Chase OR Costco + Autoslash: Get the Best Price on Car Rentals

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I rented a car this past weekend in Albuquerque.

And I’m renting another one this upcoming weekend for a work trip to Austin.

I’ve rented enough cars by this point to rely solely on 2 places to look: the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and Costco Travel. One or the other of them has the best deal almost always.

car rental best price

Laaaa! Behold Costco Travel’s car rental search

For good measure, I usually run a search through Kayak, too – just to be sure.

Last week, I booked through Costco. And this week, I booked through Chase. One of them simply always works out for the best.

A quick comparison

Here are the 3 searches I ran for next week:

car rental best price

Costco – lowest price is ~$232

asd

Chase – lowest price is ~$167

asd

Kayak – lowest price is ~$177

In this case, for an intermediate car, Chase has the best price.

Kayak had some good deals, too. You can rent a “wild card” vehicle for ~$177 and they’ll tell you the company after you complete your purchase via Priceline.

Furthermore, you can also see prices for Sixt and Hertz on Kayak – which you’ll notice are both absent from Costco’s matrix of prices.

So the benefit of running a search through Kayak is the additional information and comparison. Even still, I’ve always found the best price through Chase or Costco. In this example, it happens to be Chase. Keep in mind too, this is just one example.

~$52 a day with taxes and fees isn't bad

~$52 a day with taxes and fees isn’t bad

Last week, Costco had the best rates. Look at both and pick the cheapest option for the type of car you want.

All else equal, which is better?

I prefer booking through Chase, actually. Because you prepay for your rental.

So when you arrive to pick up the car, they hand you the keys and you’re off. When you return, they give you a receipt.

But, there’s a huge thing to note about Chase. You can ONLY rent from airports. I have DAL right up the road from me, so it’s only ~5 minutes away. This could definitely affect your decision. But for airport rentals, it’s hard to beat!

With Costco, you pay after the reservation is complete.

So it depends on whether you have a preference for paying upfront or after the fact. I like getting it over with. But if prices are similar, and you have feelings one way or the other, this could be the deciding factor.

Add Autoslash to the mix for price protection

For added security, I recommend adding your rental information into Autoslash. They’ll track the price of your rental based on your confirmation number, dates, and rental car company. Currently, they cover these companies:

Track most car rental reservations via Autoslash and get an alert if the price drops

Track most car rental reservations via Autoslash and get an alert if the price drops (Click to enlarge)

This is just good practice.

Because if you book far in advance, prices are nearly certain to fluctuate. And if you book a few days into the future, like I just did, you’ll know if the price suddenly drops the day before.

Depending on the length of your rental and how much you’ve paid, the savings could add up.

I’ve never had to rebook a rental through Chase or Costco, which I suppose is a testimony to their good prices. But I still add everything to Autoslash on that off-chance. I’d gladly cancel and rebook quickly to save some cash!

Bottom line

If you don’t have a Costco membership or a card with Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can still do well simply searching through Kayak. In my example above, you’d only pay ~$10 more to book on Kayak via Priceline.

But if you can, always check Chase and Costco Travel. And to get an even better price, take the ~2 minutes it takes to transfer the information to Autoslash.

This is by far my best tip for getting the best price on car rentals, though I know there are plenty of other tricks. Did you

If you know of a good  way to get a deal on a car rental, please let me know about it! I’m genuinely curious, as I tend to rent a car every month or two.

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post. The opinions of the commenters are not necessarily the opinions of this site.

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  1. Why don’t you just book through autoslash to start with? In my experience it finds the lowest prices (which previously was always a headache coordinating the best portals, coupons, member codes, etc) and will automatically rebook you if the price drops.

    • I checked Autoslash, actually. In my area, they only had rentals available though Sixt. And the price was higher than what I found on Chase and Kayak.

      I’ve tried enough sites by now to go ahead and boil it down to Chase and Costco. Like you, I’m tired of dealing with all the promo codes and portals and searching around. I haven’t found a site that beats this combination yet – open to ideas though!

        • That’s actually super handy to know. I didn’t realize it varied by region, either.

          I definitely love using Autoslash – it would be even better to have their protection built in from the get-go, especially if theirs is the best price.

          Thanks very much for sharing, Audrey! (And for reading after all this time!)

          • +1 for Jonathan from Autoslash’s comment. It will often default to Sixt, but just click one more link and it will show you how to get quotes from all the major rental car companies. I do agree that it can be hard to beat Costco’s, but I would rather play it safe with Autoslash.

  2. Interesting — I’ve never (as in not once, ever) found the Chase portal to have the cheapest price when comparing with anything else. I’m surprised to hear that you have.

    On the other hand, I can’t even count on one hand the number of times I’ve found a price cheaper than what I find on the Citi Thank You Portal.

    That said, I’ve only had a Costco membership for a few months (the closest Costco is almost 200 miles away from me), so I haven’t had many chances to compare their rates yet.

    The only issue I’ve found with Citi (and from what I remember last I looked with Chase also) is that you can’t do one-way rentals.

    Also, I’ve come to enjoy renting with National with Executive status through the Amex Platinum (I like just picking my car when I’m there) — but Costco isn’t showing National as on option it seems. That’s a strike as I like the option to choose rather than being given the luck of the draw, as it seems is always the case when I rent a specific car type anywhere else.

    • That said, I just checked some dates I’m renting and I did find one example where Costco was cheaper than Citi on a date when I needed a minivan. That said, it was still more than $30 cheaper overall in that instance when booking a van directly via Hertz thanks to the 4-hr grace period courtesy of the Amex Platinum (I need it for 28 hours).

      • Shoot — wish I could edit my comment. Wanted to add that for the cheapest economy vehicle on the same dates and times, Citi was cheaper than Costco. Costco just had them beat on the Minivan rate.

      • That’s excellent information. I’ll have to run a few searches and see how that shakes out.

        For whatever reason, Hertz never has the best price. It’s actually usually Budget, surprisingly.

        Thank you so much for sharing this!

  3. What happens if you need to cancel that Chase car rental you prepaid? It’s it non-refundable (which is likely why it’s cheaper)?

    • Here’s the policy per their email I received today:

      “Cancellations received within two (2) days of pick-up date (not counting pick-up date) will be subject to a rental car agency cancellation fee equal to one-day average per day rental cost based on your reservation.”

      So it looks like you can cancel without penalty until 2 days before you’re supposed to pick up the car.

  4. Hi, Jonathan from AutoSlash here. I wanted to clarify one thing… Because of the deeply discounted rates we offer in many cases, your initial search may return limited or no results for some locations because of our supplier agreements. There should have been a message on the search results page to click to submit a request for a quote via email for expanded results, but if you missed it, or it didn’t show up for you, we apologize. If you book with Sixt, we would offer you lower priced options if there were any available.

    For future reference, you can go to our quote page at autoslash.com/quote directly. Once you submit your rental details, we’ll reply back in 15 minutes or less with the best discounted rates we can find across all companies.

    I hope this helps!

    • I tend to like prepaying, I don’t know why – guess it just seems like less hassle if the price is the price. Thanks for adding another +1 to Autoslash. You guys are selling me!

  5. I always do Costco + Autoslash for rentals. We tend to book vacations months out, working around school holidays. I just book it and forget it…Autoslash lets me know when the price drops. Then I check Costco again to see if I can get an even better deal…sometimes yes, mostly no. I’ve saved easily over $800 in the past 3 years this way.

    • YES! That’s the spirit!

      Love that you’ve saved so much with so little effort. And glad to hear the same combo has been working nicely for you, too. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Great post. I wasn’t aware of Chase. I’m looking to rent a car for the weekend and Chase is cheaper for me so this post is very timely. Question though – I will be splitting the drive with a friend and I will book with my Reserve which will have primary insurance. I don’t have my own car insurance, my friend has his own. So since he has his own insurance, that should cover the liability part. How would that work if I’m renting the car with my car though. Let’s say, god forbid, something happens while he’s driving, will my primary insurance kick in even though he’s driving? Let’s say, I’m driving and something happens, will his liability insurance kick in? I’m a little confused. Thanks.

  7. @Angie His liability likely would not cover you for injuries or damage caused while you are driving, but the final word on this would be your friend’s insurance company. I would encourage your friend to call his insurance agent/company and inquire as to whether this would be the case.

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