Category: Budget

Booking a Last-minute Trip to Kauai for 4 Adults 7 Days Prior to Departure with Miles & Points

It is often debatable whether collecting miles and points is even worth our time and effort, given the existence of 2% cash back credit cards. TravelWhimsy and I just returned from a whirlwind long-weekend trip to Kaua’i, HI, with our moms. The entire trip was conceived and booked on a whim – 7 days prior to departure, to be exact. A last-minute trip like ours seems to indicate that miles and points could trump cash back, and we will let you be the judge.

Kauai's Napali Coast from the Kalalau Trail
Kauai’s Northern Coastline Viewed from the First Half-Mile on the Kalalau Trail

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Still Possible to Earn Some Bonus AAdvantage Miles for Your AVIS or Budget Car Rentals

I was hoping that the AVIS car rental deal to earn 3,000 AAdvantage mile per day would be extended again, but it wasn’t. Instead, the original offer link has been updated to reflect a much less attractive offer (up to 750 miles).

I was able to locate a better alternative offer of 1,500 AAdvantage miles for rentals of 3+ days with AVIS. In addition, the Budget offer of up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles is still available for cars picked up by September 30, 2012.

If you happen to need a car before November 30, 2012 and can find an attractive rate with AVIS or Budget, earning some extra bonus AAdvantage miles might still not be such a bad thing (considering how you’d normally only get 50 miles per day)!

Let me go over the four best possible scenarios quickly.

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New Budget Offer Lets You Earn Up to 10,000 AAdvantage Miles + Extension of the AVIS Budget Rental Car Bonus Offer

The AVIS and Budget rental car promotion I posted in July was supposed to expire today (August 31, 2012), but it has been extended to September 15, 2012. The offer link in my original post still works and reflects the new offer expiration date. You just need to begin your rental by September 15, 2012.

In addition, there is a similar but BETTER Budget promotion going on now until September 30, 2012. You can earn as many as 10,000 AAdvantage miles, as long as your rental begins by September 30, 2012.

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How Much Does It Cost to Earn Frequent Flyer Miles & Points with Car Rentals?

The Sunday before last, TravelWhimsy and I decided to take her mom, a friend, and the doggies to hike to Mary Jane Falls up in Mount Charleston (only ~40 miles away from the Las Vegas strip).

 

Rather than put the 100+ miles on our own car, I booked a car with AVIS for the day to take advantage of the 3,000 bonus AAdvantage miles promotion. This was my first time renting from AVIS, and I was surprised to discover the $4.05 frequent flyer (“FF”) surcharge on my final receipt.

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Sign Up for a Free USAA Membership to Save on Car Rentals (and Underage Fees)

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!

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Alert – Opportunity to Buy AAdvantage Miles for Less Than a Penny Each via Avis Car Rental (Before 8/31/2012)

Usually, you can earn 50 airline miles a day for your car rentals. Occasionally, you can also earn 500-1,500 bonus miles for a rental of 3+ days. I normally rent from Hertz for ~$10-15/day with taxes and fees included, and credit a short weekend rental to Southwest Airlines (600 points = ~$10, or $20 if you have the companion pass).

Two of our dear friends are flying to Niagara Falls for their 3rd wedding anniversary today. As loyal Avis and AA fans, they casually mentioned that they were getting 500 AA miles for their 3-day Avis rental. Unable to convert them over to Hertz with a $30 discount, I set out to see if I could find them a better deal with Avis. A quick Google search led me to a current promotion that almost sounded too good to be true!

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