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How to Beat the Amazon Car Rental Deal

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Have you seen Amazon[s car rental deal? The shopping platform has an ongoing promo with Avis and Budget that promises a discount of up to 30 percent off base rates plus an Amazon gift card worth 10 percent of the rental price.

But is this the best you can do? The chance to get 10 percent of your rental car charges back as an Amazon credit seems like a sure thing. But when we tested the deal, we found that you can almost always do better with a different offer. Here’s how we break it down.

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How the Amazon Deal Works

The Amazon car rental deal offer seems promising on its face, as it states that a renter can get “up to 30 percent off base rates” and 10 percent back in Amazon credit. But the key words here are “up to.” Avis and Budget are promising a discount somewhere between zero and 30 percent with an Amazon credit as an incentive to book directly. Moreover, booking the Amazon offer locks a renter into the Amazon rate, despite a very high probability that a lower rate is available elsewhere.

There are other downsides, too. Want to book the AARP or USAA rate code to get a free additional driver at Avis? You can’t do it through this Amazon offer because rental car companies only accept one discount code on a reservation. Selecting the Amazon benefit precludes any other possible discount, whether publicly available or tied to a club or membership.

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Putting the Amazon Deal to the Test

We tested the Amazon car rental deal through Avis for a simple trip to Detroit before Labor Day. Booking without any discount yielded a price of $556.45, with a base time and mileage rate of $446.

When we tried to book the same rental through the Amazon offer of “up to 30%” for the same dates, the benefit—which is based only on the base time and mileage for our weekly Detroit rental came out to $44.60, which works out to a measly 10 percent discount. The total cost through the Amazon offer came to $502.92, a reduction of $53.53 (lower base rates also cut some of the tax burden). The renter would also receive an Amazon gift card or credit worth $40.14, or 10 percent of the now-reduced base time and mileage amount. So the rental car spend $502.92 minus the $40.14 Amazon credit comes to a net cost of $462.78.

Next, we executed the same search through AutoSlash. Right away, we spotted a discount available to the general public on the same intermediate car at Avis of just $336.00, including taxes and fees. That’s a whopping $126.78 cheaper than the Amazon deal.. Even if you booked the Amazon deal through the Alexa skill and received a 20 percent credit back, the offer we found through AutoSlash is still the lowest by about $85.

To recap for this example, you could spend:

Whenever you hunt down what looks like a great deal on a rental car, always compare savings by asking AutoSlash for a quote to get low rates on your upcoming reservation. It’s highly likely that we’ll find you a better deal.

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