14 April 2011

Car rental - Outta Arizona for $5 a day

In my business, I also confirm car rentals for clients in addition to their hotel reservations.  Because I mostly book Hertz, I try to keep an eye on their special deals.

I ran across a seasonal doozie that could make for an interesting trip.

Arizona is a popular winter destination so it's logical that by the end of the season Hertz would have more cars on hand than they would need for the low demand summer.

What is the answer to their problem?  Offer ludicrously low rates for customers who drive the vehicles one-way out-of-state.

The result for you is rates as low as $5 per day if you take your rental car somewhere and almost anywhere outside of the state.

You can return the car to Hertz locations - both at airports and elsewhere - in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.  And you can keep the car for up to 14 days, and still only pay the $5 (or higher) rate per day plus tax.  The last day you can pick up the car and enjoy this price is 31 May 2011.

You may pick up the cars at any Hertz location in Arizona.  Not just the Phoenix airport, but Tucson, Flagstaff, Yuma, or any of what are called "Hertz Local Edition" locations in downtowns, hotels, and suburbs.

OK, you don't live in Arizona, so how could this work for you?

Be imaginative.  Here are two examples.  (Read my Airline Fare School chapter about "Open Jaws and Tinkertoys" if mixing modes of travel is not something you're comfortable with.)

Example 1.  You live in San Francisco.  Fly to Phoenix, pick up the car, drive to Las Vegas, then go through Death Valley to Bishop in the Owens Valley.  Then head north to Lake Tahoe, then head home and drop off the car at the Mason Street Hertz location in San Francisco.  5 days economy or compact car rental: $75.92 with tax.  (If you picked up the car at an off-airport location in Phoenix it could be as low as $35, or even lower with AAA or other discounts.)

Example two.  You live in Chicago.  You fly to Flagstaff.  A day after you arrive you pick up a compact car at the Amtrak station and then make a ten day trip through California and Oregon and return the car at the Portland airport.  The 10 day car rental comes to a whopping $63.70 with tax.  (Prices for the same rental for an intermediate size car would be $213.60, standard size car $226.12, full size $238.61.  In certain locations some convertibles and SUVs can also be rented under this deal.)

Read the deal's fine print here.  A very similar offer is available for one-way rentals out of Florida.

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