Next week, we are headed to Daytona Beach, Fl for the NASCAR Daytona 500 race. As usual, we will fly into Orlando International Airport (MCO) and pick up a rental car. Decades ago, renting a car was a fairly easy process. Now, you have to do your due diligence to get the best rate for your rental and avoid problems that can cost you money. This post is part 1 of two parts which covers booking your car and tracking the price. Tracking the price is the key to saving more money. Part 2 will cover other tips and tricks that will save you more money. Here is the link to part 2.
It’s Not A “Set It And Forget It Process”
Most of us use an online travel agency (OTA) to search for the best car rental rates. The site that I use is autoslash.com. They only book rental cars but what makes them unique is that they track your car rental for any decrease in price:
- The same car at a lower rate,
- A better car at the same rate or
- A better car at a lower price.
Let’s look at my upcoming car rental picking up a mid-size SUV at Orlando airport. Autoslash originally found the best price at $314.81 for my six-day rental. Once I booked my rental, I entered the rental car reservation in their tracking system which checks prices across all car rental companies on a daily basis. You will see that as a result of daily rate tracking, Autoslash was able to lower my car rental rate to $220.92 saving me $93.89 or nearly 30% for this rental period.
When I first starting using Autoslash, it was a simple, one-step process to book and track. Autoslash received a lot of heat from the car rental industry so they changed the process from one step to two steps. Even though there is an extra step to initiate rate tracking, it is well worth the extra effort. The booking process also added another step and again the extra step that it takes to find the lowest rate can be well worth it.
Some booking sites show a lower rate if you pay in full at the time of booking. I find that discounts generally aren’t worth the hassle if my plans should change. Be sure to read the terms and conditions for prepaid car rentals before you choose this option. Are prepaid car rentals able to be canceled or changed? Is there a fee involved to make changes to an existing car reservation? I want the most flexibility when it comes to hotel rooms and rental cars so I never prepay for anything.
How To Book A Car Using Autoslash
When you go to the Autoslash home page, you will see the welcome screen. From there, fill in the blanks on the succeeding pages to get a rate quote. After you receive your rate quote by email, you can book your car. After booking your car, you will receive an email with your car rental confirmation.
Does this work? I rented a car at the airport in Maui at Budget Car Rental using Autoslash. While I was working with the rental agent, the supervisor stopped and asked me “What island are you from?”. I didn’t completely understand the question but I replied “Oahu”. I ask the supervisor why she was asking me that question. She was asking because I got the inter-island resident preferred rental rate. The bottom line is that Austoslash saved me a lot of money on that rental.
Tracking Your Rental With Autoslash
This is where Autoslash really shines. They research my rental itinerary every day so I don’t have to. The check all of the car rental companies and find coupons that can apply to your rental. As I said before, the tracking used to be a seamless part of your Autoslash booking. Even though you have to manually have Autoslash track your rental, it can be very rewarding. Here is how you track your new car rental reservation:
First Objective Completed
We have found the car that we want at the best price. We have also tracked our rental so that any drop in price will generate an email alerting us to a better deal. I have had received lower price notifications many times of the life of the reservation period including just days before pickup. Let’s return back to my car rental next week at Orlando International Airport. Here is an example of a price notification email for that rental:
Tomorrow I will cover other ways that you can save money and protect yourself from rental car games including:
- How to avoid an extra driver charge for your spouse,
- The collision damage waiver (CDW) and how to correctly get protection for free,
- Avoiding phony damage claims by the car rental company,
- Checking for a fuel gas tank, a clean car and valid car registration,
- The car class upgrade game,
- Checking your bill carefully for incorrect charges,
- Lowing your car rental cost by choosing an offsite rental location instead of one at the airport.
Join me tomorrow as we cover these money savings tactics.