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US car rental rates - ridiculously expensive!

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Febs

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Hi guys,

As I've mentioned in other threads I'm planning a US holiday next year, and as part of it we'd like to drive from NY to LA. Unfortunately, I'll be 23/24 while we're over there, which means the rental mobs want to sting me. HARD.

I've got quotes from all the big mobs I can think of (Hertz, Avis, Budget, Alamo/Europcar), and for a full-size sedan for 25 days we're looking at $4,000-$5,000AUD, without excess reduction or sat nav (we've decided to buy a portable sat nav over there - it'll work out cheaper). Unfortunately both drivers will be under 25, so there's no escaping the (massive, in some cases) young driver fees. :(

Does anyone know of any other rental companies in the US that do decent rates for under 25's? I hired a car from Alamo earlier this year at a corporate rate (Kansas City), but even that was around $150/day.

It's a bit funny...I mean here in Australia I can rent a Falcadore with excess reduction and unlimited kms for $42/day (corporate rate), but in the US I'm looking at approximately triple that. :(

Cheers,
- Febs.

PS: Dates will be approx 24/9/2007 to 18/10/2007 (just outside of peak season, as I understand).
 
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Dave Noble

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You are not really comparing like for like. If you didn't have a corporate rate discount in Oz, then you would be looking at more like $75 a day for the rental with a $2500 excess, so is about 50% higher than an oz rental *plus* you are doing a oneway rental of significant discount.

To cover your excess in the US, you might like to look at Car Hire Secondary Insurance, Rental Car Insurances. who will give you excess reduction to zero worldwide for GBP119. Be aware that the excesses in the US may , unlike Oz, leave you liable for the whole value of the car

Does your corporate discount work in the US; I know that mine does and gives me rates similar to those in Oz

Also, you might like to look at trying to get out of New York before renting; rental rates in NY are some of the highest; perhaps do a oneway rental to just out of New York and then starting a new rental there may well drop the price. On our corporate rates, the rate in NY METRO TRI-STATE is approximately 35% higher than our normal US rates

Dave
 

Febs

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Thanks for the quick reply Dave.

Re: Renting out of NY...I looked into that (we're considering catching a train to a nearby state, or even flying elsewhere, and renting from there), but the rates didn't seem all that different from state to state with the companies I looked at. Eg: With Budget, renting from NY or Ohio made practically no difference.

One difference was the young driver fee - it was higher in NY than all other states with Hertz. I'll keep looking though, thanks for the tip.

Dave Noble said:
You are not really comparing like for like.
The rate I had in the US earlier this year ($150AUD/day) was a corporate rate, for Falcadore-sized car...so I think it's a fair comparison.
Fair enough re: the one-way rental though. When hiring in Australia I've always returned it to the same location.

Cheers,
- Febs.
 
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Dave Noble

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Just as a comparison, I tried a booking using my corporate rate for 25 days with a pick up in Sydney ( not airport ) with a dropoff in Perth and instead of the $45.29 a day which I would normally get when returning back to Sydney ( total $1132 ) , it quoted $4273.48

Perth to Sydney ( using the great circle ) is 2041 miles vs 2475 miles for JFK-LAX so the rates being quoted are fairly similar.

If you reall want to drive across the country like that then methunks you may have to be prepared to eat the cost or perhaps reconsider where to go; perhaps instead of traversing, circle round the eastern side and end up back in NY area

Dave
 

Maca44

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In 1992 I did a lot of driving around the USA on a holiday, from North/South and East/West over 12 weeks. I realise this is considerably longer than 25 days that you want a rental, but I had a friend in the States who looked around for a couple of weeks prior to my departure and bought a great second hand car for me for US$1000. I sold it in SFO for $500 by simply displaying a sign on the window, and it only took two hours to sell. There was other costs to consider such as m/v insurance etc and that did not discriminate against U25 year olds. This is something you might want to ponder and it would be a lot cheaper than a rental for 25 days for someone under 25 years.
 

Dave Noble

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Maca44 said:
In 1992 I did a lot of driving around the USA on a holiday, from North/South and East/West over 12 weeks. I realise this is considerably longer than 25 days that you want a rental, but I had a friend in the States who looked around for a couple of weeks prior to my departure and bought a great second hand car for me for US$1000. I sold it in SFO for $500 by simply displaying a sign on the window, and it only took two hours to sell. There was other costs to consider such as m/v insurance etc and that did not discriminate against U25 year olds. This is something you might want to ponder and it would be a lot cheaper than a rental for 25 days for someone under 25 years.
I was thinking about this too, but would say that the cost of a cheap car now would be a fair bit more taking inflation into account plus, although you got a decent car, you could also end up with a lemon which leaves you stranded with large bills in the middle of nowhere.

For a 3 week rental I would stick with the reliability of a hire car, though would make sure that I got some form of excess protection

Dave
 
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Dave Noble said:
I was thinking about this too, but would say that the cost of a cheap car now would be a fair bit more taking inflation into account plus, although you got a decent car, you could also end up with a lemon which leaves you stranded with large bills in the middle of nowhere.

For a 3 week rental I would stick with the reliability of a hire car, though would make sure that I got some form of excess protection

Dave
The other issue with buying a used car in the LOTFAP is insuring it. As tourists (and under 25) with no US driving history and no US denomination Credit Card, SS# etc. you will stuggle to find value for money on the insurance. My brother in Law has just completed a 3 month drive around the US and Canada in a pickup that he paid $2000 for. Suffered no mechanical problems with it - rather lucky IMO - YMMV. Fortunately, there were family friends in the US that could insure the car for him (just added him as secondary driver).

If you have such contacts in the US and are prepared to buy (and sell) a used car - it can be a better deal. Though, as others have said, 25 days doesn't really sound like enough time to make to extra hassle worth while.

mt
 
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Dave Noble said:
I was thinking about this too, but would say that the cost of a cheap car now would be a fair bit more taking inflation into account plus, although you got a decent car, you could also end up with a lemon which leaves you stranded with large bills in the middle of nowhere.

For a 3 week rental I would stick with the reliability of a hire car, though would make sure that I got some form of excess protection

Dave
The other issue with buying a used car in the LOTFAP is insuring it. As tourists (and under 25) with no US driving history and no US denomination Credit Card, SS# etc. you will stuggle to find value for money on the insurance. My brother in Law has just completed a 3 month drive around the US and Canada in a pickup that he paid $2000 for. Suffered no mechanical problems with it - rather lucky IMO - YMMV. Fortunately, there were family friends in the US that could insure the car for him (just added him as secondary driver).

If you have such contacts in the US and are prepared to buy (and sell) a used car - it can be a better deal. Though, as others have said, 25 days doesn't really sound like enough time to make to extra hassle worth while.

mt
 

Febs

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1,659
Thanks guys.

Maca44 said:
This is something you might want to ponder and it would be a lot cheaper than a rental for 25 days for someone under 25 years.
Buying a car is something I considered, but given the relatively short time period (and as mentioned - hassles of insurance, registration etc...) it's probably not worth it.

Worst case scenario, we'll just pay the $4,000-odd. Driving across the US has been a dream of mine, so I'm not going to let it go easily. :)

Cheers,
- Febs.
 

adrian

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Jul 17, 2006
Messages
392
Have you looked into the "driveaway" programmes? The driveaway companies match drivers with car owners who need their delivered to a different state. A friend of mine did one a few years back - drove cross country in a near new car. Cost him nothing. He loved it.

Here is a link to an article about it:
http://www.gonomad.com/transports/0012/javins_driveaway.html
which has more links in it to the driveaway companies.

Enjoy.
 

Febs

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You know, I wondered if such a service existed in the US....but had no idea what they were called.

Thanks adrian and Maca44!

Cheers,
- Febs.
 

NM

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Obviously one of the issues here is the one-way rental. When I was looking to drive from Orlando to Toronto a few year ago, I found a deal through Travelocity that provided for one-way rentals at reasonable cost providing it was airport to airport. The rental vehicle was from Dollar rentals, but booked through Travelocity. Comparing the same dates and pickup/drop-off directly with Dollar showed the Travelocity deal was significantly cheaper. Avis, Hertz and Budget were absurdly expensive due to the one-way surcharge.

So we ended up going to the Dollar rental via Travelocity with pick-up at MCO and drop-off at BWI. I chose BWI since that airport is co-located with an Amtrack station and we then caught the train into New York (Penn Station) and then to Niagra. We then picked up an Avis rental from Niagra to Toronto. The 15 day rental of a Minivan cost US$790.34 back in 2003.

So it can be worthwhile checking the on-line travel sites as they sometimes have better deals than going direct with the rental company. On that trip we had 4 different car rentals, and only this one was through Travelocity. The others were all direct with the rental company, using Dollar (LAX-LAS), Avis (Niagra to YYZ), and Avis (NCL-London).
 

Maca44

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Febs, I just performed a search at DriveAway Holidays International Car Hire, Car Rentals in Europe & England! for the approx time you need a vehicle with the result being as follows, however, watch the additional one way drop off fees etc

Car Rental Details:
Ford Focus or similar
Compact, Automatic
Rate ( AUD): $2,103.00 Inclusive

Pick up Depot Details:
NEW YORK, United States
Monday, September 24, 2007 @ 9:00:00 AM
JFK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Drop off Depot Details:
LOS ANGELES, United States
Thursday, October 18, 2007 @ 9:00:00 AM
LOS ANGELES INT'L AIRPORT

Please Note: Additional one-way fees and restrictions may apply to your rental. You will be notified by email if a one way fee or one-way restriction applies to your request. We will not confirm your rental until you have been advised and have accepted any additional fees.

GENERAL TERMS

* DriveAway highly advises client to check if car is DIESEL or REGULAR fuel at time of pick up.
* Supplier levied amendment, cancellation and no-show fees may apply.
* Supplementary charges are subject to change and local tax.
* NOTE: There is no refund for unused days.
* Vehicles are booked by group, similar may be substituted.
* Vehicle litreage cannot be guaranteed.
* Credit card needed for security bond/additional charges.
* A full driver's licence must be held, conditions apply.
* An international licence is not required for collection for this vehicle, but is recommended.
* Minimum and maximum age requirements apply to all rentals. Minimum rental age for this vehicle 21.
* Young/additional driver fees may apply - payable direct.
* Varying your drop off point may result in additional charges.
* Excess reduction insurance options may be available locally at an additional cost.
* Vehicles may be driven throughout USA and Canada on paved roads only.
* Travel restrictions apply to vehicles driven in Canada, Mexico and Alaska.
* Travel on ferries is permitted. Fees and restrictions apply.
* Vehicles rented in Alaska must be returned to Alaska.
* Pay by money direct (DDDA), Tias Tips (DASYD), eNett, EFT or credit card by phone or on-line.
* Frequent flyer points and/or car rental company reward schemes are not applicable on any DriveAway Holidays car rental rates.

Edit: just noticed additional/young drivers fees??
 
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Febs

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Thanks muchly Maca44. The base rate seems good, but depending on the cost of the one-way fee (and the young driver fees), it may work out a similar price to the others.

I'm hoping I'll be able to get a decent rate via a corporate booking (will find out on Monday). Fingers crossed. :)

Cheers,
- Febs.
 

drron

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We go to the states every 8 months on average.i usually drive about 5000 miles a year in the states always in a rental.For the last 3 years I have used Australia Car Rental and Discount Motor Home Hire - Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane - GlobalCARS
You would not be able to book online for such a oneway rental.However for an idea of costs I put in a oneway rental Boston to Oklahoma for the dates you gave and for age 24.The cost was $A1900 and that includes all insurances.Only downside is you pay in advance.This quote was using Alamo.They often use Hertz and that is what i normally go for as I still get the Hertz No1 club benefits such as spouse driving is no extra fee.Also on one occasion had to change booking and that was done without fuss and at no charge.Quote was for a full sized car.
It would be a good idea to consider travelling outside of New York to start your rental-eg boston or Philly where the costs are a lot less.Can easily be done by plane ,Amtrak or if you are game by cheap Chinatown bus.
 

stryker

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Messages
450
Febs said:
I'm hoping I'll be able to get a decent rate via a corporate booking (will find out on Monday). Fingers crossed. :)

Cheers,
- Febs.
So how'd it go?
 

Febs

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Messages
1,659
stryker said:
So how'd it go?
Barely had time to sit down today...didn't get a chance to call. :(

I'll try tomorrow and report back.

drron - thanks muchly, another one to check out. :)

Cheers,
- Febs.
 

Febs

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Sorry for the delay.

Right, so I finally got around to calling up.

I got our CPD (Corporate) ID and plugged it into the Hertz website. The rate was pretty much average (still amongst the better ones at ~$4,100 though). I then rang up our "dedicated" Hertz line, and got quoted the following:

Large car (Pontiac Grand Prix)
- Pickup NY
- Dropoff LAX
- 24th Sept to 16th Oct
- Best LDW included in rate ($0 excess apparently)
- Both myself and my girlfriend included (both of us under 25)
Including all taxes, charges, one-way fees, young driver excesses etc... - around $3,200AUD, guaranteed rate! (A smaller class was actually $400USD more!)

The most amazing part was the fee for having my girlfriend included as a driver. All the quotes I got previously were $35USD per day, per driver. With the corporate rate, it's an extra $3USD per day to have her included, up to a maximum of $35USD.

So I confirmed the dates with my girlfriend and called back 10 minutes later (of course, I was incredibly stupid and didn't catch the guy's name).

:evil::evil::evil:

Two attempts later, and I wasn't able to get a rate anywhere NEAR the first quote.

On the 2nd call I did speak to a very helpful staffmember who suggested that the original staffmember used a different CDP ID which gave the better rate. The trouble is - the company I work for has approximately 300 Hertz CDP ID's, and none of the ones this guy tried gave a rate close to the original rate.

So now I'm on the hunt for a CDP ID that gives a decent rate and allows under 25's without the $35USD excess. Apparently our rate gives good deals in Australia, but standard pricing in the US. :(

Time to contact someone in one of our US offices, I think (or scour the Intranet)...

Cheers,
- Febs.
 
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