If there’s something I’m obsessive about, it’s getting a rental car I want for the lowest price. Note, I didn’t say the lowest priced rental car, as that would mean I’d have to rent from companies that I don’t want to rent from. It’s a mantra of getting what I want for the least amount of money possible.
Achieving this task used to entail hours of searching through multiple websites and using various discount codes. I’ve come to the realization that to get the cheapest rate on a rental car, I can leave the hard work go to Autoslash. They’re going to find me the best rate, or at least a rate good enough that the time spent to find a cheaper one just wouldn’t be worth the effort (except for the times when there are even better discounts available.) On top of that, their customer service is fantastic.
So imagine my surprise when I found a car rental discount I didn’t already know about.
I was renting a car from Budget when I saw this header:
Before I logged in, I clicked on “Learn more.”
While I was on the Budget website, the benefits of this offer seem to be identical to those found on the Avis website (which makes sense because they are both owned by the same company)
Looking more into the offers, I found the official terms:
Once you link your Amazon account to your Budget account, you’ll get a discounted rate “Up to 30%” off the base rate of the rental. You’ll also get an Amazon gift card worth 10% of the time and mileage charges (but not including the taxes and fees) after the rental.
I was interested because saving 30% off a rental and getting an additional 10% back sounds like a good deal. I then discovered the problem with this offer. Once I linked my Amazon account to my Budget account, I could no longer apply any other discount code to my rentals. I was locked into the Amazon rate.
When I checked prices against what I could find on Autoslash, the Amazon rate was higher. Much higher.
It took some work but eventually, I was able to unlink the accounts (I had to do it through my Amazon account). After clearing my cookies and reloading the page, the forced discount code was gone.
I’ve read reports of people having other problems with the offer, such as not being able to get the discount code to link to an account or using the discount code and not receiving the 10% back voucher (which may be due to it ending up in your spam or junk email box.)
I wasn’t the only one to discover the Amazon “discount” isn’t the lowest price out there. Autoslash did their own research and found that they were able to find a much lower rate than the Amazon price even after including the 10% rebate.
To read the details of their pricing search, check out their blog post.
If there’s anything to learn from this, it’s always to be leery of offers that will save you “up to $$$.” They usually won’t save you that much. I don’t mind having to type in a code to get a discount but having to log in to your Amazon account from the Budget or Avis website should have been a big warning sign. Then having that be the only discount I could ever use unless I found how to unlink the accounts (which isn’t easy to do) is a huge downside for this offer.
While some might think this is a good deal, I implore you to check the price on Autoslash. You may have to book through Priceline but I’d place a small wager that Autoslash will find a lower price than the Avis/Budget/Amazon discount.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary