Reasons to Like Capital One–Part 1–Car Rentals

no hassle rewardsI just got a rate of $50.75 on a three-day car rental through Capital One’s travel portal.  I’ve used this portal numerous times over the past few years to get good deals on car rentals.  For me, it has beat Hotwire, Priceline, and even Costco in almost every case.

I learned about the portal several years ago from Stefan’s blog and have used it many time since then.  It’s worth reading Stefan’s comprehensive posts to get an overview.

I’ve just reread these posts, which were written in 2012,  and it seems like everything still holds true, except now the portal is powered by Orbitz, not Travelocity.

I have had a Capital One debit card for years that is linked to a Rewards Money Market Account.  I use it whenever I travel overseas because they don’t charge a foreign transactions fee.  I put however much money I think I will need on the trip into the account right before I leave.  Usually the account only has a couple of hundred dollars in it.  But the best thing about the account is that it gives me access to the travel portal and this is where I get the cheap car rentals.  Unfortunately this type of account is no longer available, but you CAN get access if you have a Capital One Venture (personal)  or Spark (business) credit card.  The Venture gives 2 miles/dollar and has a sign-on bonus of 40,000 miles.  The Spark also gives 2 miles/dollar and has a sign on bonus of 50,000 miles.  Annual fees are waived for the first year.  HOWEVER–please know that if you apply for a credit card from Capital One, they may pull your credit report from all three reporting bureaus.  The sign-on bonuses alone are great, but you also have access to the travel booking portal

Even if you have no miles in your account, you can use the portal to book travel.  Here is a comparison of the prices that I got for a three-day car rental this weekend in New York:

  1. Priceline  $139
  2. Hotwire    $135
  3. Costco     $101
  4. CapOne    $50

I don’t know if it is a mistake, but I booked it and got a confirmation number.  Usually the discount is about 30% lower, but I’m thrilled to get this huge discount.  The only disadvantage to booking though the Capital One portal is that you pay for the booking when you make it, and you are allowed only one change to the reservation.  At this price, however, I wouldn’t feel horrible if I had to cancel the booking.  After all, the total charge is less than what I would pay in cab fare to where I’m staying in New York.


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