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Tag: national

How to save on car rentals in NYC

by Captain G on Sep.11, 2009, under Rental Cars

Here’s a tip that can save you at least $40 a day on your next car rentals in New York City! If you live or work in NYC ((Manhattan or even one of the other four other boroughs) and want to rent a car for the weekend or a day, you would normally pick up the car in the city because it’s the most convenient location. Picking up a car from Manhattan generally comes with a price. Renting from one of the major car rental companies such as Hertz, Avis or National will cost you $90 to $120 per day if you choose to pick up the car from a Manhattan location.

To save up to $40 per day (and sometimes even more if you shop on Hotwire or Priceline), choose LaGuardia Airport (LGA) or JFK Airport as your pick up location and pick any NYC location as your return. Cars rented from JFK and LGA generally cost $50 to $85 a day, depending on availability.

Concerned about one way rental drop off fees? You won’t need to worry. All major car rental companies treat their NYC locations, including Manhattan, as one return location. Most car rental companies actually want you to bring cars from the airport into the city because the NYC rental car locations are usually parking lots, too small to hold enough cars during busy times like weekends. Some car rental companies, like Avis, also reward you for bringing cars back to the airport (see my previous post about one way rentals from/to Newark).

In summary, reserve your rental car to be picked up at LGA or JFK and set the return location to be somewhere in NYC. Hop on a train from Manhattan after work, and head to LGA or JFK to pick up a rental car; drop it off at NYC after you’re done. Here’s one of my previous posts on: How to take public transit to/from JFK.

For a 40 minute train to bus ride, you can save an extra $40 a day to pay for gas! You can mail me a check with a thank you note (actually leaving a comment on this post is fine).

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Choose AA airline miles for rental car rewards to avoid FF surcharges

by Captain G on Apr.28, 2009, under Rental Cars

Most major car rental companies allow you to choose from earning airline miles, hotel points or their loyalty points. I have never been a huge fan of earning car rental points because they generally expire after one year. In addition, I lost about 10,000 points when Budget decided to end their PerfectDrive program without notice. In order for you to earn the hotel points, some hotel requires you to book the hotel with your car rental. Booking hotels on a rental car site makes me nervous and complicates the points earning process. Hence the best practice is to choose airline miles as your reward on all your car rentals.

For every car rental day, major car rental companies will give you 50 airline miles. However, the car rental companies do not tell you upfront that they are passing on what they called “Frequent Flyer Service Charge” or “FF Surcharge” to the renters. This means you are paying US$0.50 per rental day to earn 50 airline miles, making each airline mile = $0.01. A penny per airline mile is not that bad value wise but there is a way to get around it.

To avoid paying the US$0.01 per airline mile surcharge on your next rental car, you should choose American Airline miles as your reward. Hertz and National Car Rental do not apply the Frequent Flyer Service charge or (FF Charge on your Hertz bill) if you select AA miles as your reward. For all other airline programs, Hertz and National will charge you US$0.50 per rental day.

Since we are talking about rental cars, I would like to pass along to my reader the following: National Car Rental is offering triple airline miles for car rentals from April 29 to June 25, 2009. Here’s a list of National’s airline partners. With the National triple mile offer which will give you 150 miles per rental day on most airlines, paying the US$0.50 per day is not so bad.

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Rental car companies making one way rental expensive with dropoff charges

by Captain G on Apr.12, 2009, under Rental Cars

Car rental companies are eliminating flexible one way car rental returns. Major car rental companies like Avis, Hertz and National used to treat a Metro area as one car rental facility. With corporate and leisure rates, customers used to be able to rent from one metro area and return to another - i.e., rent at SFO and return at SJO. As recent as January 2009, I rented a car from National at LAX and returned the car at SNA without penalty.

Since March of 2009, I began to realize the major car rental companies are charging their customers for returning to a different car rental facility. I was looking to rent a car from Hertz or National at Burbank airport and returning the car to LAX and noticed extra charges for dropping the car off at a different location. National Car Rental adds a drop off charge with unlimited miles while Hertz charges a standard daily rental rate plus $0.30 per mile.

There are however exceptions on the east coast. Due to the competitive nature of the one way rentals in the greater New York area, you can still get good rates when you rent from NYC and return it to New Jersey/Newark. I have also rented from downtown Philadelphia and returned the car to PHL without any penalties or extra mileage charge.

I recommend you read the fine print of the car rental quote before you commit to the contract. Flexible return policies are out the window in this tough economy.

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