Category: Car

Pura Vida – A Few Travel Tips for Costa Rica

TravelWhimsy and I took her parents to the amazing country of Costa Rica during Thanksgiving week. Two of our dearest friends, M & P, who had recently retired there, hosted us at their new home. M & P expertly planned almost every single aspect of our trip, so this is not going to be my typical trip report involving much about miles and points strategy. Instead, I will share a few notes I jotted down along the way that could help you better plan your future trips to Costa Rica. If you have never experienced PURA VIDA, don’t wait too long. It only takes 30-35,000 miles per person, and you won’t regret it!

Beautiful “Bluebird” (Yes, Pun Intended for You Mile/Point Junkies!) in Costa Rican Rainforest

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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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