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- What is #FT4RL?
- How to book an award flight from Cincinnati to Washington DC
- Transfering Chase Ultimate Rewards to get a free flight on British Airways
- Getting a US Airways confirmation number!
- Avis changes my price when adding my wizard number
- I stop Avis's dirty tricks!
- Trip report
- 1st speaker - Miles to Memories
- 2nd speaker - Jason Steele from The Points Guy
- 3rd speaker - Phil from Miles Abound
- 4th speaker - Susan from Carolina Travel Girl
- 5th speaker - Debra from Traveling Well for Less
I am going to the Family Travel for Real Life conference / meetup this weekend in Washington DC. If you read my previous posts on the subject, you will remember that I am flying into Reagan National airport (DCA), while the conference is at a hotel near Dulles airport (IAD) about 45 minutes away.
I looked into various options such as public transportation, Uber, etc. but in the end it looked like my best bet was going to be renting a car.
Renting a car with Avis
I’ve actually had pretty good luck with Avis – I’ve signed up for (the free) Avis Preferred, which means that I don’t have to stand in line – I just walk out to the car lot, get in my assigned car, and go. Frequent Miler had a post with a link to get free Avis First status, but although I tried it, it didn’t seem to work for me.
Anyways – the prices picking up at DCA were crazy. Even though I was only renting for a day (and not even a full day), every car place was charging like $70!! I even considered trying to take a taxi / shuttle / bus to an off-airport Avis where the price was much lower, but in the end didn’t want to deal with that. Looking at Priceline / Hotwire it got the price down into the $30s, but then I came across another idea
Chase Ultimate Reward mall
Conventional wisdom says that using your Chase Ultimate Rewards for travel directly is not the best use of them, and while that may be true, they also tend to have good deals on car rentals.
In fact, logging into the Ultimate Rewards portal found me this.
Boom! Super low price, plus I can pay with points, which I a) have a lot of and b) can get pretty easily. I mean geez, I can pick up $2000 points in 10 minutes when OfficeMax is giving away free money, like they like to do….
Getting my bennies!
Still, I wanna get my bennies! When I’m renting the car, I don’t want to have to wait in line with those…. commoners!! :-). But seriously, I am on a fairly tight timeline. My flight gets in at 8:15, and registration / meetup starts at 9!
There was no way to put in my wizard number at the Ultimate Rewards mall, so I call the customer service number at Avis. I give them my confirmation # and wizard number, and she says, “Well putting in your wizard number makes it recalculate the reservation, so your total is now $89.08.
She tries to tell me that car rates change “all the time” which … whatever.
Doing a bit of searching around shows me that I am far from the only one that has encountered this. The aptly named Flyertalk thread entitled “Avis’ Dirty Tricks” suggests clearing out my “AWD” number from my profile, but I’m unclear whether that will do anything.
Calling the branch office
My next thought was to try and call the actual airport Avis location as oftentimes they can do things that the corporate headquarters can not do. I tried that but did not have any luck in talking to an actual human being there. I’ll try again later. UPDATE – I got through to the branch office and they were able to hook me up.
Anyone else ever experience this? Any suggestions as to how to get my Preferred benefits on this reservation? Or am I out of luck because I didn’t book directly through Avis?
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I booked plenty of times through UR for myself and others for car rentals. UR usually has the best rates but it’s a prepaid engine. You don’t need to use UR points for the rentals, you just need to use atleast 1 point and can pay the rest with a credit card so even a better deal as I use my Arrival to pay for the rest and other’s credit card if it’s not for me and I get UR points with their rentals.
That’s a great idea – I’ll have to save that for next time!
Thanks for the article–I’m about to book an Avis rental today. I had the similar problem when I booked a Marriott stay on UR mall. I did exactly what you did–called the specific hotel directly and now my Marriott rewards number is on the reservation!
Great! I’m glad that was able to help you out!
I had the same experience in Los Angeles in December. Like you, a phone call did the trick– beware the commoners!
Did the recalc happen because your AWD is tied to a default corporate rate (similar to a CDP for Hertz)?
In the past I kept two AWDs. One for work which had a higher corporate rate with benefits and included insurance (and was mandatory) and another for personal use.
It’s been awhile since the post posted. I’ve tried to add my wizard number by calling the branch directly, calling expedia and chase travel, but none of them did not work 🙁 I think I will just go without their preferred plus benefits.