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Tag: national car rental

Rental car companies making one way rental expensive with dropoff charges

by 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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National Car Rental implementing Yield Management model like airlines?

by on Feb.15, 2009, under Rental Cars

Over the President’s Day long weekend (and a week school break in some major US cities), I noticed a major spike in rental car prices. Cars are going for $125 to $150 per day in the Great LA area for National Car Rental vs. $55 per day for Emerald Club Members and Corporate rates. I called National and asked why the price was so high and the representative didn’t have an answer.

At the same time, I tried to get a car on Hertz and Budget and noticed they were just completely sold out. Hertz and Budget did not apply any price gauging tactics like National. The bigger question here is:  Are car rental companies implementing yield management models like airlines? If so, this will have an impact on the industry. National is probably ahead of its time on this one strategy.

In summary:  Just book your cars in advance as 99% of the car rental companies do not charge you for a no show.

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Go with National for one-way car rentals

by on Jan.23, 2009, under Rental Cars

Regardless if you’ve corporate accounts with Hertz, Avis, Budget, etc., National Car Rental offers the most flexibility when it comes to return locations.

Hertz and Avis offer one way rentals but they often want you to stick to the itinerary. Any last minute changes will cost you $75 to $100. National however allows you to return it to any of its regional locations.

I had a car from Hertz last month from LAX and needed to return to Burbank due to a flight change. Hertz wanted to charge me a drop off change fee of $75. I had to escalate the issue to a supervisor to get rid of the fee.

I had a car from National last week that was picked up from LAX and scheduled to be returned to Burbank. Due to my travel schedule change, I had to drop off the car at SNA. I rang. National and just told them about the change and they switched my return without hesitation. I actually didn’t have to call. National is very good about just accepting cars at their facility. I also had similar experience in NYC when I said I would return the car at the 43rd street facility and dropped it off at the 12th street lot.

National is flexible and they get business travel!

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