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

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


Chase – lowest price is ~$167


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.

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update!
BEST Current Credit Card Deals
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards—Earn 90,000 Venture miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening, plus a $300 annual statement credit for travel booked through Capital One
  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card—Earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months and 3X bonus points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Amex Blue Business Plus—Earn 15,00 Membership Rewards points once you spend after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of Card Membership and 2X bonus points on up to $50,000 in spending per year with NO annual fee
Open a savings account with Yotta and play the lottery every day—for free. Get FREE tickets with a new account!

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

More articles by Harlan »



  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 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!

    • Hi Jonathan! This is excellent information. Thanks so much for adding more about how the service works. Will definitely keep you guys in mind for next time.

      Thank you!

    • 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.

  8. Harlan I use usually a day or two before the needed dates, because when car rental companies have a surplus of cars they inform hotwire, who then usually offer lower rates than all the other onlines. It works fabulous, and you can utilyze some tricks if you’re budget-conscious type. Here are just three of my experiences (you’ll like the third one especially, a $200/day Suburban for $21/day):
    1) I live in Orlando, but sometimes fly out of Miami. I rent through hotwire at Orlando airport, drive one-way to Miami airport. $24 complete, no drop-off charge. Cheaper than the bus. This works one-way when cars are needed in the destination city. 2) Orlando to New York JFK. One-way car rental from Orlando to JFK, $24. Chose an upgrade to a Lincoln SUV for $8 more and enjoyed the 24-hour drive in style.

    3) I needed a good large vehicle for 19 days to do some serious travel into Western Canada for a 40th class reunion and my mom’s birthday. Would be putting a lot of miles on it. A couple days beforehand I scoured which N.W. USA airport had the best Hotwire last-minute cars available, found Jackson Hole WY (not too far from Alberta), pre-paid a full-size car, $21 for 19 days. Then I flew in late (an hour before the car rentals close, to maximize the chances of getting free upgrades if their inventory has run out at the end of the night and they have no choice but to upgrade you for free, though they’ll try to make you pay, but just refuse and they’ll be in a bind and have no choice but to give you the upgrade for free). Guess what I got? A brand new extra-length 4-wheel drive Suburban (it had just arrived at the rental agency, had about 50 miles on the odometer) for $24/day (!!) with unlimited miles (because that’s what the contract I pre-paid stated for the full-size). I drove it more than 5,000 miles, bought two roll-up foam mattresses and slept in it fully stretched out in the back (it’s huge!) to eliminate hotel costs on the road. When I returned it to the same counter clerk 19 days later, he said, “Oh yeah, I remember you. How’d you like the Suburban?” I said, “Awesome, so glad you gave it to me!” He smiled and said, “How many miles did you put on?” I said, “Five thousand two hundred.”

    He was speechless.

    That probably cost the rental company $2,000 in lost value (due to the mileage on a luxury SUV), but cost me $399.

    So if you’re budget-conscious, willing to be a little flexible and do research, and be a shrewd customer, Hotwire is the best. Give them a try. and their customer service is second to none. Always reachable on the phone, and refund problems without questions.

    Steve Kuban (D.Div)

Leave a Reply