Any recommendations for getting a deal on a rental car?

I have to rent a car for 10 days. I’ll be heading to “The Crown Jewel of the Midwest (tm Lizard)”, Pittsburgh. Can anyone offer any suggestions on how to get a good deal? I tried Travelocity, but it seems that I can’t do much better than $26-28 dollars a day. I thought that if I rented for a longer time (10 days vs. a weekend) that I would get a better deal. Not so. Oh, also, I’m not renting an economy or small car. No way I am going to squeeze my big fat ass into a Ford Festiva.
Any ideas?

A couple of thoughts:

If you use your VISA card to make the deal that should cover the insurance aspect (check your card: mine’s a Gold). They won’t tell you this at the car desk: in fact they will try to scare you into getting their insurance anyway. They tell you what a hassle it is to follow through on repairs if someone hits you (YOUR RESPONSIBILITY unless you buy our insurance, I was told. VISA told me otherwise and I saved $7 a day)

I use the travel service provided by my federal credit union: the last full-sized I got (free one point upgrade from the mid size) was 22.95/day (add a couple bucks taxes/fees to any price they give: ended up being about $25). So a travel agent might be able to swing a good deal.

Membership in AAA will get you discounts. If you rent a car a lot it might be worth the $50 annual membership.

Good luck. I hear it’s cleaned up a bit since the factories and foundries started shutting down. Is it true that instead of a pollen count, the weatherman gives a ‘metal filings’ count?

Mouth my friend, you may be in luck.

Every year, come the spring, the large rental car companies need to move thier fleet of cars from the south to the north. At least one of them (Hertz or Avis, I forget which) gives big fat discounts to drivers willing to drive one-way from a southern city to a northern one.

I see you live in Georgia… and you want to get to the Steel City. Hmmm, sounds like you might qualify. Of course you’d have to drive to Pittsburgh, and of course you’d have to figure a way to get back home. But the price is right – trust me I’ve done it.

(If you want more info, let me know and I’ll dig out the details for you. Most run-of-the-mill reservation clerks won’t know what you’re talking about if you call them cold.)

Hey, I’ll be in Pittsburgh soon, too! You’re not going to a wedding, by any chance?

I was able to get an internet deal from Budget for $15 a day. That is for a small car, but not Geo Metro-sized. (You can get a Metro if you really want one–same price.) You have to rent it over a weekend, but an overlap doesn’t seem to matter–we are renting for four days.

They have another good deal for a pickup truck, IIRC. Maybe they have deals for other vehicles.

I hope that this might be helpful.

“‘Metal filings’ count”? Ouch! :eek:

stuyguy – that does sound tempting, but I already have roundtrip tix for $108. Can’t beat that with a baseball bat. Although, I do usually go up there a couple times a year. Is it only this time of year that they do this? I’d be interested to learn more.
Tamex, yes it is a wedding. June 2nd. You’re not gonna go all twilight zone on my ass and wind up in the same place as me, are you? :slight_smile:

I’m still looking for the car. Nothing yet that has seemed like a really good deal.

Mouth you asked for more, so here’s more.

The Avis web page that described their ultra-cheap one-way program (it cost me $7/day w/ unlimited miles!) is no longer on their website, but that may not necessarily mean they’ve stopped the program.

I still have my 1997 printouts. Here are some specifics from then:

  1. The program runs from April 1 to June 30.

  2. You must start from one of 9 specified Florida cities and drop off in one of about 20 northern cities.

  3. 14 day max rental.

  4. Give rate code MN when speaking to the reservation clerk. (Like I said, this program is not well known and your average clerk will think you’re nuts when you describe what you want to do; just give them the code and when they pull up the rates on their computer they’ll start to treat you with a little respect.)

Now, a couple of random thoughts:

  1. Hertz has (or had) a similiar program called the Drive Out Program, but IIRC they’ve discontinued it. But it’s worth a call to find out for sure.

  2. This type of program is also avalable out west (Southern Cal to points north).

  3. The flow reverses itself come the fall; that’s when they offer the deep discount one-way rates from north to south.

Like I said, I did this back in 1997, so obviously things may have changed since then. If you, Mouth, decide to follow up with this, I’d love to get the latest updated skinny. So please post what you learn or even email me. Thanx.

Try the websites of the rental car comp’s thats one of the best ways to do it (period).

Number two is getting a rental cause of ‘insurance reasons’ in this case, you get them like around $11 a day.


“Number two is getting a rental cause of ‘insurance reasons’ in this case”

What do you mean?

We can just stop the “Twilight Zone” music right now, I guess. May 18.

What else is there to do in Pittsburgh? Does anyone go there because they want to go there? :slight_smile: OK, I shouldn’t badmouth a place I’ve never been to, but there was a great lack of “Pittsburgh” guidebooks at the local library.

We had a rental for insurance reasons once. The body shop that had to take so d*mn long fixing our car got stuck with the bill, though.

Hey… everybody should stop dissing Pittsburgh.

I’ve never been there myself, but I hear from trusted friends who have (sometime snobby NYCers with high standards and a low patience for masquerading cowtowns) that it is a remarkably fine place. All the soot and grit problems have long since passed into legend. And the place consistantly ranks very high in the most-livable-city polls.

Whatever you do, don’t go with Rent a Wreck for a deal. I did that once, and ended up with a Jeep Wagoneer or some such thing that wouldn’t go in a straight line. There was so much play in the steering wheel that you literally could barely keep it on the road - you’d turn the wheel fully to the 3:00 or 9:00 position before the car would start to turn, and then it would turn so sharply that I worried about running off the road.

I picked up this behemoth at 11:30 at night from an Airport where Rent a Wreck didn’t even have an office. They left an envelope with the keys with the ticketing agent, so I had no one to complain to. The plan that night was to meet my brothers and sisters-in-law at a local nightclub. After driving 30 minutes from the airport to the nightclub, all the while feeling like I was going to get pulled over for drunk driving, I arrived only to find that the damn locks were broken. I had expensive cameras, binoculars, and gifts in my luggage. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper.

To make matters worse, this was on a Friday night before a holiday weekend. The rental office was closed until Tuesday, and when I went and complained, they claimed nothing was wrong with the car. I will never rent from Rent a Wreck again, regardless of how cheap they are. An older, not-so-great to look at vehicle is fine. One that’s an accident waiting to happen and is unable to lock is something completely different.

Tamex – Don’t make me slap you with a Primanti’s sandwich, bonk you on the head with a bottle of Ahrn City, and then dunk your ass in the Monongahela river. (I grew up in Pgh. There’s lot’s to do. Shoot me an email and tell me where you’re staying, and what kind of stuff you like. I’ll give you some suggestions).

Stuyguy – preach it, brother!

Athena – A buddy of mine owns a Rent-a-Wreck joint outside of Philly. From what he’s told me, I wouldn’t ever rent ANYTHING from them. It’s strange that they use that name when they have the shittiest cars on earth.
I would up going with National for the car rental. $23 a day for an Intrepid (with the Entertainment book coupon). Eh. Not bad, not great. I got the ultra-cheap Airline tix, so I guess I shouldn’t complain.

mouthbreather, if you can’t drive your own car, you can often get an insurance rate. They often call a garage to check to see if your car is there though :slight_smile:

Hey guys, I recently got a Hertz car for a few hours. I selected they put in the gas, they said on the wall in big big letters $1.62 per gallon. Well, I went 200 miles on this small subcompact automatic. The gas tank was half full when I brought it back. They they checked my miles, did some calculations & charged me $20 for gas.

But there is NO way that thing could hold $40 worth of gas.
Something stinks.

Is priceline still doing car rentals? We tried them on a trip (only after a friend reported a good experience) and were pretty pleased with it. That was last August.