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Rental Car Advice

monothingie

Mean Girl since 2005
Premium Member
Original Poster
I've been meaning to share this information for a while. I usually never use DME, and always rent a car. A real timesaver to those looking for the best rental car rates is to use Costco Travel. You are limited to Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise (Sorry Hertz), but the price savings are tremendous compared with booking directly or using a third party search like Kayak, Priceline, etc. This doesn't take into account the off-brand or off-airport local providers, but I tend to stay clear of them anyway. In addition to the savings in the cost of rental, bookings made through Costco also include a second driver provision at no extra charge.

For comparison an "Intermediate SUV" category rental through Costco for 6 days was $239 (Taxes and Fees Included) with Alamo. Directly through Alamo it was $363, Enterprise was over $400, and Hertz was around $300. (All with Taxes and Fees Included).

One of the other important things to consider when making a car rental reservation, is that just like airfare the prices change frequently. The common thing that most people do is book their airfare, hotel, and car all at the same time. If you're doing Disney that can often be many months out. My recommendation is to wait until about 1-2 months before traveling to make your car reservation because the prices will go down and hit a sweet spot around this time. Also unlike airlines, you can cancel most car reservations at anytime without a fee, so you may find the closer you get to your trip the cost of your car rental can go down quite a bit, in which case it makes sense to rebook at a lower rate.

Also even though you book through Costco if you participate in frequent flyer programs, you can also redeem miles per your program's redemption policy, so you can also earn the additional airline miles as well. Unfortunately Alamo isn't teamed with United's MilePlus so I'm out of luck, but the cost savings alone compared to United's partner Hertz more than makes up for the miles lost.

I'd also be curious to hear any other strategies or tips people use as well.
 

Smiley/OCD

Well-Known Member
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When we flew down, we used the points from our Citibank cards for a free rental for the week. For our next trip in May, 2020, we are actually using the points to defray the cost of renting an SUV up here in NJ, and driving down to WDW. My 2003 Suburban has it's 3rd engine and 350 K on the odometer and yeah, it would make it with no problem, why should we put the mileage on my car when we can use the points.
I HATE the feeling of not being in control and always like the option of a vehicle to travel off property, if needed.
 

CaptainAmerica

Premium Member
Another thing is that it's often much cheaper to pick up and return at the WDW Car Care center or one of the other on-site rental places. MCO loads a bunch of fees on top of the normal price for anything you get at the airport.
 

JillC LI

Well-Known Member
I also book through Costco for the best prices and cancel/rebook as I get closer if the prices have dropped. It's the only smart way to do it!
 

Jayhawkie

Member
I have a question about car rental service. So I have friends who will be using at rental for Uni. When going to Disney they want to return the car as not to pay the nightly fee. Can they return their car to the Car Care Center at Disney or do they have to return at the airport? Also, is there a resort bus that picks up from the Car center to take them to the hotel?
 

wendysue

Well-Known Member
I have a question about car rental service. So I have friends who will be using at rental for Uni. When going to Disney they want to return the car as not to pay the nightly fee. Can they return their car to the Car Care Center at Disney or do they have to return at the airport? Also, is there a resort bus that picks up from the Car center to take them to the hotel?
Yes, you can return the car at the Car Care center and they will take you back to your resort, but I think they close at 7 during the week, and 3 or 4 on the weekends, so no one would be there to return you after that time.
 

Jayhawkie

Member
Yes, you can return the car at the Car Care center and they will take you back to your resort, but I think they close at 7 during the week, and 3 or 4 on the weekends, so no one would be there to return you after that time.
But they could return the car at least even if no one was there?
 

Phonedave

Well-Known Member
Some advice and some answers:

I) Check to see if where you work has a corporate rate. Call the rental company and say "I work for ABC Co. do you have a corporate rate" They don't care if it is for business our your personal use. You may have to show ID or a pay stub when you pick it up (likely you won't) It can be cheaper than Costco, depending who you work for.

2) You can return (and rent) a car at the Car Rental Center or at the Dolphin, but you are not limited to those companies. Just about every major car rental company has a location near (as in 5 minutes) WDW property. To the best of my knowledge, they all offer free pick up / drop off. They will come get you at your resort and take you to their office, and when you return the car, they will bring you back to your resort.
 

crawale

Member
I have a question about car rental service. So I have friends who will be using at rental for Uni. When going to Disney they want to return the car as not to pay the nightly fee. Can they return their car to the Car Care Center at Disney or do they have to return at the airport? Also, is there a resort bus that picks up from the Car center to take them to the hotel?
We returned our rental to the Hilton at Disney Springs. They have a shuttle to all parks.
 
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