How to Find the Lowest Price on Rental Cars

Over the next few months, I’ll be renting a few cars, so I wanted to share what I’m finding to have the best available rates.

I use Kayak.com as a rental standard.  It’s the easiest place to discover a reasonable expectation of what a car rental should cost.

Hotwire and Priceline are still good options for car rentals, but with shorter rentals their fees might make them a less appealing option.

As an example, I’ll use an upcoming rental at LAX.  I’ll be picking the car up at noon on 4/30 and returning it at noon on 5/4 for a total of four days.

Kayak.com

best price car rental

As you can see from Kayak.com, the best price is a total of $100, but it’s from a car rental place I’ve never heard of. I prefer to rent from national brands because I have status with some, and if I have issues, it’s easier to resolve with a national call center.

Capital One Rewards

From there, I checked the price with Capital One Rewards.  This is the rewards website you can access if you are a Capital One Rewards card member.

car rental

You’ll see here that a person could get a full size vehicle from Avis for $129.01.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather rent from Avis than some unknown car rental place in LAX.  As a point of comparison, the best rate I could get with Avis via Kayak.com was $312 for an Economy size vehicle.

When booking cars from Capital One Rewards, your credit card will be charged in full at the time of booking.  You are only permitted to make one free change to your reservation.  In the case of a rental I had at IAD, I used my free change to cancel the reservation and get my money back. If you want to change the date or time, I’d suggest you make a new reservation instead of using your one change to make a date or time change. Also, reservations cannot be changed on the date of pickup.

Ultimate Rewards Website

ultimate rewards

On the Ultimate Rewards website, the lowest full size price is $161.20.  Now, the good news is that if you wanted to use points you could get a full size for 12,896 points.  If you value a point at a penny each, that’s $128.96.  At least it’s good to know that you don’t need to pay a premium to use points, but you can actually use them at a discount.

I also tried other well known car rental websites like carrentals.com and autoslash.com, and their prices didn’t even come close.

Aside from when I was doing a $9.99 per weekend day Enterprise neighborhood location rental, all of the rentals I checked had the lowest price through the Capital One Rewards website.  If you don’t have a Capital One credit card, I’m not sure if it would be worth signing up just for this benefit.  Perhaps a friend would help make a booking on your behalf. However, if you do have access to the Capital One Rewards booking portal, I doubt you’ll find a better price online for your car rental.

Comments

  1. Kurtis says

    When going through either of the portals mentioned above, is there still the option to use additional promotional or company discount codes?

  2. james says

    Also checked the ThankYou.com (Citibank) travel website – $130 for econ from Dollar/Thrifty $289 for Fullsize Avis.

    Useaamiles.com (AA vacations website) comes in at $92.13 + 1000 miles for AA gold status+, 1000 + $94.50 for no status for Dollar/Thrifty econ; Avis full-size $162.25 + 1000 miles for AA gold status+

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