Always Use a Car Rental Coupon to Get an Additional Discount on Your Reservation (2021)
Most online businesses have a single “promotional code” mechanism, which you can use to take advantage of special deals. But, car rental companies have two:
- You can add a rate code to get a better base rate for the rental, and…
- You can add a coupon code that gives you an extra discount (or car class upgrade) on top of the base rate.
Once you’ve found a great rate, you can almost always add a “coupon”, to save even more money. It only takes a minute or two to find a coupon and knock $15, $25, or more, off the cost of your already discounted rental rate.
If you can’t add a coupon when you make your rental, you can usually add it later
On some websites there is no way to enter a coupon code at the time you make your reservation.
You can usually call the rental company or use their website to add one later. It is easiest to do it before your trip, but if you neglected to take care of it ahead of time, you can always apply your coupon when you show up to pick up your car.
Coupons are available from many different sources, but they often provide a similar set of discounts. While you might occasionally find more unique offers, the following are the typical coupons you’ll run across.
- Free weekend day. Often the most valuable coupon, it gives you a free weekend day on a 3-day car rental (staying over a Saturday night). Using this coupon generally requires renting an intermediate car. Rent a car for three days and pay for two. Nice.
- $25-30 off a weekly rental. Rent the car for at least five days and get $30 off.
- $15-20 off a weekend rental. Rarely better than a free day, but it can typically be used on a wider range of car classes.
- $5 off per day on shorter rentals.
- Free car class upgrade. Sometimes the only option for a single day rental. Better than nothing, but not by much.
We don’t recommend that you keep a pile of printed coupons around the house. When it is time for you to make your car rental reservation, you can go online and very easily find coupons to use.
Autoslash.com has probably the best single collection of coupon and discount codes.
If you belong to a car rental program like Costco, AARP, or AAA, they also provide a decent set of coupons for their partners. Two more convenient places to look for coupons and discount codes are retailmenot.com or groupon.com. Finally, you can look directly on the car rental company’s website.
|Autoslash||Company Website||RetailMe Not||Groupon||Other|
Rules for using car rental coupons
- Most of the coupons you'll find are only good for rentals in the US and Canada. Coupons for international rentals are available, they are just harder to find. You need to look carefully at the fine print and may need to rely on a search engine. Try searching something like "Avis Coupon International"
- Most coupons can be used with any reservation, even if they say that they must be used with a specific rate code. If you look at the fine print on many coupons, they indicate that they need to be used with a specific rate code or they have a specific rate code printed on the coupon. For example, the coupons in the Entertainment book are supposed to be used with the Entertainment book rate code. But in most cases, you can use any coupon with any reservation. Try adding the code—if it works, you’ll get the discount. If it doesn’t, the booking website will let you know.
- Some coupons exclude a few expensive locations, such as New York City. If this is true, it tends to be true for all coupons from a given car rental company. So if your first set of coupons doesn’t work, you probably won’t find ones that do.
- Coupons often can’t be used for one-way rentals. However, sometimes they can, so you'll need to read the fine print or try to add one to your reservation. If the coupons you already have don't work, you probably won’t be able to find ones that do.
- You often need to rent at least an intermediate car in order to use the coupon. While we typically recommend that you rent an economy car (and count on being upgraded automatically to a larger one), it can be worthwhile to rent an intermediate car to take advantage of a coupon. It may only cost a few extra dollars per day and the coupon is likely be more valuable.
- You’ll need to use special coupons for anything other than “standard” car rentals. Regular coupons generally won’t work for SUVs, minivans, trucks, luxury cars, convertibles, and other non-standard vehicle types. However, there are often special coupons available that offer discounts on these additional car types and you can often save even more money per day on these expensive reservations.
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