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But is this the best you can do? The chance to get 10 percent of your rental car charges back as an Amazon credit seems like a sure thing. But when we tested the deal, we found that you can almost always do better with a different offer. Here's how we break it down.
The Amazon offer seems promising on its face, as it states that a renter can get "up to 30 percent off base rates" and 10 percent back in Amazon credit. But the key words here are "up to.". Avis and Budget are promising a discount somewhere between zero and 30 percent with an Amazon credit as an incentive to book directly. Moreover, booking the Amazon offer locks a renter into the Amazon rate, despite a very high probability that a lower rate is available elsewhere.
There are other downsides, too. Want to book the AARP or USAA rate code to get a free additional driver at Avis? You can't do it through this Amazon offer because rental car companies only accept one discount code on a reservation. Selecting the Amazon benefit precludes any other possible discount, whether publicly available or tied to a club or membership.
We tested the Amazon offer through Avis for a simple trip to Detroit before Labor Day. Booking without any discount yielded a price of $556.45, with a base time and mileage rate of $446.
When we tried to book the same rental through the Amazon offer of "up to 30%" for the same dates, the benefit—which is based only on the base time and mileage for our weekly Detroit rental came out to $44.60, which works out to a measly 10 percent discount. The total cost through the Amazon offer came to $502.92, a reduction of $53.53 (lower base rates also cut some of the tax burden). The renter would also receive an Amazon gift card or credit worth $40.14, or 10 percent of the now-reduced base time and mileage amount. So the rental car spend $502.92 minus the $40.14 Amazon credit comes to a net cost of $462.78.
Next, we executed the same search through AutoSlash. Right away, we spotted a discount available to the general public on the same intermediate car at Avis of just $336.00, including taxes and fees. That's a whopping $126.78 cheaper than the Amazon deal.. Even if you booked the Amazon deal through the Alexa skill and received a 20 percent credit back, the offer we found through AutoSlash is still the lowest by about $85.
To recap for this example, you could spend:
- $336 if you book through AutoSlash,
- $462.78 if you book an Avis car through the Amazon offer, including the Amazon credit
- $556.45 at Avis without a discount
Whenever you hunt down what looks like a great deal on a rental car, always compare savings by asking AutoSlash for a quote to get low rates on your upcoming reservation. It's highly likely that we'll find you a better deal.
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