Savvy Travel Hacks: Using Car Rental Coupons to Slash Your Costs

As you plan your next vacation, try these budget-savvy hacks to slash the cost of your rental car.

Travel hacking is the art of strategically using credit card points and miles, frequent flyer programs, and airline perks to score free or discounted travel.

This approach works particularly well for renting cars.

Use Car Rental

A scrappy startup that provides some services that larger discount travel websites need. After you input your rental car itinerary, it searches for a lower rate by doing a lightning-fast sweep of the internet—and then applies every coupon code, membership discount, and other deal that it can find for your trip. It typically takes about 15 minutes to process your information, similar to what you might do with, but the results are radically different.

To get the most savings, you must indicate your credit cards, membership programs—including American Express and frequent flyer programs—and warehouse clubs. It also has a “Slash Deals” section that allows you to book highly discounted prepaid rates directly. These are an excellent option for travelers who want to save money and don’t mind trading flexibility for these prepaid rates; you can cancel up to 48 hours before your pickup date for a full refund.

If you’ve already made a reservation, you can still use it to track prices and alert you of possible lower rates—though that will take a little more time, as you need to provide your existing booking details, it’s a valuable way to stay informed about any advantageous rates, including potential discounts with Budget Car Rental coupons.

Look at Your Preferred Airline or Hotel’s Booking Platform

While the two most significant pieces of any travel budget are flights and accommodations, savvy travelers know that car rental rates can be a big chunk of your overall expenses. You can significantly reduce your costs by taking advantage of discounts from online travel agencies and booking portals, using discount codes, maximizing the perks built into frequent flyer or credit card programs, renting during off-peak seasons, and using other tricks.

If you have a wholesale club or organization membership, use that to your advantage when booking your car rental. These groups often offer discounts that can quickly recoup the annual membership fee. Similarly, airline loyalty programs and the rental car companies’ membership programs can yield substantial discounts.

Finally, book your car rental before the last minute. Prices spike as the date approaches, and fewer make and model options will be available. You can check the rates on your reservation by setting a weekly calendar reminder that will take two minutes to complete. You can cancel or change your booking if a better deal becomes available.

Check for Discount Codes

Credit card issuers, frequent flyer programs, and loyalty members frequently receive discount codes from vehicle rental providers. While they can be hard to find, a little effort can yield significant savings.

The most accessible place to find a coupon code is often on a car rental company’s website. Many have them well-visible on their homepage, but they can also be found in the “promotions” or “deals” sections. Alternatively, a quick search on the company’s social media can reveal them.

Additionally, some rental car companies will send you a follow-up email after you abandon your cart, trying to win back your business with an additional discount or incentive. While these won’t be as high as those, they can still make a difference in your final price.

Lastly, check in with your favorite rental car company in the weeks of your trip. They may have had a sudden dip in their base prices, which you can take advantage of by re-running the booking process with the new discounted rate. You can find hidden discount codes by opening an incognito window or clearing the cache on your browser.

Look for Additional Driver Fees

Many car rental agencies charge a fee to add the driver. This can be a pain on a road trip, but it’s less expensive to split the driving duties with your traveling companions and use one of the available free car rental coupons. Similarly, one-way fees (dropping off the vehicle at one location and picking it up at another) can add up fast if you plan your rental to begin and end at the exact location or during a promotion that waives one-way fees.

Membership in a club can provide significant discounts. In addition, various national and international companies offer discounts for nurses, military members, and students.

Check Your Credit Card’s Perks

If you have a credit card that earns bonus points for travel or rental car purchases, use it for your next trip. Many cards also offer perks like free collision damage insurance, which can save you the expense of the supplementary coverage provided by the rental company. Some cards also waive foreign transaction fees, which can add up when traveling abroad. Finally, some membership organizations and wholesale clubs provide car rental discounts to their members.

Finally, if you’re a nurse or member of the military, be sure to look for special promotions that provide discounted or waived rates. The extra effort could save you some big bucks. You’ll be happier with the peace of mind of knowing you paid less than you should have.


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