BreezeNet Rental Tips

You can get some of the best rates by renting online! Be aware that other travel sites may NOT show the complete base total in their rate compare! For example, they may show only the weekly rate for an 8 day rental leaving out the actual base total you will pay (1wk+1day). Our New Compare Guide shows the complete rental base total for additional days and hours. There is often a wide variance in rates for the same or similar model of car, so it pays to compare. On or you can view all the different rates without needing a membership or password. Compare large major agencies, small independents, specialists, exotic cars to economy.

See the Snapshot Area of a airport page to view a "Snapshot of Rates" and go to our New Compare Guide for a quick comparison of rates on a specific rental. Also, follow the links to a specific rental company for rate information.

When you need a rental car for vacation or business, it's a good idea to consider several factors while reserving to help make your trip more enjoyable. Rates are often a key consideration in the reservation of your car but, there are other factors that are important. For example, what are their hours of operation? Some smaller companies may close early on weekends.

It is also important to be aware of the policies and restrictions of the different agencies. Some agencies even allow cash rentals, debit cards and rentals to those 18-25 years of age. Consideration of all of these factors can help make a large difference in your overall rental car experience.

Below is a more detailed list of relevant topics to hopefully make your trip a more enjoyable experience. These include FAQ's about coverages offered at the counter. You may also want to visit our page about coverages and options offered at the counter.

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See's Rental Car FAQS and industry standard Airport Codes to save time when booking online. Visit Travelin' Joe for some up-to-date travel advice.
Our tips include information about the following:
· Using BreezeNet to Drive A Great Rate!
· General Online Booking Tips - Airport Codes etc
· Your Total Car Rental Bill
· Drop-Off Charges
· Advance Reservations
· Child Safety Seats
· Internet Discounts
· Special Services
· Coverages/Insurance
· Credit Card Car Rental Coverages
· "The 24 Hour Clock"
· Same Location...Different Rates
· Same Company...Different Rates
· Airline Ticket Requirement
· Quickly Changing Rates
· Renting a Specific Car Type
· Upgrades
· Weekly Rates Vs. Daily Rates
· Unlimited Mileage?
· Gasoline Charges
· Taxes and Airport Surcharges
· Minimum Age Policies
· Debit Cards - Credit Cards
· Extra Keys
· Check the Rental's Condition First!
· Get a Map
· Fuel/Gas Option Plans
· Renting In Another Country
· Additional Drivers

Online Booking Tips
When booking online with major national car rental chains its helpful to know the airport code for the airport you will pickup at. These major agencies have 100's of locations and 100's of rates at a given time and you need to fill out their booking forms entirely to get a rate for your trip. Knowing the airport code can be a shortcut to your online rate and reservation. For a list of airport codes: Click Here

Using BreezeNet to Drive a Great Rate!
There are at least 3 ways to Drive a Great Rate on BreezeNet!

1) On the left side of our home page are groupings of Specific Offers and Deals which have restrictions and expiration dates.

2) Near the top of go to "Airport Listings" or you can "select an airport" to view ALL the "On and Off Airport Companies" ,local specialists, phone #'s, more tips AND to get a quick look at our Convenient Weekly Airport Snapshots!

3)The third great way, is to use the Internet Rate Compare Guide for a quick comparison of great web rates for a specific rental.

Credit Card Coverage
Some UPPER level credit cards such as MasterCard Gold may be a source for excess or secondary insurance for a car rental, but only if you use the same credit card to rent the vehicle. Some upper level credit cards can be your primary collision coverage in absence of any personal car collision insurance or when you are traveling overseas, where your personal insurance will not apply. Typically, there is a dollar limit and/or vehicle type exclusions. Since these policies vary greatly, call your credit card company to find out their policies for car rentals. More information on subject.

My Total Bill
It can be confusing, but be aware that when you are quoted a "base rental car rate" it does not include rental coverages, sales taxes, airport taxes, airport/concession, vehicle license fees and miscellaneous surcharges. A trend in some cities is to help finance new sports stadiums and other initiatives by tacking on a surcharge. All of these additional charges can increase the base rate by 10-40% depending upon the airport location. Note that our "Snap Shot Rates" or the "Rate Compare Guide"; do not include these extra charges.

Drop-Off Charges
An extra fee is usually charged if a car is returned to a different location than where it was picked up. This fee varies on location so there usually is no general policy regarding this. In some instances there is no charge, at others it can be as high a $1500 if you drop the car off a long distance from where you picked it up at.

Reserve in Advance!
To get the best rate when applicable, reserve your car at a weekly rate (a week is usually between 5-7 days) instead of at a daily rate if possible, and reserve in advance. Check back periodically to see if a better rate is available. Rates are based in part on how many cars the agency has available at your pick up location. Be responsible and cancel your reservation if you have a change of plans.

Child Safety & Infant Seats are Usually Available
Most car companies offer child safety seats. Since there may be limited availability or these you should reserve these well in advance. Be aware that at some locations, the rental car company may not guarantee that a child seat will be waiting for you upon arrival. They are usually $5-$6 per day to rent but can be anywhere from $2-$10 per day. Some agencies cap the charge at a maximum per rental.

Check the state laws for where you are traveling. For instance, a new law in Denver requires Booster Seats for all 4 and 5 year olds who are not 55 inches tall.

Hertz's "Buckle-Up Baby" can take the worry out of installing an unfamiliar car seat! They have teamed with the National Safety Council and have trained car seat installers on hand.

Online Internet Discounts are Available
Many companies currently are offering online discounts on the internet. When reserving online, be sure to print out or take note of your confirmation information and take this with you to the counter.

Service is Important!
To get the best service, check your rental car companies website or inquire with them for what exactly they offer in the way of special services.

Do I Need to Buy their Coverages, Insurance or Damage Waivers at the Counter?
Check to see if your personal or business car insurance covers you in a rental car. This will save you worry and money when they ask "Do you want coverage/insurance?". Some upper level credit cards have rental car coverage, too. Your personal or corporate auto insurance may cover Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) or Physical Damage Waiver (PDW). It may also cover Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), Personal Effects Coverage (PEC) and Additional Liability Insurance (ALI). Most of the time these are optional coverages. "Loss Of Use" or "down time" coverage may be offered at some locations but may be covered under CDW, LDW or PDW mentioned above. These charges (income the car would have generated if it was available to be rented) is an additional fee that might be accessed in the case of damage to your rental. Some companies require that you show proof of insurance. Also be aware that your personal insurance probably does not apply to your rental car when traveling overseas. All this is somewhat complicated and at times confusing because there are no industry standards for terminology and policies vary by locations. See also Car Rental Coverages and Fuel Options.

Beware of the 24 Hour Clock
When determining your car rental bill be aware of the "24 hour clock rate" most rental car companies use when charging you. This means if you rent your car on Wednesday and return it on Thursday, you are charged for one day only if you return it within 24 hrs. You are usually charged for 2 days if you return it more than 27-28 hrs after picking the car up. The policy for most companies is that an hourly rate is charged for the first 3-4 hrs after 24 hrs. Returning the car after the hourly rate period means a whole extra day is usually charged. Be aware that this procedure can vary from company to company and that some companies use a calendar day billing policy wherein you have until midnight to return your car before being billed for a full extra day.

Rates Vary Greatly at a Location!
Rental car rates can vary 50% or more across agencies at the same location. For example, in Tampa an economy car may rent for as low as $79/wk or as high as $149/wk on the same day. To get the best deal, reserve your car at least a WEEK in advance. The earlier the better! Rates can very greatly at busy locations. Destinations like Florida, Denver and Las Vegas are VERY COMPETITIVE with rates varying as much as 100%!

Company Rates Vary from Location to Location
Also keep in mind that rental car companies may vary their rates a great deal from city to city due to market forces. Rates for a little economy car at New York's La Guardia Airport may vary from $200-$349/wk!

You may be Required to Show your Airline Ticket
Be aware that some rental car agencies at the airport require that you show your airline ticket in order to receive your "discounted" airport rate. So if you need a rental car for only part of your trip it may not benefit you to go back to the airport to rent a car for the brief period you may need it. Your airline ticket may be required to show your flight arrival to be within 24 hours of rental car pickup at the airport for the lower rate.

Car Rental Rates can Change Quickly
For convenience, this guide includes "snap shots" of rates in at many major airports. Click your city of destination and go to "low rates". Bear in mind, these rates are only snap shots for reservations made on a given day and these rates usually change, If interested, see why rates change.

You can't Reserve a Specific Type Car
When you reserve, you are holding down a RATE, not necessarily a specific car. Write your CONFIRMATION number down where you will have it when you pick up your car.

You Might be Able to Upgrade!
If the rental car company is out of the class car you reserved you might be able to UPGRADE at no additional charge depending on what is available! Remember you reserved a rate in which the car company is obligated to. This can be risky though if you actually need a bigger car than the one you reserved.

Reserve with Weekly Rates Rather than Daily Rates
It is always best to stick with the dates and time period you have reserved. If you're not sure when you will be returning a car because you may have to stay longer, it may be much better to reserve in advance for a longer time and return it early than pay the "premium daily rates" for returning a car a few days late. Typically, you're not penalized for returning it early, however this is not true across the board. Some companies may recalculate your rate based on current daily rates, which may be much higher than when you reserved.

Unlimited Mileage?
Most major rental car companies allow for unlimited MILEAGE in the same state, but it's a good idea to check their policy before confirming. Many smaller local independent companies charge mileage after 100-200 free miles per day.

Gasoline Charges
Be sure and fill your car up before you return your car. In most cases you will pay a high premium if you forget. See also FUEL-GAS OPTION PLANS below and Insurance and Gas.

Taxes & Airport Surcharges
Vary from state to state, airport to airport and are additional expenses that can increase your overall bill substantially. "Off airport" car rentals may mean lower surcharges for you.

Minimum Age Policies will Differ
Besides needing a valid drivers license and credit card in the same name, most large agencies require renters to be at least 25 years old. Many smaller local companies as well as Alamo have a minimum age of 21. See our Underage page for specific company listings.

Do I Need a Major Credit Card?
Yes, most rental car agencies accept only major credit cards and do NOT accept debit cards or cash. If the car agency accepts debit cards, there are additional requirements and/or location restrictions. Alamo accepts debit cards with the Visa or Mastercard logo and a Round trip travel ticket, but restricts certain locations. Dollar requires an acceptable credit check with debit cards. At a few limited locations, Thrifty and some local Enterprise offices may accept debit cards. These policies may change at any time. There are a few small independents that allow cash deposits. With the use of a debt card, the agency may require a credit check.

Get an Extra Key!
Many car companies will provide you with an EXTRA KEY if you ask for one. This can come in handy for some of us who are absent minded.

Check Out the Condition of your Car
It's a good idea to get out and inspect the vehicle with the attendant for scratches, dents or other damage before you take off. Any damage or unusual dents or scratches should be noted on the contract before you leave the lot. Go back to the rental office if need be to have this acknowledged in writing. Some companies may enforce a hard line policy regarding this.

Look at a Map Before Taking Off
Be sure you get a MAP and look at it before you take off in your rental car. If you need to ask questions do so before you leave the agency. Take note of the location so you can easily return your car.

Fuel - Gas Option Plans
A "Fuel Purchase Option" or "Fuel Service Option" means you purchase an additional tank of gas at the average market price when you pick up the car. This plan is only useful IF you forget or do not have the time fill-up before returning to the airport since it will allow you to avoid paying the high fuel prices you will be charged to fill the tank up. If you return the car near empty then you have really played this option to perfection but, the truth is, how often will this actually occur?

Renting in Another Country
When renting a car in another country, your personal insurance coverage probably will not extend to a car rental. In this case, your best option is to buy the collision damage waiver from the rental agency which may be expensive but very useful.

Can I Let Someone Else Drive the Rental Car?
In most cases, you will need to list additional drivers on your contract at the time of pick up. Some companies will allow your spouse to drive at no additional cost, but check first. If someone else drives the car without the rental car agency's permission your contract maybe voided for protection and even claims against your personal insurance coverage.

Also see International Travel Tips for travel tips and advice on packing, safety and passport pointers.

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