Car rental companies ideally want you to pay the top price for every car you rent. But, in a market so saturated, price competition is at an all-time high. With the amount of options available for car rentals, there is no reason you should ever have to pay top, advertised rates for car rentals. Read through each of the methods below to discover the best ways to get discounts on your car rental rates.
Method 1 of 4: Rental coupons
Information is easier to access than ever these days, and that includes coupons for just about anything. One of the best ways to gain access to car rental discounts is by searching online, either through the car rental companies themselves or through couponing sites.
- Tip: There are often coupons that give discounts specifically if you are renting your car for a longer period of time, such as a weekend or weekly rental.
Step 1: Searching online. Search online through a variety of sites, including rental company sites.
You can find coupons and deals online at the actual rental company's website.
- Tip: Don’t be afraid to go with a brand you’ve never heard of before. These smaller car rental companies often have better promotions and lower prices in order to compete with bigger corporations.
Step 2: Check travel websites. You can also visit an online travel site, such as Orbitz, which allows you to add discount codes to your vehicle search to lower the company's rates even more.
Method 2 of 4: Organization discounts
Many organizations, membership programs, and professional associations offer car rental discount codes to their members through their respectively chosen car rental companies. With the high amount of organizations that offer rental car discounts to their members, you can easily find one that fits your needs. Check to see if you are involved in or affiliated with any organizations or program that offers these benefits.
You can visit their discount page or speak to someone within an organization to learn more.
Method 3 of 4: Business discounts
Car rental companies often set up business and corporate accounts with other companies that are looking for discounted car rentals. These accounts can provide extra discounts due to the loyalty and amount of rentals, and can even provide extra benefits such as prioritized upgrades.
Step 1: Check with your company. If you are employed at a large national company, you most likely have access to the company’s corporate account with a major car rental company, or even several rental companies.
Check with your human resources department or anyone else who sets up travel arrangements and employee discounts for more information.
You may even call your chosen car rental company’s toll-free phone number (listed on their website) to see if your company receives discounts on their car rentals.
Step 2: Self-employed. If you are self-employed or run your own business, you can even set up your own business account with a rental car company.
This is especially useful if you find you need to rent cars often.
Most rental car companies have special programs specifically dedicated to small business owners, and they often do not require any minimum of rentals per year.
Do your research online and see if there is a car rental company in your area that offers such accounts.
Method 4 of 4: Loyalty programs
Car rental companies offer loyalty programs or frequent renter programs to loyal customers and renters. Frequent renters in these programs often receive benefits and rewards, such as points that can add up to dollar amount discounts from your next rental. These programs offer other specials, savings, and rewards, so be sure to do your research online on the car rental company’s website to see if you qualify.
Step 1: Member reward programs. If you are a member of a rental car company's membership program, you might qualify for free rentals after so many days or after obtaining a certain amount of points.
Much like an airline or hotel point system, club membership entitles you to perks for being a member.
Some companies offer discount certificates that you can use toward a rental.
With rental cars costing more to rent, discount codes, organizational perks, and rewards programs can make the expense a little less. This is especially useful if you rent a car for business, as most companies offer discounts for that as well.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Find Deals on Car Rentals and was authored by Cheryl Knight.