If you drive to your local (or not so local) airport before flying out, you have to do something with your car. You’ve generally got the choice of on-site airport parking or off-site with a shuttle (we did a comparison of the pros and cons of both a while back – here are our findings). Or there’s this option to potentially park for free or cheap, depending on your circumstances.
Park ‘N Fly is a nationwide company that, between them and their partner locations, offers off-site parking for over 75 airports in nearly 40 states. Their rates vary from city to city but in Orlando, at least, they run a little higher than Fast Park & Relax (I keyed in arriving on Dec. 20 at 10am and departing on Dec. 21st at 9:30am. Fast Park & Relax quoted me $9.50 for covered self-parking, Park ‘N Fly’s Orlando-based partner, Park to Fly, which is significantly further away from MCO than Fast Park & Relax, only offered uncovered parking, and it cost $9.99 to self-park).
However Park ‘N Fly has now launched prepaid parking. They say you can “save on travel this holiday travel season with our 7, 10 or 20 day discounted prepaid parking options.” But is it actually cheaper?
You can only buy the pre-paid days at their 14 official Park ‘N Fly locations (the 60ish partner locations don’t offer the multi-day discounted prepaid parking options). So you’re limited to Atlanta, Chicago Midway, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Hartford Bradley, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, Oakland, Philadelphia and San Francisco).
As an example, I keyed in Miami. Their prices for valet uncovered parking were:
- 7 days for $75 ($10.71/day)
- 10 days for $110 ($11.00/day)
- 20 days for $200 ($10.00/day)
The first thing that struck me as weird was if you stayed for 10 days, it cost you more per day than if you stayed for 7. Discounts usually don’t work like that – more often, the more you pay for, the more of a discount you get.
But wait, it gets weirder!
I keyed in a regular reservation for 7, 10 and 20 days at Miami and for each, the online price I got was $6 per day. Apparently they have a special 50% off online discount through December 31st.
So for Miami, at least, it’s cheaper not to use their special prepaid parking because their current online rate is significantly better.
You can even use the discount they currently have on Groupon and get a better rate than their pre-paid discount.
Well, what if I tried a different city?
San Francisco’s cost with the pre-paid discount was:
- 7 days for $115 ($16.43/day)
- 10 days for $160 ($16.00/day)
- 20 days for $250 ($12.50/day)
These were all for self-park uncovered parking and besides giving a significantly better discount for 20 days, I’m glad it cost less per day to park for 10 days than 7.
I keyed in a regular reservation for 7, 10 and 20 days in San Francisco, and lo and behold, the special 50% online discount applied there, as well – the cost was only $8.98 per day.
So yeah, this prepaid parking discount? It looks like it can save you a couple of dollars here and there after their online discount ends on December 31st. But until then? Don’t bother.
Feature Photo: Park ‘N Fly
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary