San Francisco Car Rental Help Needed!

Aug 11th, 2009, 03:33 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 4,178
San Francisco Car Rental Help Needed!

On this trip, I would like to rent a car in the city and return it to the airport a week later. Sounds easy? I am having so much trouble. Kayak inserts SFO for pickup and return even though I enter other info. AAA/Hertz is doing the opposite - pickup and return in SF. I called AAA/Hertz and she was able to do it (not my first choice for pickup location), but the cost was about $600. I could return it to the same location in SF and take a taxi to the airport and the cost would be $340 for the car. My flight is the red eye (11pm) so it is doable, but a headache. If I did that, I would have my luggage to contend with while having an early dinner.

This sounds insane. Has anyone had this issue and how did you deal with it? It feels like a Catch 22!
Centralparkgirl is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 03:36 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
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Maybe try www.carrental8.com. They did a city pickup in Miami for me with drop off at Miami airport. Their site is not the greatest for usability, but insert your first location, then the second location on the last page. I used to use Expedia, but now use them for business.
80datsun210 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 03:41 PM
  #3  
yk
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
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CPG, I've done this twice now.

On my most recent trip (in-town pick up and airport return), I was pulling my hair out because the rates @ Hertz were sky high. While I prefer Hertz, there's no way I would pay $100/d for a rental!

So I checked both Avis and Budget, and they offered very good rates. i ended up going with Budget which was the cheapest, with a rate about $22/day all-inclusive. I picked up at the Hyatt Embarcadero.

Avis rate was a few dollars more, and they have a location near Union Sq.
yk is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 04:51 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2003
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Dollar car rental has just what you need and want! We rented from their Union Square location and returned the car to SFO with no problems. It was done online with no effort at all.

I got a special City rate and even better, there was no drop off fee and we avoided the airport fees too. Their location is on O'Farrell St and they have others in city too.

Deb
DebitNM is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 05:23 PM
  #5  
yk
 
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Hi CPG, the key is you have to do this on individual car rental company's website (be it Budget or Dollar or Avis). If you use a 3rd party site (ie kayak or others), you will run into the problem you mentioned.

Just a word of advice: when you return the car to SFO, make sure you give yourself plenty of time. I don't seem to learn from my mistake, so both times I returned at SFO, I was running to my flight.

The SFO car rental site is off-airport. From the rental garage (different floors for different companies), you have to head for the AirTrain station. For red eye departure (which is what I did both times), the airtrain shuttle runs less frequent. Since I flew AA both times, the AA terminal is the 2nd last stop on the AirTrain loop, so that took forever.
yk is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 05:43 PM
  #6  
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Okay - it's all resolved. Thank you so, so much for all your help - I was pulling the hair out of my head too!

First I called Budget (we happen to be staying at the Hyatt). They are totally sold out for a return to SFO. It's their busiest time and they need cars returned to the hotel location. Their quote was $369 and I would have to get the car back no later than 6 pm, earlier than I intended.

Then I called Dollar. Deb, I have to tell you that I swore I would never use them again. Last April, we arrived in ABQ and went to pick up our car only to find that they had CLOSED their Dollar location at the airport - no call, no email and as they say in Brooklyn, no nuttin! I was furious and there was no one to talk to. There was a sign to go to Thrifty. But, not one to cut my nose off, I just reserved with them for $199.99 plus tax for pickup on O'Farrell and a return to SFO. Does lightning strike twice? I will call them a few days before to reconfirm.

Hi yk - thanks for the heads up about the return. I did it twice this year, but my flights were early (and on American too). This time, it's on Virgin. Last March, I was by myself and I did have trouble finding a gas station near the airport. I was coming from south of the airport and the gas stations were north. It took me awhile to figure out how to get back to the car drop off. We'll have to allow more time for sure.
Centralparkgirl is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 05:51 PM
  #7  
yk
 
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Oh yeah, CPG, I now remember the gas station issue you had mentioned here before, which was part of my problem too! If you're coming from the South, the Chevron in Millbrae is the closest I think.

Address:
320 E Millbrae Ave
Millbrae, CA 94030-3110

Can't help if you're coming from the North.
yk is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 06:13 PM
  #8  
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Why thank you yk! You are a wealth of info! Maybe you want to come with us? I'll make sure that you make your flight!
Centralparkgirl is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 06:46 PM
  #9  
 
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We rented twice from Dollar during the trip - a single day and then for 4 days with no problem. I thinks starrs used them too.
Deb
DebitNM is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 06:54 PM
  #10  
yk
 
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Thanks for the invite, CPG. I don't want to be the third wheel though! Funny enough, while I have never missed a flight in my life and most of the time I have plenty of time at the terminal, I get recurrent nightmares of myself missing flights! (But still, I never missed a flight in my dreams, just running and rushing to the airport, to the gate etc, and I'd wake up just in time.)

Ooops, I guess that's TMI. Enjoy your trip!

P.S. Deb, that's a great tip about Dollar in SF. I need to remember that for next time.
yk is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 06:57 PM
  #11  
 
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We had a heck of a time finding gas at SFO - the first and only place we found was COSTCO and a lady was nice enough to let us use her card to get gas [at a discount, no less].

The single day rental from Dollar was great. We picked the car up at 7:30 am [after breakfast at Sears] and went to Muir Woods and up the coast. We got back around 5 and dropped the car off. The cost was $22 or so. No garage fees, either, since we didn't keep the car overnight.
Deb
DebitNM is offline  
Aug 11th, 2009, 07:23 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 288
I had the similar experience last month in SF! When I checked rental car prices for city pick up and airport return, it was quite high. I ended up using Enterprise on Mason street, a block from the Union Station, pick up & return. After I returned the car, I stayed in a hotel 2 blocks away. Then took BART to the airport. It took some planning, but all went well, thankfully!
nancy161 is offline  
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