Car Rental Advice from JackOfAll

Please read all of this to understand how to get the best deal. During busy times you will not find many bargains. They are dependent on open inventory. Do your research through, Carrentalsavers, Costco. Costco & carrentalsavers puts coupons in automagicly. So know your “Best Pricing”.

Summer months, holidays & school break it is hard to find the deals. Making reservations sooner is best. I will even reserve several sizes & dates if I am unsure how many people will be with me or when I am going. You get to cancel without any payments/penalty so make those cheapest reservations…

Get an idea of what pricing is with Costco; I find the best deals here generally. Priceline; proprietary pricing so you may want to check them too. Priceline also offers $11 a day car insurance if you need this. Carrentalsavers; Use the pull down menus for “Location” MCO and FL for the automatic coupons to be added.

Reserve your cheapest price now; don’t pre pay. Keep watching prices & If you find a cheaper price, reserve it and then cancel the old reservation. In that Order. Only bid priceline if you understand the cheapest pricing for needed time.

I found the best pricing 10 to 4 weeks before. Mostly 6 weeks is prime Also it is a good time for Priceline bidding; Beware of bidding. You can end up paying more. Note final price when bidding. If you bid check the web sites on how to price your price bid.

Beware of offsite rentals. It takes time to get your car when you wait for a shuttle. Most are a walk across from baggage. Unless you get a great savings pick the at airport rental; Alamo\Enterprise\National, Avis\Budget, Dollar\Thrifty, Hertz\Firefly & EZ. Most sites will state shuttle or at airport. Use this to help in your decision. Personally I like Alamo, Dollar and Thrifty as you get to pick your car from your car class.

I check the pricing daily. Car companies also make mistakes and put cars in at wrong pricing. If so, they will honor those reservations regardless of how low they are. Just keep swimming/checking.

I mostly go off season so pricing is better and competitive. Again, 10 weeks have been prime for me. Start bidding at 10 weeks. Do not over bid! Not all Priceline & Hotwire cars are at MCO anymore so beware.

Bidding is discouraging. Remember bidding is prepaying so be sure of your rate. Be patient. Bid stupid low starting 10 weeks out. Keep bidding every 24hrs. It may take weeks for your bid to be accepted. If hotwire has price you can generally bid lower. Hotwire can drop 5 weeks before needed time.
Most of all know your pricing. I have rented a full size car for a week for $45 total with all taxes included at MCO. I have also paid as much as $150. So know what is your pricing for your time. Good luck and happy hunting.


I’m psyched you posted this…I am traveling next April (flying into MCO) for a Sat-Sat stay. Right now, I can get low-mid 200s inclusive of taxes. This is NOT Easter wk or connected to Easter. None of the “codes” work because they virtually all expire at the end of Dec. Am I working on this too early? I read an article about bidding and I’m game to try that, but the article said that’s best done shortly before your trip (booking something else earlier.). Advice?

I also swore I could get a better deal than my dad gets and he said I’ll never get something for under 200$!

BTW Firefly does not show up for all car classes on They are owned by Hertz. They are onsite and have some good deals but you need to go directly to their website. So check them out too.

Glad to see that you have posted your rental advice here - now all we have to do is link to it every time someone asks a car rental question. :smiley:

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Thanks for this info, @JackOfAll!

And don’t forget to join each agency’s loyalty program to skip the counter inside and go straight to the garage.

Thank you so much for posting this here! Is it ever a good idea to pick the on site companies?

I only use on site companies. Less time spent getting and returning the rental car. I like not having to wait for a shuttle to take me elsewhere

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I seldom bid anymore. I generally find great deals without bidding. Prime time for bidding is 10 to 4 weeks before needed time needed but I would bid stupid low if I were bidding. Bid every 24 hours and be sure you are not paying too much. Priceline adds fees to the per day costs and taxes on top of your bid so it is more than just the bid price. Check you total when finilizing your bid. Just know what you are willing to bid. It would surprise me if you could not find a Standard to full size for less than $200 for a week. Do not forget Costco if you are a member. Most of my cars are through costco nowadays.

Rely on the major search engines, and, for basic pricing. Check other times too to see what cars are going for. Then go out and find your best price. I only rent at “on airport” locations now. It is not worth saving $40 to do a shuttle. These strategies have worked well for me. Once I had made over 45 reservations before I got my lowest price and final reservation.


Good info @JackOfAll. I’m currently looking for my best price for November. Thanks!

Haven’t been able to find under $259 for in terminal 10 day rental end of August. Would prefer to do National or Alamo and do 1 week rental and return to Dolphin, but that’s even higher. Will keep trying or will just book car service from MCO to UOR to WDW and then do DME back to MCO.

Just realized I was giving 20% discount from Alamo with my Disney Annual Pass. I choose Alamo when I need a car since they are located at WDW Car Care Center and returning the car is the best way to save money!

Good to know Alamo gives 20% off with AP. c]:}

I’m looking to rent a car next month. How did you go about getting the discount for AP holders and choose the Disney World location? I don’t seem to be able to do that online. Help :slight_smile:

You need to rent from Alamo
I looked up the discount code to use here ^^^^ Rent from Alamo Rent A Car and save up to 20%. For reservations, call Alamo at (800) 354-2322 or book online at (Request ID #860292
and when making your reservation)

The return location, on the Alamo site I selected was Orlando, Disney Car Care Center. This location is only listed on Alamo and National car rental sites since they are the only ones that operate there.

I was just playing around with my reservation again yesterday. I keep “rebooking”. meaning creating a new reservation to see what the price is. I saved another $80!. I am picking up a minivan from Tampa airport, keeping for 5 days and returning it to car care center for $260, which I think is a great deal. The AP discount saved me 20%

You need to select the city or other location for your location and not the “Airport” location to do offsite rentals. If you have Costco they make it easy and has comparable or better pricing than the AP discount. If all else fails Google Alamo, “your offsight city” location codes.

Thank You! I booked through the Alamo site and got the discount. I then went to Southwest Airlines website, where I’m a Rapid Rewards member and booked through there, saved an additional $5 as I was still able to use the AP code and I will get Double FF Miles. :slight_smile: So for 2 Days, 12/12-12/14 Mini Van rental from MCO, I’m paying $76.00. I think that’s pretty good.
Thanks for the info!

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Just wanted to add a few things to this thread.

First, FOLLOW THE METHOD. Just prior to learning @JackOfAll’s method, I booked what I thought was a “great deal” bidding on Priceline. I subsequently discovered that if I had been patient and followed The Method, I would have saved at least $100.

Second, check all three SmartBooks at CarRentalSavers: The main one, the Florida one, and the Orlando one They can often find different rates, and no guarantees as to which one consistently finds the lowest.

Third, add AutoSlash into the mix. The idea with AutoSlash is that once you book through it it will monitor rates and automatically re-book when it finds a better deal than the one you already have. Unfortunately the car rental companies do not like this, so they stopped letting AutoSlash make the initial rental booking. However, there is a workaround - all you do is take the best deal that you have booked so far and enter the information into AutoSlash. It can then monitor the rates and let you know when it finds a better one. You just click on the link in the e-mail to book it, but be sure to do this quickly as rental rates are always changing. However, don’t just rely on AutoSlash - at times I have found better rates on CarRentalSavers that AutoSlash never found.

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What vendors are at (at) Sanford?