I thought I knew all the tricks for renting cars at the best price…
- I joined multiple rental car clubs to get their discounts.
- I search online for discount codes.
- I get a feel for the going prices with these discount codes, and I check online travel sites.
- Once I know the going rates I place a lowball bid on Priceline. If my bid is not accepted, I make a reservation (most agencies don’t require a credit card guarantee, so it’s easy to cancel).
- I check back a few weeks before my trip to see if prices have gone down. If they do, I rebook and cancel my old reservation.
These techniques have worked well for me. However, this week I added a new tactic to my repertoire, and it paid off!
Last month I went through all my usual rental car steps for my WDW Today Reunion trip to Walt Disney World in early December. The best price I found used my Alamo Insider member discount combined with a discount code I found on MouseSavers.com. Neither Priceline, Expedia, Hotwire, or Orbitz could beat the price, and I was happy with it.
Well, Reunion is just around the corner, so it was time to check rental car prices again. I heard a tip to check car rentals through buying clubs like Sam’s Club and Costco. I have seen the glossy travel brochures at these places but never gave them much thought. I’m a member at Costco, so I registered with Costco’s online travel services website and checked the rental prices. I was blown away: with a Costco discount I was able to reduce the rental price by almost 50%!
My only problem was that my Alamo Insider account was not linked to the new reservation I made through Costco. I called Alamo to remedy this but learned that once a reservation is booked, Alamo cannot add the Insider account number. Fortunately, the Alamo agent offered to re-book my reservation with the Costco code. That worked, and I got the Alamo Insider member discount on top of the excellent Costco rate.
The result was terrific: in total (including all taxes and fees), I’m paying $31.23 for a 3-day “intermediate” rental car from a big-name agency.
Please share your car rental tips in the comments. What is the best deal you’ve scored?