
  4. Additional services: GPS, child seats, or additional insurance can tack on extra costs. It’s best to come prepared–bringing your own GPS or child seat, for example–to avoid these additional charges.

Peak Times Versus Off-Peak Times

Just as with hotels and airfare, the timing of your car rental can also impact the cost.

During peak travel times, like summertime or holiday seasons, demand for rental cars often skyrockets, and the prices follow suit. On the flip side, during off-peak times—typically outside holiday periods and outside the summer months—you’re likely to find more favorable rates.

For example, in cities known for their beautiful springs, car rental rates might take a dive in autumns. Similarly, ski resort towns might see cheaper rental cars over the summer. Knowing these patterns can help you strategically time your rentals and save more.

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Tips for Saving on Car Rentals

Tips for Saving on Car Rentals

To get the most bang for your buck in terms of car rentals, it’s wise to apply certain strategies and tactics. In this part of the article, I’m going to uncover valuable ways one can put their hard-earned money to better use when renting a vehicle.

Comparing Different Rental Agencies

As they say, not all car rental agencies are created equal. They differ not only in terms of fleet quality but also pricing. It’s essential to shop around before settling on a particular company. Comparing multiple rental agencies gives you a clear picture of the fare variations and helps you to spot the best price point. For instance, if you compare different options and notice that Agency A offers similar vehicles at lower prices than Agency B, it’s a no-brainer to go with Agency A.

Booking in Advance

Make no mistake, timing is of the essence when securing a car rental deal. The strategy of booking in advance can save you a tidy sum. It’s often the case that rental prices rise as the pick-up date nears, especially during peak travel times. Therefore, reserving your desired vehicle in advance allows you to lock in lower rates, meaning there’s less impact on your pocket. For example, if you book about two months before your trip, you might find prices are up to 15% lower than a week before the departure date.

Utilizing Discounts and Coupons

Discounts and coupons come in handy when you’re looking to make substantial savings on car rentals. Various platforms provide promo codes that you can use to lower rental costs, and rental agencies themselves often offer discounts during particular periods. It takes a little searching, but the potential savings make it worthwhile. Merely by punching in a coupon code during the booking process, you could save up to 20% on your total rental cost. Throw in a special promotional offer from the rental agency, and you might end up laughing all the way to the gas station.

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Additional Cost-Saving Strategies

Additional Cost-Saving Strategies

Steering the course towards additional cost-saving strategies, I’ll uncover tips and tactics beyond the usual scope. These pointers revolve around sidestepping extra charges and making economical choices, which crucially chip in towards a lighter rental bill.

Avoiding Extra Fees

Paying a glance towards hefty extra fees that creep up on the billing counter, they structurally inflate our expenses. Ever-present in the form of late return fees, fuel charges, insurance costs, and one-way drop-off rates, these hidden fees pack a punch, subtly raising rental costs.

  1. Counteract Late Return Fees: Rental agencies often add extra charges if you return the car late. Maintaining punctuality, thereby returning the car within the agreed time frame, helps dodge these expenses effectively.
  2. Address Fuel Charges: Some firms charge high refueling costs if you return the car with an empty tank. A smart move here would be to fill the tank yourself at a local gas station before returning the vehicle.
  3.  Evaluate Insurance Cover: Before opting for the rental company’s insurance, check your car or credit card insurance. You might already have rental coverage, eliminating the need to buy extra.
  4. Bypass One-Way Drop-Off Rates: Returning the car at a different location from the pickup often comes with a substantial one-way fee. A feasible solution could be to plan your trip such that you don’t incur these costs.

Choosing Economical Models

Eyeing the panoply of car models available in the rental market, they range from budget-conscious to luxury. Opting for an economical model proves to be a fiscall-savvy decision that ensures you get to your destination without overdoing the budget.

  1. Pick Compact Cars: Compact or economy vehicles, such as Honda Fit or Ford Fiesta, consume less fuel than larger counterparts, leading to savings on fuel costs.
  2. Consider Manual Transmissions: Cars with manual transmissions commonly cost less to hire than their automated counterparts. If you’re comfortable driving a manual, this could result in significant savings.
  3. Weigh the Benefit of Added Features: Models with extra features or luxury cars come at a premium. Before splurging on them, consider if the benefits outweigh the costs.

In this labyrinth of saving money on car insurance or rentals, being mindful of these strategies keeps the potential for savings alive. These strategies infuse the essence of thrifty decisions and proactive planning into the art of car renting.

Leveraging Membership Benefits

Leveraging Membership Benefits

In the bid to save money on car rentals, even after selecting economical car models and dodging extra fees, leveraging your membership benefits can be an additional advantage. Membership benefits from credit card partnerships and frequent renter programs often offer exclusive discounts and perks that can considerably reduce the overall rental cost.

Credit Card Partnerships

A beneficial strategy involves utilizing the benefits from partnerships between major credit card companies and car rental services. A multitude of credit cards offer travel coverage and rewards that can be redeemed for discounts on car rentals. For instance, Visa Infinite cardholders typically receive rental car discounts from Hertz, Enterprise, and National. On the other hand, American Express us bank business platinum card provides membership privileges that include upgrades and discounts with Hertz, Avis, and National. By exploring these partnerships, it’s possible to make substantial savings.

Frequent Renter Programs

Enrolling in a frequent renter program is a savvy move for regular car renters. Car rental companies often introduce such programs to retain loyal customers by providing them with rewarding benefits such as discounted rates, free upgrades, and waived fees. Examples include Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, Enterprise Plus, and Avis Preferred. Notably, these programs are generally free to join. The more you rent, the more you save—ergo, these memberships become most profitable for those who rent cars frequently. Always remember to apply your membership number at the time of booking to receive entitled benefits.


So there you have it! I’ve guided you through the maze of car rental savings, from booking strategies to leveraging membership benefits. It’s all about being a savvy renter, choosing economical models, and avoiding unnecessary fees. Insurance options, timing, and location all play a part in securing the best deals. Remember, your credit card could be the key to unlocking exclusive discounts and perks. Whether you’re a frequent renter or just need a car for a one-off trip, the benefits of programs like Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and Avis Preferred should not be overlooked. Don’t forget to apply your membership number at the time of booking. With these tips in your back pocket, you’re well on your way to making significant savings on your next car rental. It’s time to hit the road without burning a hole in your wallet!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can we save money on car rentals?

You can save money on car rentals by using strategic booking methods and taking advantage of offered discounts. Factors such as the type of car and rental location can also influence the rental price.

Which strategies can we use to get better rental rates?

Better rental rates can often be secured through timing. Booking at specific times could provide more economical rates.

How can we avoid or mitigate extra fees like late return charges and fuel costs?

Avoiding unnecessary additional costs, such as late return charges and fuel costs, can be achieved by returning the car on time and ensuring it’s fueled before returning it to avoid refueling charges.

What are the perks of credit card partnerships and frequent renter programs?

The credit card partnerships and frequent renter programs like Visa Infinite, American Express Platinum, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, and Avis Preferred offer exclusive discounts, membership privileges, discounted rates, free upgrades, and waived fees.

Why is it important to apply the membership number at the time of booking?

Applying your membership number at the time of booking is key to receiving all entitled benefits. This step can help maximize savings when renting a car.

What is the advantage of choosing economical car models?

Choosing economical car models, such as compact cars and cars with manual transmissions, can help reduce rental costs significantly.

Author Profile

Kathy Hardtke
Kathy Hardtke
I am thrilled to have been invited to blog about my experiences trading stock and options with Rich Dad.  Since 1998, when I picked up my first Rich Dad book “Rich Dad Poor Dad”, I have been hooked on Robert and Kim’s philosophies on becoming financially free through investing.  Their books and courses have changed my life as well as my daughter’s life, whom I am now teaching all I have learned about trading stock and options.

My experience has been in the real estate and finance industry for 20 years.  I was a Realtor with ERA, a Mortgage Loan Officer with Bank of America, and a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley.  Each time I chose a career that I thought I would get “the inside track” on investing and each time I learned it was just a “job”, although very good job and I was lucky enough to enjoy my career.  Simply put, these jobs would only get me a paycheck but never take me to financial freedom and the dreams and lifestyle I was looking to achieve.

With that said, I have no desire to make millions to have expensive “things” but I do have a dream to not only become financially free for myself and my family but also for others.  I started an organization called GROW Africa to help others.  We build wells in the farthest reaches of the earth in the bush of Zambia.  The women and children have to walk up to 4 hours each way to carry as much water as they can carry back.  I thought that was such a basic human need, that I felt I needed to do something about it, and did.

What is super cool about the training I received through Rich Dad Education on trading stocks and options is, now that I am educated on the Rich Dad stock trading system, I can trade anywhere in the world, including while I am in remote Africa building wells, providing water for those with little or none, as long as I have a power source and a satellite internet card.  Now that is freedom!

I am looking forward to sharing my experiences about trading stocks and options and walking with you on the path to financial freedom.  This is a process of building your wealth consistently over time, then passing it on to your children creating generational wealth.  I wish you all success and can’t wait to hear some of your stories of success as time ticks on!

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