Did you know the average price of a rental car (excluding taxes, fees, and extra charges) at its peak was $123/day in June 2019? This cost was up $50 from the start of the year. The car rental prices surpassed $160 a day during May, June, and July of 2021 in cities such as New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland.
Rental car prices aren’t constant. They go up and down based on the demand and supply of rental cars in the market.
Don’t blindly book a rental car for the price that appears on the website of a car rental company. If you act hurriedly, you may end up booking a rental car at an astronomical price you regret later.
Instead, do your groundwork, compare discount programs of various rental companies, and join their loyalty programs as these steps will help you book a rental car at the best price possible.
This article provides seven secret car rental hacks that will help you save money and time in 2022. All these tips are practical and helpful for booking a rental cab at the lowest price possible.
7 Car Rental Hacks You Need to Know
Here is the list of the top seven car rental hacks you need to know:
Make your reservation early
Join their rewards program
Check their discount programs
Rent directly from the rental company
See if your credit card covers rental insurance
Download the car rental company’s mobile app
Ask to have your rental upgraded
Let’s take an in-depth view into these travel tips to understand how they can help save money and time:
1. Make Your Reservation Early
Don’t wait for last-minute deals. You may be forced to shell out more money if you book the car within 24 to 48 hours of the pick-up time.
You can save up to 30% on your rental car price if you book it two months in advance of your pick-up date. So, plan your trip in advance and book your rental car well before your pick-up date.
Plus, with an early rental car reservation, you’ll get to choose a car you like. For instance, a convertible is an ideal choice for a group of four people going on a road trip. If you plan to make a reservation early, you will be able to find a convertible with one or another rental provider at an affordable price. If you wait for the last-minute rental, you’ll have no other option but to adjust with the car model that is available from the rental provider.
2. Join Their Rewards Program
Many car rental companies run reward programs at participating locations. The reward programs can save a lot of money on booking a rental car. You may need to shortlist a few popular car rental companies and compare their reward programs to identify how much you can save on renting a car.
Car rental companies also run loyalty programs to enable existing customers to earn perks and rewards that help reduce rental rates. If you are an existing customer of any rental company, you may be eligible to join its loyalty program.
For example, Airport Van Rental (AVR) has been running a loyalty program, Prestige Members, at the Los Angeles location for the last few months. The main benefit of this loyalty program is that it allows existing customers (frequent buyers) to get the best available car in the class booked at the lowest price possible.
3. Check Their Discount Programs
Rental companies don’t often promote their discount programs widely. You may need to do a bit of groundwork to check whether the car rental company is running any discount program or not. Visiting the car rental company’s website or dialing its customer support may be helpful in this process.
Many companies offer Costco, AARP, AAA, and USAA discount coupon codes at participating locations. Discount codes can reduce car rental rates by up to 30% depending on the season and type of car you choose.
For instance, AVR is offering a Pay Now promotion, which reduces car rental prices by up to 35%. To partake in the Pay Now program, you may need to prepay the rental price at the time of reserving the vehicle with a credit or debit card. Additionally, AVR also offers an immediate discount of 5% on the rental rate for AAA and USAA members.
4. Rent Directly From the Rental Company
The presence of intermediaries between you and your rental company may increase car rental prices significantly. The issue with intermediaries is that they add their profit margin to the actual rental rate and pass the entire burden on to customers.
There is no point in going ahead with an intermediary when car rental companies have several platforms, including the website and social media pages, that navigate you to the booking page. So rent directly from the rental company to save money and time.
For example, AVR has a vehicle reservation page directly on our website. It is also active on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can visit any of these platforms to book a rental vehicle directly from AVR to reduce the rental price.
5. See If Your Credit Card Covers Insurance
Rental car insurance prices may range from $31 to $60 per day in the United States. This may mean you’ll be spending at least $31 extra a day on your rental car if you don’t have rental car insurance. Your rental company should cover the minimum state requirements if you are unable to proceed with insurance.
Technically, you can use your own car insurance if you are renting a car for your personal travel. However, your car insurance policy may not be valid if you are renting a car to visit neighborhood countries like Canada or Mexico. Since standard auto insurance companies in the United States don’t cover rentals abroad, it may be wise to:
Check if your credit card covers the rental insurance.
Purchase rental insurance that covers a loss damage waiver, liability coverage, and personal accident insurance.
Many premium credit cards offer either primary coverage or secondary coverage for rental cars. However, you must book the rental vehicle with a specific credit card to qualify for coverage.
A couple of popular credit cards that offer primary rental insurance coverage are:
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card offers primary coverage of up to $75,000 in damages for rental agreements in the United States and abroad for an annual fee of $555.
The United Explorer Card offers primary coverage of up to the cash value of a vehicle for rental agreements in the United States and abroad for an annual fee of $95.
6. Download the Car Rental Company’s Mobile App
Today, many car rental companies have mobile applications. With sleek and user-friendly interfaces, these mobile apps increase your convenience of interacting with travel agencies and booking rental cars.
The benefits of downloading a rental car company’s mobile app are:
Ongoing promotions: Rental car companies send notifications on the mobile app about ongoing promotional offers, discounts, and special programs. If you have the rental company’s app on your phone, you will be the first person to be notified about these promotions.
Personalized offers: Based on the purchase history, demographics, and psychographic factors, rental companies send personalized offers to existing customers through mobile apps. These personalized offers may comprise discount coupons and rewards that help save a lot of money on rental prices.
7. Ask to Have Your Rental Upgraded
One in five travelers gets an unexpected upgrade at no extra cost!
There is no harm in asking for a rental upgrade. If you fancy a bigger car with additional features, you should ask for an upgrade. The staff at rental companies are friendly and want to fulfill the travel needs of customers. If your desired car is available, they would upgrade the rental at a small additional cost. If you are lucky, you may get an upgrade at no additional cost.
The following tips may help in asking for a rental upgrade:
Explain your travel needs to the customer support
Negotiate an upgrade offer
If you are an existing customer, remind the same to the customer support team
Be nice at the desk
Get the Best Car Rental Deals with Airport Van Rental
The seven secret travel hacks mentioned in this article will help you prevent regret and save at least 30% on the rental rates. We suggest you shortlist at least five car rental companies and compare their promotional offers and discount programs before making a reservation. You can also use websites such as Expedia and Autoslash to find cheap car rental deals.
AVR is one of the leading car rental companies in the United States. With a premium fleet of passenger vans, minivans, SUVs, and cargo vans, we cater to the unique travel needs of people. We have over a dozen rental locations coast to coast. A few of our popular locations are Atlanta, Burbank, Dallas, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Orlando, San Francisco, and Tampa. AVR’s customer support team is available 24/7 to help customers choose the right vehicle and resolve vehicle-related issues during the rental agreement period.
Book a rental van with AVR for your next trip at a lower rate today to experience the hassle-free vacation journey.