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Renting a car can be a stressful and expensive part of traveling. In this post, we’re going to 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.
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. All you have to do is enter your search criteria, your current memberships and coupon qualifications, and AutoSlash will take care of the rest. Best of all, after making a reservation, AutoSlash can track your rates to see if the price drops!
Request a Quote
You need a rental car. Now what? Start by heading to AutoSlash.com. Once you've arrived at the AutoSlash home screen, start the process by simply typing where you’d like to pick up your rental car. From there, click through each screen and provide all the typical information: where you'd like to pick up and drop off the car, on which dates you'd like to do so, what kind of vehicle you'd like to rent, etc. You will then 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 check all of the memberships, credit cards, and loyalty programs that currently apply to you. The more of these apply, the more varied the coupon codes they will be able to utilize in conjunction with your search, and the better your chances are 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 keeping track of them and searching them one at a time!
Add your name and email, and your request is complete. AutoSlash will analyze the information you've supplied to find the cheapest rental prices and will send you an email with your customized quotes. In my experience, it typically takes 5-10 minutes to receive the email with your quotes.
Choose your Preferred Price
Your email will have several prices quoted with different rental agencies and options. Have a look through them to see how they compare. This is also a great time to look for your preferred rental agency — perhaps an agency where you have elite status?
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. It doesn't happen often, but a thorough agent may request proof of your membership before handing over the keys.
Complete your Reservation
After deciding on your preferred price, there can essentially be 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 they're the only other option AutoSlash presents to book the rates they find, other than themselves.
It's important to pay close attention to the booking option you choose. I'll discuss this more later, but you should always opt 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, email, phone number, and driver's license information. You're also asked if you'd like to cover your rental car with a Collision/Damage Protection policy, which you'll happily decline, assuming that you pay for your rental with a credit card that offers Primary CDW (Collision/Damage Waiver) coverage for rental cars. (Leave your Citi card in your wallet for this one.)
Depending on which rental agency you're booking with, there may also be optional drop-down windows. Here you can make special requests, add your applicable loyalty number, and provide your flight details. After you've finished filling everything out, click the “Reserve My Rental Car” button, and you're done.
Track Price Drops
Now that you've made your reservation, you'll want to be notified if the same car goes on sale even cheaper. Thankfully, this is one of the other brilliant differences between AutoSlash and other rental car search engines. They'll also track your price. All you have to do is return to their homepage to fill out their “Track a Rental” form.
By now you'll have received an email confirmation from whoever you ended up completing your reservation with. To track the same criteria for price drops, you'll need the confirmation number, final price, and pick-up date from that email. Just as before, follow the prompts to enter that information on each successive screen until you arrive at the final page confirming your price tracking request.
Now all you have to do is sit back and wait. Depending on how far in advance you've made your reservation (the earlier the better), it's likely that AutoSlash will find a lower rate available between now and your pick-up date. If they do, you'll get an email like this:
Re-Booking the Cheaper Price
Re-booking the new rate is exactly the same process as before. Just make sure you go back afterwards 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 the 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. I've had reservations where AutoSlash found five successively cheaper rates than the one I originally booked!
So, what if AutoSlash doesn't send you an email with lower rates? Well, then, you can pat yourself on the back because you've managed to snag the best rental car deal out there for your dates.
Search Available Coupons
AutoSlash also has a third handy feature: you can search through their coupon catalog yourself. 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 for me with normal rate requests; however, I can see how this feature could be useful.
- Play around with your pick-up and drop-off locations.
The idea behind this is simple: neighborhood rental agencies tend to be cheaper than airport agencies. If arriving at an airport, you may be able to save a lot of money if you are willing to take a short ride to a neighborhood rental location. A lot of my cheapest car rentals were one-way from neighborhood locations to my departing airport. Compare the prices and see if it's worth it for you.
- Only book the more flexible “Pay Later” rates.
This is worth repeating. Pay Later rates don't involve a down payment, they don't have any forgettable cancellation policy, and they make taking full advantage of AutoSlash's price tracking 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're most likely going to be charged the same as a full day.
- 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!
- Add your rental agency loyalty numbers when booking.
For all “Pay Later” rates, you're able to 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 status might be easier 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 edit the post going forward.
- 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 the rental agencies that have solid ratings.
Rental agencies with poor AutoSlash star-ratings have a history of customer service issues. I've experienced a lot of the common issues firsthand, and trust me, they're not worth the savings. Stick to booking with the best agencies. You'll be glad you did.
One of my favorite ways to use AutoSlash is to find deeply discounted mid-size cars with National. This lets me utilize my National Executive Status granted by my Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Bypass the counter entirely, choose whichever car you'd prefer at the Executive Emerald Aisle, and drive away!
AutoSlash is an invaluable resource for road warriors and occasional travelers alike. We hope that utilizing the tips above in conjunction with AutoSlash’s services will take all the guesswork out of the rental car experience and save you a lot of money.
Have you had good experiences with AutoSlash? Do you have any other Pro Tips you think we missed? Let us know in the comments.
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