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Keep checking rates after you've booked a cheap rental car

Continuing this week’s theme of rental car tips (here’s Monday’s and here’s Tuesday’s), today I’m sharing what may be my number-one tip for anyone searching for a cheap rental car: Keep checking the prices, even after you’ve made a reservation. Rates change all the time, and if your booking is refundable (that’s usually the default or an available option), you can always cancel your original reservation and book again at the lower rate.

Just make a refundable reservation and keep checking as you get closer to your pick-up date. If the price drops, make a new reservation and then cancel the original. I did this three times recently on an Avis rental I made via Costco Travel and it saved me enough money to buy my baby a new pair of shoes. Below is a screenshot of a booking I canceled and a screenshot of the cheap rental car rate I ended up with after rebooking.

Before canceling
Before canceling
After rebooking
After rebooking

 

 

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Keep Checking Rates After You’ve Booked a Rental Car
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3 Comments On "Keep Checking Rates After You've Booked a Rental Car"
  1. Patrick|

    On a somewhat related subject… check any hotel reservations you make using Chase points as these have a tendency to fluctuate as well. The farther a head you make the reservation, the bigger chance you have of seeing movement in the price (both directions)

  2. Gretchen Mayes|

    I use AutoSlash. This website is unsurpassed in getting me the most savings on auto rentals. I use nothing else.

  3. Dan Kraft|

    I use Costcotravel.com’s rental car search tool exclusively when I’m traveling within the United States and Canada, but it’s limited outside the US. I have also been thrilled every time I check my reservations before I take the trip and find that the prices have come down drastically.
    Be careful not to forget to cancel the older, more expensive reservation. It doesn’t cancel automatically because you’ve made a new one. When I have arrived at the rental car office, they may notice that I have multiple reservations under the same name and will choose the more expensive reservation.
    When I travel outside the US, my go-to car rental agency is AutoEurope.com. They will find the lowest rates, and you can also keep checking until the time of the reservation if the price has gone down. The difference is that AutoEurope requires you to prepay the rental, but they will quickly refund the difference if one exists.
    The other very big advantage of dealing with them is that if you make the reservation with them over the phone, rather than on the internet, you can in most cases cancel up until the time of the reservation and get a full refund with no penalty. There are some times when you have to cancel by 48 hours to avoid the penalty.
    Their customer service agents are very helpful. There have been times when i have had problems with an agency abroad. They have intervened and resolved the problem more easily than I was able to.

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