When to Decline a Rental Car Upgrade

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You get off your plane, have your RentACarNow.com confirmation in hand, and get up to the rental car counter and get offered a fabulous deal – a free upgrade to a larger rental car! Surely this is a deal that you can’t decline, right? Well, not so fast. We all like to get something for nothing, but sometimes a free upgrade is not really free at all.

First, let’s look at why the rental car company might be offering you an upgrade. Maybe the rental car agent liked your smile and wants to make your day, but more likely it’s simply that the rental car company is running out of smaller cars and is trying to get some of the bigger cars and SUVs off the lot.

So if you were on the fence about paying a little more for a larger car, and you really need the extra room, then by all means go ahead and take the free upgrade. But make sure you consider whether you really need it. Don’t forget that you are going to get reduced gas mileage from a bigger vehicle, and if you are not used to driving one you might find it difficult to operate or park. That added cost for gas might mean that your free upgrade really isn’t free at all.

So before accepting that free upgrade, just take a moment to consider if you really need it and if you want to be paying more for gas. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with declining the upgrade. And if the rental car company no longer has the class of car you reserved and needs to put you in something bigger, you can insist on a discount to offset the extra expense you will have because of increased fuel use.

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