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Old 03-09-2013, 08:20 PM   #1
bluenosemickey
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Using Airmiles for car rental

When I check the AM site there appears to be two options. You can get a $100 gift card for 950 miles, or to call and book starting at 165 miles/day.

Has anyone done this recently that could recommend what option might work best? I only need two, separate 1Day rentals. Airport to the port and back, for our cruise in April. Also, would you say what company might be best? Alamo, Budget or National? Seems like if I went with Budget, I can use the gift card to cover taxes and insurance, not the case for National, they only allow the rental cost and nothing else. I have cash ressies right now for $70 and $80 for a minivan with National. But I have some AM I can get rid of and seems like an option to use them for this.

Thanks!
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Old 03-10-2013, 08:54 PM   #2
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I have the $100 Budget gift card, and have yet to use it. I start booking with Budget, then Alamo gets a better price so I switch to Alamo. I've heard there is some difficulty with using the Alamo $100 certificate- my friend had some problems with pricing, and how you have to book it, which is why I chose Budget. I think calling to book would be the better use of miles, but it's like pre paying, you have to be sure of your dates. I don't think it's refundable.

We NEVER get insurance thru the rental agencies, it's like doubling your cost. We get car rental insurance thru our home car insurance. Very cheap. Beware the Visa car insurance, they don't cover everything.
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Old 03-10-2013, 09:14 PM   #3
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Thanks Sue. I will call tomorrow and see what the deal is with Budget. We rented from them last time, I know where the office near the port is already. We're sure of our dates because of the cruise. I'll also call my insurance co. about covering the rental too. we usually just rely on the RBC US$ visa to cover the insurance. But if I'm not paying with a cc then we wouldn't have coverage.

I used to work for a rental co. in university. I know how much they push the ins. coverage onto customers. Giving worst case scenarios to scare you into coverage. You should always call your cc co. to discuss what coverage you have, they vary for sure. Next is your own car ins. co. they can certainly cover you. However, if you are a crappy driver, prone to accidents, pay for it at the rental agency, it doesn't end up raising your own ins. rates and you just give back the keys and walk away. Or hobble, depending on what you've done.
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:19 PM   #4
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GET the gift card. I used my airmiles for a car rental the other way and it was for a weekend. I ended up have to pay nearly 250 out of pocket for extra fees and insurance. I could have done it cheaper with out the airmiles!!
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Old 03-11-2013, 12:29 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by bluenosemickey View Post
Thanks Sue. I will call tomorrow and see what the deal is with Budget. We rented from them last time, I know where the office near the port is already. We're sure of our dates because of the cruise. I'll also call my insurance co. about covering the rental too. we usually just rely on the RBC US$ visa to cover the insurance. But if I'm not paying with a cc then we wouldn't have coverage.

I used to work for a rental co. in university. I know how much they push the ins. coverage onto customers. Giving worst case scenarios to scare you into coverage. You should always call your cc co. to discuss what coverage you have, they vary for sure. Next is your own car ins. co. they can certainly cover you. However, if you are a crappy driver, prone to accidents, pay for it at the rental agency, it doesn't end up raising your own ins. rates and you just give back the keys and walk away. Or hobble, depending on what you've done.
Good advice. I asked my insurance and it won't raise my rate. It's kind of separate add on. Part of an extra Road Star package you can get here with ICBC. My Visa also has car insurance on it, but after calling them, I discovered it doesn't include 3rd party liability. So i rely on my Road Star pkg from ICBC. What scares me is the crappy Florida drivers
Having said that, an idiot almost T boned me yesterday running thru a red light
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:28 AM   #6
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A friend of mine who is here in Florida with me now, is a teacher, and used her teaching discount for a car rental throught Alamo, had 2 $100 gift cards through Alamo. WHen they picked up their car and gave them the gift cards, they slide them through and said that you can't use any discount and promotions with the gift cards. They weren't expecting that. They had a total of $211 for a car, and figured they would only have to pay 11 $. Anyhow, the guy at the counter was nice enough to give them "his" price, which was $288 for a week. I said that was a nuts price, but they had too pay the $88 on top of the gift cards.
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Old 03-11-2013, 09:17 AM   #7
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I was afraid of this. I called Airmiles and it will cost me almost as much to use them to book directly by the time I pay the extras! Because I was able to get a good cash rate for the one day rentals, had I been paying rack rates, it would have been a saving.

I might call the agency directly and ask about the use of the gift card. Still not comfortable relying on it a actually working the day of. Might just scrap this idea.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenclan67 View Post
A friend of mine who is here in Florida with me now, is a teacher, and used her teaching discount for a car rental throught Alamo, had 2 $100 gift cards through Alamo. WHen they picked up their car and gave them the gift cards, they slide them through and said that you can't use any discount and promotions with the gift cards. They weren't expecting that. They had a total of $211 for a car, and figured they would only have to pay 11 $. Anyhow, the guy at the counter was nice enough to give them "his" price, which was $288 for a week. I said that was a nuts price, but they had too pay the $88 on top of the gift cards.
This is the same problem my friend had with the Alamo gift cards. But she also told me Budget operates differently, and they were able to use their Budget $100 gift card without any problem. So I got the Budget one. Have them booked for August trip with a Costco discount. We'll see what happens.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue M View Post
Good advice. I asked my insurance and it won't raise my rate. It's kind of separate add on. Part of an extra Road Star package you can get here with ICBC.
Thank you for posting that! I hadn't even thought of checking ICBC
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:59 PM   #10
Sue M
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Thank you for posting that! I hadn't even thought of checking ICBC
Your welcome. It's called The Road Star Package. It includes:
Rental Vehicle coverage
Vehicle Travel Protection
Loss of Use coverage*
Lock Re-Keying

I was just reading from my ICBC insurance, cause mine is up for renewal soon, and just got the notice in the mail!
On the back of the card it says coverage includes $1,000,00 3rd party liability, Collision,Comprehensive Coverage, Accident benefits, Loss of Use, & underinsured motorist protection.
Max. daily rate is $125 CAD or $100 USD Rental can't exceed 30 days.

When I renew, I'm going to ask if I can increase 3rd party.

All this for an extra $21/yr A great deal by any standard. You have the same coverage that you have on your vehicle at home insured by them. And I asked, if you do get into an accident, it doesn't go against your insurance at home and you don't loose any safe driving discount.


Insurance by the rental companies are insane. It' pretty much doubles your daily rate.

One thing, this Road Star Package is only good for rentals in Canada, the USA & Hawaii. Not Mexico, or anywhere else.

*I used this coverage for a car rental for auto repairs too. When some jerk smashed my driver window to break in, and got nothing!!!!! I never keep anything in my car. Didn't have to wait for a curtesy car from shop, they just took me to the Avis rental and got me a car. But you do need this coverage for that. I've gotten more then my moneys worth from it.
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Last edited by Sue M; 03-13-2013 at 12:17 AM.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:49 PM   #11
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This is the same problem my friend had with the Alamo gift cards. But she also told me Budget operates differently, and they were able to use their Budget $100 gift card without any problem. So I got the Budget one. Have them booked for August trip with a Costco discount. We'll see what happens.
Last fall, I got the gift certificate for budget and used it no problems when we went to Winnipeg for a week. I actually got 2 or 3 and was able to use them together, just like cash. I also booked with the Costco discount! Hopefully it works out for you too!
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:57 PM   #12
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We NEVER get insurance thru the rental agencies, it's like doubling your cost. We get car rental insurance thru our home car insurance. Very cheap.
So I found this out the hard way....we didn't want to take any chances so we paid for the extra insurance and then when we got home and called to see if we could add this to our regular insurance, they told us we already had it!!! What a waste! At least we had used the AM certificates, so it could have been more!

Obviously we are not seasoned travelers and that was way before the DIS!
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Old 03-13-2013, 07:51 PM   #13
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Thanks Everyone!

Maybe I'll look into going the Budget route. I think I will call the agency directly and confirm that I can use the cards. I'd really like to give them a try.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:55 AM   #14
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So I found this out the hard way....we didn't want to take any chances so we paid for the extra insurance and then when we got home and called to see if we could add this to our regular insurance, they told us we already had it!!! What a waste! At least we had used the AM certificates, so it could have been more!

Obviously we are not seasoned travelers and that was way before the DIS!
yikes. Well, at least you know now !

Good to know about the Budget certificates combined with Costco discount. Another positive experience is reassuring.
My friend had problems with alamo, but she also said Budget was fine.
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Old 03-25-2013, 04:11 PM   #15
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Not certain if you've already travelled but I recently used Budget. Had to use the $100 at once. Couldn't divide the rental into two. So I got a great SUV that I otherwise wouldn't have!
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