Car Rental Tips

Still Looking for National Executive Status? Match from Other Travel Programs!

National Emerald Executive

We're fans of National's Emerald Club, one of the rental car programs where -- at participating major airports -- members can skip the counter, walk to an aisle of cars, select their preferred vehicle among the available selection, and leave. The Emerald Club offering even allows customers to earn free days and is strengthened even further by the perennial One Two Free Promotion, which allows customers to earn bonus free days. Every member of our team is a member of National's Emerald Club program and we do a little internal "happy dance" when National happens to be the cheapest option for our personal rentals. And yet there are indeed tiers to the Emerald Club that unlock additional benefits. Those "Executive" tiers can be unlocked by at least 12 rentals (or 40 rentals days) each calendar year, as a benefit of certain premium credit cards, or via a status match for those renters who have top-tier statuses in other travel programs.

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Arizona Rental Companies Fined $1.8 Million, Serves as a Cautionary Tale for Renters


Residents of Arizona may have seen articles recently that two firms owned by a Dennis Saban -- Phoenix Car Rental and Saban's Rent-A-Car -- were recently found responsible for paying a $1.85 million verdict for violations of Arizona's Consumer Fraud Act. The case is a little baffling to us -- although Saban's companies were already known to the Arizona Attorney General's office through a consent decree in a horrible discrimination complaint, it took a further 150 consumer complaints before the State sent over an investigator. And it takes a special set of circumstances for this behavior to persist for years.

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Alamo Makes the 2018 Florida Drive-Out Special Slightly Less Special

UPDATE: Parent company Enterprise also announced the same offer, one day later. All crucial parameters remain the same.

UPDATE 2:: After Budget announced their offer the following day, Alamo revised their offer to note "rates as low as $9.99" but these were the same rates already available!

Goodbye Florida Sign

Every late summer, our blog addresses the annual rental car migrations from the northeast to Florida, when rental companies focus on getting vehicles from an area of low-usage (northeast during winter) to an area of high usage (Florida during summer). Last fall's Dollar/Hertz/Thrifty and AvisBudget promotions were the most recent examples. And each early spring, we address the migration of those same cars back from wintering in Florida to the northeast (see last year's Enterprise promotion). Rental car companies are exceptionally smart to make these transfers -- unrented cars are costly, depreciating while sitting idle! And given the choice of paying professional car haulers money to move cars between regions (many hundreds of dollars per car) or setting up low rates to coerce drivers to take the vehicles on these one-way voyages, most major rental car companies have decided on setting extremely low rates! Enterprise Holdings has decided -- with their Alamo affiliate -- to try a modest step up from extremely low rates.

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Limited Time Offer: SAS Provides a (Small) Rental Car for Those Purchasing Two Round-Trip Tickets

Scandinavian Flags

We love travel deals and visitors to Scandinavia flying on SAS Airlines this summer might be able to pick up a free rental car as a component of airfare (although we know "There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Rental Car"). Another thing we do know is that travel to Scandinavia is expensive. In fact, the three destination cities in the promotion offered by Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) -- Copenhagen, Oslo, and Stockholm -- consistently rank among the most expensive cities to visit in the world. So what's the deal with "free" rental cars?

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Valentine's Day is a Momentous Day for Rental Car Consumers at Tampa International Airport

Tampa Consolidated Rental Facility

Tampa International Airport loves passengers; well, at least the airport authority loves the fee revenue created by passengers. And for those flying into the airport, Valentines Day 2018 is fairly momentous, as individuals renting cars from the airport finally have the rental car facility they've been paying for since a major 2014 fee increase. A frequent headache for travelers to Tampa in the past was the frustration of remembering which 8 of the 15 rental car companies were on-site and which 7 of 15 required a shuttle. As of today, there's no need to break out the emergency aspirin as all rental cars are now in a single facility, at the end of the (SkyConnect) line. And while that process will be less convenient for most and more convenient for others, the process of picking up and returning a car will at least be consistent.

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