Car rental advice

Who do you use when flying into a large airport? What company works best for you?

My wife and I have had good luck and bad. Got a Volvo XC60 out of Houston on our last trip. The car was fine once we figured it out. It was odd… It was a ‘reserved’ premium car but they had NO idea what we were going to get until we ‘picked’ it out on the ‘lot’. And the ‘lot’ people were no help at all, wanted in dash GPS, and they didn’t know what car had it. Had to fire a few up before I found one. It was decidedly weird (and a bit of a bitch at midnight after a day of travel)

Airport for next trip is Miami. Then driving to Key West. Looking for a ‘mid’ sized, nice car. Money is not really an issue. When on vacation, we know that we are going to blow through $. Service is an issue though. I hate having to waste time and screw around with things.

I usually use Avis or Hertz, and I have top tier status with both of them (I think anyone can be “top tier” by just signing up). They drop you off and your name is on a board and you take the car they’ve assigned you. No standing in line and waiting. That’s the biggest benefit by far. When my credit card has expired and I forget to change it in my account, it sucks because lines. :frowning:

At Hertz you can also choose to ignore the pre-assigned car and just take another one. They’ll assign it to you when you leave. If you decide you don’t like the Escape they’ve given you, hop into a convertible Mustang. It’s Florida, right? And money isn’t an issue, right?

Hmmm… I kinda thought about a convertible. Personally I find them a distraction from driving (I bother with my sunroof for the same reason).

But…might be fun. I like doing different stuff on vacation. The car will be mostly parked. We will drive the Overseas Highway from Miami to Key West and back.

The favorite car I ever rented was a Lincoln Town car. Just for my Wife and I. Too fun. Cruised that beast all over Pittsburgh. Thinking a smaller car would be better though. Had a Chrysler 300 once. Hated it with a passion. So did my Wife.

This was a small non-airport Enterprise location last fall. I was supposed to get a mid-size Chrysler 300 (they told me), but an employee was taking too long servicing it so they upgraded me. To a YUKON, and they paid for the gas. I paid $22 a day for a freaking 2016 YUKON with 2,000 miles on it. It took awhile to get used to and I never was able to park it competently but was it ever a blast.

I’ve rented from Enterprise quite a bit and they always make things right if there’s a problem.

Something similar happened to a friend where they upgraded her to I think an Audi.

Oddly, the prices I’m seeing for a convertible are the same or less than a premium or intermediate size car. Now, the SAY a Mustang or similar. I suspect I would get stuck with a Chrysler 200 convertable. A Stang, though could be kinda fun. Last one I drove was a '68.

If you can, rent from an off airport site (noting that you’ll have to arrange your own transportation to that location). Taxes and fees are generally based on where the rental originates and renting off-site can save you a ton of money in airport concession fees. The great thing is you can almost always return the car to the airport location for no or little extra cost. So be sure and compare your options.

I’ve rented from Enterprise several times. A free upgrade is sometimes as easy as asking if there are any deals they can hook you up with. Costs them nothing to upgrade you and I’ve found that more often than not, the boldness to ask is often rewarded.

People laugh at me when I express similar joy (Crown Vics are great, too). Body on frame, and you just kind of float everywhere, in a good way. Too bad they’re not available any more.

At Miami you probably don’t want to mess with the off-airport places. Kinda sketchy overall. There are over a dozen major and minor brands available on-airport at the central rental car facility. Which you access from the terminal via a short people-mover ride. Look for the purple signs saying “Metro Mover”; it’s a bit of a hike to get to the people-mover.

My method is simple: go to and input my airport and dates. You’ll get a wide array of name-brand suppliers at (usually) stupid-low prices. You can filter for size, convertible, van, etc. as needed.

Sometimes you buy right then through the site. Other times you’re just making a no-strings attached reservation and payment happens only at turn-in if you actually take the rental.

This truly is a much better system than poking around on each company’s site. Very rarely have I found the deal offered at to be available from that same company’s site at the same time. My personal best is $9.95/day for a brand new Toyota Corolla. Admittedly not in Miami and not in tourist season.

If you’re driving to Key West, get the convertible. We’ve done the drive a few times and try to go topless on the way down.

Thanks for all the input.

Yeah, Crown Vics are nice too. As well as the Grand Marquise.

LSL - I’ve been checking out

If you’re going topless AND have the convertible open you’d better invest in some sunscreen!

It’s been quite a long time, but one of my first jobs was working in car rental reservations. It can happen that convertibles are lower priced than an intermediate. Miami is a city that gets a decent mix of business and leisure travel. For a lot of business situations, showing up in a convertible wouldn’t give the right impression.

I travel for work and use National almost exclusively. I like being able to choose my car and test out different makes and models.

I used to do that. Had the corporate discount program and everything. Then I discovered I was paying National 3 to 5x as much as it cost to get the exact same car from another name brand place via