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I’ve been using rental cars all over the world ever since I was old enough to drive. From my first rental in Spain 20 years ago to my most recent rental in Costa Rica, I must have driven over 40 different rental cars by now, but they never had anything in common. I don’t rent cars often enough to make it worthwhile for me to join one rental company’s loyalty program, and I usually go for the cheapest and smallest (yes, I worry about fitting into a parking spot!) option. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever rented a car directly through a car rental agency; I’ve always compared prices on various car rental aggregators – websites like Expedia, Priceline or Skyscanner that compare prices at all of the available rental companies for you.
On my most recent trip I decided to try a car rental aggregator that I’d heard of but never used myself: Autoslash. If you’re wondering why the world needs another website that compares car rental prices for you: Autoslash has some features that none of the other websites has.
So what makes Autoslash special?
First of all, Autoslash is the only car rental aggregator that does not only compare prices for different car rental companies, but in addition, it searches the web for discount codes and coupons that car rental companies offer temporarily and adds those to each quote. That’s why, contrary to other comparison websites that show you the results for your search right away, Autoslash sends you their search results via email shortly after you submit your request.
Autoslash also includes discounts offered to members of certain rewards programs. These can be frequent flyer programs, credit cards that offer car rental discounts, car rental loyalty programs and association memberships.
Tracking A Rental
Tracking a rental is a unique feature that I have not seen on any other car rental website yet. Unlike other websites that simply list the prices for the rental you inquired about and allow you to book it through their site, Autoslash goes one step further: After making a reservation, you are able to track the rental, and Autoslash searches the various car rental websites on a daily basis to see if one of them offers a cheaper price than the rate you reserved your car rental at. As soon as they find a cheaper rate, they send you an email, giving you the chance to cancel your existing reservation and rebook at a lower rate. Because Autoslash integrates discount codes and online vouchers in their search, it is very likely that they are able to find a better rate for you after you make a booking.
To track your rental you don’t have to make a reservation via Autoslash, by the way. If you have an existing reservation, you can use Autoslash’s rental tracker by simply entering your confirmation number and the company you made the reservation with.
How does Autoslash work?
If you want to use Autoslash to get a quote for a car rental, it works similarly to any other car rental aggregator. The only difference is the added step of adding all your memberships and credit cards, so that Autoslash is able to add any discounts that apply for the specific membership / loyalty program you have.
After submitting your request, you wait for the quote to arrive in your inbox (which usually comes within 15 minutes) and choose the option you like best. When I got my first quote for car rentals in Costa Rica, I noticed that prices started at a very low rate – as little as $10! I’ve experienced something similar in Mexico, where prices started at $0 with some companies – but if that’s the case, don’t be fooled and think you get the car for next to nothing. Rental companies usually make their daily rates for mandatory and non-mandatory (but recommended) insurance fees high enough to make the rental still profitable for them. So if you see a rate that seems to be too good to be true, make sure to look into required insurance and other fees in the country you’re visiting to be prepared for the actual cost. I will be sharing everything you need to know about renting a car in Costa Rica in a separate post, since these fees and insurance requirements vary in each country and don’t have anything to do with Autoslash’s service.
I recommend making a reservation straight away after you receive your quote, because the prices in the quote may change quickly, especially if Autoslash added a discount code it found while searching the web for the best rates. You want to make sure to lock in that rate while the discount last – often, specific car rentals have a sale or special offer that only runs for a short period of time.
After you make your reservation, don’t forget to add your rental confirmation to the rental tracker. It is extremely likely that Autoslash will find a cheaper rate for your rental, so this extra step will definitely pay off. Initially, Autoslash was able to change the reservation for you after finding a cheaper rate, but as you can imagine, car rental companies weren’t too pleased with this service which is why you have to change the reservation yourself now when they email you that they found a cheaper rate. But the couple of minutes you spend re-booking your rental is well worth the savings.
If, for whatever reason, you prefer booking a car directly with the car rental company of your choice, it’s still worth checking Autoslash – go to the coupon section on the website to see if your favorite rental company has a discount code at the moment. There are dozens of valid coupons, offered by rental company in alphabetical order.
You can also search for coupons by typing in the location of your choice and your dates and select the companies you want to have included in the search. So if you have had a bad experience with a certain company in the past, you can easily exclude it from your search.
Autoslash vs car rental companies: The Test
I don’t think I’ll ever rent a car again without using Autoslash: It would feel like I’m leaving money on the table. Even though the process takes a couple of minutes longer than using one of the other car rental aggregators – for me, it is worth it to have things like credit card and loyalty programs included in the search, and of course online discount coupons.
In the end, Autoslash may even send you to the car rental aggregator you’ve used previously (like it did in my case – the cheapest option it found for me was through Priceline), but I did conduct a search for an upcoming trip I’m planning to see if Autoslash would still send me a better quote, and this is the result:
I wanted to see if I would get the same rates if I did the exact same search on each of the listed car rental agency’s websites, and these were the best rates I got when I tried to book with the three cheapest providers that Autoslash had found for me:
As you can see, all three providers offer prices that are higher than the rates found through Autoslash. The most significant difference in rates is the one between Autoslash and the one offered by Avis: Autoslash’s rate is $60 less than the rate offered on the Avis website! The difference between the rate offered by Hertz and the rate found through Autoslash might seem less noteworthy, but keep in mind that this is a short-term rental for only five days – the savings would be greater if the rental period was longer.
Things to consider when using Autoslash
I am not sure how likely it is that the rental agency actually checks for a certain membership – but it might. So do not tick any boxes for memberships or credit cards you don’t actually have. You don’t want to end up being disappointed if you don’t get the deal that you were promised.
Also – if you include certain credit cards, make sure you carry them with you when you pick up your rental. P