When traveling I often need to rent an automobile. I know that Marriott and Hertz have a partner relationship and supposedly Marriott Reward members get discounts on rentals, up to 30 to 35% off the standard rates. I have tried using this offer, but over the years I have found that I get better deals for similar vehicles through other online travel vendors (like Orbitz) or, in some instances, going directly to Hertz without the discount promotion I have secured better rates. Am I missing something?
I find that rental car rates are almost as bad as airfares when it comes to them being all over the map. You can book using a code that claims 30% off, then turn around on the same site and book the same rental cheaper with no code. I find it pretty silly. My course of action is to look as far out in advance as possible, and book the best rate I can find. Then each few days or once a week do another search. If a better rate comes along, book it and cancel the previous one. Perfect example: During a trip to Maui in 2012 I really wanted a Jeep Wrangler. Not all rental car companies will guarantee a Wrangler. About 4 months out the best rate I could find for 9 days was $980. I went ahead and booked it knowing it would improve. Sure enough a month later it was $685. Then a month before the trip it was $550. For a 9 day rental for the car I wanted I thought that was pretty good, especially on Maui. It took some effort on my part but saving almost half. Also, I have always found that Hertz is the most expensive every time I look to rent a car. I find that Enterprise is quite good. Their cars are in good shape, their rates are usually solid, and I have had lots of great experiences with their staff. Quick pick ups, quick drama free drops offs, and decent rates, it's all you can really ask for.
I have recently found another problem with Hertz. Rates can vary significantly by rental facility. I recently found a rate at the Concord, CA location that was less than half the cost of the same rental at the Walnut Creek location about 4 miles away. I usually try to avoid picking cars up at the airport due to the exhorbitant taxes and facility fees (especially Phoenix). Marriott hotels previously had convenient Hertz locations, but now they seem like they are never open, and nobody is there when they are supposed to be open.
Absolutely. The only issue I have with off airport is their hours on Saturday are usually horrible 9AM-1PM and Sunday they are usually closed. So if you want a car for the weekend, you either have to get it before 6PM Friday which is tough for many people, or on Saturday AM. Then you have to return the car at say 7AM Monday, which again, makes it tough for working people to drop it off and then get to work. They really don't make off airport car rental easy for working folks.