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Re-booking rental car?

Discussion in 'Getting There & Getting Around' started by StingerHook, Apr 22, 2015.

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  1. StingerHook

    StingerHook Low-Roller

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    I've seen posts mentioning booking a rental car, then continuing to watch prices like a hawk and re-booking to get a lower rate whenever one shows up. How is this accomplished? I'm going to rent through either Budget or Avis next trip (in August), and whenever I go to the checkout screen I see that a cancellation would cost me $10-$25 in "processing fees".

    I book using the "pay now" option - are the re-bookers using the "pay later" selection?

    Are they using different carriers that are more flexible?

    Does the rental company not consider a call to re-book at a lower rate to be a cancellation (and thus doesn't apply the processing fee)?

    I'm trying to figure out how to make this an option for myself, so I can go ahead & book something now instead of playing the guessing game as to whether or not rates will drop again. (For reference, my trip is going to be August 30 - Sept 6; I need to book with one of Budget/Avis/Hertz/Enterprise because a USAA membership waives the underage surcharge [I'm 24]).

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. vegasvic

    vegasvic VIP Whale

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    I do believe if you pay in full in advance there is a charge to cancel whereas if you pick the pay later option you can cancel without charge.
     
  3. liteman

    liteman Old Timer

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    I may not have your answers because I use Thrifty. I never pre-pay. I get an email from them confirming my reservation and it has a cancellation option. I rebook at the lower rate, then go to the earlier confirmation and cancel. I have never seen a charge for cancellations. I have done this up to 10 times before I get the rate I like. You may be being "punished" for using USAA and being underage. I have never gotten a better rate using codes offered by Thrifty. I do all my reservations on line also. Another question is have you joined their rewards club? This gives you better rates and usually allows you to by-pass the counter and go right to the pick-up station.
     
  4. Snidely

    Snidely VIP Whale

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    Don't pre pay.
     
  5. vegasvic

    vegasvic VIP Whale

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    You get a lower rate by pre paying but then yes you are locked in. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. I don't pre pay, I like to keep my options open.
     
  6. vegasvette

    vegasvette Low-Roller

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    The previous posts are accurate.......do NOT use the prepay. Rates fluctuate almost daily for all rental companies. Liteman and I use Thrifty. As Blue Chip members,(free), you just go right to your car without waiting in line. The car rental barn is extremely convenient when renting and when returning. Maybe you've learned something for next time to avoid cancellation fees, and overpaying for a rental.
     
  7. PlanetLin

    PlanetLin Newbie

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    I do believe it is better if you don't prepay, but the rates may be smaller
     
  8. westie

    westie VIP Whale

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    I have always opted for the pay later option, but I recently noticed if you go through the Alamo website and cancel over 24 hours in advance, the charge is only $5. Less than 24
    hours notice or no shows a assessed a levy of $10.
     
  9. KazooTom

    KazooTom Low-Roller

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    Never use the prepay option, especially as far in advance as you are looking. I have a trip planned in June and have now rebooked for a 4th time and saved a bit over $25 compared to the initial rate I got. I expect the rate to drop a bit further before we leave. We always book the pay later rate so that we can cancel without penalty. Wait until a few days (or hours) before your arrival and then take the pay now rate if it is lower. I check rates sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. Rental car rates can change by the hour. Also changing your pick up time by as little as 30 minutes can change you rate. Lots of options to check.
     
  10. StingerHook

    StingerHook Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the responses! I'm likely going to book with Budget, using the "Pay Later" option ($25 more than pre-paying - the difference at Avis between pre-paid and 'pay later' is $100).

    My only concern is that the "Pay Later" option at Budget indicates that you pay at the counter, and I'm a Fastbreak member for the sole purpose of never having to deal with people at the counter/the lines that come with it. Anyone have any experience with this scenario?
     
  11. bardolator

    bardolator Lifelong Low Roller

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    Prepaying with a third party like Hotwire is often the better deal OUTSIDE of Las Vegas. In Las Vegas, it's nearly always wise to keep one's options open. Cars are less of a deal now that agencies don't permit lot personnel to freewheel as much as used to occur, but bargains may still be had if one is both patient and vigilant.
     
  12. KazooTom

    KazooTom Low-Roller

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    Most of the companies have an option to check in on line for their "members". You can check in on line prior to arrival with a credit card and go straight to the cars, thus avoiding the counter.
     
  13. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    Actually I thought that for the fastbreak option you have to give them your cc information when you sign up so you don't have to worry about the cc paperwork when you pick up your car. You just sign the contract and it automatically charges your cc.

    I could be wrong since I'm not fastbreak but when I tried to sign up for it I thought it asked for my cc information.
     
  14. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    Really? But how can they collect if you don't give them your cc number when you make the reservation?

    Anyone else aware of this cancellation charge? I don't know of many rental agencies that require you to give your cc info when booking. I can see the logic to this though, some people have multiple reservations just in case so the rental agencies can't really manage their cars since there is no guarantee that the car is rented out. It would seem logical that car rental agencies start to clamp down on reservations.

    I usually go through Costco to book my cars (through Alamo, budget, etc.) and never had a problem cancelling and rebooking, nor have I ever been charged for making changes. Or is this just a vegas thing? But then I rented in Orlando, many cities in Hawaii and I never had to give a cc number when booking.


    As for prepay, like hotwire and other third party sites you have to prepay for your rental so it is possible that you have to pay change fees if you want to change your reservation. Some third party sites allow cancellations and changes but it is kind of a pain because they have to back out your initial charge. It can be a problem for some because sometimes you will have a double charge while the first charge clears the system.
     
  15. StingerHook

    StingerHook Low-Roller

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    That's a good point - I'm almost positive they have my CC on file.

    I chatted with someone from Budget online who said I wouldn't have to use the counter since I'm Fastbreak, so that's what I'm going to roll with. Now time to start watching for rates to drop!
     
  16. vegasvette

    vegasvette Low-Roller

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    There is one other thing I do that hasn't been mentioned here. Once I book a "pay later" reservation, and i notice a rate drop online, I merely call Thrifty and ask them to apply the new rate to my confirmation number. They do it every time, so my confirm number remains the same from the time I book the reservation until I turn in the car.
     
  17. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    with many agencies you can also do that online. Just click on the "modify" button and it will update your reservation. Sometimes this won't work, esp for the good rates which may change on a moment's notice (so don't take too long changing your reservation, lol).

    many times I will just make another reservation and then cancel the old one when I know that the new one is good.
     
  18. bardolator

    bardolator Lifelong Low Roller

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    That's what I prefer to do as well. Get a second res right away, while the rate is on my screen, and cancel the first afterwards. Who cares what number it is?
     
  19. pleasemum

    pleasemum Low-Roller

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    Our rates from our May rental went from $300 to $150 within one day. Hard to imagine they fluctuate that much but they did. Worked for us!!
     
  20. leo21

    leo21 VIP Whale

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    You don't actually pay until youi return the car. At the time of pickup you are providing ID and the credit card you need to secure the reservation with. If youi are a member of a frequent program, you have already provided that info so it doesn't need to be keyed in at pick up, making everything faster. If you do a reservation with your Fastbreak number, they will give you instructions on what to do at pickup. I haven't used them so I don't know how that one works but for many other programs, it may mean going direct to a car preassigned.
     
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