Baffled by travel reward programs? You’re not alone. If you’re looking for one that’s super easy to use and offers immediate savings, try AutoSlash when booking your next vacation car rental. It checks available offers for you and saves you the hassle of shopping around for the best deal.
Confused by Travel Rewards Programs?
Are you a savvy user of travel reward and points programs? Or, are you like me, and feel like you belong to a million of them and never receive a single reward. It’s okay. Don’t be embarrassed.
That’s why I was so excited to participate in a recent Twitter party, hosted by TravelingMom. It featured travel points gurus Dia Adams (The Deal Mommy) and Dan Miller (Points with a Crew). I came prepared with questions. Lots and lots of questions.
The Twitter party was amazing and when it ended, I had several takeaways that I can’t wait to implement, including:
- Use points to position yourself in a hub city for cheaper fares.
- Get more value out of a rewards card such as Chase Sapphire by transferring your points to travel partners like Hyatt
- Residence Inn locations feature free dinners. That’s right. Free dinners.
However, the first one I’m ready to try is AutoSlash.
How to Save Money on Car Rentals
I’m a member of a couple of rental car member programs including Enterprise and Hertz. The primary benefit of joining these programs is that they offer members the ability to jump in a rental and go, avoiding the lines for “regular” renters.
It’s pretty handy when my arrival’s delayed or when lots of flights arrive simultaneously in a large airport. And, with Hertz, I’m almost always given a nicer car than the one I’ve reserved with no additional charge. I don’t know if that’s a regular perk or something that happens at the discretion of local franchises. They do a very good job of making me feel special. I like that.
However, what I never access is free or discounted rentals. When making a reservation, I keep waiting for a bell to sound, confetti to rain down and a heavenly voice to erupt from my computer proclaiming: “You’re a winner, Cathy Kopf. Here’s your free rental in a Porsche!”
I’m still waiting.
I make out better with my “Buy 10, Get One Free” sandwich card at my neighborhood deli (I have a bacon egg and cheese/NY Times Sunday addiction I’m halfheartedly trying to break.).
Unless you’re a business traveler, Dan says it’s hard to rack up the big rewards with rental car reward programs.
Then he asked if I’d tried AutoSlash.
How to Use AutoSlash to Get a Great Car Rental Deal
Advertised as the #1 Site for Cheap Car Rentals, AutoSlash locates car rental prices from a number of different agencies and presents them to you for booking. They continually monitor changing prices and re-book for you when a lower rate becomes available.
Because I had a pending trip, I thought I’d experiment. Using an Incognito window in Chrome (Always clear your browser cache and put on a mask when making travel reservations. The internet watches you. I know it’s hard to believe but…), I put in my travel dates, times and pickup location for an upcoming trip into the Hertz portal.
They had limited rental availability for my dates. The cheapest option they offered was for one of their Prestige Collection cars at a $80.32 prepaid per day rate. The trip total was $320.91. Yikes!
Next, I cleared my browser cache, returned to Hertz and used my member information.
There was significant availability for full size cars, my general preference when traveling with hubby – he’s 6’3” and doesn’t fold easily.
And the price was cut…dramatically. Now I could get a Chrysler 200 for $41.40 prepaid per day, with a trip total of $172.77.
Now it was time for AutoSlash to dazzle me.
I watched the short “How it Works” video that explains that once you request a quote with AutoSlash they troll the internet looking for deal codes. They also monitor your reservation and, if a lower rate becomes available, they re-book for you.
What You Can Expect When Using AutoSlash
I entered my travel details to see what the initial best price would be. After entering pickup location, dates and times, AutoSlash prompts you about associations with other groups that routinely offer travel deals and promotions including your frequent flier accounts, AARP and AAA associations and warehouse club memberships like Costco.
You submit your request with the promise of a 30 minute or less return quote by email. Since I was trying this on a holiday weekend, I didn’t expect them to meet that turnaround time.
I clicked “send” at 2:42 p.m..
At 2:49 I received an email inviting me to view my rental car quote. I clicked through and there were 8 quotes for a full size car ranging from $132 to $216. Although each was for a different rental company, all of the offers were from Priceline. The Hertz offer was $27 cheaper than the lowest, prepaid member rate I was extended through the Hertz site.
I went ahead and booked through Priceline with Hertz. They permitted me to enter my Hertz Gold Membership number, so I’m hoping that I’ll still get credit for the rental even though I didn’t book directly with Hertz.
The final step is to enter your confirmation information into the AutoSlash tracking portal. That’s how they continually monitor the rates for you.
I’ll update this post after the trip to let you know if there was an additional rate reduction offered via AutoSlash and whether or not I got my points.
But, for right now, I’m kinda thrilled with having an extra $27 in my pocket! That’s a nice lunch! With wine!