Car rental rates during the pandemic

beardoc

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I've traditionally been a regular renter of vehicles on weekends (Hertz and Avis) and used Amex Platinum discounts (when renting with Hertz), mostly at Sydney Airport but also other capital cities. Traditionally pre-pandemic this would result in rates around AUD50-80 per weekend (rent Saturday, return Sunday, 2 days total).

I wasn't renting much during the pandemic but now the rates on a weekend are in the AUD250-450 per weekend for the same rates with both Hertz and Avis. Weekend rates aren't available with Hertz at all, and the Amex Platinum discount doesn't seem to make a difference.

Is this everyone's experience at the moment? It's a massive rise in cost, and I might have to consider other options from my usual weekend rental to get around Sydney!
 

jastel

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Most fleets sold or deregistered 3/4 of their cars to survive while nobody travelled or rented.
Same as Qantas did with their planes.

So there is no supply of rentals...it is happening in a lot of places I hear.

Also issues getting a new (or secondhand car) at the moment from car yards due to Covid shutting factories, many people wanting to get a second car to avoid public transport, and others spending their Covid Cash and super. Prices are 40% above pre covid prices for many secondhand cars.
 

Mattg

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I've rented cars a few times in recent months and haven't noticed a sizeable increase in prices. Although, all of my rentals were in regional areas.

I have certainly seen a few car rental operators though that have only been able to keep a fraction of their fleet registered/insured during the pandemic slowdown, so that could affect supply as @jastel suggests.
 

ric_melb

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Seems to me car rentals are continuing to be expensive. For example a 3 day weekend in Hobart in May was quoted at $496 by Budget for their cheapest automatic car. Luckily they did have a 3rd day free offer which brings it down to $339. But the price per day is about double what used to be charged before the pandemic.
 

drron

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Avis in Sydney is nearly double pre covid rates next month.
 

pyffii

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Usually a big time renter with Avis and for our current oneway from Brisbane to the Gold Coast its double what we would usually pay and if I extended it to a 19 day rental both Thrifty and Avis want over $1600...Ouch !!!....Might need to consider buying a car !!!
 

jb747

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Lots of Catch-22s lining up.

People would like to go on holiday, but;
Airlines have stood down their staff, and stored aircraft, with extended recovery time. This will mean few seats, and increased prices.
Rental companies sold stock, so no hire cars available, and what there are, will be expensive.
Hotels would like some guests, but they can't get there, and won't have any money left when they do.
Etc....
 

vetrade

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How short sighted are these car rental companies? Very, it seems! They probably sold off their rental stock at giveaway prices (low demand due to covid lockdowns along with oversupply). Now they have to re-stock their fleets at full price for new cars which, in the short - medium term will significantly increase their inventory carrying cost. Obviously they had never put any thought into a disaster management plan in anticipation of a very real possibility such as a pandemic.

Last year we had our QF flights cancelled and were locked out of Qld but I still had to pay cancellation fees for Avis bookings in CNS and OOL. Now 12 months on they want 2 - 3 times the money for equivalent bookings.

Airlines and hotels know that raising prices is no way to get people back travelling but the car hire companies seem oblivious to that fact. Apart from being a disincentive to travel generally, hefty hire fees will just encourage many people to find alternate means of getting around rather than be price gouged with charges of $150 - 200 /day or more for a small hatch. We like the convenience of having a car at our disposal even if we don't use it a lot but we'll be re-thinking that now.
 

RB

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In Townsville in late July we have a booking for a Kona SUV for $65 day basic rental. Adelaide in May we have a Euro Tourer 2 berth motorhome for $79 a day base rate. We will take out some extra covers but I think these are pretty good rates
 

oz_mark

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While prices are up across the board, they are highly variable between rental locations. I hunt around various pickup locations now.
 
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JohnPhelan

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While prices are up across the board, they are highly variable between rental locations. I hunt around various pickup locations now.

Possibly (especially if they are franchise locations) the difference between operators who held onto more of their stock vs the corporate sites where most of the previous fleets were sold.
 

Flashback

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If nothing else it's forced me to expand out the companies I look at. Avis seems to have closed their local branch, as have Hertz. Hertz I'm not fussed about though as I usually rent from LGW anyway due to better upgrades. I have a Thrifty really close that sometimes has decent (pre-paid) rates, but you don't have the same benefit that Hertz has where you can cancel a pre-paid rate and so long as it is >2 days before the rental Hertz will refund.

There looks to be a Sixt pretty close to me and their weekly rental prices are coming in about £60 cheaper. Status matched using Best Western Diamond to Sixt Platinum and have a hopeful (UK domestic holiday) booking now.
 

Scarlett

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Used Bargain car rental in MEL earlier in the month for about half what the majors wanted. Leisure travel, so immediate collection on site wasn't important.
Fairly new Equinox SUV and pretty simple process.

Have subsequently booked with Ace or Apex or some such, in PER during Easter when usual mobs wanted $120 a day for a Corolla. 🙄

Seems I'm happy to shop around. Not as far as JQ transcon though.
 

oz_mark

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Possibly (especially if they are franchise locations) the difference between operators who held onto more of their stock vs the corporate sites where most of the previous fleets were sold.

I am generally using a franchise site, but looking a few weekends ahead, it is actually one of the corporate sites doing the better deal. Seems a bit all over the place.
 
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Who are qeeq.com?

Searching for hire car BNE-TSV May 23-28 on Kayak - incredibly cheap rates through qeeq.com compared to direct wiyh Aust rental car company web sites - too good to be true? Steer clear?
 

OZDUCK

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I wonder if the same thing has happened in NZ - especially with the soon to come probable influx of people from the Big Island? A quick look couldn't spot any recent articles similar to what we have seen in the local press here.
 

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