New York Times on Credit Card Signup Bonuses and Rental Car Savings

Two from The Times:

  • The New York Times runs a good piece on AutoSlash and why some rental companies won’t allow the site to display their rental car prices. There’s an easy workaround, though, if you want to book a car through Avis. Just make your booking at, provide AutoSlash with your confirmation number, and they’ll track your reservation for you and keep checking for price drops, automatically rebooking you if the price improves (or checking with you if you’d like a better price with another agency if the price drops elsewhere). AutoSlash is the best place to get lowest price rental car deals, since prices change all the time and it takes the work out of continually checking for rate drops.

  • The TimesEthicist column endorses credit card signup bonuses in the retail sector — signing up for cards for in-store discounts and then cancelling. There are clear analogies to churning big credit card signup bonuses with miles as the prize. Personally I stay away from retail cards, for goodness sakes I stay away from most credit card miles bonuses under 50,000 so the savings on a retail card is generally not worth it to me, plus those store cards don’t reflect especially well on your overall card mix.

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, 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. I still think Pricelines Name Your Own Price will get you a better deal overall. Your dates have to be fixed of course, so I can see why Autoslash be handy for some.

  2. I rent cars almost every week and AutoSlash invariably comes up with initial prices roughly double what I find on Costco. I guess I should experiment with AutoSlash reservations and wait it out to see if the eventual rates come out to be comparable but the starting points seem too far off. Any reservation with Costco is flexible and often beats even Hotwire or what I bid on Priceline. In the past year I have had problably 60/40 Costco/Priceline split. My rentals are typically weekly rentals, but I have noticed that Costco’s advantage over others is reduced on very short rentals, so AutoSlash might do well there.

  3. I tried Autoslash recently and rebooked my rental twice at lower rates without hearing anything from Autoslash.

  4. @Rapid Travel Chai:

    The prices that come up on the initial search on AutoSlash are not discounted. Rental car industry contracts require all travel agencies to show the same non-discounted rates up front, so we can’t pre-discount the rates for you.

    However, once you book, AutoSlash starts working on checking for the best discount codes and then monitoring your reservation for subsequent price drops.

    So don’t judge us by the rates found on the initial search! They’re the same rates that are shown at Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia, and on the rental agencies’ own websites. The magic happens *after* you book.

    You can always book a test reservation with us in parallel to a reservation booked elsewhere. Then, a day before your rental, cancel whichever one is more expensive. We bet that most times, the one you cancel won’t be the AutoSlash one. 😉

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