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How much is it worth to bypass rental car counter?

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by aliasyoshi, Jul 9, 2014.

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  1. aliasyoshi

    aliasyoshi Low-Roller

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    Really that simple. Debating between a few agencies and the most expensive one allows us to go to the car when we arrive and bypass the counter. Mind you, I am more frugal and cheap then maybe anyone you know. Yeah, yeah, it is Vegas and I do gamble far too much. But the principal of spending money on transport is different to me. So, what is it worth for a ~5 day rental?
     
  2. Ty

    Ty ?

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    I would have a hard time paying extra to skip the counter. We joined the Budget club and skipped to upstairs counter and used the club counter downstairs. Not sure if this saved me any time as neither counter had more than 3 people in line on a Friday at 6:30pm.
     
    Christmas Trip. Sam's Town & MSS
  3. SH0CK

    SH0CK Stylin' and Profilin' Quasi Tech Admin

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    I think most of them allow you to join their loyalty programs for free and let you bypass the counter. You may want to check into that.

    For me, not having to possibly stand in line then get asked a dozen or more questions that I want to say no to is pretty valuable to me as well. Then again, I've also saved a bundle going the priceline route the day that I wanted to pick up the car too... then had to stand in line and answer no to questions... you get the idea.
     
  4. merlin

    merlin VIP Whale

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    It depends on how long the line is, as far as cost, most allow you to sign up for their preferred/express program at no charge and then bypass the counter. Keep shopping.
     
  5. dmr

    dmr Registered Abuser

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    Enterprise now has kiosk machines that allow you to bypass the counter. It's worked for me even though I am not a member of whatever they call their club.
     
  6. lotso-bear

    lotso-bear VIP Whale

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    How much is the price difference?
     
  7. aliasyoshi

    aliasyoshi Low-Roller

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    Cheapest is about $90 and the most expensive is about $130. The only one that has a skip the counter option is the $130. Others are in between them. I just feel like lines are very hit or miss there. I have seen lines that had close to 50 people and others with 0.
     
  8. lulucob

    lulucob Tourist

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    We rented from Dollar for September. We used to be able to skip counter. We are Dollar Express Members. Do not see anywhere we can skip counter.
     
  9. lotso-bear

    lotso-bear VIP Whale

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    Only you can determine how much $40 is worth to you. :) Personally, I always pay a premium to Hertz since I like my loyalty programs. The only time I would switch over to Avis and National is when Hertz is extremely pricey versus these other two companies.

    FYI, those with an AMEX Platinum get free Hertz, Avis, and National memberships.
     
  10. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    You couldn't pay me to stand in the lines I often see there and again, it's not just the line of people, but the incredible disorganization of many of them. I vowed, never again after I was behind a couple for a good 20 minutes in line and got to the counter and heard them say, "yeah... what kinda cars you got and how much are they?" This was Advantage several years ago ands there were 2 clerks helps a good sized line of customers. My experience was AWFUL!!!! This couple were acting like they were ordering tacos and even at that after 20 minutes in line, I'd have thought they'd know what the hell their order would be!!!! No reservation and no clue... No Thanks!

    Now I'm National Emerald Club... I kid you not... from the time I exit the shuttle bus to the time I'm driving a vehicle off their lot is probably 10 minutes... TOPS!
     
  11. paperposter

    paperposter VIP Whale

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    usulaly the cheapest at the airport is paylees then advantage , the rest can be a couple hundred more. off rental center is fox for cheapest

    to me its im fine with the wait to save a couple hundred and im a top member in every rental company but money is still money.its usualy no big deal.
     
  12. leo21

    leo21 VIP Whale

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    I did actually pay more for a rental because I could skip the counter but in that case I felt I was getting a good deal anyway because it was for a Premium compared to other companies offering mid and full size for less. But I also had good reason to not want to deal with waiting in line that particular trip. I think the most I would pay more for the same car faster is about $10 total.
     
  13. dmr

    dmr Registered Abuser

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    When Advantage was the little sister of Hertz, our corporate travel department used to use them quite a bit. Now that they have spun off, not much any more. I always had good luck at Advantage in Las Vegas and the lines were always short and the cars were great. Free XM/Sirius, at least when they were part of Hertz. No push-back at all for using credit card insurance, at least when they were part of Hertz.

    Shortly after they spun off a friend and co-worker reported that when he went to Las Vegas (he was not using Advantage) that the line for Advantage was half way across the lobby of the rental center.
     
  14. Kcitsme

    Kcitsme Low-Roller

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    I am a member of most rental car clubs. I find, for me, Alamo has been the easiest. I check in on line, before my flight, and go straight to the car when I arrive in Vegas. I get to choose from whatever is parked in the spaces of the class of automobile I have rented. After picking which makers vehicle I want to drive, I just pull out to the gate, hand the person my paperwork, and drive out. Quick and easy. Alamo may not have the cheapest prices today, but keep watching. The closer you get to your date, the more the rental car prices fluctuate. If Alamo is $10 to $20 more, I will still take it. If it is less, I am thrilled.
    We all have our favorite companies for various reasons. The one thing that most will tell you, join their club. It will make things easier in the long run. Vegas is all about fun, excitement and action. Standing in line and waiting is not on my list.
     
  15. aliasyoshi

    aliasyoshi Low-Roller

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    I have signed up for pretty much every "club" at this point. But when we go out to Vegas, the cheaper alternative companies that really don't have clubs (see: Payless, E-Z, Advantage...) are cheap enough that I consider going with them. But like I said previously, I have seen these guys with lines out the door like dmr mentioned and have also walked right up to the counter a couple times with no person in sight. I prefer to save the gambling for the casinos.
     
  16. Thickskinnedalive

    Thickskinnedalive Low-Roller

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    Last trip to Vegas we signed up for Dollar Express and it was well worth the effort. Line up stairs was 20 people deep and we went straight downstairs, flashed id, car parked 3 spots away, jumped in and drove off. Painless
     
  17. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    Actually EZ is also on the top (bottom) of the list for prices. IMHO They are probably lower than advantage but close to Payless and Fox. But then if you check prices regularly it is possible that you could find better deals even with the national chains so best to just check back regularly as the prices fluctuate a lot.

    I usually rather rent using my Costco card (budget many times, sometimes Alamo) over Payless or EZ (I don't rent from fox, I drove to SP this past trip, didn't know that fox was way out there - past Belz on the way to SP) but I have rented from Payless because the price was way better than the other companies at the time. I notice at Payless they don't have a big selection of cars (only had 1 car in my class when I went to get it) so you don't have much choice as the national companies.
     
  18. RedRock702

    RedRock702 Low-Roller

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    After using Payless once and standing in an obnoxious line and then have the car already preassigned to me, and scoring a mustang convertible through Advantage for $2/day and having to stand in more obnoxious lines and have insurance coverage rammed down my throat, I personally prefer Alamo the most. Once you register and put all your information in online for the Alamo Insiders program (Free) you walk right in, swipe your credit card in the kiosk, answer a few questions, go up the escalator, and pick your car.

    Alamo usually tend to be one of the more expensive rental companies out there but if you keep checking you still can get them for the same or less than the "discount" places and save yourself a lot of frustration. I've even changed my reservation in the air on the way to Vegas and saved $85. I like to use Priceline as a guide to see which way prices are trending and then when I see them go down I'll head directly to the company's website and book direct as you can usually get a better deal being a member of their "club" and you can usually find coupon codes online.

    That reminds me, I should stop posting and check the prices for my car in August! :D
     
  19. spicole

    spicole Low-Roller

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    I will pay a little bit more for the convenience. I generally fly with Avis and really appreciate being able to go straight to my car and the hassle free returns.

    What is the break over price point? Not sure. Based on the horror stories here I would consider $10/day extra.
     
  20. symbols

    symbols Low-Roller

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    Does the company also allow you to drop the car off without waiting in line? I know with national I park the car and walk. 30 seconds later they email me a copy of the contract.

    Remember you may save time on the return as well.
     
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