Over the last few years, we have switched between a number of car rental companies in an attempt to get better service, to actually get the car we book and at the price agreed. It seems that despite advertising specific cars on their websites, all inclusive, very few of the rental companies seem to have the cars advertised at the price quoted. We always get the " or similar" vehicle or are offered a supposed "upgrade' to a gas guzzling beast. They also never seem to have 'our car' ready. Despite being Hertz No1 Gold Card members, we ended up waiting longer for our car in Atlanta than 'non members'. Last year, in Miami, it was a free-for-all at the Alamo car pick-up with people taking anything available that came through returns ... many with minimal cleaning. This year, our 'all inclusive' package with Dollar didn't include towing charges if we broke down.
Is there a trick to getting the 'actual booked vehicle', or is it something that we all just have to live with? Is there one rental company better than others? So far, we have tried Hertz, Alamo, Dollar and Avis. We have tried these booked directly via the web and sometimes through third parties, e.g. Marriott, Virgin Atlantic. Hertz comes out as the best of a bad bunch for us so far
Sorry, a bit of a rant but it annoys me that, after 8-9 hours on a plane, I have to debate the 'wrong car' and 'extra charges' with a rental agent or have to wait around for my 'reserved and paid for' vehicle. In future, I plan to turn up at the desk and see what is available ... the rental agent will then have to do a sales job on me. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
Enterprise has done it for me. Actually have gone in earlier than needed and designated a certain type of car, ie: Tahoe. Have at least got a loaded Tahoe with low mileage, and that is all I wanted. Maybe not the exact same car each time, but Enterprise will compete on price and sure has good service.
Can I suggest you call the rental car location directly, prior to needing the car and sharing your desires with them?
I humbly recommend National's Emerald Club and based on my membership of about 20 years can tell you that I never go the counter, I pick the car I want from a wide selection in the Emerald Aisle and I am on my way without any pressure to upgrade, pay more or whatever. Only do I want to purchase the gas in advance, which I do not.
I have been almost exclusively Avis for decades (I still use a discount code from an earlier employer) so saving 25% every week keeps me loyal. Having said that, I have on my profile preference: "No SUVs & no Fords." Avis has complied nearly 98% since having this added. One used to be able to add this via the Avis web site, but the company removed that capability. However, you can still add the preference through any Avis counter but it better be brief - 30 characters maximum.
Thanks guys. I'll check-out the companies that you suggest and I'll have a more detailed look at hot-wire. Surfclubber ... are their rates all inc. with no excess? ... I couldn't see from a brief look. Historically, I have always done our leisure bookings via the web and paid in advance to get the low rate ... however, this seems to be what has caused our problems. We are heading for the Hawaii islands in January and then travelling north from Los Angeles for a week ... I'm still tempted to check-out the local rental companies on arrival and see what deal I can get. At least I would know what I was getting before I paid any money ... even if it costs me more, I may be happier overall.
Please keep any further suggestions coming.
I use National and have for almost 6yrs. I have found them to provide some good perks and they seem to allow you to earn free days faster and if you reach the top level "executive elite" you can use your free days for anything they rent.
When you are an emerald club member you can get discounts just for being a member but what I like the most, I can walk out and just pick any car from either the emerald aisle or class reserved line. In my case as an executive that opens up a fair number of cars and I can honestly say I've never been "stuck" with a car I didnt want, in fact if you believe my monthly statement, I have been upgraded "2 or more classes" 98% of the rentals this year. Once you get to executive with them, they have even more and usually nicer cars in the executive selection area. The checkout is also pretty easy, just have all your info in your profile online, then pick your car and head for the gate. There you just need your ID and hanging tag, answer your basic "return full or prepay fuel" and "do you want a map or gps, toll tag, etc" questions.
I am also a Hertz Gold and Avis preferred but usually only use them if their prices are more than 50% less than National.
this was my cost from hotwire when i went to hawaii in september. It was a full size car. It was also National car rental. I booked in june and the trip was last week of september. You just have to keep checking it. anything under $20 a day for a full size car isn't that bad.