Car Rental in the US: Game-Changing Tips to Score a Free Upgrade

Are you ready to get the wheels in motion and...

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Travel insurance for the USA

Are you ready to get the wheels in motion and take your road trip up a notch without breaking the bank? It might sound too good to be true, but with just a little bit of planning and knowledge, you can score yourself an upgraded car rental for free!

Car rental upgrades can be a great way to add a little extra luxury to your next trip. Whether you're looking for a bigger car or just something more stylish, an upgrade can help make your journey that much more enjoyable. Here are some game-changing tips that will help you save money and enjoy greater comfort as you explore new places.

Take advantage of loyalty reward programs with rental car companies (it’s free to join!)

You might be surprised to learn that the best way to get a free upgrade from a rental car company is simply to sign up for their free loyalty rewards program.

Not only do you get to enjoy the luxurious experience without paying an extra cost, but the points you earn on each rental are redeemable for future booking upgrades.

This has to be the best-kept secret among travellers, but companies like Hertz and National also offer free exclusive programs where you can select the car of your choice from their lot at no extra cost. Most times, you may even be lucky enough to pick an intermediate sedan or a small SUV for the price of a compact!

Many of these programs also provide additional benefits, such as limited-time discounts or promotional codes that allow you to save even more on your next car rental experience. To take full advantage of these kinds of rewards, make sure to sign up for their loyalty program!

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Find offers from credit card companies

Credit card companies provide an excellent way to save money on car rentals, especially when they partner with major rental companies. These partnerships often include various benefits, such as complimentary upgrades when you book through the credit card's website or app.

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Comparing different cards and offers is essential to ensure you're getting the best deal. Furthermore, travel reward cards let you accumulate points that can be used toward car rentals. Plus, perks such as complimentary roadside assistance, additional driver, and collision damage waivers may also be offered depending on the credit card company. These benefits can make your travels more convenient and enjoyable while saving money at the same time.

Request an upgrade at the counter

You may be able to get a free upgrade simply by asking the rental counter staff for one–especially if there is a large stock of cars available or it’s close to closing time in the evening. It may not always work, but it's certainly worth giving it a shot!

If you're polite and friendly when you pick up your car, the staff will be more likely to help you out.

Book the smallest and cheapest car

Did you know that when you book a compact or economy car, there is potential to get an upgrade for free? You might think it's too good to be true, but it's likely that booking a smaller size car rental in advance will give your rental agency the option to upgrade you to something larger if they don't have enough availability in the lower rate class. This strategy has worked out great for many travellers and could be just the way to get a great deal on an upgraded rental car.

Use travel search engines

Searching through online travel marketplaces like Expedia, Orbitz, and Hotwire can be a great way to get significant savings on car rentals–with some companies even offering free upgrades. When booking a rental car through these sites, you pay for the desired class of vehicle and your chosen agency is revealed after completing the reservation. Exploring this route is definitely worth it, as you may be able to lock in an upgrade at no additional cost!

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Make sure you book in advance

Booking your car rental in advance is always a good idea. Companies often reward customers who make their reservations early with discounts, perks, and even upgrades. In addition, if you book ahead of time when demand is high, you might be rewarded with bonus rewards! Not to mention that more cars are likely to be available for an upgrade if you book early. So don't wait until the last minute. Make your reservation now and take advantage of all the great deals!

Be flexible with timing

If you have some flexibility in your travel schedule, consider booking off-peak times such as midweek instead of weekends. This is because car companies usually have more cars available during these times, which means they may be willing to give away upgrades for free or at discounted rates since they don’t have as many people competing for them.

Show up early

The earlier you arrive at the rental counter, the better chances you have at getting an upgrade since there will likely be more cars available upon your arrival compared to later in the day when they may already be out of stock on certain models.

Hit the road in style!

With these tips in mind, you should have no problem scoring an upgraded car so that you can drive around comfortably without breaking your budget on your next vacation to the US!

Have peace of mind during your trip by contacting a soNomad agent for your travel insurance needs.

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