How to Get a Discount Car Rental Rate

Three Methods:Using Online Resources to Save MoneyGetting Discounts Directly from the Rental Car CompanyTaking Advantage of Deals from Other Groups and Organizations

Whether you’re traveling for pleasure or for business, you may need to rent a car. The cost to rent a car can vary significantly depending on the rental agency, the type of car, the time of year, the location, and much more. However, there are many ways to find car rental discounts so you can save money.

Method 1
Using Online Resources to Save Money

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    Use travel websites. Travel websites like Expedia, Hotwire, Travelocity, etc., offer a ‘one stop shop’ for items like hotels and car rentals. These websites allow you to search for car rentals in specific locations and for a specific time frame, but unlike a car rental agency's website, you can compare the prices between multiple companies.[1]
    • Travel websites usually have consistent cancellation polices between rental companies, so you don’t need to look up separate policies for each company.[2]
    • Some travel websites also have their own reward points which can be earned on anything booked via the website, regardless of the company you book with. You can then apply these reward points to future bookings made on the same site.
    • Travel websites may also display comments on whether a particular listing is considered a good deal or not. This can help direct you towards listings that are displaying discounts and price reductions.
    • Some travel websites provide you with the option to compare prices between multiple travel websites to ensure you really are getting the best deal possible.[3]
    • Some travel websites may also provide a price guarantee, so if you book a car rental and find a cheaper deal within a certain period of time, the website will honour the lower price (and sometimes give you something extra). Keep in mind, however, that you have to be the one who finds this alternate deal. If you stop searching for a car rental after you’ve booked one, you’ll never be able to take advantage of this guarantee.[4]
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    Search for deals on consolidated car rental websites. In addition to travel websites that offer deals on multiple types of travel items (e.g. hotels, flights, etc.), there are also websites that specialize in car rental deals. Two well known sites are and
    • Similar to a travel website, simply enter the location where you want to pick-up the car, and the dates you need the car, and the website will search all possible options.
    • Once the website has finished searching, it will display a list of prices for the location and dates you’ve specified, from multiple car rental agencies. This method allows you to compare deals all on one page.[5]
    • Note that many of these car rental websites are owned and operated by the same companies that operate the travel websites, therefore the deals may not be any different. For example, is owned by Expedia.
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    Look for deals on airline or hotel websites. Many major hotel chains and airlines partner with car rental agencies in order to offer their customers special discounts. For airlines, you can often find information pertaining to car rental discounts right on their website.[6] For hotels, you can speak to someone at the concierge desk, or visit the car rental agency right inside the hotel.[7]
    • Many car rental agencies have offices right inside hotels. While this may be super convenient, it may not always be the least expensive option available.
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    Get deals through Groupon. Groupon has a Car Rental Centre under their Getaways link that shows all available discounts and deals for car rental agencies.[8]
    • Unlike other Groupon deals where you have to purchase an actual Groupon coupon via the website and then use it at the store, most car rental discounts will simply link you directly to the car rental agency's website with a specific coupon code.
    • You can then select your location and dates, and the coupon code is already included when you checkout.

Method 2
Getting Discounts Directly from the Rental Car Company

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    Agree to pay for your rental early. Some rental car companies will provide you with a discount if you pay for the entire rental up-front, rather than when you pick-up or return the car. This can be especially helpful when the car you’re renting has unlimited mileage, so you know the price you’re paying up-front will not change later.[9]
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    Join a rental car company’s frequent renter program. Most car rental agencies have loyalty programs that give points to frequent renters. Signing up for such programs is usually free, and may even provide other advantages (e.g. easier checkin, etc.).[10]
    • Most of these loyalty programs work for any rental you book worldwide, as long as it’s with the same agency.
    • If you rent cars frequently, but don’t always use the same agency, sign-up for more than one loyalty program so you always receive points.
    • Be careful as points can expire, or memberships can become inactive, if you don’t meet certain criteria.
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    Increase your rental time. Car rental agencies will charge a lower price per day the longer you rent a car. For example, booking a car for 1 week will be cheaper than if you book it for 6 days. If you’re able to book a car for a longer period of time, you’ll pay less per day.[11]

Method 3
Taking Advantage of Deals from Other Groups and Organizations

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    Speak to a travel agent. Travel agents are able to book car rentals directly with a car rental agency. In some cases they may be able to provide you with discounts not available elsewhere. If you’ve booked other parts of your travel with an agent, ask them about any car rental deals they may be able to offer you.[12]
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    Become a member at Costco. If you are a member at a Costco warehouse, you can use your membership to book car rentals. Use their website to book. Costco has discounts with more than one car rental agency, and will display a price chart so you can compare deals.[13]
    • You can also use the website to view coupons they have for specific car rental agencies, and you can search for rental deals from specific agencies that they’ve partnered with (Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise).
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    Take advantage of group or association memberships. Groups and associations often partner with one or more car rental agency to offer their members car rental discounts. If you are a member of any group, check the group's website to see if they have a car rental discount available. Groups could include alumni associations, trade organizations, professional associations, etc.[14]
    • Note that most groups will only have deal with one or two car rental agencies, so your options may be limited.
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    Join the CAA or AAA. The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) and the American Automobile Association (AAA) offer car rental discounts to members. You can book these deals via the CAA/AAA website, in-person at a CAA/AAA location, or by phone.[15]
    • While the CAA/AAA may have partnered with one or two specific car rental agencies for deals, many other car rental agencies will offer discounts if you have a CAA/AAA membership. However, you’ll need to book the rental directly through the agency.[16]
    • Keep in mind that even if you never purchased a CAA/AAA membership, your car’s warranty may include membership.[17]
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    Borrow your company’s discount. Companies that book a lot of travel often have special discounts due to this volume. Some companies will allow their employees to use these discounts for personal travel as well. If your company has a travel booking website, review the policies to see if you can use it for personal travel.


  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a deal. If you book in-person or by phone (where you get to talk to a person) you may be able to negotiate a better deal than the standard price offered via a website. Don’t settle for the first price you’re quoted, ask if they can do better. If you’ve already received a quote from another car rental agency that’s cheaper, see if they can beat it. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.


  • Beware that car rental prices listed on a website may not include “fees and taxes.” Depending on what additional fees are charged (either by the website or by the rental company), the final price can be quite a bit higher than the one quoted. Make sure you know what additional fees and taxes you’ll need to pay before you book your rental.

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Categories: Renting Cars