Frequently Asked Questions

Who is AutoSlash?

AutoSlash is made up of a small but very passionate team of frequent travelers who love nothing more than saving people money on their rental car rates. Most of us on staff here at AutoSlash travel north of 75,000 miles a year (and most of us have maintained top-tier elite status with multiple airlines, hotel chains, and--of course--rental car agencies). Several of us on the team have also worked (or even managed) rental car agencies. With as much experience as we have, we like to think we have a few tricks up our sleeves to help you get the best possible rates on your rental cars. Click here to request a free price quote and see what we can do to help you save!


How does your system work?

Our goal is that you get the very best possible price on your rental car!

How do we do that? We maintain a carefully curated database of over 1,000 different coupon and discount codes, and then we search through them all to find which one yields the best possible price for your rental.

The vast majority of these codes are promotional specials published directly by the rental companies on their own websites and in their own marketing materials. All of them are free to use by the public: unlike many other coupon sites on the Internet, we do not list or search any discount codes that require any kind of employment or paid membership with any organization. The codes we use are 100% legitimate and freely usable by anyone.

Some people call it magic, but it's really just our system doing in a few minutes what it would take you hours to do--and we do it all for you for free! Of course, we do throw a little bit of magic into the mix--with a combined total of decades of experience in the rental car industry and revenue management, we have a few tricks up our sleeves to help you get the absolute best possible price.


Do you charge for your services?

Nope! Our service is 100% free. We do make a very small commission on reservations booked through our links.


Can I pick up the car in one location and drop off in another location?

Yes! This is known as a one-way rental. Just click the checkbox labeled Return at a different location? on the blue search box on our homepage. The form will then expand allowing you to enter a different return location. You can pick-up or drop-off at an airport or local (non-airport) location.


Does AutoSlash support local (non-airport) rentals?

Yes! You can book both airport and local rentals via AutoSlash. The default on our homepage is to pick up the car at the airport. If you'd like to rent a car locally, just click on the little bubble next to near an address and the form will change to let you enter in a city or street address.


What do I need to rent a car?

The car rental company will require that you have a valid driver's license and a major credit card in your own name with at least enough available credit to cover the cost of the rental. Some companies may require an additional deposit on your card.

Some locations accept debit cards, usually with additional restrictions. You'll want to review the reservation rules or contact your rental company for details. You can also search our help page for "debit" for more details on common debit card restrictions.


How do I add my frequent renter program (Hertz Gold, National Emerald, Avis Preferred, etc.) number?

As frequent travelers ourselves, we absolutely understand the value of being able to skip the line, choose our own cars, earn points, or other benefits of loyalty programs!

(If you don't know what a frequent renter program is, be sure to check out our blog series on the topic. It's a great--and free--way to save time and minimize hassle at the rental counter!)

When booking one of our Pay Later rates through our partners, look for the box labeled "Loyalty Program" or "Frequent Renter Number" and plug your membership number in there. On Priceline, you'll have to expand the section labeled "Add-Ons" and then click the "Rewards Points and Discounts" section to see the box:

If you've already booked your rental and need to add your number, you may need to cancel and rebook the reservation. You can always add it at the rental counter as well.

When booking one of our special discounted, prepaid Slash Deals rates, there isn't a way to add your frequent renter program to your reservation. You may be able to add it at the rental counter (and if there's a long line, feel free to go right to the special bypass line or designated kiosk for loyalty program members). With most companies, loyalty benefits generally won't apply, however, and you may not earn points or credit for the rental.

We look forward to helping you get the best possible price for the best possible experience with your rental car!


Do your rates include unlimited mileage?

The vast majority of rates in the rental car industry do come with unlimited mileage.

In the rare case that a rate comes with _capped_ mileage, when booking, the booking site should explicitly show the mileage allowed each day or week. If you do not see anything like this, then your rate has unlimited mileage.

If you're running into rates with capped mileage and want us to help you find a rate with unlimited mileage, just reply to your quote notification email and let us know--we have ways to limit the search and force it to find only rates that include unlimited mileage.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We look forward to saving you money on your rental!


What if I have AAA or another membership (AARP, Costco, USAA, etc.)?

Perhaps you've run across a coupon in the AARP magazine or on Costco's website. Maybe you got an email from AAA advertising a super cheap weekend deal for AAA members. It's a lot of work to test every coupon you can find to see which one has the best price!

That's the beauty of AutoSlash! We keep a close eye on specials that the rental companies advertise and keep tabs on hundreds and hundreds of possible great deals. When you reserve through us, we check through them all to make sure you get the best possible deal. You don't need to ask us to check all of your own coupons, because we likely have all of them in our system already!

If you're a member of major membership organizations or warehouse clubs, including AAA, AARP, USAA, Costco, or BJ's, you'll find checkboxes to select which ones you belong to when you submit your quote request.

Of course, if you already have a reservation from one of these organizations with a lower rate than we found, click here to submit it for price tracking. That way, we can alert you if a lower price comes along--so you can save even more money on your rental car!


Why are rates so high?

While we'd love nothing more than to be able to control the rates and make sure you get an affordable rental car every time, note that our system simply looks through over 1,000 coupons and discounts to find the best possible rates for your rental car. Other than identifying the best discounts, we don't have any control over what rates the rental companies set for their cars.

It's difficult to pinpoint any reason for the rates being high. Obviously, seasonal tourism often plays a big part (you're not the only one who wants to go to Florida in winter!), but there also could be a big convention in town or just a shrinkage in the number of cars the rental companies have available to rent. Hopefully, rates will go down sometime before you pick up, though--and that's what AutoSlash helps out with, since our tracking system checks rates every day and will alert you of any lower prices that may come along!

As well, please definitely do shop around! Our only goal is that you get the best deal on your rental car, even if it's not through us--so if you find a better price elsewhere, feel free to book it (just be careful of any cancellation fees on other sites). If you do book it on another site, though, be sure you come back and click here to submit it for price tracking so we can monitor the rate and let you know if the price goes down even further!


The price to book doesn't match what you quoted!

Rental rates can change at any time. Rental companies change their prices constantly, and rates could be different even if it's only been an hour or so since we sent a quote. Prices can't be guaranteed until the reservation is confirmed, so be sure to book as soon as you get a quote from us!

If the price has gone up too much and you don't want to reserve, feel free to ignore the quote from us. We'll continue checking rates and will periodically alert you of updated rates for your rental.

Also, sometimes one of the sites we send you to complete your reservation at can have trouble finding or booking some rates. If this is the case, please feel free to reply to our quote notification email. We have lots of tricks up our sleeves to help get stubborn rates booked, and we're glad to help.

We look forward to saving you as much money as possible on your rental car rate!


Can I request a non-smoking car?

All of the major rental companies nowadays maintain a 100% smoke-free fleet. These companies enforce stiff cleaning penalties if a car comes back smelling like smoke to ensure that the policy is adhered to.

If you do end up receiving a car that smells like smoke, our best recommendation is to talk to the location manager about exchanging for a different car. With many companies, you can even exchange at a different location if necessary.


I'm having trouble booking a reservation!

Shortly after you request the quote, you'll receive an email alerting you that we've found discounted rates. Click the link to bring up a page showing these rates. Then, click one of the results you'd like to book, which will take you to a major online travel vendor that you can use to complete your reservation.

If you've received the email with your discounted results and are having trouble completing a reservation, just reply to your quote email and we'll be glad to help.

We have lots of tricks up our sleeves for getting stubborn rates to book and confirm, so feel free to let us know!


Do you cancel my old reservation automatically?

If you booked on another site and then book a cheaper rental from a rate we found, we let you take care of canceling your old reservation. We don’t know what arrangements you may have made for those reservations, so you’ll want to handle canceling any reservations you may have booked through other sites.

You'll see the following note on any offer pages we send to you:

“If you decide to take advantage of our offer, remember to cancel your old reservation by clicking here or canceling with the original website you booked at to ensure you receive the lower rate."

That reminds you that you'll want to take care of canceling your old reservation.


I found a lower rate elsewhere!

First of all, make sure you're not seeing a prepaid rate. Be very careful when you encounter these.

Some companies--most notably Priceline and Hotwire--let you bid for and prepay for a rental car, but if you do this, you usually can't cancel or refund your rental at all. That means that even if your flight is canceled or you have a family emergency and have to cancel your trip, you're out the money you paid for your car. These rates may look low up front, but note that rental rates often go down as time goes on, and so if you bid and prepay for your car through one of these sites, you may end up paying more than you would by waiting for our tracking system to help you find a lower rate. We generally advise not to bid for a rental car on one of these sites unless it's less than a few days before your pick-up date and the rate is much lower than the best rate that we can quote.

Some other sites do allow you to change or cancel prepaid reservations, but there's usually a fee for doing so. This fee may increase the closer it is to your rental date and may even be nonrefundable in the last few days or week before your rental. Be sure you read the terms and conditions of your prepaid rate very carefully to make an educated decision as to whether it's worth prepaying. You'll want to be sure you've requested a quote for the best discounted rates we can find before booking a prepaid reservation elsewhere.

Or, if you have booked a lower rate on another site, great! Our only goal is that you get the best possible price on your rental. The best thing to do, then, is to click here to submit your booking to us for price tracking. That way, we can keep looking for even lower rates and alert you when an even better deal comes along.

All that said, if you're seeing a lower rate somewhere that you think we should be able to meet or beat, please feel free to contact us at any time. We'll be glad to review your rental and make sure everything is set up properly to get you the very best possible deal on your rental car rate!


I already have a lower rate!

If you request a price quote and find that you already have a reservation that's cheaper than the rates we found for you, the best thing to do is to click here to submit that reservation for price tracking. That way, we will alert you only if we find a better deal than you already have.

We look forward to saving you as much money as possible on your rental car rates!


Do you keep tracking rates if I don't book?

Yes!

Sometimes we might send you a quote or alert and you don't like the options we've found. If you decide not to book anything, our system will keep searching for lower rates and will periodically alert you of the latest rates.

If you're tracking the rate on a reservation you booked somewhere else, receive an alert about a lower price, and don't book anything, we'll keep checking for lower rates and will of course only alert you again if we find another lower rate than you're already booked with. This is a good way to keep searching for rates with your preferred company--feel free to ignore any results that don't meet your preferences, and with a little luck, one of our future price alerts might contain one that appeals more to you.

If you've requested a price quote and decide not to book anything, we may periodically alert you with updated rates. Note that those rates could be the same or lower--or they could be higher. Typically, the best thing to do is to go ahead and secure a rate now by booking, even if it's higher than you'd prefer--there's no downside to doing so (as you can cancel reservations without a penalty). Then, once you've booked, don't forget to submit your new reservation for price tracking. We'll let you know when prices drop! Most of our customers end up paying much less than their original reservations.

If you request a price quote and find that you already have a reservation that's cheaper than the rates we found for you, the best thing to do is to click here to submit your booking to us for price tracking. That way, we will alert you only if we find a better deal than you already have.


Do I need to cancel my old reservation after booking a lower rate AutoSlash found me?

Yes, if you've booked a new reservation at a rate we found for you, you'll want to cancel any old reservations you may have booked that you won't be using.

If you've booked a rental somewhere else and then submit it for price tracking, we'll watch the rate and send you an email if a lower price comes along. If you click the link in our email and book a new reservation, please note this does not automatically cancel your old, more expensive reservation. You'll need to contact whomever you originally booked the reservation to cancel it.

Although there's no penalty to cancel or no-show most rental car reservations, we do recommend that you cancel any reservations you don't intend to use at least a couple of days before you pick up your car. This is both to prevent any confusion at the rental counter about which reservation you're picking up (so you don't accidentally rent at your old, higher rate) and to help the rental companies plan their availability better.


What if I need options like a child seat or a GPS navigation system with my rental?

The cost of these options is NOT included in our quotes. The cost of these options is added on at the rental counter (along with taxes, which can add upwards of 30% to the cost at some airports). In some cases, these options are negotiable in terms of price, or even being thrown in for free. If you wear a smile and ask nicely, you'd be surprised the deals you can get.

Note that it's not usually necessary to request these items when you reserve the car. Simply advise the rental agent when you arrive at the rental counter that you need one of these items and they'll be glad to provide them for you!


What about insurance coverage?

Rental insurance can be added at the rental counter. The rental companies sell a number of different coverage options including:

  • Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) – sometimes also referred to as Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) - covers the costs of damage to the rental vehicle in the event of an accident.
  • Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI) – provides coverage in the event of an accident causing bodily injury or property damage to someone other than the renter and passengers.
  • Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) – covers medical costs and accidental death for the renter and passengers in the event of an accident during the rental.
  • Personal Effects Coverage (PEC or PEP) – insures against risk of loss or damage to the personal belongings of the renter (and sometimes the members of the renter's family while traveling with the renter) during the period of the rental.
  • The cost and exact coverage of these options vary by company and location. On the booking site, there are links for the policies and cost for the insurance options offered at each specific rental location.

    Also note that although frequently not explicitly stated, US car rental companies are required by respective state law (except in California) to provide minimal liability coverage. This covers costs to a third party in the event of an accident, albeit at very low state-minimum requirement limits.

    For further information and money saving tips on car rental insurance, you can learn more in our blog.


    Why doesn't it ask for a credit card to reserve a car?

    Actually, most car rental sites don't require a credit card to book. Sometimes, though, they may ask for one as a psychological trick to make you think twice about forgetting to cancel a reservation you don't plan on using, and, very rarely (and usually only with specialty vehicles in high-cost locations--like SUVs in New York City), it might be because there actually is cancellation penalty. While we currently don't support finding prepaid rates, on some of the sites we refer you to, it could also be that you're booking a prepaid rate. If you're being asked for a credit card, be sure to review the reservation rules before completing the reservation.

    Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We look forward to saving you money on your rental!


    What if I'm under 25?

    Most car rental companies these days will gladly rent to anyone over 21--but note that if you're under 25, there's usually an underage driver surcharge to deal with.

    (Some states have laws requiring rental companies to rent to even younger customers--New York, for example, lets anyone who's at least 19 rent a car--but the fees for that are sky-high.)

    It's sometimes possible to reduce or get around some of these fees. While we don't yet have an automatic way of handling rentals with underage fees, you might want to check out the "wikipost" at the top of this discussion thread on a popular frequent-traveler message board for some helpful tips and tricks.

    If you find anything there that you might qualify for, then the best thing to do is to click here to request a price quote, and then when you receive the quote email, reply to the quote and let us know what memberships mentioned in the wiki thread above that you might have. That way, we can help you get the very best price possible for your rental car!


    How much does an additional driver cost?

    Additional driver policies and fees vary considerably not just by rental company but also by location.

    We've written a detailed article about additional driver fees. You can view it by clicking here.

    If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us!


    Do I need a credit card to rent a car? Can I rent with a debit card or cash?

    Credit card policies vary widely between rental agencies.

    If you don't have a major credit card in your own name, you'll want to carefully review the rental agency's policies when booking and perhaps even call the rental office for clarification.

    Some agencies will allow you to rent if you have a debit card (any card linked to a checking account, as long as it has a Visa or MasterCard logo on it), but there are usually pretty significant restrictions with doing so, since rental companies view customers who only have a debit card as statistically riskier to rent to.

    It depends on the company and location, but you might find some or all of the following restrictions, among others:

  • You may be subject to a credit check at the rental counter
  • You may be required to submit to a credit check in advance (call the rental office for details)
  • You may need to provide proof of travel, such as a return airline ticket
  • You may need to provide proof of residence, such as a utility bill
  • You may need to provide proof of income, such as pay stub
  • You may need to provide proof of insurance
  • You may be required to purchase additional insurance
  • You may be restricted from renting certain types or classes of cars
  • You may be restricted from taking the car outside of the state or have other geographical restrictions
  • Your debit card may be charged a significantly higher security deposit when you pick up your car
  • You may be required to make reservations and submit any requested documents to the rental company several days before you pick up the car
  • Here are a couple of articles on using debit cards with rental cars:

  • CreditCards.com
  • NerdWallet.com
  • Again, these policies vary significantly, so be sure to review the terms and conditions on your reservation when booking. We make it easy to view these when booking through AutoSlash--just look for the link to view "Rules & Information" when confirming your reservation.

    Note that rental companies usually require that the person driving a car present a driver's license and a credit card in a matching name. It's not usually permitted for one person to rent the car and a second person to provide the credit card. In that case, the second person with the credit card will need to rent the car, and the first person will need to be added on as an additional driver.

    One way around these restrictions is a little creative. If you don't have a credit card but you have a friend or family member who is willing to vouch for you, that person can call their bank and add you onto their account as an additional cardholder. You'll get a card with your name on it, and the rental company will gladly accept that for payment. Of course, that puts the primary cardholder at risk for any charges you make on their account, so they'll need to trust you implicitly.

    Cash deposits are becoming increasingly rare, especially at the major chain agencies we book with. Even if your rental office accepts cash deposits, expect similar or even tighter restrictions if you must use a cash deposit.

    One other thing to consider is that debit cards typically do not come with many of the protections available with credit cards. Most credit cards these days include some "CDW" coverage that may help to cover you for any damage to the rental car. As well, credit cards offer stronger consumer protections than debit cards when it comes to things like fraudulent usage and disputing charges. Although we never recommend going into debt and carrying a balance (always pay off your credit card in full every month!), we do recommend trying to use a credit card when renting a car. (Just remember, it needs to be in your name.) If need be, it's usually not difficult to obtain a secured card, even with a bad or nonexistent credit history--just make sure you get one with a high enough credit line to cover any extra security deposits held by the rental company. (We also recommend choosing Visa over MasterCard if possible, as low-end MasterCards don't always include CDW coverage.)


    What happens if the rental company is sold out?

    Everyone has seen the Seinfeld episode where Jerry says to the car rental agent, "You know how to take the reservation, you just don't know how to hold the reservation. And that's really the most important part of the reservation--the holding." It's a funny scene--until the same thing happens to you.

    Just like airlines and hotels, all rental companies overbook. The vast majority of the time, it works out pretty smoothly, but very occasionally, they simply have more customers show up than they have cars for.

    While we don't have a way of forcing rental companies not to overbook, we've found the information about overbooking policies in these articles useful:

  • Dealing with overbooked hotels and cars (Chicago Tribune)
  • When car rental reservations aren't honored (​Associated Press via Boston Globe)
  • If you end up in this situation, we definitely recommend giving these articles a read for some helpful tips on how to deal with the rental companies.

    In short, most of the major, reputable brands have official policies that go something like this:

  • If your reserved car class is not available, you are entitled to a complimentary upgrade at no additional cost to you.
  • If there aren't any larger vehicles available, the rental company will either find an alternate vehicle for you at another company and pay the difference along with a voucher towards a future rental for your inconvenience.
  • The rental company may also offer to pay for a taxi to and from your hotel and get a car to you later in the day or the next morning (along with an extra voucher for your inconvenience).
  • If you have any issues, be sure to ask for the manager on duty. Some rental office managers may not be aware of these official policies, but if the rental company isn't able to honor your reservation and doesn't agree to pay for your extra expenses, usually a call to the company's customer service department after the fact will result in a reimbursement being sent your way.
  • In any case, if you do arrive at the rental counter and find that they are unable to provide you a car and aren't willing to help you make alternate arrangements, please feel free to contact us and we will work to find the best alternative option for you. (Make sure you choose the option for emergency support so we know that you require immediate assistance.)

    Note that when you book a reservation through AutoSlash, your reservation is just as guaranteed as if you book it directly through the rental company's own website.


    Can I book a hotel through you?

    The team behind AutoSlash is now bringing you HotelSlash!

    HotelSlash is currently in invite-only beta, but the good news is that existing AutoSlash customers are eligible for an invite! Just head over to HotelSlash.com and enter your email address in the box at the top of the page, and you'll get an invite email in a couple of minutes with further details. We look forward to saving you money on your hotel stays!


    Couldn't find an answer to your question?

    Please contact our customer service team via email at Email Us .