Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Car Rentals...

So, I have a trip coming up at the end of the month.  Rather than taking my pick-up again, we have opted to rent a car this time.  It's a "weekend" that I'm going to be gone, so we can get the cheaper rates.

I use Thrifty Car Rental, mainly because they suckered me in "this one time" with cheaper rates and the promise of a free rental day.  The catch is that "they" keep track of the number of days you have rented and your free day is the 16th day!  Not only have I not reached that in the past 4 years, my "number of days rented" is still sitting at 0!  I believe that is because the physical place I go to refuses to scan the bar code on my reservations and insists on "looking up" the account manually.  I continue to give them my business for two main reasons, first, they are still the cheapest place to rent from, and secondly, because they haven't required proof of my insurance other than looking at the cars a few times (not always).  I don't carry full coverage because I drive a clunker that is worth less than the insurance would cost to cover it for a year.  As a general rule, you need full coverage to drive a rental and not have to pay their waiver fee ($26 a day).  So far, they just ask and I say "Yup"...I know it's dishonest, but honestly...I rent there because it is the least amount I have to spend...the waiver is three times the daily rental for the car!

The reason I bring this up tonight is because I got an email from Enterprise Car Rental offering me a "deal" of $9.99 a day as their special "weekend rate".  But, here's the kicker...  I'm leaving on a Thursday and returning Saturday evening, which means returning the car in Sunday.  Because the physical place of business is not open in Sundays, they require I return the vehicle by Noon on Saturday or choose to keep the vehicle until Monday (and pay the weekday rate, plus the rate for Sunday)!  Since I plan on traveling either Friday afternoon or Saturday morning, it is highly likely that I am not going to be in town on Saturday.  Returning it Monday morning gives me a grand total (after taxes and such) of $101.97!  This is for the "Standard" sized car...that's supposed to be their $10 a day special?

At Thrifty, I am  getting a standard sized car for $60.72!  No link for the specifics on that one...the page automatically logs me in and has personal info there for the taking!  But, I did snip a photo of the important part of the page.  $17.51 a day...right there in "big" letters that are easy to find.

I did go back because I couldn't imagine how much Enterprise was charging for that extra day that I didn't want or need to make the total so much higher!  $32.99 for the the day I don't need, as well as the "sneaky" rate hike on the "special" rate to $17.99 a day!  I know, $8 really isn't all that much, but times it by 3 and tack on the extra $33 and the taxes on $57...it adds up fast!

I generally go for the "wild card" pick when I rent because the price is usually lower.  With the "wild card", the dealership chooses my car for me based on what they have available (compact or larger).  They used to offer mid-size or larger...the last time I did this I was stuck in the smallest compact I have ever seen!  Also, the price for a standard was only 3 cents more (total)...  My issue with the changing it to "compact or larger" is that I ended up paying more for the compact rental I got than if I had just booked a compact!  Since I shop for the cheapest available rental that fits my needs, this really irks me.  It is cheaper to do the "grab bag" rental than it is to rent a mid-size...so they might loose a few dollars on the rental, but since the rental is based on what is available for the day you pick it up, it is essentially a vehicle that was going to sit, un-rented, for the time you have it!  Sounds like a win-win to me...  This time around, I will gladly drive my "Kia Optima or similar" and just be happy I know that I got a good deal...even if I am not accruing my free day...the jerks.

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