Costco Travel has long been The Rapid Traveler’s go-to car rental booking tool, booking there as a baseline, then getting a reference at Hotwire and working Priceline to see if Costco can be beat. Trying all the other usual suspects, including AutoSlash, seldom comes close.
If you have access to Capital One’s rewards site ( we got 100K points for the Venture card promotion) I have found their car rental rates to be amazingly low. I went to New Orleans for Jazz Fest - flying into Gulfport/Biloxi Mississippi and renting a car to drive in. (cheaper)
I looked for a 7 day car rental rate for a week or so – best reservation I could find was $303.00 total.
I tried priceline at $16/day ($168 total) – denied.
I went to the CapitalOne NoHassle rewards site to poke around and tried the car rental option.
Found the same car for $176.40 – it even asked me if I wanted to pay with a credit card OR use miles.
I immediately went to the Hertz site to see if the price was there – nope. priceline – nope. travelocity (it powers the CapOne site) – nope.
Capital One is the de classe credit card issuer among the credit card cognoscenti for violating the first credit card commandment of ‘thou shalt pull no other bureau but one’ and for the banality of cash back. So it will be no small delight to test their willingness to hold their collective noses and use Capital One in search of a good deal.
This requires a card with access to Capital One No Hassle Rewards. Fee-free cards work the same as annual fee-charging cards like Venture. Click ‘Redeem,’ then ‘Book Rewards Travel (Powered by Travelocity)’.
Search results will quote the price in miles at varying rates depending on type of card. The Venture card prices at 1 mile = 1 cent, but other cards have price bands for awards. In a test search for Orlando (MCO), 10 pm June 7 – 6 pm June 10, the Venture card priced at 6,339 miles while a no-fee Platinum card priced at 15,000 miles. Rewards are not the point, though.
Searches also price in dollars (payable by any major credit card), and clicking to book gives the option to use miles or “Purchase with Credit Card.” Do the rates stack up?
But first, there are big stipulations:
- If using a credit card to book your credit card will be charged in full at the time of booking.
- Due to program restrictions, reservations booked using rewards can be changed only ONCE. After a reservation booked using rewards is modified once, it CANNOT be changed or cancelled again.
- Changes in itinerary can result in a change in price. If a price increase occurs, then the difference in price CANNOT be paid with rewards. Price increases must be paid with a credit card.
- No monetary refund will be given for cancellation of a reservation booked using rewards. An equivalent amount of Rewards, minus any cancellation or change fees, will be credited back to your Rewards account if changes to your rewards reservation result in a refund.
The test search yields a price of $63.39 with Budget. And this is powered by Travelocity. So what does Travelocity price? Same search, of the national agencies, Dollar/Thrifty is cheapest at $159.73, while Budget is $282.66!!!
Tomorrow, a comparison with Costco Travel, Hotwire and AutoSlash.