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Rental cars have become one of the hardest parts of traveling during the coronavirus pandemic. With rental car fleets a fraction of what they were before the pandemic, travelers often find sky-high prices when booking a rental car — if there are cars available at all. It's gotten so bad that we have started to recommend that travelers get a rental car before booking their flights.
Now, there's a free resource travelers can use to find a rental car at the cheapest rate: AutoSlash. Here's how to use this service to find a great rate on your next rental car reservation.
How it works
AutoSlash is a brilliant but fairly simple service that searches hundreds of coupon codes and discounts to find you the cheapest rental car rate.
All you need to do is enter your rental details, the types of credit cards you have and the memberships you hold. Then, AutoSlash checks each discount you're eligible for, plus all of the coupon codes in its database.
Once it finds the cheapest option, AutoSlash emails you a list of options for each rental car company with available cars. Click on a link in the email for the option you want, and you'll be directed to Priceline to book your rental car at that rate.
AutoSlash boasts that its service saves travelers an average of 30% compared with other rental car search options. AutoSlash figures that it has collectively saved travelers over $50 million on rental car rentals.
» Learn more: Do you need rental car insurance?
How to request an AutoSlash quote
To check rental car rates through AutoSlash, start on the AutoSlash homepage. Enter the city of the airport where you want to pick up your rental — or click the "Non-airport" tab if you're picking up your rental from a neighborhood location.
Then, AutoSlash will ask if you're returning the car to the same location. If not, you'll be prompted to enter the airport or city where you want to drop off your one-way rental.
Enter your pickup and drop-off dates and times. Since AutoSlash will search these dates and times exactly, it can be worth checking the hours of non-airport rental car locations around your pickup or drop-off area. For example, you may get better rates and results by entering a 4:30 p.m. return time instead of 5 p.m. or later.
Next, AutoSlash will ask what type of vehicle you want to rent. For those that just want the cheapest rental car rates, AutoSlash has a "least expensive option" selection.
The process so far is pretty typical of any rental car search platform. However, the next steps are what make AutoSlash special. AutoSlash will ask what types of credit cards you have and the membership programs you are part of.
AutoSlash checks for rental car discounts available to the following types of cardholders:
Then, you indicate which association memberships (AAA/CAA, AARP and USAA), frequent flyer programs and warehouse clubs you're a member of. If you aren't yet a member of one of these programs, AutoSlash helpfully notes which ones are free to join.
It may be worth taking a few minutes to sign up for a program in case that yields a cheaper rental rate.
It's important to be factual when selecting the credit cards and memberships you have. Once you book a rental, it can be difficult to tell which discount was used, and the rental car company may require proof of eligibility when you pick up your car.
The final step to request your quote is to enter your name and email address. AutoSlash's search process takes a few minutes to test every discount code. Rather than having you wait on the website while it completes its search, AutoSlash emails you with the results.
Once you book your rental car, you aren't done with AutoSlash quite yet. There's a critical next step that you'll want to complete to make sure you end up with the cheapest rental possible: tracking the rental for a price drop.
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
How to use AutoSlash to find an even cheaper rental
Whether you booked a rental car through AutoSlash, you'll want to use AutoSlash's "Track a Rental" feature to be alerted if a cheaper rate pops up. AutoSlash has found that travelers can end up saving an additional 20% on their rental through this tracker tool.
To set up a price drop alert, you'll need the following information about your rental:
Rental car confirmation number.
Reserved price — including all taxes and fees.
Driver's first and last name.
After entering this information, AutoSlash will ask which credit cards and memberships you have. If you're using the same browser that you used to book a previous rental, AutoSlash should automatically select the same choices.
Once you submit the request, AutoSlash will email you to confirm that it's begun tracking your rental. Then, AutoSlash will periodically check for a cheaper rental. If a cheaper rate is found, the service will email you with the new rate and include your purchased rate for reference.
For example, a couple of weeks before my trip to Denver last September, AutoSlash notified me about a $33 price drop. Since AutoSlash included a link to the cheaper rate in the email, it took me just a couple of minutes to rebook the newer lower rate and cancel my original booking.
AutoSlash is a great tool for automatically applying a slew of rental car discounts. However, there are a couple of limitations to keep in mind.
Although AutoSlash tests hundreds of coupon codes and discounts, you may be eligible for other discounts that AutoSlash isn't able to apply to your search. For example, if you work for a large company, you may be eligible to apply a discount code to get even cheaper rentals. These discounts may require booking directly with the rental car provider.
AutoSlash makes money by linking users to Priceline to book their rental car. That means car rental companies that aren't available on Priceline won't appear in your results. It's worth checking other rental car companies and rental car alternatives to ensure you’re getting the best deal available.
» Learn more: What to do when you can’t find a rental car
If you're considering using AutoSlash
AutoSlash is a free online service for finding a discounted car rental for your next trip. By applying coupon codes and other discounts, AutoSlash can save you hours of manually searching for and applying coupon codes.
Just keep in mind that AutoSlash won't search all possible rental car companies, and you may be eligible for additional discounts that AutoSlash can't find. Still, you can use it as one very helpful resource in your toolkit for travel and car rental savings.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card