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Renting a car can be a stressful and expensive part of traveling. In this guide, we'll show you how to utilize the powerful search capabilities of AutoSlash to simplify the process and save you a lot of money along the way. And this comes from personal experience. I've rented with AutoSlash numerous times, and it's my #1 go-to choice for booking car rentals.
Here's how it can help you save money on your next rental.
What Is AutoSlash?
AutoSlash is a free, online service that uses a database of discount codes, coupons, and promotions to generate the best prices for any rental car criteria. Just enter your search criteria, your current memberships, and coupon qualifications, then AutoSlash takes care of the rest. Best of all, after making a reservation, you can add your reservation to AutoSlash and it will track rates to see if the price drops.
Using AutoSlash is completely free. The details of the request are up to you, and you can choose to include or not include various credit cards or memberships in the search criteria. Plus, it's not just for airport rentals: You can use AutoSlash for a rental from any location of a major car rental company.
Let's walk you through how to request a quote and complete an AutoSlash reservation. Then, we'll share some tips for getting the most out of this service.
Booking a Rental Car With AutoSlash
You need a rental car. Now what? Start by heading to AutoSlash.com. It takes just a few minutes to request a quote and book. And future searches can be even faster. If you allow cookies on your computer, AutoSlash will remember your search preferences for the next time you request a quote.
Request a Quote
On the AutoSlash home screen, start with your pick-up and drop-off location. From there, click through each screen and provide all the typical information: location, rental dates, vehicle type, etc. You'll arrive at this screen:
This screen is one of the brilliant differences between AutoSlash and other rental car search engines. Here, you're prompted to select all of the credit card types you have. Some credit cards offer discount codes, and AutoSlash will automatically use those as it searches for the cheapest rates.
The next screen asks you to indicate loyalty programs in which you're a member. The more memberships you have, the more coupon codes AutoSlash can utilize in conjunction with your search, which means better chances of saving money.
All of these memberships can offer discounts on car rentals — even the ones that are free to join. Before AutoSlash came along, the only way to take advantage of these program discounts was by searching one at a time.
Finally, you'll provide your name and email to complete your request. AutoSlash will analyze your information to find the cheapest rental prices and then email you with customized quotes. In my experience, it takes approximately five minutes to receive this email.
Choose Your Preferred Price
Your email will include a link that takes you back to Autoslash.com to view rental quotes. AutoSlash provides a variety of prices with different rental agencies and vehicle options. Look through them to see how they compare.
This is also a great time to look for your preferred rental agency. Do you have rental car elite status? Also, evaluate the rating AutoSlash assigns each of the car rental companies. And if you'll be in a hurry, check AutoSlash's details about where the rental agency is located (on-site vs. shuttle needed).
It's important to note that you won't always know which membership discount AutoSlash used to generate any individual quote. For this reason, it's not a good idea to request a quote with a membership you don't actually have. When picking up your car, employees may request proof of your membership before handing over the keys.
Complete Your Reservation
After deciding on your preferred price, you may have four options to complete your booking:
- Pay later with Priceline
- Pay later with AutoSlash
- Pay now with Priceline
- Pay now with AutoSlash
Priceline is the only booking service that accepts all discount codes and allows renters to book the flexible “Pay Later” rates at major rental agencies. This is why it's the only other option AutoSlash presents for booking the rates it finds.
Pay close attention to the booking option you choose. I'll discuss this more later, but we recommend always opting for the more flexible “Pay Later” rates. That way, if plans change, you won't get hit with a bill for a rental car you didn't use.
After selecting your rate, you're prompted for your name, driver's license details, and contact information. If you have a rental car membership number, make sure to expand that field and add it before booking. Otherwise, it can be a pain to add to your reservation later.
Also, you'll see options for a Collision/Damage Protection policy. Assuming you pay for your rental with a credit card that offers primary CDW (collision/damage waiver) coverage for rental cars, decline this coverage. And remember that you'll want to avoid Citi cards for car rentals.
Depending on your chosen rental agency, there may be additional options. Here you can make special requests, add your applicable loyalty number, and provide your flight details. After filling everything out, click the “Reserve My Rental Car” button, then you're done.
Use AutoSlash to Track Price Drops
Now that you've made a reservation, let's show you how to get notifications if the price goes down. This is one of the brilliant differences between AutoSlash and other rental car search engines. AutoSlash tracks your price if you fill out the “Track a Rental” form.
By now, you'll have an email confirmation from your rental company. To track the same criteria for price drops, you'll need the confirmation number, final price, and pick-up date from that email. Provide the requested information as you move through the tracking form, and you'll receive a confirmation on the final page.
Now, just sit back and wait. Depending on how far in advance you've made your reservation (earlier is better), it's likely that AutoSlash will find a lower rate available between now and your pick-up date. If it does, you'll get an email like this:
Re-Booking a Cheaper Price through AutoSlash
Rebooking the new rate works like the original booking process. Just be sure to go back afterward and cancel your previous reservation. As AutoSlash points out, this is “to ensure you get the correct rate and avoid any applicable cancellation or no-show fees.” This is why it's so important to book flexible “Pay Later” rates.
Once you've made the new reservation and canceled the old one, set another price tracking request on AutoSlash's homepage for the new price. Rinse and repeat.
What if AutoSlash doesn't send you an email with lower rates? Pat yourself on the back because you've managed to snag the best rental car deal for your dates.
Search Available Coupons
AutoSlash also has a third handy feature: You can search through their coupon catalog. This search page lets you filter for specific agencies, dates, and pick-up locations.
Personally, I think it's a lot faster to let AutoSlash do all the searching on my behalf with normal rate requests. However, I see how this feature could be useful for others.
AutoSlash Pro Tips
Play around with your pick-up and drop-off locations.
The idea here is simple: Neighborhood rental agencies tend to be cheaper than airport agencies. If arriving at an airport, you could save a lot of money if you are willing to take a short ride to a neighborhood rental location.
Most of my cheapest car rentals were one-way reservations from neighborhood locations. Some rates were hundreds of dollars cheaper than renting from the airport. Compare the prices and see if it's worth it for you, and remember to include the cost of getting from the airport to the rental location.
Only book the more flexible “Pay Later” rates.
This is worth repeating. Pay Later rates don't involve a down payment, and they don't have any forgettable cancellation policy. Plus, they let you take full advantage of AutoSlash's price tracking. It's a no-brainer. Even if you can save a little bit of money by locking yourself into a “Pay Now” rate, it won't be worth the hassle if your plans change.
Request pick-up and drop-off times that fall squarely on 24-hour marks.
Rental car prices are generally calculated based on daily, weekly, or monthly rates. That means that even if you need a rental car for only a few hours, you'll most likely pay for a full day.
Play with the pick-up and drop-off times
If your plans are flexible, move the rental times a bit. I once changed my pick-up and drop-off slightly, moving away from a request on full 24-hour periods. In response, I received a significantly cheaper quote. Ditto for pushing back my pick-up time by 90 minutes. It may be worth a few minutes to submit multiple requests and see if changing the pick-up and drop-off times saves you money.
It's okay to pick up a rental car a little late, and it's okay to drop off a rental car a little early.
Avoid the opposite. That's where you can run into fees! But do be aware of rental car company policies for dropping off a car outside of business hours. Most places have a key drop, but I ran into a major issue once because the rental company didn't accept early drop-off.
Add your rental agency loyalty numbers when booking.
For all “Pay Later” rates, you can add your membership numbers at the time of booking. This makes it easy to reserve the best price as well as take advantage of any loyalty status benefits. Don't have any status? Getting rental car status might be easier (and cheaper) than you thought.
Personally, I've only had seamless experiences with agencies honoring status and awarding points with AutoSlash bookings. If you've experienced something different, please let us know in the comments so we can provide updates in the article.
Book weekly or monthly rates to save even more.
Rental agencies routinely offer steep discounts on weekly and monthly rentals. If your schedule allows it, try requesting a rate for seven days instead of six. The price difference might surprise you.
Only book with rental agencies that have solid ratings.
Rental agencies with poor AutoSlash ratings have a history of customer service issues. I've experienced most of the common issues firsthand. Trust me, they're not worth the savings. Stick to booking with the best agencies. You'll be glad you did.
A great use of AutoSlash is finding deeply discounted mid-size cars with National. This lets you use National Executive Status granted for free to those with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Bypass the counter entirely, choose whichever car you'd prefer at the Executive Emerald Aisle, and drive away!
I also do the same with Hertz, taking advantage of the Five Star and Presidents Circle status that I have received as a Delta Medallion member.
In conclusion, AutoSlash is an invaluable resource for road warriors and occasional travelers alike. We hope that you can use this guide to AutoSlash and its services to take the guesswork out of the rental car experience and save lots of money.
Have you had good experiences with AutoSlash? Do you have any other tips you think we missed? Let us know in the comments.
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