Bidding for rental cars

Jul 30th, 2010, 03:39 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,854
Bidding for rental cars

I have used Priceline frequently for hotels and have been satisfied with it. However, the ctract my ex-employer had with AVIS has lapsed and so, the bargains I used to enjoy are no longer available. Does anyone have any suggestions for which discount sites are best for rental cars and any6 tips for using them? If it matters, the locations will be Seattle and Sacramento in late September.
dwooddon is offline  
Jul 30th, 2010, 03:53 PM
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I did try using Priceline for rental cars recently, but the only location they quoted for was our local airport and that was just not convenient for us and more expensive than renting locally. We wanted the pickup/drop off in our local community which we know has many of the big name rental companies, but Priceline did not offer that location or Denver city center either.
joto is offline  
Jul 30th, 2010, 04:45 PM
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We have found some of our best deals on
Try putting in your dates and check for several days in a row to get an idea of prices. Hotwire is a broker who will place you with a major car rental firm - no cancellation allowed.

SandyBrit is offline  
Jul 31st, 2010, 05:39 AM
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I used Priceline last Labor Day weekend in Denver (airport). It took quite a few tries to get a win, and I had a backup rental just in case, but eventually it worked and I was pleased with my price.

For a trip to Dallas at the beginning of the year I found a really great rate through AAA...even the clerk at the rental counter commented that it was one of the cheapest he'd seen.

Booking rental cars is probably my least favorite part of trip planning...
musicfan is offline  
Jul 31st, 2010, 06:55 AM
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My least favorite part of trip planning, too.

My usual strategy is to start with orbitz or travelocity or expedia ONLY to find out where, exactly, the various rental agencies are in the specific airport - can make a big difference in timing, etc., if the cars are inside or outside the terminal.

Then I go to to see what their offering is (not the bidding, just their base-price for brands they list).

Then I go to the individual car rental websites of companies I might prefer (i.e., are inside the terminal, had good experience with them), and click on "specials" right away to see what's available. I NEVER plug in dates and airport on their main page - if there's no applicable special, I go elsewhere.

Finally, I check our AAA page. AAA works primarily with Hertz; and although I'm not crazy about Hertz but about 1/3 of the time or more, AAA's pre-pay deal is better than hotwire's or the rental companies'.

If you rent through hotwire or AAA, some companies get snippy about things like FF miles or other problems that might come up; but you get slightly better help if you've prepaid through AAA than if you've prepaid through hotwire. (If you prepay through the company itself, they treat you no worse or better than other customers.)
Cyanna is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 08:10 AM
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Thank you all for the information. Anyone else?
dwooddon is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 08:17 AM
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AAA, Costco, Entertainment Book or AARP (if you are old enough to belong)
TAW is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2010, 09:41 AM
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My plan used to beuse Hotwire for pricing, then lower my Priceline bid by about 15%. If those prices are too much (and they probably are, by now) I use AAA. I give it a shot through my local office to make the reservation. Then I sound around to see what AAA coupons I can find. Then, when renting, I hand the coupons to the clerk and ask if any can be used. I generally get at least a free upgrade.

Last fall, I did this for a rental at SFO. The clerk was impressed, muttering he hadn't seen a rate that low in a long time....
bookhall is offline  
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