Monday, March 31, 2014

Why should you sign up for membership programs? A rental car story.

I needed to rent a car this weekend in San Francisco, which is a very expensive airport to rent a car from. There are so many airport taxes, it is ridiculous. They add $20 right off the bat just to pay for the train system that takes you to the rental car area. Crazy! So a three-day rental from Hertz, Alamo, and Avis all started around $170. I booked with Hertz because it was the cheapest at $169 and change. 

Because of my obsession with getting a deal, I checked periodically to price out other alternatives. I tried everything from the Costco discounts to AAA. Nothing seemed to bring the price down. Then just last weekend I received my Alamo Insiders email, which has deals for last minute rentals. The expiration date did not include the dates I needed, but I tried to book it anyway. Imagine my surprise when I could get $13/day from SFO for three days. My total estimated cost is $71 and change. I booked that bad boy immediately and canceled the Hertz rental.

So my craziness paid off and saved me $100 on my rental car.  Not bad, right? So the moral of this story is to keep checking on prices even after you book as long as your original booking is changeable or cancelable. It could save you a lot. I would never have been able to book the last minute rate had I not signed up for Alamo's program. Saving $100 on a car rental is a small price to pay for getting weekly emails from them.