You may find that you need to rent a car. It may be because you flew to your destination. You might also choose to rent rather than put miles on your vehicle. No matter the reason, there are simple strategies you can use to get a good deal when you rent a car.
If you have ever rented a car before, you know how expensive it can be. By the time you add in the mileage and extras, it can take a toll on your budget.
And, if you aren’t careful, you might find that the cost changes from day-to-day. It might be $50 more expensive just by booking a different day of the week.
Of course, you can skip the rental altogether and just book Uber or Lyft. But, if you need a vehicle, you will have to rent a car.
So, what can you do to ensure you save money on car rentals? There are simple strategies anyone can try. These can be key in getting a deal.
HOW TO SAVE MONEY RENTING A CAR
1. Warehouse Memberships
Most warehouse memberships (i.e. BJ’s, Sam’s or Costco), offer travel discounts. Most of these include rental cars. Check with yours to find out if there is special member pricing or discounts.
2. Check with your insurance carrier
Insurance companies sometimes offer discounts to its customers. The only caveat is that you may be limited to which rental car company you can use.
Visit with your agent to learn more.
3. Military discounts
Many companies offer military families a discount. You never know if they do, so just ask when making your reservation. You just might be pleasantly surprised!
4. Online Sites
Take a look at sites online such as , or even as they can offer some competitive rates. You can always pay for the basic rental online and then upgrade when you get to the counter.
5. Sign up for emails
Sign up for emails and notifications with the rental car companies you normally use. They will often send money saving deals and offers to subscribers, that are not available to the general public.
6. Frequent Flier or Rental Clubs
Frequent flier miles can sometimes be cashed in to use towards rental cars. In addition, sign up for your favorite rental company’s club (if available) and you can accrue rewards and/or perks.
7. Employer Discounts
Some larger companies have deals set up with rental agencies, who pass along discounts to its employees. Ask your Human Resources Manager to find out if there is a program available where you work.
8. Be careful about add-ons
Watch out for add-ons, such as insurance. Before you book, check with your insurance company as your plan may extend to rental cars. That means you don’t need to pay for additional insurance.
You may even check with your credit card company as they too may extend coverage to the rental. You will need to make sure that you have primary care insurance on your card. That way, if something happens, you can file the claim with the credit card company rather than the rental company insurance.
9. Look for coupon codes
Believe it or not, even rental companies can offer coupon discounts. You can often find these at RetailMeNot or even directly on the company’s website. Just sign up on the company’s site for emails and they will sometimes send them to you.
10. Fill the tank yourself
Never allow the rental car company to fill the tank for you. They often charge you more than what it would have cost if you had filled the tank yourself.
Take a few minutes and stop by the gas station and you’ll pay less for that tank of gas.
11. Don’t book a pre-paid plan
If you pre-pay for your car rental and the price drops, you are stuck. Instead, book the car and then watch for a price drop.
Visit and track rental prices. If the price drops, you’ll get an alert and can lock in the rate at that time.
12. Use Your Elite Status
Look at your credit card. If you happen to be an elite member, you might be able to get free upgrades or even save as much as 25% off of your rental! Just your credit card company to see if they have such perks.
13. Don’t pick up at the airport
This is not always an option, but if so, try to pick your car up at the rental car company instead. Some locations charge an airport tax that can be as much as 25% of your rental!! When you return the car, you can drop off at the airport, as the additional tax is charged only on pickups.
14. Consider less popular companies
When renting, check out other less known companies for lower rates. These companies can charge less as they are not under the umbrella of the big brand. The only caution is to do your research and read customer reviews before you book.