For most of the travel industry, pre-paid reservations are the norm - you can’t book a hotel room or a plane ticket without paying at least part of the price upfront. All car rental agencies may not be on the pre-pay bandwagon yet, but the system does benefit both the customer and the company. While the buyer gets a discount on the overall price of the car, the agency gets a guaranteed reservation.
Car Rental Discounts with Pre-Payment
Many car rental agencies, both the big name companies and smaller, independent companies, offer around 10 percent off when a customer pre-pays for their rental. Some companies may have smaller discounts available, like 5 or 7 percent, while other companies have larger deductions, sometimes up to 15 percent off. Even discount brands, which already have some of the cheapest car rentals available, have pre-pay savings options.
Variations and Car Rental Deals
Car rental discounts for pre-payment may vary depending on the type of vehicle being rented. For example, some agencies may not give discounts on certain classes of vehicles, like SUVs. Most of the time, you won’t get a greater pre-pay discount the higher the overall price is - the discount will stay the same even if you rent the car for an extended period of time or during a time of the year with high rates.
Additional Booking Procedures
When you pre-pay for a car, be prepared to go through extra steps at the rental counter, especially if you’ve paid online instead of in person. You’ll always need to provide a photo ID when you rent a car, but you may also need to present the credit card you used to book the rental. If you used someone else’s card, that person may need to be present as well.
Canceling the Reservation
Pre-paying may help you to get a cheap car rental, but it could also come with a strict cancellation policy. You may get a voucher toward your next rental or an almost-full refund, or you could be charged an extra fee.