Until about two weeks ago, I had been watching rental car prices for an upcoming two-day trip during Labor Day weekend. Unfortunately, my usually trusty Hertz was not giving me the bargains I’d normally get; instead it was telling me that I had to settle for an all inclusive rate of ~$120 for two days.
A quick look on carrentals.com showed me that Budget was offering an all-in rate of ~$80; a quick Google search for Budget coupons led me to a random working discount code marked for “25% off.” I had no idea what that coupon was for, but it gave me an all-in rate of $42.22 (base rate of $12/day)! I could also cancel the booking any time, should Hertz decide to redeem itself.
The Budget confirmation email came, and I realized that the discount code was for USAA members. I have never rented a car from Budget before; do I have to show proof of a USAA membership? Instead of letting myself feel a bit uneasy and hoping for the best, I went on the official USAA website. The short and quick conclusion is that you DON’T have to be associated with the military to become a USAA member. Getting a membership can be done online for free in just a few minutes!
How to Sign up for Your Free USAA Membership
(1) Go to usaa.com and click on “About USAA” and then “Join USAA.”
(2) Choose “No. I need to establish online access with USAA.”
(3) Enter your personal information as required.
(4) On the Eligibility page, answer all questions truthfully.
(5) Agree to the “Online Legal Agreement,” and you will have been assigned a new USAA membership number.
(6) Print a copy of your online enrollment or email confirmation showing your membership number as proof for your next car rental booked with a USAA discount code.
USAA Car Rental Discounts/Benefits
- List of rental car partner discount codes (Avis, Budget, Hertz);
- Underage fee waivers: Hertz (18+) or Avis/Budget (21+).
One final note: a few days after I booked the Budget rental, the USAA discount code was no longer giving the same deep discount. The best rate was ~$120 (10% off only from publicly available Budget rates). Therefore, we can conclude that the % discounts vary across markets, depending on availability, demand/supply, and seasonality/days of the week.
[Update: You can earn airline miles by renting with Budget, even though the reservation process might not suggest so. Check this list out and give your frequent flier numbers at the time of rental.]
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