I am gearing up for a trip to the beach with my terrific traveling toddler (her recent performance of staying cheerful during delays that kept us traveling until after 12AM have earned her the additional descriptor of “terrific”). In order to get to the beach in North Carolina, price dictated that we will be flying into an airport that will require a few hours of driving after our flight. That isn’t exactly ideal, even with a terrific traveling toddler, but it is what it is. What it does mean is a rental car reservation is in order. That means a chance to maximize available promotions to save money and/or earn additional miles or rental car points. I remember reading about a pretty solid Avis coupon that awards 3,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles for a one day rental and 5,000 AAdvantage miles for a three day rental, so I did a little more research to see if that deal will work for our reservation.
In case you aren’t familiar, the Avis deal comes with the following terms and conditions:
Terms and Conditions
- 3,000 AAdvantage bonus miles offer valid on a qualifying rental of minimum one day, maximum two consecutive days at participating Avis airport locations in the US and Canada. Mention coupon MUAA035 to get this offer.
- 5,000 AAdvantage bonus miles offer valid on a qualifying rental of 3 consecutive days or more at participating Avis airport locations in the US and Canada. Mention coupon MUAA035 to get this offer.
- Offer valid for rentals between July 18,2012 and August 31, 2012.
- AAdvantage number must be mentioned at the time of reservation or at the rental counter to earn AAdvantage bonus miles.
- Please allow 6 to 8 weeks for AAdvantage bonus miles to post to the AAdvantage member’s account.
- Bonus miles offer valid on all car groups.
- An advance reservation is required.
- Offer may not be used with any other coupon, promotion or offer except your AWD discount.
- The savings of up to 35% applies to the time and mileage charges only. Use AWD K817165 to receive this discount.
- Taxes, concession recovery fees, vehicle license recovery fee, customer facility charges ($10/contract in CA) and fuel charges are extra.
- Optional items such as LDW ($35.99/day or less) and other surcharges may apply and are extra.
- Offer is subject to vehicle availability at the time of rental and may not be available on some rates at some times, including some online rates at Avis.com.
- Car rental return restrictions may apply.
- Offer subject to change without notice.
- Renter must meet Avis age, driver and credit requirements. Minimum rental age may vary by location. An additional daily surcharge may apply for renters under 25 years old.
- Rental must begin by August 31,2012.
In my research I noticed on the Frugal Travel Guy’s “comment of the day” that for those who live in Houston (like me), you can rent a sub-compact car from Avis for a price that makes it potentially worth it to rent the car primarily for the miles. I did a search for August 3rd and found a sub-compact pre-paid rate at Hobby for $12.11 plus fees. That comes to a grand total of $19.33 with all the taxes and fees. I used AWD #A177232 and Coupon Code #MUAA035 to get that rate. Considering the 3,000 miles you would earn for the rental, that is .64 cents per AAdvantage mile, which is basically fantastic. As an added bonus, you get to keep the car and log some miles on it for up to 24 hours! Theoretically, you can go through TopCashBack.com (or another portal) and get 5.5% back, bringing your out of pocket cost even lower.
When I checked IAH, there were also great prices to be had for a one day rental, but not quite as stellar as Hobby had to offer due to higher fees. Be sure to check your local airports to see if that deal is available at a location convenient for you. Also be sure to factor in the time and hassle if you have a rental primarily for the miles. From what I can tell, it is hard to have a rental with Avis where you take the keys and immediately hand them back in (a la Hertz Grand Slam style), so you may have to actually keep the car for a few hours.
I’m not sure yet if this promo will work for my upcoming rental since I haven’t yet been able to get the rate below what my Hertz reservation already offers. I’m willing to pay a little more to get 5,000 miles, but I won’t pay significantly more just for the miles. Hopefully I will find a way to lower the price enough to get in on the 5,000 bonus miles!