The guide to getting the best deals on family-friendly car rentals

Traveling with kids can be both a rewarding and challenging experience. Securing the right vehicle for your journey is key to a successful family adventure. In this post, we’ll share valuable advice on using car rental loyalty programs, discounts like AAA, and credit card rental coverage to get the best deals on renting family-friendly vehicles. With these tips, you can make the most of your travel budget and ensure a comfortable and memorable trip for the entire family.

Car rental loyalty programs

Car rental loyalty programs can be a goldmine for families looking to save on their travel expenses. Here’s how to make the most of them.

Choose the right loyalty program

Research and compare different car rental companies loyalty programs, such as Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, Avis Preferred, National Emerald Club, and Sixt Express. Consider the coverage, benefits, and partner alliances that align with your travel plans.

Join multiple programs

Joining loyalty programs is often free, so sign up for several. This way, you can take advantage of promotions and discounts from different companies, depending on your destination.

Earn and redeem points

Accumulate points or miles through rentals, promotions, or credit card partnerships. These points can be used to offset future car rental costs or even secure complimentary rentals, which can be a significant cost-saver for families.

You also have the option to earn points from the loyalty programs of car rental partners as well. For instance, you can earn 500 World of Hyatt Bonus Points for each qualifying rental when booking your car through Avis.

Status upgrades

Loyalty programs often offer status tiers based on your rental frequency. Higher status can lead to free upgrades to more spacious, family-friendly vehicles, early check-ins, and other perks.

Status match

Hotel and car rental loyalty programs often allow members to status match from other programs to quickly obtain a higher tier of elite status. For example, there is an easy way to status match to National Car Rental’s top-tier Executive Elite status using your existing American Express Platinum benefits.

Amex Platinum cardholders receive complimentary Emerald Club status with National, which is one level below Executive Elite. However, Amex Platinum also provides Hilton Honors Gold status. By leveraging this Hilton status and using the status match link on National’s website, you can get matched to Executive Elite status instead of just Executive.

Similarly, if you have top-tier Hyatt Globalist status, you may be eligible to status match to National Executive Elite.

AAA discounts

AAA (American Automobile Association) offers a range of travel-related discounts that can significantly benefit family travelers. Here’s how to leverage their services:

Join AAA

If you’re not already a member, consider joining AAA. Membership offers a plethora of discounts on car rentals, hotels, and other travel expenses. Compare different Memberships here.

Access exclusive discounts

AAA members can enjoy exclusive discounts from various car rental companies, such as Hertz, Enterprise, Budget, and Thrifty. Always check the current discounts and codes before booking your family-friendly vehicle.

Utilize the TripTik travel planner

AAA provides tools like the TripTik Travel Planner, which can help you plan your route, find hotels, and locate reliable gas stations along the way. Their online trip-planning tools are user-friendly and perfect for families.

Credit card rental coverage

Many credit cards offer rental car insurance coverage as a cardholder benefit. Here’s how to use this to your advantage.

Check your card benefits

Review the terms and conditions of your credit cards to see if they offer rental car coverage, such as Chase Sapphire Preferred and The Capital One Venture X.

This can save you money on purchasing additional insurance from the car rental company.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

You can earn a signup bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards Points when you signup for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card and spend $4,000 in the first three months of card membership. This bonus alone is worth at least $1,200 in travel rewards when transferred to travel partners such as Hyatt!

REWARDS RATE

1x-5x

BONUS VALUE

$1,200

SIGN-UP BONUS

60,000 points

ANNUAL FEE

$95

Capital One Venture X

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Capital One Venture X

The Capital One Venture X card offers valuable rewards for travelers, including a 75,000 mile welcome bonus and premium travel benefits. With luxury perks like airport lounge access, statement credits, and anniversary miles bonuses, this metal credit card can elevate your next vacation.

REWARDS RATE

2x-10x

BONUS VALUE

$1,200

SIGN-UP BONUS

75,000 miles

ANNUAL FEE

$395

Decline collision damage waiver (CDW)

If your credit card provides primary or secondary car rental coverage, you can often decline the CDW offered by the rental agency. This could save you a significant amount on your rental costs.

Document thoroughly

In the event of any damage to the rental vehicle, take photos, obtain all relevant documentation, and file a claim with your credit card company as instructed in your card’s benefits guide.

Additional tips for family-friendly rentals

Choose the right vehicle

Consider the size and features of the vehicle you’re renting. Opt for a family-friendly SUV, minivan, or larger sedan that comfortably accommodates both passengers and luggage. Look for vehicles with ample legroom and cargo space.

Install car seats

If you’re traveling with young children, ensure you have the necessary car seats. Some rental companies offer car seat rentals, but bringing your own is often more cost-effective.

Reserve in advance

Booking your rental car in advance can help you secure better deals and ensure you get the exact type of vehicle you need. It also provides peace of mind during peak travel seasons.

Bottom line

Traveling with kids on points and miles can be an incredible adventure when you know how to maximize your resources. Car rental loyalty programs, AAA discounts, and credit card rental coverage can all work together to ensure you get the best deals on family-friendly vehicles. By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this blog post, you’ll be well-prepared to hit the road with your family and create cherished memories that last a lifetime. Safe travels!

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