Car Rental Tips

The Fee Detective Visits Alaska: The Largest State has Large Rental Car Taxes

Alaska

Every so often, our blog points toward Alaska. The largest state in the nation, Alaska has been the home of multiple AutoSlash team members and a favorite vacation destination of others. While Alaska is well-known for having no personal income tax and no statewide sales tax plus a check to all year-round residents from the Alaska Permanent Fund, there are taxes on activities, products, and services (almost) sufficient to pay for various government services. Alaska -- bigger than Texas -- decided one option was to impose Texas-sized taxes on their rental cars, particularly in Anchorage.

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What to Do If Your Rental Car Is Stolen

Auto Theft

Previously, our blog addressed what happens if a rental car is broken into, as that's exceptionally common in the City by the Bay. Yet we know outright theft of the rental car itself also happens. More than 92,000 rental cars have been stolen in the United States between the beginning of 2015 and April 2018, most of them not the fault of the renter (a limited number, such as the individual carjacked by a drug dealer during a drug deal are the renter's fault). So how does a renter prepare for the possibility of rental car theft and what does one do if a rental car gets stolen while under contract?

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Can You Be Put on the Do Not Rent (DNR) List for Excessive Mileage?

Excessive Mileage DNR List

Most of the time we book a rental, we seek out rates with "Unlimited Mileage". We're well aware (or should be aware) that "unlimited" refers to a number of miles on the current rental only. For instance, we have various posts about geographic restrictions on rental with an unlimited number of miles (U.S. to Mexico, intra-Europe, and sometimes even from one state to the next), plus specific off-limit areas such as unpaved roads. "Unlimited mileage" simply means that the rate for that rental will stay the same, whether the renter drives 10 miles per day or 150 miles per day in the allowed range. Unlimited mileage does not mean that a renter's next rental will have the same flexibility, and unlimited mileage does not mean that a rental car company has to continue renting to any specific individual. Yes, there is a tiny risk of being placed on a rental car company's "Do Not Rent" list for excessive mileage driven.

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Marriott and SPG Platinum Members Get Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Elite Status

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards

In a previous blog post, we noted how Starwood Hotels had implemented a partnership with Hertz that allowed SPG Platinum members (and those with Ambassador service) to automatically qualify for Hertz Five Star or President's Circle status (if not already possessed). This was a transition from SPG's previous affiliation with Avis; SPG and Marriott have slowly been moving toward commonality since their corporate merger in 2016. In fact, their loyalty programs are expected to be merged later this year but those who have linked SPG and Marriott accounts have the status from one program roll over to the other.  So it stands to reason that the highest-tier elites of each program would have access to the same benefits at Hertz. Platinum members of either program can register for elevated Hertz status from a single webpage.

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Reminder: Free Days Earned with National's One Two Free in 2017/2018 will expire soon

National One Two Free Reminder

Last fall, we wrote about National's One Two Free promotion for Fall/Winter 2017-2018. A recurring promotion, One Two Free allows National Emerald Club members to earn promotional free days while still earning standard free days as part of the Emerald Club program. There are -- of course -- a few catches attached to those promotional free days: they don't show up in the traditional Emerald Club dashboard and the promotional free days expire more quickly than traditional award days. While a free day earned as part of the standard Emerald Club program in 2017 would be valid until the end of 2018, all free days earned during the One Two Free promotion expire on June 15, 2018, right before the peak summer travel season begins. Our team loves helping our fellow travelers earn free award days but there are few things worse in loyalty programs than allowing awards to expire; now is the time to clear out any of these residual promotional days!

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