Maximizing Your Budget: How to Use Car Rental Coupons like a Pro

Determine your fixed costs, including rent or mortgage, electricity, and auto insurance. Then, review your variable expenses, like food and entertainment, using your credit card or bank statements, budgeting apps, or templates found online.

While it is essential to cut out unnecessary spending, you should also allow for wiggle room in your budget. This will help keep you from feeling restricted and make it more likely that you’ll stick with your budget.

Book Early

While it might sound counterintuitive, booking your rental car as early as possible is a good idea. The sooner you do, the more choices you’ll have and the better chance of securing a deal. It’s essential to book your car rental at least three or six months in advance, as prices tend to be lowest in this window.

Leaving it until the last minute can also cost you more. Booking a car within 48 hours of your trip can be more expensive because there are fewer cars to choose from, and daily rates tend to increase as demand rises.

Another way to save money on your car rental is to make sure that you’re enrolled in a loyalty program with the company you plan to rent from. These programs can offer savings and benefits like free upgrades, a no-cost return time, or bonus points, and they typically only require an email address to sign up. You can often double up on these savings using a credit card offering car rental rewards. Keep an eye out for additional savings through Budget Car Rental coupons.

Look for Discount Codes

Many rental car companies have specific codes that can be used to save on a reservation. These are often hidden on their website or sent out via email. Some of these are for specific groups like alums or employees, while others are more general and can be used by anyone with the code. If you’ve started the booking process but left to do something else (called an “abandoned cart”), you’ll sometimes get a follow-up email with a discount that can be used in addition to other coupons.

Other tips include:

  • Searching for coupon codes on multiple websites.
  • Clearing your browser cookies.
  • Using a private or incognito window to see if prices drop.

Also, compare locations in your area – on average, downtown rentals are cheaper than airport options.

Many memberships, affiliations, and credit cards offer discounts on car rental costs. Also, check out your credit card program to see if you’re earning miles or points on car rental purchases.

Look for Deals at Off-Peak Times

Renting a car during peak times, such as spring break, summer vacation, or the winter holidays, will cost you more. This is because demand is high, and the companies are limiting their inventory. Consider traveling outside these periods if you can.

Many organizations offer exclusive rental car discounts to their members. Credit cards also offer these perks, which can add to significant savings.

It’s important to know what time of day you plan to pick up and drop off your rental car. Because rentals are charged in 24-hour “chunks,” you can avoid being charged for an extra day if your pick-up and drop-off times match up.

Another perk is the primary auto insurance coverage some credit cards offer. This option can save you much money if you don’t have personal auto insurance. Just remember to weigh the benefits and drawbacks carefully.

Look for Perks

You can score significant rental car discounts if you are a member of an auto insurance agency, frequent flier program, or club. Sometimes, the company will even throw in a bonus item, like a $20 gift card, to encourage you to book directly with them. Also, check with your employer, as many companies have deals with rental car agencies to provide their employees with discounted rates.

When booking a rental, check whether the rate includes unlimited mileage or a flat fee per mile. Some companies charge hefty fees for exceeding the mileage limit, while others may add a dollar or two per gallon to the prepaid gas price.

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It’s a good idea to book with the business brand if you are traveling for work rather than leisure, as these cars often have better amenities than their leisure counterparts. In addition, credit cards with excellent travel benefits can offer elite status, guaranteed upgrades, and primary insurance if you decline the rental car company’s collision damage waiver.

Stay Flexible

Whether preparing for a family road trip, touching down for a business meeting, or simply moving house, car rental coupons can help you save money on your next move. You may discover the finest offers and save as much money as possible by organizing, looking frequently, and taking advantage of membership benefits.

Consider staying for a week or more instead of a few days. Weekly rentals are almost always cheaper, and many coupon specials only apply for this longer duration.

Avoid falling for a sales pitch for a vehicle upgrade, which is often just an upsell to get you to pay for more expensive insurance or add-ons like GPS navigation. Resist the temptation to buy prepaid gas, which costs $10 or more daily. Instead, use a service to scope out local fuel prices and compare them with the rental company’s prepaid price.

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