We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Level Contributor
2,030 posts
Save Topic
Car rentals...

So I watched prices on car rentals a month in advance and the prices weren't really moving. The price range was higher than we had ever seen before, so we actually shortened up the length of time with the rental car to three days instead of the full five. We figured that would give us three days to be able to get off strip and two days to relax at our final hotel stop. No big deal...so today, a week and a half before the trip, I check and the price dropped significantly. The same car type is now $60 less, or we could have had the car for the entire five days instead of three. I checked with the online company and there is no changing it, even if I were willing to pay a nominal fee. The lady on the phone says to me..."look at it this way, had the prices gone up...you would have been locked in at a lower rate." Well sure...but they didn't...so it feels more like I get to pay an extra $60 because I planned ahead and made a reservation well in advance.

Liverpool, UK
Level Contributor
20,536 posts
36 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Car rentals...

You took a gamble and lost - as the lady said you wouldn't have had to pay extra if the rate had increased so you can't expect them to reduce your rate.

I assume you booked via a 3rd party with a non refundable booking rather than direct with the car rental firm.

Level Contributor
2,030 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Car rentals...

Yes, we used Hotwire.com. I don't see it as a gamble when signing up in advance. In most travel related industries...advanced reservations benefit both parties. The customer gets a better price and the airline, hotel, or in this case the car rental agency gets to rely on that reservation to help manage their inventory. It strikes me as bad business to not offer a change fee to loyal customers, but lesson learned. Perhaps car rentals are the exception and prices drop as the dates approach so vendors don't have cars sitting idle.

Edited: 11 February 2014, 22:50
Level Contributor
2,030 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Car rentals...

For the record...after a little more research on other third party travel websites...it looks like Hotwire is one of the few that doesn't offer the ability to cancel or change a reservation. So again...lesson learned and hopefully that helps someone else down the line.

Edited: 11 February 2014, 22:55
Buffalo Lake Mn.
Level Contributor
57 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Car rentals...

I always book directly with the rental company, that way you can change it around. This February trip I am on the third booking and still looking. So far the price for a weeks rental has been lowered $50.

Level Contributor
2,030 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Car rentals...

Might lean that way...have used hotwire in the past for the best price...but I don't care for the crap shoot of which company you end up with either. They make you confirm the reservation before showing you which company is offering that rate. I ended up with Sixt this time and I know they are new...so I suppose we'll see how it goes.

Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
1,373 posts
297 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Car rentals...

I learned the same lesson several years back regarding rental cars, always deal directly with the rental car company. There have been times since then where I have booked several months in advance, then canceled and rebooked a lower rate a dozen times or more...

California
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas
Level Contributor
43,190 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Car rentals...

Hopefully you learned for the future. A little advice, meant in the best way:

Book Everything Direct----even if it costs more TODAY. This may have been mentioned once or twice on this forum.

Read the Terms and Condition of ANYTHING before you check the box that says I AGREE.

If for any possible reason you choose to ignore #1 again-----Stop looking at prices! No good can possibly come of it.

But thank you for coming here and letting others know. And enjoy your trip.

Bridgewater, New...
Level Contributor
2,311 posts
124 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Car rentals...

I only book directly with a hotel or car rental. The only exception would be if I booked a package deal that included everything. We recently used our United points to rent a car in Las Vegas in April for 5 days.

Level Contributor
2,030 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Car rentals...

Our first experience renting a car in Vegas was a one day rental through Avis at the hotel. That cost us around $100 if I recall. So when we learned of the car rental center and plugged in the dates through third party rental agencies...hotwire consistently was the cheapest by far. We had been lucky in the past and gotten name brand companies such as budget and hertz and once I we learned the "rental insurance" game the front desk plays...it all worked out fine. I do recall using a different third party and being able to adjust our plans for a fee of $10 on a different trip...but that's apparently a no go with hotwire. Our best suprise was a few trips back...the company gave us a Chrysler 200 convertable that clunked in the front end and hopped at a stop light that made us nervous. We returned to the rental center within an hour after deciding we couldn't tolerate it and they had no further convertables. I looked out the window and jokingly asked for the Porsche sitting there...the guy behind the front desk said he couldn't....but I could have the 2013 Cadillac CTS sitting next to it for the same price....yes please.

Edited: 12 February 2014, 01:09
NW Indiana
Level Contributor
744 posts
160 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Car rentals...

Only once have we used Hotwire, it was at a tiny airport lot (Bozeman, MT) the week of Labor Day. I had watched prices for months, they never, I mean never moved. So we took a chance and did a hotwire rental, saved us about $100 for the week, and we were happy. There was very little choice there, and so prices held steady.

Las Vegas is a whole other can of worms, the competition is fierce, thus much fluctuation. I have rebooked (direct with Alamo) our car at least 10 times in the last month for our April trip. It keeps going down, down, started at 288, down to $175 for a week fullsize.

One of the things hotwire doesn't have is all the discount codes and coupons you can often stack on the rentals and get the good rates. It takes a bit of homework, and I check the rental at least twice a day, takes literally a minute out of my day, rebook when it's cheaper, cancel the previous more expensive rate. But it's the thrill of the hunt for me. The more I save on the car, that's just one more hand, one more pull of the slot, one more drink we can enjoy when we are there.