So You’ve Rented A Car At The Airport …

Rental cars are something I frequently get emails about  but tend to reply by email … seeing as though National Car Rental has asked me to take over their Facebook for the next two weeks, this seems like as good a time as any to go over some of the more frequent questions I receive.


Hmmmmmmm … where to start …


Q1) How do you ensure you’re not charged for damage you didn’t cause to your rental car?


A1) When you pick up your rental car, always do a complete walk around of it before driving it off the lot. As you walk around the car, shoot a series of time-and-date stamped photos showing the condition of the car.   Shoot all four sides of the car, as well as the hood, roof and trunk.  If you spot any scuffs, dings, dents, cracks, make sure you shoot a detailed photo of the damage and report it to the rental car lot before you drive off in the car.


Doing a complete walk around of a rental car is something most people don’t do, but it is something that only takes a moment and can save travelers a significant headache later.


Q2) How do you I get an upgrade to my rental car?


A2) Simple … same way you get an update for your airline seat … loyalty!  Pick a rental car company (let’s say National … you know because I’m not biased seeing as they’re letting me take over the content on their Facebook Page or that I’ve been a National Emerald Club Executive tier member and their comp’ing my status for year) and stick with that company’s loyalty program.


The more you rent with one company, the more you earn free rentals and upgrades to better cars. Loyalty with a rental car company, like nearly every other type of travel company, has its privileges.


Q3) How late can I be returning my rental car?


A3) Your rental car can be as late as you need it to be … just be prepared to pay for it.   The grace period for late rental car returns varies company to company; some rental car companies have no grace period what so over, if you’re late, you’re charged. Some rental car companies a grace period of not charging as long as the car is returned within the hour it was expected to be returned.


Many rental car companies have leniency for frequent renters who have “elite status” with the rental car company … but you need to read the fine print and ask questions first rather than just assume being late is OK.


Q4) Why is the rental car daily different than what I am charged?


A4) A rental car’s advertised daily rate is the ‘base rate.’ If you read the fine print, or follow the asterisk (*) you’ll find that the rate is usually the ‘base rate,’ and not inclusive of taxes, surcharges, fees, mandatory coverage and optional items.   These cost are often out of the control of the rental car companies and vary from location to location.   When checking rates, every rental car company will give you the actual totals for renting a car on their website or on the phone.


What car rental questions do you have? I’d be happy to answer them … or pick the brains of the folks at National Car Rental to get them answered.


Happy Flying (I guess I need to change this to Happy Driving) !




(*Due to circumstances beyond my control, my project with National Car Rental has been delayed*)

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