I Just Saved Over $173 – 58% – On an Upcoming Car Rental. Here’s How You Can, Too..

Flying into a city during the week car rentals can be expensive, especially at the airport. I needed a four day rental, and the came out to about $300. Discount codes that I’m actually eligible for weren’t really bringing this down.

Now, I find that I do quite well renting cars via Hotwire.com. You’re guaranteed an on-airport major rental company, they tell you the price just not which company until you’ve completed the purchase. The only downside is it’s prepaid, non-refundable. I’m fairly allergic to prepaid rates until very close to travel.

Instead I booked the best rate I could find on a midsize car, which happened to be from Avis.

And I fed the confirmation number into AutoSlash.com.

About a week passed and I got an email from them:

I clicked through to rebook the car, although given the savings I decided to spring for a larger vehicle.

Shortly after clicking through to rebook, they found another lower rate, again via Avis.

Simple. The lazy, easy, lucrative way to book rental cars. Book something that matches your needs and as long as you’re more than days out from the rental you can let AutoSlash do the work to find you better pricing.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary, i have a week in Ireland in March, flying in and out of Belfast, i have status with Hertz (Presidential Circle)via the MileagePlus Club credit card, and National Executive Elite through the status match, corporate account with the standard Preferred First with Avis, and with Budget. I was considering lining up a refundable rate with the four of them, and engage AutoSlash, and see who had the best vehicle upon arrival, i have five pax travelling so SUV/or large sedan will be important for comfort. Any thoughts appreciated.

  2. Nice example of what economists call the income and substitution effects! It will get used in class.

  3. thks Gary, i was wondering the same thing, if using hotwire, do you get the upgrade benefits, and points/free day credits you wld get if booking directly?

  4. Auto Slash is s good tool but for domestic rentals, also check Costco. I am on a four day rental out of LAX right now. The original Costco rental yielded $129. I rechecked four days before the rental on the Costco site and got an amazing $54, all in. A few hours later, Auto Slash emailed me that it had found a rat of $112.

    While Auto Slash can work to lower a Costco reservation rate, I do not think it can not look for a cheaper rate through Costco.

  5. @Ryan Yes, just enter your member number with the rental company on the checkout screen. Equally important, you can also skip the line at companies that offer it. It’s the same as renting directly with the car rental company, expect that you end up paying less.

    @Tim You get that with AutoSlash but not at Hotwire

    @Sam What happens when you submit a reservation made through Costco is that we automatically take the Costco discount into account, so in effect, it’s the same thing as “looking for a lower rate through Costco”. If the Costco discount code yields a lower rate, we’ll offer you that. If some other code is a better deal, we’ll offer that. Hope this helps.

  6. for a 10 day stay in Hawaii, Oahu:

    $7xx through hertz
    $47x through company discount at hertz
    $35x through auto slash one week ahead through hertz
    $330 through autoslash auto rebook 1 day ahead.

    Ii would never have paid the published hertz rate, but still autoslash saved me $140 bucks very easily. Totally impressed and will use again.

  7. Jonathon-

    So why did the Costco website provide a rate of $54 and Auto Slash $129 a little while later (same rental company too)?

  8. @Sam Not sure but happy to investigate. Feel free to send a quick email with one of your confirmation numbers to supportautoslash.com and we’ll look into it.

  9. i did not bring all my reservations not used with me.

    It seems the heart of the matter is: After a customer enters a reservation booked through Costco on Auto Slash, does Auto Slash seek cheaperrates on the Costco site for that customer? Your response suggests the answer is yes, and if so, my advice to keep checking the Costco site is wrong.

    Does AS access the Costco site in these circumstances?

    Tim-Yes, Costco is limited for international, I think to just the U.S. and Canada.

  10. Gary,

    Are you able to use this and still get your Avis Chairman benefits? That would be sweet..


  11. @Craig – you can, yes — though sadly I am no longer an Avis Chairman (and haven’t been in 2 years.. it was a great 8 year run though!)

  12. Gary – would you add your wizard number on booking with AutoSlash to make sure you get Preferred? I tried that but it did not recognize the number when it went through to booking

  13. @Matt If you have problems adding your wizard number, just email us and we’ll be happy to investigate.

    I should mention that the 3rd party booking system we use sometimes reports an incorrect error message. The message leads you to believe that the name or the number is invalid, but what’s actually happening is that a default discount code on your profile is trying to be forced on the reservation. The discount code from the profile does not yield as good of a discount as the one we’re trying to apply, hence the error. Just go ahead and continue there as sometimes it applies anyway.

    If the resulting confirmation number has a ‘PEXP’ suffix on it, it means that your wizard number applied properly. If it doesn’t, we’ll be happy to take a further look.

  14. @Jonathan I’ve been frustrated as recently as last week trying to use Autoslash. I Got the messages stating that you found me a a rate that was $144 cheaper for a rental in Liberia, Costa Rica. When I clicked through and rebooked, it turns out all you did was drop the two car seats from the reservation. Ummm, I’m going to need those carseats for the two kids…

  15. Well, said it many times but I’ll say it again.. head to zalyn.com FIRST where you’ll find all the discounts put together in an orderly fashion so you’re starting with a LOW rate to begin with. you can select your preferred company’s or promotions (costco, mastercard, visa, ual, etc.)..then book directly through their pre-populated linky to the actual car rental site..

    After that, put THAT quote in over at autoslash and they of course will try to beat it. I have always found better deals this way than trying anything on the regular sites, even with regular codes. Then, Autoslash has to work a bit harder just to beat the rate. I wish these two guys would just get together and make it seamless, but for now it’s not a big deal.

    Here’s a pro tip. book a couple rentals for various SIZES, as many discounts start or end with a different size category. Of course, if you need an SUV or luxury, by all means book that first.

  16. Couldn’t agree more about Autoslash. I used them several times this summer for 1-week rentals in CA and for each rental they contacted me multiple times with lower and lower prices. I’m very impressed. It was easy, fast, and saved me 15-20% over already low prices I’d found on my own.

  17. “It seems the heart of the matter is: After a customer enters a reservation booked through Costco on Auto Slash, does Auto Slash seek cheaper rates on the Costco site for that customer? Your response suggests the answer is yes, and if so, my advice to keep checking the Costco site is wrong.

    Does AS access the Costco site in these circumstances?”

    No answer yet. I was hoping the answer is yes, though Costco rental car rates are behind a password required log-in, so it may be tough for AS to include Costco in its continuing searches.

  18. @Sam, I’ll let others continue to chime in, but in my experience autoslash for me at least ALWAYS books through their travelocity portal, and not back through say the costco portal. Now, the “costco” booking is really just a code, coupon, AWS, etc. for costco, that gets populated at the various booking sites, even including the travelocity portal. I’ve had costco bookings from them be the one, but it was always fulfilled via the TOC portal and not back through costo.com

  19. Generally the portal is agnostic. It doesn’t really matter whether you book through the rental car company site, an OTA like Travelocity/Orbitz/Expedia, AutoSlash or Costco. If you use the same discount codes, the prices should match between them. Put another way, if you plus the Costco discount code and/or coupons in at another site, you should get the same rate.

    The main exceptions to this are something like Chase Ultimate Rewards portal where there are rules like only a single change is allowed on the reservation, or with a site like Priceline or Hotwire when the rentals are prepaid.

  20. So good news, if I understand correctly. Once a res made through Costo is entered into AS, AS will include prospective Costco rates as they chage in its search.

  21. @Sam Exactly. And same for AAA, USAA, etc. If we see the code on the reservation initially then we’ll assume you are a member and we’ll include that in our searches going forward.

    Truth be told, we’re working on some really useful enhancements where you’ll be able to login and store all your membership affiliations plus even potentially add your corporate discount codes along with company and vehicle preferences, frequent renter numbers, etc. Stay tuned…

  22. thks for all the valuable info, Autoslash has done its job and delivered significant savings from my original reservation.

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