We love points! We use miles received from airlines, reward systems from hotels, even the free turkey during the holidays from our local grocery store. It seems these days everyone has a Members Benefit Program to earn bonuses and savings. We at SirOzzy base many decisions on how many points we receive. Our loyalty is to companies and credit cards with the best rewards programs.
Rental car companies are the exception. Yes, some companies have points systems. More often than not, however, their programs are either impossible to use or simply not worth it. Hertz, for example, will give a free day after 14. When paying 50% or more as a base rate, that is certainly not a bargain.
SAY NO TO LOYALTY. We recommend you take your loyalty to Avis, Budget, National, or whoever it may be, and toss it out the window at 60 mph of the best deal you can get. Shop around. Often you will find the lowest price is “pay now”. If it is an outstanding deal and you are willing to take the risk, then certainly pay now. Or book the second best deal, watch the price over time, and re-book when you see it lower.
LEAVE THE AIRPORT. We have found the best deals are typically at agencies located away from the airports. Companies like Payless and Fox are always substantially less money. When booking through offsite locations, call in advance and ask where their shuttle will pick you up.
SAY NO TO INSURANCE. Most likely, either your personal car insurance policy or credit card will have rentals covered. If you are unsure, call first. You do not have to purchase additional insurance.
SAY NO TO ADD-ONS. The state of Florida has tolls where cash is not accepted. If you do not have a Florida Sunpass transponder, they take a photo of your license plate and mail you a bill with a small additional surcharge. Unless you have a rental car. With a rental car, the bill goes to the rental agency where they add the toll to your credit card along with a surcharge that could be upwards of $45. In some cases they will rent you a Sunpass in advance for anywhere from $5-15 per day. No matter how you slice it, they are raking you over the coals.
The SirOzzy solution: Prior to our upcoming trip we contacted Florida Sunpass directly and had them mail us a transponder. Problem solved at a reasonable cost.
In sum, be proactive and start your research early. Say no to high prices and additional costs. And most importantly…Enjoy The Journey.