How to Save on Your Next Car Rental

Looking for the best deal on your next car rental? Don’t book anything until you read these five budget-friendly car rental tips.Whether you’re heading out on vacation or travelling for work, sometimes a car rental is the most convenient way of getting around-especially if the first leg of your trip involves a flight. The cost of car rentals can be a real budget-buster, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you know where and how to shop, you can save a lot of money on the rental car you need without giving up the comfort and style you want.

Rental Car Tip #1: Join the Company Loyalty Program

Simply signing up for the car rental company’s loyalty program could entitle you to perks like an upgrade to a full-size or luxury car for the price of a mid-size. If you are not yet a member, consider registering. Even if you never use that company again, the money you save right now could make it worthwhile.

If you’re already a car rental loyalty program member, check your point status to see if you’re eligible for any discounts or upgrades. You can save a lot of money or even qualify for a free rental.

Rental Car Tip #2: Check with the Airline

Many airlines partner with specific car rental companies, so check with the airline you’re flying with before booking a car for your trip. You may also be able to use your frequent flyer miles to save money on rental cars, so check your current balance and see if you qualify for a discount.

Rental Car Tip #3: Consider a Package Deal

Many airlines offer discounts on package deals (booking the vehicle and flight at the same time). A package deal that includes flight, rental car and hotel could save you even more money. Check the price of each part of your trip separately, then compare that cost to the cost of a package deal. In many cases you will find that the price of the package deal is far better than you could get on your own.

Rental Car Tip #4: Call Your Credit Card Company

The optional insurance coverage is one of the most costly parts of any car rental, but the good news is you may not need it. Many credit card companies will cover damage to a rental car if you use their card to book the reservation.

Be sure your credit card offers full coverage before declining the optional insurance. You don’t want to get stuck with paying for damage to a rental car. In some cases your personal auto insurance also covers damage to rental cars, so call your insurance agent, too.

Rental Car Tip #5: Go Online

Always check online before reserving a rental car to investigate current promotions, discounts and perks. You can start with the website of the rental car company you plan to book with, but be sure to check their rates and specials with competitors’ websites as well. You should also consider consolidator travel websites, including Priceline. They compare discounts and offers across a wide variety of companies, and can help you find offers you may have missed.

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