Best Programs & Deals to Save Money on Coaster Trips

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Re: Best Programs & Deals to Save Money on Coaster Trips

Postby anonymouscactus » Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:49 pm

With my limited knowledge of rental cars I've found prices fluctuate pretty crazily all the time. I *never* pay ahead and book with a refundable rate and re-book as needed. I've seen hundreds of dollars differences just by checking a few times leading up to a trip. I don't know the secret to getting the best deal other than using comparison sites (and some awesome entertainment book rate codes), but never ever take and prepay what you think is the best deal because the best deal a few days later could be vastly different.

I think for my L.A. trip last year, over a 6 month span I rebooked about 6 times. Seems silly but I saved a crapload of money. My best deal initially was $247 after taxes and fees with shitty sixt for an economy car and ended up turning into $84 for a midsize SUV with Alamo after taxes and fees for 4 days with A ONE WAY rental (normally there can be significant fees on one way rentals) So keep running those comparisons, you never know when things are going to drop like crazy. I thought it was a price mistake at first.

The screenshots below were for the exact same rental dates for the same amount of days for the same exact airports, both were the best price on the same comparison site but were booked at different time periods.

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Re: Best Programs & Deals to Save Money on Coaster Trips

Postby joelwee » Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:01 pm

anonymouscactus wrote:With my limited knowledge of rental cars I've found prices fluctuate pretty crazily all the time. I *never* pay ahead and book with a refundable rate and re-book as needed. I've seen hundreds of dollars differences just by checking a few times leading up to a trip. I don't know the secret to getting the best deal other than using comparison sites (and some awesome entertainment book rate codes), but never ever take and prepay what you think is the best deal because the best deal a few days later could be vastly different.

I think for my L.A. trip last year, over a 6 month span I rebooked about 6 times. Seems silly but I saved a crapload of money. My best deal initially was $247 after taxes and fees with shitty sixt for an economy car and ended up turning into $81 for a midsize SUV with Alamo after taxes and fees for 4 days with A ONE WAY rental (normally there can be significant fees on one way rentals) So keep running those comparisons, you never know when things are going to drop like crazy.

Good point; I'll keep my eye out for a better price. Costco car rentals are cancel-able, and they don't even ask for your credit card until you pick up the car, so swapping my reservation out for a better price should be no problem.
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Re: Best Programs & Deals to Save Money on Coaster Trips

Postby A.J. » Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:22 pm

anonymouscactus wrote:I think for my L.A. trip last year, over a 6 month span I rebooked about 6 times. Seems silly but I saved a crapload of money. My best deal initially was $247 after taxes and fees with shitty sixt for an economy car and ended up turning into $84 for a midsize SUV with Alamo after taxes and fees for 4 days with A ONE WAY rental (normally there can be significant fees on one way rentals) So keep running those comparisons, you never know when things are going to drop like crazy. I thought it was a price mistake at first.

One-way rentals are risky business. Cars from far out of state (or even cars from Canada!) will often sit in rental fleets, especially at airport locations, for a very long time until some sucker ends up one-way-ing them in the general direction of the state they're registered in. A car that's over 2 years old with 30,XXX miles, which may be leaving the fleet soon, might suddenly get one-wayed to a completely different part of the country and rack up miles as if it were new. It's not really "shady" because it's cost-prohibitive for a rental company to re-register / re-title the car in a different state.

Example, at the fleet I worked in part-time during college, we would occasionally get cars from Ontario. Due to random circumstances, the stars often wouldn't align to send them back north until they were 3 years old or more, with over 45,000 miles. Sometimes they were the only cars we had left at the end of the night, sometimes they were the only car that we had available in a certain class... Lots of reasons why they get stuck.
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Re: Best Programs & Deals to Save Money on Coaster Trips

Postby Satans Hockey » Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:48 am

anonymouscactus wrote:So keep running those comparisons, you never know when things are going to drop like crazy. I thought it was a price mistake at first.


Which comparison site were you using? I definitely prefer to rent a car for a long road trip if it's a good deal then put a ton of miles on my car.

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Re: Best Programs & Deals to Save Money on Coaster Trips

Postby coneyislandchris » Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:29 am

coasterbill wrote:Awesome news about WOW and Norwegian guys!

Anyway this sort of sounds like a straight up advertisement but I guess that's the nature of the thread and this is so awesome that it really needs to be mentioned so here goes. For anyone who's traveling to a park between now and November 11th and isn't currently taking advantage of a hotel rewards program, Choice Hotels has a really good offer right now. I know I've talked about them before and I'm a pretty happy Choice Privileges / Choice Privileges Visa customer but this is the best offer I've seen from them. You have to play the game a little though, so this is how it works...

Essentially they're running a promotion now that allows you to stay for 2 nights and get enough points for a free third night at one of their cheaper hotels or enough points to cover a large chunk of the fee for a more expensive hotel. We just did it in Orlando and got WAY more points than we generally would have for the same stays. The best part is, the promotion runs through November 11th and there's no limit to how many times you can do it. You do need to register for the promotion, but you can keep doing this over and over.

That said you do have to know how to play the game a little bit, so here's what I've found out.

1) Obviously you need to sign up for Choice Privileges (which is free and not tied to a credit card at all unless you get it to add an extra 5 points per purchase at a Choice Hotel and you might as well since there's no annual fee. I have it and I love it but BEWARE of the interest rate). Then you have to register for the promotion at the link above.

2) DO NOT stay at the same hotel 2 nights in a row. That's a complete waste. You need 2 separate qualifying stays which means two separate stays at one of their hotels. Normally you're free to do this with Choice, but don't do it during this promotion. When we visited Busch Gardens Tampa the other day we got into town on Friday night, went to the park and Howl O Scream on Saturday (with the 1:00 close) and needed to stay right near the park on Saturday night. Ideally we would have loved to just stay at the same hotel both nights but I booked a Comfort Suites one night and a Sleep Inn the next night for no f*cking reason other than to get it to count as 2 separate stays which worked. You can't fool the system by checking out and back into the same hotel. You need to actually pick two hotels. I know it's stupid, but it's worth doing.

3) From what I can tell there's actually no benefit to staying at a nice hotel (from a points standpoint). Normally when I pay for a room and don't use points (rare since it's so easy to rack up points with Choice) I stay at Comfort Suites or Sleep Inn (which I consider to be their best offerings) since I know I get 15 points per dollar anyway so I don't mind splurging a little but with this promotion you seem to get 8000 points no matter what so I suggest racking up sh*tty Econo Lodge stays. For this trip we stayed at Comfort Suites and Sleep Inn because Busch Gardens is in a sh*tty area and we didn't want to die, but if you're not in a sh*tty area then you get more bang for your buck by staying at cheap hotels. Kind of weird, but it seems like a loophole that they overlooked. You're getting the same amount of points regardless of what you spend on the room anyway. :lol: By the way, AAA rates or other discounted rates will all work for this promotion.

4) Rooms booked at rates below $40 per night don't qualify. I know you'll never find that in most parts of the country and if you do you should run away kicking and screaming but I've actually been to a few places where you can get a decent room for $40 a night (like Las Vegas or the Midwest for example) so I figured I'd point that out.


Thanks to this thread being rebumped, I just noticed that they're running this promotion again! It's any two stays between April 2nd and May 25th to qualify.
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Re: Best Programs & Deals to Save Money on Coaster Trips

Postby anonymouscactus » Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:01 am

^ thanks for the heads up! Now I get to replan my upcoming theme park trips next month so we switch hotels on the 2 night stays. And no way I'm redeeming last year's points now, just going to keep them racking up thanks to this promo lol

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Re: Best Programs & Deals to Save Money on Coaster Trips

Postby joelwee » Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:57 am

Crap, it ends a week before my trip. I can't easily reschedule it because it's centered around CoasterMania. Oh, well.
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Re: Best Programs & Deals to Save Money on Coaster Trips

Postby coasterbill » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:15 pm

Holy crap! This thread is alive. I just assumed nobody cared and started a Discount travel blog so I can annoy people with this type of crap to my heart's content. :lol:

I'd link it but I don't know if that's kosher.

anonymouscactus wrote:^ thanks for the heads up! Now I get to replan my upcoming theme park trips next month so we switch hotels on the 2 night stays. And no way I'm redeeming last year's points now, just going to keep them racking up thanks to this promo lol


Yeah, that's absolutely the way to go. I'm so glad this is back. This is seriously the best hotel promotion ever since you can keep doing it. Make SURE you register for the promotion though (you don't get it automatically) and hotel hopping for absolutely no reason is definitely key.

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Re: Best Programs & Deals to Save Money on Coaster Trips

Postby Canobie Coaster » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:44 pm

I really should look into this Choice promotion over Hotels.com considering I stay at my fair share of Econo Lodges.
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Re: Best Programs & Deals to Save Money on Coaster Trips

Postby PKI Jizzman » Tue Apr 03, 2018 2:52 pm

A.J. wrote:
anonymouscactus wrote:I think for my L.A. trip last year, over a 6 month span I rebooked about 6 times. Seems silly but I saved a crapload of money. My best deal initially was $247 after taxes and fees with shitty sixt for an economy car and ended up turning into $84 for a midsize SUV with Alamo after taxes and fees for 4 days with A ONE WAY rental (normally there can be significant fees on one way rentals) So keep running those comparisons, you never know when things are going to drop like crazy. I thought it was a price mistake at first.

One-way rentals are risky business. Cars from far out of state (or even cars from Canada!) will often sit in rental fleets, especially at airport locations, for a very long time until some sucker ends up one-way-ing them in the general direction of the state they're registered in. A car that's over 2 years old with 30,XXX miles, which may be leaving the fleet soon, might suddenly get one-wayed to a completely different part of the country and rack up miles as if it were new. It's not really "shady" because it's cost-prohibitive for a rental company to re-register / re-title the car in a different state.

Example, at the fleet I worked in part-time during college, we would occasionally get cars from Ontario. Due to random circumstances, the stars often wouldn't align to send them back north until they were 3 years old or more, with over 45,000 miles. Sometimes they were the only cars we had left at the end of the night, sometimes they were the only car that we had available in a certain class... Lots of reasons why they get stuck.


Interesting read; I don't know crap about cars but you are suggesting that you're more likely to get a car that will break down? I'm likely going to be getting a one way rental (although it'll just be from Charlotte/NC to Hilton Head/SC and I bet there are plenty of NC ->SC and SC -> NC rentals happening) and this seems like something more people should know about.
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