Over the last year, I’ve had several different experiences with rental cars and receiving military discounts.
For example, in June, I moved from West Phoenix to East Phoenix. I used U-HAUL to get a moving truck. When making the reservation I noticed that they didn’t have any discount written on their website when I made it online. After finishing, I decided to call them and ask. After a short conversation, she connected me with someone that gave me a 15% off. They also gave me 20 extra miles. Then I called around and discovered that most truck rental companies offer military discounts.
BOTTOM LINE – A lot of these places have discounts not advertised on their website so you must call to take advantage.
Military Discounts on Car Rentals
Most major car rental agencies offer military discounts. Many of them also extend the offers to family members, retirees, or non-retired military veterans. I recommend starting with their websites, but you may also have luck calling the customer service agent.
Here are some rough estimates but it varies from location to location
This morning, I called Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, and Avis to see what their military discount rates were. What I learned is that most of these places do NOT offer a flat rate of 10% off (for example). They will give you a rate over the phone but sometimes that rate is not as good as other discounts that you can find online.
How Much Can You Save on Your Next Car Rental?
Here are the savings we’ve found for military members, veterans, and their families:
- Avis Military Discount – Up to 25% off
- Enterprise Military Discount – Variable Discount
- Hertz Military Discount – Variable Discount
These discounts can vary. For example, while on the phone with Avis this morning, because she said they don’t give a flat rate discount to military members, I asked her to make if she could get me a rough estimate of what the discount would come out to. She said she could make me a reservation and then compare it to the military rate. For the trip that I had her look up, the military rate was $163 and the non-military rate was $286. That is a substantial discount!
However, discounts may vary based on several factors, such as how many available cars they have on your reservation date, how busy they expect to be, whether or not you are taking a one-way trip, and other factors.
Sometimes a discount may be realized in the form of a free upgrade.
How to Find the Best Deal on Your Next Rental Car
You can try several methods to save additional money on your next car rental. Here are some tips I have successfully used to save over 30% on my rental car reservations.
Call the Car Rental Company to Ask About Additional Discounts
I recommend that if you find a better deal elsewhere and you make your reservation to still call the rental car company after your reservation has been made and ask if they will discount your rate even further because you are military. I used this method to get a military discount with U-haul and it may work elsewhere also.
Check for Affinity Relationships
Many rental car companies have affinity relationships with various organizations. For example, here is an experience I had with Enterprise. They offered USAA members a discount of up to 20%. USAA also has a partnership with Avis, Hertz, and Budget. If you are not a USAA member, you may still qualify for a discount, but it differs.
Costco is another great option. I have often found Costco to offer cheaper car rental prices than some of the big travel sites, like Expedia or Travelocity. Costco also offers a military discount to new members.
Shop through Rebate Sites, Travel Portals, and Using Credit Card Rewards
When shopping through travel aggregator sites and individual rental company websites, I always first visit Rakuten. They track your link and give you a rebate on your purchase. This is usually in the 2-4% range, sometimes higher or lower, depending on the purchase.
If your credit card company offers rewards points, you can try redeeming those for a rental car. I have had mixed luck there – sometimes the points are worth more when used for cash, airline tickets, or other rewards. It really depends on the program.
Use the Car Rental Rewards Program
I don’t rent cars frequently enough to join any individual rewards programs, but you can get some nice perks if you rent from the same place every time. That is worth looking into.
IN CONCLUSION: If you have the time to do your research, compare rates using sites like Expedia.com or Hotwire.com and use sites like coupons.com or retailmenot.com to get additional discount “codes”. If those are better than the military rate, try calling the rental car company after making your reservation and seeing if they will discount your rate even further because you are military.
Military Members Can Also Enjoy 10% off GREYHOUND and AMTRAK
- GREYHOUND – Active duty and retired military personnel and their dependent family members are eligible. Another great benefit is that you can travel anywhere in the United States for a maximum round trip fee of $235. Click HERE to learn more
- AMTRAK Military Discount – Active duty personnel and their dependent family members are eligible.