Tag Archives: Travelocity

Finding the best price on a rental car

A few times a year, my husband and I fly out of state to visit his family and find ourselves in need of a rental car. After numerous searches for an affordable vehicle, I’ve uncovered nine tips that can help you find the best price on a car rental.

Tip 1: Don’t play favorites. If you find a rental car company you love and stick with it, you won’t get the best deal. Be open to renting from a different company on each trip.

Tip 2: Compare prices on numerous websites. If you only check prices in a couple of places, you could end up seriously overpaying. For example, I just checked prices for a trip we have planned for Easter weekend 2013. The first website I checked turned out to be $113 more for the rental period than one I found later.

Here’s a list of prices I found for a 49.5-hour rental of a midsize car, from highest to lowest (rounded to the nearest dollar):

Tip 3: Don’t assume bargain websites will provide the best price. I have found great deals for rental cars on Hotwire, for example, but on other trips, a major rental company’s website provided the best deal. On this trip, the cheapest Priceline price was $68 more than what I found on the rental company’s site for the same class of vehicle.

Tip 4: Not all coupons are created equal. If you are part of a motor club or have a credit card, you may receive coupons in the mail with codes that give you rental car discounts with various companies. I’ve discovered that you often get a better price without entering any code. When you’ve narrowed your choices down to a couple of websites, try requesting one quote with the coupon and one without to see which price is best.

Tip 5: Consider paying in advance. Some websites offer a discount if you prepay for your rental. However, this payment may be nonrefundable or subject to a cancellation fee, and you may not be able to change the reservation to different dates, so be sure of your travel plans before choosing this option.

Tip 6: An extra driver can be a deciding factor. Many companies only allow the person whose name is on the registration to drive the rental car. If you want a spouse or friend to drive the vehicle, you’ll have to pay extra with some companies. That extra fee can make a competitor’s price a better deal. For example, National’s policy says you can expect to pay about $10 extra per day to add a driver unless you are an Emerald Club member of have a corporate agreement. For a 5-day rental, you’d be tacking $50 onto your bill. Avis’ additional driver policy would allow a spouse to drive the vehicle at no extra charge and could make its rental car  cheaper. You can usually find this policy in the Customer Service section of the website or by typing “additional driver” into the site’s search engine.

Tip 7: Call your insurance company before booking. Depending on the type of coverage you have on your personal vehicles, you may not need to purchase the rental company’s collision insurance. Bypassing this fee can save you considerable cash.

Tip 8: Read the fine print. At least one company will charge you a fee if you request bonus frequent flier miles for your rental through an airline promotion. Reading the detailed information provided in the reservation process can help you avoid charges like this.

Tip 9: Squeeze out all the discounts you can. After you’ve selected a rental car company, start your reservation at Ebates.com to get cash back on your reservation. Ebates cash back rates for rental cars include:

  • Alamo: 2.5 percent
  • Avis: 3 percent
  • Budget: 3 percent
  • Enterprise: 2 percent
  • Hertz: 1.5 percent
  • Hotwire: 2 percent
  • Priceline: 2.5 to 3 percent
  • Travelocity: 1.5 percent

I hope this advice helps you save a stack of cash the next time you rent a car. If you have more tips to add to this list, please post a comment.

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Filed under Sales and promo codes, Saving money, Shopping tips

Ebates: an easy way to get extra cash back when shopping online

One of my favorite ways to save money on online purchase is through Ebates, a website that gives you cash back on all purchases initiated through its website. When shopping, just go to Ebates, then use the search box or retail categories to find the store where you want to make a purchase. Click the link provided, and you’re done! Ebates sends you to your destination website and initiates a “tracking ticket” that automatically notifies Ebates of your purchase amount at the chosen store. Ebates converts a percentage of your purchase into a cash rebate, then sends your accumulated rebates to you on a quarterly basis. You can get your cash deposited into your PayPal account, request a check for your earnings or give the money to a charity or family member.

Cash back amounts range from 1 percent to 25 percent and are available at hundreds of stores and service providers, including Petsmart, Target, Kohl’s, Barnes and Noble, Toys R Us, Shutterfly, Travelocity, Nordstrom, Teleflora, Crate and Barrel and Vera Bradley. Ebates also gives you coupon codes that can help you save more money on your purchase when entered on the retailer’s website.

Membership in Ebates is free. Just fill out the simple registration form, and start shopping. Right now, Ebates is offering you a free gift card for a major retailer just for signing up.

Keep a few tips in mind to make the most of your Ebates experiences:

    • Make your purchase only in the retailer window opened by Ebates. If you accidentally close it, go back to Ebates and link to the website again to open another tracking ticket. Unless you go through Ebates to get to your store’s website, you won’t earn any cash back.
    • Take advantage of Ebates for big purchases you would normally make in a local store. For example, when if you’re buying a new appliance, buy it through the Lowe’s, Sears or Home Depot website. Purchase a new computer from Best Buy, Dell, HP, OfficeMax and other retailers to rack up more bucks. You can earn substantial cash back on large purchase like these and still apply any discount coupons you have for the retailer.
  • Ebates offers special promotions that increase the percentage of cash back available at select retailers. If there’s an item you aren’t in a hurry to purchase, monitor the cash back percentage to get the most bang for your buck. The Web site also offers a “daily double” feature on its home page that double the cash back for a different retailer each day.

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Filed under Rewards programs, Saving money, Shopping tips