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Enterprise: Chips off the new block

Perils of car rentals

As I returned the car, the Enterprise employee said “There is a Chip in the windshield. Was it recorded when when I picked it up?”

“No, it was there when I hired it but only noticed it the second day”, I truthfully said.

The size of the chip was small in just to the right of the driver’s wiper. You wouldn’t notice it unless the sun was shinning directly on it. When I picked the car up, it was late evening and I only drove a few miles staying at the airport hotel while I waited for Mrs Caesar to come in on a late flight where she had missed her connecting flight. I did see it when we drove off the next day. Continue reading..

Car Hire, Car Hire. Pants on fire

A colleague intends to go to California on vacation with his older kids but his travel agent – how quaint – did not book the air tickets as intended so they lost out the original ultra-cheap fares.

My Augustine advice was book it yourself and gave a demo of Google.com/flights as a wonderful and quick search tool. His intent was to fly into LAX but fly back out of SFO.

My sage advice was that would cost more on the car rental where they’d charge a fee for dropping it off at a different location. “Here let me demonstrate”, I said. Ta da, The fares from pick up / drop off at LAX. Ta da, the fares from pick up LAX/ drop off at SFO.

“Quod erat demonstrandum...”Price comarison : LAX-LAX vs LAX-SFO

“Oh, What the fire truck. That is NOT what I expected”. It’s almost 50% cheaper to drop off at SFO instead of returning it back to LAX !

Just to be sure it wasn’t a breezenet site issue, we checked out Avis site direct : Same thing where it was cheaper to to LAX ->SAT instead of LAX t-> LAX. btw: The pre-pay was only a 10% saving on Avis.com not the 30%, I previously had observed.

Just to prove out my prior experience of doing a one way SAT->Houston cost me a premium. Same site/ same dates, shows that is still the case.

SAT - SAT vs SAT-IAH

I give in.

Next time, Maybe I’ll just shut up and let people deal with their travel agents. How quaint indeed.

Testing Pre-pay prices for car rentals

I’m considering a big road trip in June and thinking about renting an SUV instead of putting mileage on our existing cars. Normally I used Breezenet.com as my prefered sites for booking my cars. I found some great rates in the past.  Years ago, I remember one car rental person in Gatwick asking where I had booked it as he had never seen such a low rate.

Quote for SUBV rental with Breezet rate and Enterprize

Quote for similar car with Avis but using pre-pay optionI didn’t see such screaming low rates today so out of curiosity, I decided to look at Avis’ site where I have a Wizard number and sometimes good rates with that.

Even without a Wizard number, they show better rates than Breezenet rate if you pay in advance. Same car is $110 cheaper. As a test, I plugged in my Wizard number and it made no difference.

The small print on the cancelation is $25 if 6 hours before and within 6 hours is a $100 NO SHOW fee.

There is always the priceline name your price route but personally, I like the transparency before I jump into something. I also have a good experience of AVIS where I use them a lot for business travel.

For the record, here is Priceline’s comparison (Breezenet is owned by Priceline. Unbfortunately as I seem to remember getting better rates before aquisition). Note that National are owned by Enterprize hence the Priceline/National rate is the same as Breezenet/Enterprize rate. Confusing, I agree but welcome to the world of travel brands where so many sites and companies are in fact the same company.

The SUV options from Priceline

The SUV options from Priceline

 

Budget quote for Ford Edge  (slight upgrade from Escape)

Budget quote for Ford Edge (slight upgrade from Escape)

I looked at the Budget’s pre-pay option for same type of car. Slightly higher but here again, slightly better car. Edge vs Escape where I didn’t see the Escape as an option.

By the way, the $1084 rate in Priceline is for the Escape and the $1329 is for Edge. 

Whatever way I book, seems like pre-pay directly form the car rental companies is best saving with ~30% each time. This is also what Priceline ‘name your price’ claims to offer. If so, their pricing edge (SUV pun intended),  may be changing for car rentals.