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Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Car Rental Discount Myth

Renting a car seems so similar to playing the slot machine. You are hoping to hit the ultimate combination and be a winner. Your odds of success on car rental may be similar to your slot machine odds.

Wanting to rent a car I went to Expedia and did a search. I input the airport, the dates and followed the prompts. I got several companies that ranged widely and wildly in price.

I went to Priceline and Advantage had the best price. I went to epinons.com and found a wealth of opinions suggesting you would be a complete idiot to rent from Advantage. Since Advantage was on Pricelines list I felt that if I tried their name your own price I would get stuck with Advantage since they were already substantially lower than everyone else. (I have successfully used Pricelines’ the name your own price before but Advantage was not available in that location so I didn’t have to worry about getting them.)

I went to AARP’s site and their best price with their AARP discount was from Alamo. Then I went to the Alamo site and got the same price for the rental without anyone’s discount.

Finding myself perplexed as to how Alamo and AARP can claim they are giving me a discount when I can go to the Alamo site and get the same price without my “membership privileges”. In other words, who’s scamming whom?

I am not fond of snow in the precipitation state and am perhaps less fond of it in the verb state. Snow jobs are annoying. Why pretend a discount exists when it doesn’t? My guess is that most of us “assume” that if we are told a discount exists that it really does exist. The gullibility factor is alive and well.

Membership has it’s privileges.
Discounts are available to (name your group).
Platinum card holders receive preferential treatment.
There’s gold in them there hills.
Arrgghh! What has happened to truth in advertising?(talk about an oxymoron)

Another fantasy shot down, the only discount is to the buyer/client who is willing to do their due diligence and then discover the only discount is for a group they don’t belong to.

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