The $300 Nap Courtesy of Hertz

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We are currently in Colorado on a short weekend getaway, and while the trip overall has been a good one, it started off in a less-than-perfect way upon landing in Denver.  I’ve mentioned before the worst part of family travel is hands down the rental car process, and that held up for sure on this trip.  It all started well enough getting our bags, taking the shuttle bus to the Hertz rental facility, and having my husband go and get the car while the kid and I waited by the Hertz Gold check-in area where the shuttle bus dropped us off.

Our four year old was very tired by this point in the day and she was falling asleep in my arms as my husband pulled up in “our” rental car.  Like a rock star, he had already installed the car seat before pulling up, and I thought we were in the running for some kind of family travel award because everything was just going fantastically.  The kid was tired and ready for a nap.  The car seat was ready.  We had a two hour drive ahead of us for her to snooze through and my husband had pulled in up a pretty decent SUV when all we had reserved was a full sized car.

I asked him if that was in the Gold aisle for upgrades, and he said yes, so I thought we were set!  He said our originally assigned car was a Rav 4, so either way we had indeed scored a SUV upgrade.  We placed the unconscious kid in her car seat and she was snoring before we could even finish buckling her up.  We headed to the exit gate to hand the Hertz employee our paperwork and start our drive toward the mountains and Beaver Creek.  Then trouble started.

The Hertz gal said that we were not in the right car, and we explained we knew we had selected a different car from the Gold aisle as all the signs said we could.  She said that car was already assigned to someone else and would be a $100 upgrade per night if we wanted to keep it as it was a full size SUV and we had booked a full sized car and only been upgraded to a mid-size SUV.  Um, okay.

We tried explaining our predicament that our kid was already passed out, we clearly had confused the Hertz #1 Gold aisle with the Gold Choice aisle, and was there any way to make a one-time exception for the weekend.  We got a heeeeeck no, so we pulled back through to go plead our case to someone else.  I’m really not one to ask for many favors in life, but this was a case where we needed help.

The Gold Choice employee we spoke to next gave the same firm answer as the gate attendant, and so the manager came out.  I can’t even tell you the last time in my life I asked to “speak to a manager”.  I stayed nice and apologetic through the whole thing and tried to assure them we weren’t trying to scam them out of an upgrade from the mid- to full-sized SUV.  The issue was simply that my husband had just gotten confused by the rules and location of the free Gold Choice aisle vs the #1 Gold aisle and since we were all loaded up, and more importantly had a passed out kid I did not want to disturb, we really needed a better option than the $300 up-charge when our whole weekend rental was $60 total to start with.  I did not want to move my passed out kid, but I could not afford paying $300 to ensure she continued her nap.

Ultimately the manager did offer a “half off” $50 per night upgrade, but $150 total was still more than 2x our entire rental price for the weekend so that was not going to work.  We unpacked the full sized SUV and moved our bags and sleeping kid to the mid-sized SUV (that had 60,000 miles on it and was covered in bird poop), and crossed our fingers.  Naturally the kid woke right up during the move and never fell back asleep the entire day.  You can guess how fun some of the meltdowns were that evening courtesy of the no-nap situation….

We messed up by selecting a different vehicle from the wrong aisle.  No doubt.  However, Hertz has made the entire “choose another vehicle process” too complicated.  My husband is a smart guy and not a travel newbie and he was confused.  In fact he has Hertz Five Star Status thanks to renting regularly with Hertz so this was not his first rental car rodeo.  Lord help someone who travels extremely infrequently.

I think that either you allow people to pick a different car or you don’t.  Don’t make it so confusing that you can load a sleeping four year old and get all the way to the exit gate before being told you messed up and can’t have that car.  My understanding thanks to talking to folks who have status with National is that they let you pretty much choose any vehicle on the lot.  Maybe it is time to switch…

The whole ordeal was just unnecessary.  I could care less about ending up with a mid-sized rather than a full sized SUV.  I would have been totally fine in the full sized car we rented in the first place.  However, I care about being treated like the enemy and not like a customer.  I care about not being able to work out a reasonable compromise to an unfortunate situation.  We would have paid more to keep the car we were in, not because it was “better”, but because the price of the nap was worth something to me.  Just not $300.

Pingbacks

  1. […] Never rent anything but a subcompact (the cheapest one).  This is assuming you don’t need a van or SUV or something larger.  But even if you want a larger car, just rent the subcompact.  In my experience, the car rental agencies never have those cars anyways, so you’ll end up getting “upgraded” into a larger sedan, like I did when I went to tape my episode of Wheel of Fortune.  Lots of times if you have status (which is easy and usually free to get), you can pick your own car anyways, but be careful not to run into Mommy Points $300 nap. […]

Comments

  1. I find the Gold Choice annoying too.

    Especially the GPS upcharge.

    It was explained to me that if I booked a GPS and chose a car from the Gold choice that had a GPS then I am fine.

    However if I did not book a GPS and there was a car with a GPS in it in Gold choice then I would be charged for the GPS. Now there were 4 spaces that stated GPS Gold choice.

    However these cars 1/4 had GPS. And the nicer cars not in the Gold Choice regular spots had GPS. So Gold Choice was really choose another intermediate car or pay a GPS upgrade to get your car upgrade.

    Clever.

    • FatCat, I really like to give them the benefit of the doubt that the Gold Choice is customer friendly and not a way to make customers impulsively spend more than the wanted to on a rental car, but I’m starting to not be so sure. .

  2. I don’t know why you expected Hertz to eat the loss on their upgraded vehicle because your husband made the mistake. Just because you have a young child?

  3. We are a family will small kids and I would have asked for a favor one time and then let it go. Clearly you were in “the wrong” in making the mistake, and Hertz was unwilling to give a favor. SUV’s are big business for car rental firms, the margin of profit on them is huge but they do not have unlimited supplies of them. If they were holding that and similar SUV’s for confirmed renters, they clearly could not want to give it up for a favor. I think you should have been gracious and moved on the RAV4 immediately so that Little C could be repositioned quickly while still in the first minutes of her nap. Fighting a war is only worth it if you are certain you will win.

  4. Sometimes you just make a mistake and you have to stand up and admit it.

    Certainly, if a travel company makes a mistake, you make them make it right. That goes both ways.

  5. The entire back and forth was about 5 minutes, so we did give up and move pretty quickly. In terms of the nap, the timing didn’t matter though as the move is what caused the wake-up.

    I by no means expect them to eat a big loss and would have paid a reasonable amount to go from the mid-sized SUV they gave us to full size, but not an unreasonable amount. A reasonable compromise to a situation that we messed up in, but that was very much contributed by confusing rules, would have been great. We just got a cold bucket of hecccck no. Being loyal to a program, in my mind, means you go out of your way to book with them and they occasionally go out of their way to help you. Maybe my understanding is a little too rosy glasses.

    • Isn’t offering 50% off the upgrade rate for what wasn’t their mistake is going out of their way to help you?

      What you asked for is similar to booking at the Hyatt Regency and walking into the Park Hyatt asking them to honor your reservation and price because you already have your luggage/family/etc in their lobby.

  6. I think Hertz acted in good faith by trying to meet you halfway and splitting the cost of the mistake with you. Even though it was your mistake, you still wanted Hertz to eat 100% of the cost. And let’s be honest, not BEING able to afford the $150 upgrade and not WANTING to afford it are two very different things. In the end, it was you, not Hertz that decided to disturb your child’s nap.

  7. Similar experience at BOS. Selected a nice SUV (it was snowing), only to get to gate and find ridiculous upcharge because it was Choice not Gold. WTH. Signage not clear.

    I had a Hertz DIA rental in July and was disappointed that they had crap to swap for in Gold. Plenty of awesome Choice cars. I am just a piddly Gold member. There was a driver/worker milling about in the area and I asked why there was such poor selection. She said they were in transition. Uh huh. Nothing better than my assigned Camry so we took that.

    I am not finding the “pick your own vehicle” process to work as well as Emerald Aisle.

  8. I agree with Ven. Your husband should have checked with someone instead of just assuming the 2 class upgrade, and you should have returned the car immediately after being notified. This reeks of “I’m special” mentality. I normally love your blog, but I can’t take your side on this one.

  9. I had a similar situation with Alamo. When I got to the gate they told me I had picked from the wrong aisle. With the car fully loaded up and a car seat in the back I was not happy. Thankfully the person at the gate waived the upgrade fee. Renting a car after a flight with the family is one of the hardest part of traveling with young kids

  10. So you are willing to drop $700 on a night at the park Hyatt NYC
    Because you drank the blogger cool aid lifestyle but you can’t spend $300 or $150 on a SUV rental?

    • John, no I didn’t drop $700 at the Park Hyatt NY. I waited until I could find a night to use my Hyatt points and no I was not going to spend hundreds extra to go from a mid-sized to full sized SUV for the weekend.

  11. While I’m sure your husband did take the larger SUV by mistake, we both know that there are plenty of people in this world (and in this hobby) who would totally go for the largest car they could see and try to brazen it out at the exit (then drive to the hotel and demand a suite upgrade). In retrospect, do you really expect them to have given you a larger car than you were entitled to?
    .
    Assuming the bags fit in the standard sedan, unless I’m doing dirt-road driving I’d always prefer the car to the SUV anyway. They’re generally more fun to drive, are better equipped, get better gas mileage, are quieter, and (most important) have a locking trunk (I’m talking full-size cars, not economy models, of course). And if you fit in the mid-size SUV, why choose the larger one in the first place?
    .
    It was really bad luck that C had fallen asleep before you got off the lot and doubly so that she wasn’t able to get back to sleep after you switched cars. But, objectively, I don’t think that’s a reason for the company to let you take a car you didn’t rent, even by accident. Honestly, I think your husband’s status should have counted for more than your child being asleep.

  12. Why do you still rent from Hertz? Seriously, it is the worst rental car company out there in terms of customer service and terrible fleet. You have the Amex Platinum card which gives you National Executive status and that is by far the best status you can get with a rental car company. My former employer had National as the preferred rental car company and the maximum we were allowed to rent on a business trip was a full size car. I cannot remember the last time I drove a full size car from National. You simply go to the Executive Aisle and get whatever car is there. I always got standard or full size SUVs, mini vans or even more luxury cars like Volvos. Last year I switched jobs and my new company has Hertz as preferred rental car company. What a disaster!!!! The Hertz Gold Choice aisle has nothing to do with the Executive Aisle from National. All they have there are Toyotas or Impalas with 50k + miles and that is when you are lucky. I have the highest status with Hertz and when renting full size cars all I get is Toyota Camry if I am lucky. The other thing that called my attention is that Hertz cars have very but very high mileage when compared to National cars. I used to get brand new cars from National but with Hertz the cars are ready to retire. Here are two examples that happened to me this year: booked a standard SUV with National for New Year’s in Boston. Got there and all standard SUVs where still been prepared by their maintenance crew since they had just been returned. I was in the same boat as you with my 5 year old ready to nap and when the manager saw that our car wasn’t there he apologized and asked me to wait that he was going to take care of us. In less than 3 minutes he pulls up on a Chevrolet Tahoe and asked if that would be OK for us. I said yes and he apologized he had to take the plastics out of the seats because the car was brand new. It had 10 miles on it!!!!! He not only gave us that car but offered to pay for the full tank of gas since that car had a worst gas consumption than the one I had reserved. Now fast forward to last week when I went to Hertz to pick up my full size car for a business trip. They not only did not have full size cars but gave me a medium size car with 65k miles on it and that smelled like an ashtray. When I told the lady I was allergic and would not take that car she said that was all she had so take it or leave it. I am forced to get Hertz for business but only take National when traveling with family.

    • Well I do love the 4 hour grace period with Hertz via the Amex Platinum, and we had previously had good enough experiences with Hertz to overlook the minor bumps along the way. What can I say, we were loyal.

      We aren’t “never going to rent from Hertz again”, but we very likely will be trying National for the reasons you describe.

  13. Thanks to everyone sharing their thoughts! I’ll weigh in one more time before heading out to enjoy the last few hours on the mountain. I don’t know why he picked the larger SUV. Honestly, I didn’t ask him. I guess he just liked it the best of the options on the row that he thought was Gold Choice that was really #1 Gold row. It was an innocent mistake. I would have preferred a million times over that we were just given our assigned car and skipped all this.

    There weren’t any employees out near the row he was on to ask or double check with that he was picking the right car. I do think that if you are going to have any element of choice of cars that there probably should be staff out there or it should be dummy proofed much more than it was that day. Perhaps simply having the keys to the assigned cars hanging on the gold board area would be enough so that there aren’t keys in cars that are off limits.

    This was very much not a “I’m special give me an upgrade” situation. This was a desperate traveling family can you please help us come up with a good resolution situation. I try to be about the furthest thing from an entitled traveler out there. Perhaps that doesn’t come across well in the post, but I’m not one to ask for help lightly.

    Had any of the people we talked to at Hertz simply said they were fully committed or just about sold out of SUVs for the weekend so there wasn’t really anything they could do, than would have absolutely understood. It would have still stunk, but we understand the business side. Perhaps they were and just didn’t mention it. In case anyone is curious our asking for help did not slow down any other travelers as there wasn’t anyone else out there renting in the Gold area the entire time we were there. This is major slow season in Colorado.

    Even just a little empathy would have gone a long way. There wasn’t empathy, and there wasn’t any expression of we wish we could help more but we can’t. There was pretty much just unpack your stuff and tough cookies sweetheart.

    Objectively I don’t expect free upgrades beyond whatever we are expressly permitted. However, I do hope that when things go wrong on either side of the transaction that companies will work with travelers a bit more than what happened here. I travel a good amount and have awesome, good, regular, and subpar interactions with all types of travel providers. Most mess ups on either side along the way I don’t write about. This one was unfortunate enough to stand out.

    • “This was a desperate traveling family can you please help us come up with a good resolution situation. I try to be about the furthest thing from an entitled traveler out there.”
      I wouldn’t classify a family who selects a rental car that is a class above what they paid for and then wants to keep it without paying for the higher class because their kid has fallen asleep as a “desperate traveling family.” And yes, you do sound like an entitled traveler. I was waiting for you to say “Don’t you know who I am?” The Hertz manager did then offer you 50% off so they did try to work with you.

  14. I am surprised that Hertz didn’t accommodate you. It was an honest mistake due to Hertz’ confusing signage and policies. I am sure this was frustrating for you, as well as the frustrating people in line behind you.

    I agree that the rental car is the most frustrating part of traveling. With 2 young kids in car seats, getting on and off trains, buses, finding the right car, and doing the car seat shuffle of taking the car seat out of the car seat bag while not losing anything and installing the car seat is hard. Especially when all you want to do is get on your way. And the cars are always outside and luck has it that it’s either 100 degrees or snowing when trying to put those car seats in. While the discount places (I know Hertz isn’t discount) can save a few dollars, we had one horrible experience with one and will never rent from a discount place again while travelling with our kids. We usually make a refundable reservation with Both Avis and National if they are similar in pricing. When we land, we usually have an email from Avis with our exact car info. If it’s acceptable we go with it (basically just has to have tinted windows for our kids in the back). If its something we would have to exchange, then we would choose to get on the National bus and take our luck with the emerald isle.

  15. You seem to be a user. Young kid, hey big deal. I’ve had three. Mistake, I make them and accept the results.
    Hotel breakfast, you invite the world to eat on the hotel’s dime. Ethics, take a course. You could use one.

  16. I have status with both Hertz and National. I have been using National this year for nearly all of my rental cars, and they have been great. I like being able to pick any car and not worry about the problem you described. Also, I had an issue in Chicago with tolls – no coins, and I paid the toll online. I got a letter for a $15 dollar fee plus the toll. When I called National, they gave me a free rental and told me how to contact the toll people to provide them proof of payment (it was an Illinois problem and fee, not National). I’m not going back to Hertz.

  17. I had a horrible experience with Hertz at PHX in November, and am not inclined to rent from them again. I am a member of Hertz #1 Gold Club so I assumed my name would be on the board in front of my assigned car. Nope! I went into the Gold Club office and waited about 45 minutes in a line of about 3 people for assistance. When I got up the counter the lady was very snotty and told me that pre-paid reservations are not privy to Gold Club benefits. This is not stated anywhere by the way. To make matters worse, after waiting in line longer than should have been necessary, the employee was not inclined to help me in the least. She made me take my bags up the escalator back into the rental car center at the airport for assistance. I was beyond mad. When I got to the other Hertz office I had wait another 10 minutes for assistance. I explained my situation to the manager who offered me an upgrade to a convertible as compensation. An hour and a half after arriving at Hertz I finally received my rental car. You would think the story ends there. No! Since I had to wait so long for the car I got stuck on a portion on the highway that closes for an hour every night for road construction. I didn’t arrive at my hotel until 1:30 a.m. NEVER AGAIN! I sent Hertz a complaint on their website when I got home and received a horrible canned response. They clearly do not value customers.

  18. Nothing is worse than being labeled “entitled” — yet those of us who play the points game do so often because we have figured out how to get the most bang for the buck or most “bennies for the buck.”

    Alas, in this instance, I think you could have probably written your explanation a little more empathetic to Hertz. This is coming from someone with twins who KNOWS the VALHALLA benefits of a child nap WHEN you want them to go down, but if the world revolved around those of us who need everyone to side with us or be empathetic when we NEED our child to nap, it would be a very awkward place.

    I feel for what you went through and I wish there was a better solution but, in the end, this really was a simple User Error situation. Your husband made a mistake not double-checking about the car (even with inadequate signeage) and Hertz knocking $150 off the price certainly seems fair, so this is the one time I’m siding against you, Mommypoints.

    But I STILL LOVE your blog.

  19. To me it seems like an honest mistake and hertz should’ve made an exception. Sorry that happened to you. Even if they couldn’t let you keep it, a little sympathy and understanding goes a long way.

  20. I can totally sympathize. And I understand the frustration when service companies accept ‘meets expectations’ even though you give them multiple tries to ‘exceed’ your expectations during a tough travel moment. The Recession had one positive aspect in that many companies that didn’t take customer service (and recovery) seriously went under. Good riddance!
    Although I have a few good memories of Hertz (they once drove my family to BOS to drop us off versus making us take the shuttle in the rain with the kids) my most recent one was just one thing after another including sneaking a Plate Pass charge on to my CC after the fact even though we were driving in a state without tolls.
    One thing that I learned which shocked me was in trying to redeem Hertz points, some areas have ridiculous points rates during parts of the year. Sure, 4th of July in DC I understand the higher redemption. But the ENTIRE STATE of Washington from July 7-Aug 24 (7 weeks) seems ludicrous. Same with Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii. So beware that trying to reserve a car on points can quickly become impossible because the rates double. We were looking at 8800 points to reserve a minivan for a single week. It may have been a fluke but I called Hertz and was able to reserve the same minivan on points for 4400.
    Hope the rest of your trip was awesome and you can forget Hertz and their mediocre customer service.

  21. This post, especially the title “the $300 Nap Courtesy of Hertz”, seems so out of character for you MP. Blaming Hertz publicly for your husbands mistake is not fair. It is difficult to empathize with your “desparate travelling family” story. I don’t like waking any napping child, but this seems a bit blown out of proportion. You sure fired up everyone on this one!

    • Agree with above. It’s almost as if someone else wrote this post. Very out of character.

      Maybe if you had written this a week later once the raw emotion dissipated, the tone would be different.

      Still enjoy the blog otherwise!

  22. I’m almost certain that if Herzt had a surplus of full size SUV inventory, they would have helped you out. I’m so sorry they didn’t …..traveling with young child is hard. When my girls (twins) were 1 1/2 years old, we were returning our rental at the OAK Hertz. My girls were in their deep nap. When the customer representative who checked our car in saw that my girls were asleep in the back, she offered to drive us to the departure terminal in our rental without having to unload EVERYTHING (luggage and car seats). Just this small kind act eased us of unloading everything, wake the girls and load everything and everyone onto the shuttle, and unload everything/one at the departure terminal. We were so great flu of their great customer serivce.

  23. I think this is just the norm nowadays. The courtesy in customer service has been snuffed out. And, to make it worse, the ideas that the front line agents/reps have is, we understand it, why didn’t you? In other words, when we talk to you, we know what we are talking about and we don’t have the time or the concern that the customer doesn’t. It just doesn’t phase them because there is no longer the connection of performing the job as if it mattered and that usually is a top down syndrome.

  24. Totally agree with waiting a few days to post most of the time as it lets the “bubbles settle”. In this case I did wait a couple days, though certainly could have waited longer. I was never angry with Hertz in case that is how it adavertantly came across, but certainly disappointed that no better resolution could be reached. I’m open to feedback and reflection, so maybe the insanity of the week played into this being the “straw” that felt worse than it was.

    That said, the whole thing really did stink and the lack of empathy we felt by all three Hertz employees we pleaded our case to didn’t help. Napping kids aren’t a national crisis, but an overtired kid absolutely has a direct impact on the quality of vacation. As with many things in life, it was likely the “how” more than the “what”.

    Our final cost for the rental that weekend was $58, so I still think what we were offered was totally out of whack unless they really were in a close to sold out situation.

    Either way, if I had to do it again, I would tell the same story here, but instead focus more on how you could avoid having the same situation happen to you. So, that is how I will leave it.

    When you rent from Hertz, be very, very careful of the “choice” aspect of selecting a vehicle unless you are prepared to spend a hefty amount more than you paid for your vehicle.

    The Gold Choice aisle is not necessarily where you pick up your Gold Club rental. Be especially wary if you are eyeing selecting a car that is not exactly the type you rented, as well s watch out for things like GPS that may increase the rate. If you are at all in doubt flag down a Hertz employee to make sure your selection won’t cost extra before loading your bags, and especially your sleeping kid.

  25. Oh please…
    1) Mistakes were made by both parties. A) rental names are very similar B) not knowing the difference.
    2) traveling with young kids is very stressful.
    3) they did offer a 50% discount on a larger vehicle that you didn’t pay for or entitled to.
    4) $150 for a larger vehicle that already has a sleeping kid and all if your stuff is annoying but considering how much free travel you’ve done 10s/100s of thousands in free stuff you can afford this event, unless the $150 will affect you.
    5) traveling with young kids is very stressful. A sleeping young kid after/during traveling is Priceless. Pay up.

  26. One more thing, the idea that the DH was somehow wrong if the vehicle was in the same row as the other eligible cars, is a bit harsh. I remember arriving at an airport I frequent once where I was to pick up the ECAR/CCAR and the rep on site told me pick whatever I want. I was so unsure that he really mean it, I truly hesitated, and he had to assure me he meant it (as they had tons of cars). Everything for the rental car companies depends on the day by day inventory and even the Hertz excellence experience bows to what has been decided for the day (and that includes the automated program). I then picked the best SUV for me, a Hyundai, brand new, one I believed was the best drive for me because it wasn’t overwhelming. But, the difference was the human willing to mentor me to pick ANY vehicle, as I would not have chosen an SUV without his express permission.

  27. So I did almost the exact same thing with Avis at SFO, also by accident, and they let me keep the car. No extra charges. I apologized, said I was confused, and they just told me not to do it again!

  28. Sorry to hear of your Hertz hassles. DEN arent known for their customer service standards. Like you, I have been a loyal Hertz member for 15+ years and do my 20+ rentals a year and someone tells me I am a Presidents Circle member, but I have no idea what that is supposed to mean for me.

    I rent from Hertz in Europe and Australia and think only in Europe, do they provide a decent service. I’m tired of worn out, and beat up cars, with tire pressures all over the place and I dont reckon I have been in one recent Hertz vehicle which has had clean interior windows.

    Next time you come to DEN, call me – and I will come pick up the clan in my pickup 🙂

  29. I like your blog because you give a different points of view on traveling and are very open in discussing how you plan the trip with points etc.

    This post, as you clearly stated, resulted from your husband’s mistake. If you can not ask him why/how he picked the wrong car and just accept its an innocent mistake, why do you get disappointed that Hertz’s offer of $150 is not empathetic/genuine/good customer service?

    The front line employees often times don’t have that much authority to do much, especially since this is a $300 upgrade.

    At what price point would you have paid and feel like you weren’t mistreated by Hertz? Given, your husband made the mistake, you are trying to accommodate your kid and Hertz is doing you a favor?

    It is frustrating that the kiddo didn’t get a good nap, but this is all part of parenthood. How you raise your kid, how you handle your kid and how you plan your travel for nap times.

    IMO, Hertz was more than generous in offering you $150 for your husband’s mistake. If the kid’s nap is so important, you really don’t want to disturb her, you’d pay up.

    You seemed very forgiving of your husband’s mistake, stating that he’s a pro and Hertz’s signage is confusing and understanding of your kid’s need and implying the justification for the subsequent tantrum for lack of a nap, and reserved all your frustration, disappointment toward Hertz. Which like another poster posted, unfair.

  30. The issue with the $300++ to $150++ offer was that $300 was a (to me) insane rack rate that no one paying out of their own pocket actually pays. That’s like a hotel rack rate in my mind. It exists, but it’s not real. So half off an insane rate was still half of an insane rate that was literally 3x of our entire rental in the mid-sized SUV.

    As to what I would have thought was a reasonable amount to go from the mid-sized SUV we were in to a full sized….I don’t know exactly, but $25 a night seems reasonable to me. With taxes that would probably still be another $100, but for me personally that seems reasonable for everyone involved given the one class upgrade we were talking…assuming of course they had the full sized SUVs in stock. That still more that doubles the cost of our entire rental, but it seems like a logical step function from mid to full size SUV. We’ve paid that amount for upgrades in the past.

  31. I’ve been using Hertz for a long time, and they are still my preferred rental company, but there are definitely times when they really give bad service. I had that situation in Milwalkee two weeks ago, with surly and unhelpful employees. Internationally I often find them to be the cheapest and usually they are very helpful.

    Domestically, depending on the market, they can be cheapest by far of all the companies or most expensive by far. To add salt to the wound, if you *are* an existing customer you often get quoted higher prices than if they don’t know you.

    The car rental part of the process is always the most painful for me. I always have to go through the entire search of all the agencies each time I plan to reserve a car. And *keep* checking because often the price will drop dramatically.

    More and more I find Costco Travel to be the best place to find domestic deals. Always cheaper for the same car than at the car rental website.

  32. Excellent post. With 3 kids I have been there.

    In fact, Hertz just pulled a bait and switch on me for an “upgrade” car when the car I booked was not even available when I got down to the Gold row.I am disputing it now. They also charged a $150 cleaning fee even though I took all the trash out. Must have been the sand but a quick vacuum would have gotten that up not a $150 detail.
    I will never rent from them again.

    • Lark, very interesting and so true. While I’ve only had this situation happen once, it is certainly true that on average the Hertz cars we are being given today are much higher mileage than the were 3 or 4 years ago. Heck, even more than two years ago.

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