How to Escape the Coming Car Rental Apocalypse

Perhaps you’re wondering why rental car companies don’t just ramp up capacity to meet the growing demand. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Vehicle pricing is relatively high right now and getting new cars in is extremely challenging. Between auto factories shutting down during the pandemic and the widely reported semiconductor shortage disrupting auto factories worldwide, competition for new vehicles is fierce. Keep in mind that the business model in the car rental industry is to buy cheap, rent the cars, and then sell for a small loss within 12 months.

On the bright side, this makes National Executive Elite actually worth something with the guaranteed 24hr availability. I recently was renting a car and they showed no availability until I logged in, and then I was able to select a car as normal.


I used to get Marriott rooms at sold-out properties with status, but only when I was willing to pay $600 a night for a $250 room. :smiley:

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I was looking at Hyatt Globalist benefits the other day, and supposedly they have 48 hr guaranteed availability. Except it excludes blackout periods, and “extreme demand”…which means it’s not guaranteed at all :roll_eyes: And like you said, even if you get the room, be prepared to overpay a lot

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Summer of 2019 I rented an Infiniti QX60 for a week down in Florida for a week around $500-600. Planning to go back to Florida in May, a 7 Passenger Tahoe/Armada is now $1100 for the week. Ouch!

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But did it get you into the Admirals Club?


Was just down in Florida and got a loaded expedition for the price of a small suv. Unless it’s spring break time frame you may to better renting small and asking for upgrade.

No, that’s why the good lord gave us the Citi AAdvantage Executive Mastercard.

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Thank god for corporate rates. I have elite status with National and a guaranteed $32/day or less rental pretty much everywhere in the country for a full size car. AFAIK all you need is someone’s corporate code and that’s it.

Was that why you got the in-flight turkey sandwich that you parted-out for breakfast? Undoubtedly with a little 5 Guys mustard :kissing_heart::ok_hand:t2:


TBF a full-size SUV is always more expensive than whatever classification is the QX60.

No, that was from my flight from SAN-DFW. It’s sad what constitutes an “inflight meal” these days.

On Monday for lunch, though, I had the chicken Caesar wrap that I picked up at the Airspace Lounge at SAN before I left.

Amex picked up the tab for the wrap (there’s a $10 food/beverage credit that comes with the complimentary lounge access via the Platinum card).

Gate gourmet needs to get it together. I wouldn’t feed that vending machine leftover to my dog.

Nice perk. Relative for the annual fee, how much do you recoup every year?

This time around I got the card by accepting a 25,000-point upgrade offer on my Green.

Minimum value of the MR points the way I’ll use them is $250.

When you add up the Saks, Uber and airline spending credits, plus the $250 bonus, I had the $550 AF recouped in about three weeks.

There’s about $300-400 in various spending credits that will get Hoovered up in 2021 before the AF hits again in November (not including 12-15 Airspace visits with a $10 food/bev credit per).


Their advice: book early. My advice: take an uber everywhere or go someplace where you don’t need a car.

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Check out the Avis thread on FT, they have corporate codes that are pretty sweet and most work for anyone, even when they ask for a ‘cost code’

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The real perk of fly out of SAN is when Alaskan asks you if you want to upgrade to first for $30. If you are consistently drinking then they don’t require you to wear a mask and I can’t remember the last time I had a bar tab in San Diego that was less than $30 and included 2 free checked bags.

Looking at going to Denver this summer, flights for 4 $900. Rental car (small SUV0 for a week $1,200. Think we may drive it instead.