Monthly Archives: July 2011

Watch Out for Frequent Flyer Mile Surcharges When Renting a Car

Perhaps inspired by the airline industry, which now charges customers an extra fee for everything from snacks to blankets to checked baggage, the rental car industry has created a few new fees of its own in recent years. One of those is frequent flyer surcharge, or something with a similar name, that the rental car companies charge customers who opt to receive airline miles with their rental. In some cases, they are just passing on the expense of those miles, and it other cases they are actually charging more than the actual value of the miles. So it’s a good idea to check what the frequent flyer surcharge is and how many miles you could potentially earn before deciding if you want those extra miles.

The surcharge varies by company, but generally it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 per day. With it being a standard practice to provide 50 miles per rental day, the cost to the renter is about 2 cents per mile. The problem is that most travel experts say that an airline mile is only worth about 1.2 cents. So in that situation, you are probably better off just skipping the miles. But if you can find a special deal with double or triple miles, or some other bonus mileage, then it can be a good idea. So when you pick up your car, make sure you understand how many miles you can earn and compare that with the surcharge to decide if it’s worth the money. For more information, check out this travel article in USA Today.

Watch Out for Frequent Flyer Mile Surcharges When Renting a Car

Perhaps inspired by the airline industry, which now charges customers an extra fee for everything from snacks to blankets to checked baggage, the rental car industry has created a few new fees of its own in recent years. One of those is frequent flyer surcharge, or something with a similar name, that the rental car companies charge customers who opt to receive airline miles with their rental. In some cases, they are just passing on the expense of those miles, and it other cases they are actually charging more than the actual value of the miles. So it’s a good idea to check what the frequent flyer surcharge is and how many miles you could potentially earn before deciding if you want those extra miles.

The surcharge varies by company, but generally it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 per day. With it being a standard practice to provide 50 miles per rental day, the cost to the renter is about 2 cents per mile. The problem is that most travel experts say that an airline mile is only worth about 1.2 cents. So in that situation, you are probably better off just skipping the miles. But if you can find a special deal with double or triple miles, or some other bonus mileage, then it can be a good idea. So when you pick up your car, make sure you understand how many miles you can earn and compare that with the surcharge to decide if it’s worth the money. For more information, check out this travel article in USA Today.

National Car Rental Offers Chance to Win up to 350,000 Airline Miles

You can never have enough airline miles, so if you are looking to bulk up your account balance then check out the “Tales From The Road” contest being offered by National Car Rental. The contest offers three chances to win, and although the first leg has already passed, you can still take a shot at entering the final two legs of the contest through National’s Facebook page.

The second leg asks “What is your funniest or most embarrassing travel moment?” Even if you don’t have a story to submit, it should make for some fun reading when the winner is announced. If you want to enter that contest, the deadline is August 2.

The third and final leg asks “What is your greatest business success you’ve had on the road?” That leg of the contest opens on September 7 and runs through October 5. Each contest winner will bank 100,000 airline miles plus some other perks from National, and then the grand prize winner among those three will earn an additional 250,000 airline miles, plus 250,000 hotel points and some other great prizes. It doesn’t cost anything to enter, so it’s worth taking a chance at it. You can submit your entry at www.facebook.com/NationalCarRental.

National Car Rental Offers Chance to Win up to 350,000 Airline Miles

You can never have enough airline miles, so if you are looking to bulk up your account balance then check out the “Tales From The Road” contest being offered by National Car Rental. The contest offers three chances to win, and although the first leg has already passed, you can still take a shot at entering the final two legs of the contest through National’s Facebook page.

The second leg asks “What is your funniest or most embarrassing travel moment?” Even if you don’t have a story to submit, it should make for some fun reading when the winner is announced. If you want to enter that contest, the deadline is August 2.

The third and final leg asks “What is your greatest business success you’ve had on the road?” That leg of the contest opens on September 7 and runs through October 5. Each contest winner will bank 100,000 airline miles plus some other perks from National, and then the grand prize winner among those three will earn an additional 250,000 airline miles, plus 250,000 hotel points and some other great prizes. It doesn’t cost anything to enter, so it’s worth taking a chance at it. You can submit your entry at www.facebook.com/NationalCarRental.

Remember the Importance of Inspecting Your Rental Car Before You Leave the Lot

As we’ve mentioned before on this blog, it’s very important to take a few minutes to inspect your rental car before you drive off the lot. You don’t need to go over every inch of the car with a magnifying glass, but you do need to do a bit more than just take a quick glance. It’s a good idea to take a slow walk all the way around the car, looking for scratches, dents and dings. Also pay attention to the roof and the trunk area, as those can often get scratched up by a previous renter’s luggage. If you do see any damage, even if it seems insignificant, go back to the counter and make sure it’s noted on your rental agreement.

When you return the car, make sure you give it another inspection to make sure there’s no damage you were not aware of. You never know what might have happened when the car was parked and you were not around. Because of that, it’s also a good idea to avoid tight parking spots or anywhere else that might result in a ding or scratch, even if you that means you need to park a little further away and walk.

If you do end up with damage to the car, whether it was your fault or not, make sure you fully understand anything you sign to acknowledge the damage. For some additional tips, check out this article on the topic from The Seattle Times.

Remember the Importance of Inspecting Your Rental Car Before You Leave the Lot

As we’ve mentioned before on this blog, it’s very important to take a few minutes to inspect your rental car before you drive off the lot. You don’t need to go over every inch of the car with a magnifying glass, but you do need to do a bit more than just take a quick glance. It’s a good idea to take a slow walk all the way around the car, looking for scratches, dents and dings. Also pay attention to the roof and the trunk area, as those can often get scratched up by a previous renter’s luggage. If you do see any damage, even if it seems insignificant, go back to the counter and make sure it’s noted on your rental agreement.

When you return the car, make sure you give it another inspection to make sure there’s no damage you were not aware of. You never know what might have happened when the car was parked and you were not around. Because of that, it’s also a good idea to avoid tight parking spots or anywhere else that might result in a ding or scratch, even if you that means you need to park a little further away and walk.

If you do end up with damage to the car, whether it was your fault or not, make sure you fully understand anything you sign to acknowledge the damage. For some additional tips, check out this article on the topic from The Seattle Times.

How to Avoid a $900 Rental Car Late Fee

Just like in the airline industry, added fees have become more commonplace with rental cars. It’s generally not a big deal to do a late return on a rental car, but of course that’s going to cost you more. If you do find the need to keep the car longer, be sure to call the rental car company in advance to notify them and check on the additional cost. You’ll sometimes be surprised to see how cheap it can be, because in the eyes of the rental car company it’s easier for them to extend a rental rather than take a car back and find someone else to rent it. But the key here is to notify the car rental company, as the case of Nicholas Balzer illustrates.

According to a news story on MoonPatch.com, Balzer picked up a rental car in Florida on October 20 for a one-month rental. He was supposed to return the car by November 20, but instead he didn’t bring it back until June, almost seven months late. He was promptly arrested for felony theft of leased property and unauthorized use of a car, in addition to being responsible for nearly $900 in late fees. To make matters worse, it appeared that the car had also been involved in an accident. The case is still winding its way through the court system, but it’s safe to say that Mr. Balzer will not be renting another car anytime soon.

How to Avoid a $900 Rental Car Late Fee

Just like in the airline industry, added fees have become more commonplace with rental cars. It’s generally not a big deal to do a late return on a rental car, but of course that’s going to cost you more. If you do find the need to keep the car longer, be sure to call the rental car company in advance to notify them and check on the additional cost. You’ll sometimes be surprised to see how cheap it can be, because in the eyes of the rental car company it’s easier for them to extend a rental rather than take a car back and find someone else to rent it. But the key here is to notify the car rental company, as the case of Nicholas Balzer illustrates.

According to a news story on MoonPatch.com, Balzer picked up a rental car in Florida on October 20 for a one-month rental. He was supposed to return the car by November 20, but instead he didn’t bring it back until June, almost seven months late. He was promptly arrested for felony theft of leased property and unauthorized use of a car, in addition to being responsible for nearly $900 in late fees. To make matters worse, it appeared that the car had also been involved in an accident. The case is still winding its way through the court system, but it’s safe to say that Mr. Balzer will not be renting another car anytime soon.

Alamo Rent a Car Announces $5,000 Facebook Sweepstakes

The only thing that beats getting a great deal on rental cars at RentACarNow.com is free rental cars. Of course free rental cars are not easy to find, but one way is with the Alamo “Ultimate Escape” Sweepstakes that was announced earlier this week. The free contest could not be any easier to enter – simply head over to the Alamo Facebook page, click the “like” button and then click the “Make Your Escape” button where you can start to plan out your dream vacation. If you are the lucky winner, you’ll get $5,000 to use toward the trip of a lifetime.

“People are obviously thinking about their ultimate escape, and this is a fun way to plan that trip and even discover new vacation ideas,” said Susan Madigan, director for the Alamo Rent A Car brand, in the news release announcing the contest. “The best part is that someone is going to win $5,000 toward their dream vacation.”

Even if you don’t win the grand prize, Alamo is also offering a variety of instant prices, like gas cards and rental vouchers. Go to www.facebook.com/AlamoRentACar to enter the contest. And if you want the lowest rates on Alamo rental cars, or rental cars from any other car rental company, check out the deals at RentACarNow.com.

Alamo Rent a Car Announces $5,000 Facebook Sweepstakes

The only thing that beats getting a great deal on rental cars at RentACarNow.com is free rental cars. Of course free rental cars are not easy to find, but one way is with the Alamo “Ultimate Escape” Sweepstakes that was announced earlier this week. The free contest could not be any easier to enter – simply head over to the Alamo Facebook page, click the “like” button and then click the “Make Your Escape” button where you can start to plan out your dream vacation. If you are the lucky winner, you’ll get $5,000 to use toward the trip of a lifetime.

“People are obviously thinking about their ultimate escape, and this is a fun way to plan that trip and even discover new vacation ideas,” said Susan Madigan, director for the Alamo Rent A Car brand, in the news release announcing the contest. “The best part is that someone is going to win $5,000 toward their dream vacation.”

Even if you don’t win the grand prize, Alamo is also offering a variety of instant prices, like gas cards and rental vouchers. Go to www.facebook.com/AlamoRentACar to enter the contest. And if you want the lowest rates on Alamo rental cars, or rental cars from any other car rental company, check out the deals at RentACarNow.com.