Monday, October 20, 2014

How to Find a Good Deal on a Rental Car

A few weeks ago I did a post on flying for less money. If you're going to fly, you'll need a rental car and that can get pretty pricey. So I came up with some tips on finding a good deal on a rental car.

The most important thing you can do is shop around. Don't just go with the first car that you find. I have never found a good deal going directly through the rental car company. Instead, I look at different websites that compare prices with all of the different car rental companies and find the best deal for you. If you compare prices with all of these different websites, you'll find a great deal on a rental car. Here are some of my favorites:

Car Rental 8
I have always been able to find a good deal through Car Rental 8. Every time I've checked this website, the prices have always been really low, if not the lowest.

Book through your airline
The last two times we flew, I booked our rental car through Southwest Airlines. It was about the same price as Car Rental 8 but I decided to go through the airline to get the bonus points. For certain cars, the airline will offer points in their frequent flyer program. But you have to make sure the extra points are worth it. If you book a car that earns you 600 bonus points you have to figure out how much money you will actually get back and if that's the best deal you can find. 600 points may seem like it a lot but it's actually only worth about $10 so if you can find a car that's more than $10 cheaper, go with that instead. If you have a credit card through an airline, you may also earn double or triple points just for booking through the airline.That's in addition to the bonus points I already mentioned.

Check websites like Priceline, Expedia, and Travelocity
These websites are great for comparing the prices of different rental car companies; however, I've always found a better deal through Car Rental 8 or the airline.

Another great tip is to use your credit card points to help pay for your car. When we went to Florida in April, we had the Barclaycard credit card. After redeeming 80,000 points which cut the cost of our flight in half, the credit card company rewarded us with 10% of our points back. So that was $80 right there. By the time we went on our trip I had about 22,500 points to redeem which cut the cost of our rental car in half. We rented a mini-van in Orlando, Florida for 10 days for $450. After we used our points, I only payed $225. Not bad!

Here are some of the best travel reward credit cards:
Barclaycard Arrival 40,000 bonus points, 2 points per dollar
Capitol One Ventures card 40,000 bonus points, 2 points per dollar 
Chase Sapphire Preferred 40,000 bonus points, 2 points per dollar on dining, 1 point per dollar on all other purchase
Southwest Rapid Rewards card 25,000 bonus points, 1 point per dollar (sometimes they offer 50,000 bonus points) 

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