Last week, I wrote about the great deal that Avis and American Airlines have that gives Avis customers up to 7,500 AA miles. I showed how that can be a fabulous deal for some people and why it gives a great opportunity to rack up a few AA miles doing something you were going to do anyway.
But, faced with the need to rent a car this week, I did not rent using Avis and the 7,500 AA mile deal. I really wanted to – especially since it was going to be for a week which would have meant earning the full 7,500 AA miles. I mean, that is like getting at least $110 for free for just renting a car!
Why I Did Not Rent From Avis
However, there are a few fundamental differences between Avis and National that drove me to get another rental from National and skip the Avis deal. This may also affect you as well, so make sure you do a similar analysis to see if you really are getting the best deal.
With Avis, I have their mid-tier Avis First status. With National, I have their mid-tier National Executive status.
I used to have Avis President’s Club but was downgraded last year to the Avis First level. The biggest drawback of Avis First (from President’s Club) was the fact that it was as-available upgrades of one class of car. So, instead of being able to rent a much lower class to get the vehicle I really wanted, I now have to rent just one class below. And those upgrades are only to full-size car, not some of the “specialty” classes (like SUVs and minivans).
That is vastly different from National which gives their Executive members access to the Executive Aisle and any type of car that is sitting there. Plus, you get access to that from renting only a mid-size car! So, I could rent a mid-size and still get a SUV or minivan! Not bad!
When it came down to it, our vehicle needs were such that we at least needed an SUV if not a minivan. A car was just not going to cut it this time. So, I took to the Avis site to see what was available and saw a staggering $500 total for a minivan for a week! Yes, I know I could have rented a full-size (also not as cheap – coming in at $220) and hoped that I got a really nice agent to move me into a minivan, but that had not been my experience in the past and I really needed the extra space.
So, I went over to National and punched in what I wanted and there it was – a mid-size car for $150. Thanks to my National Executive status, that meant that I could pick whatever I wanted from their Executive Aisle and there are always minivans and SUVs in those aisles. Sure enough, I was able to snag a Toyota Sienna for the price of the mid-size.
If I had rented based on the 7,500 AA miles, those AA miles would have cost me an outrageous 4.7 cents per mile!
I realize that locations play a big part in the prices. I also realize that not everyone has similar needs/desires to mine when it comes to vehicle selections. However, make sure you do not your homework before using the Avis 7,500 AA mile deal – you may end up paying a whole lot more for those miles than you would if you bought them right from American Airlines! 🙂 However, if you are renting a mid-size or similar, you would more than likely be just fine with using the Avis/AA offer.