Deluxe It Up - To Infinity & Beyond!

Today’s Meditation: Car Rental

As I mentioned above, our trip is happening in a few steps:

3-nights Grand Cypress pre-cation (Thursday - Sunday)
5-nights Swan
1 night Hyatt Regency MCO

The first leg of the trip will have some serious hang out time in our Grand Cypress Suite, so we’ll likely want to stock up on food stuffs since we have that killer kitchen and dining space.

Plus we want to hit Disney Springs and probably spend some time at Coronado Springs, since Three Bridges is suuuuper-high on everyone’s fav list for dinner.

So, with all of that going on, plus the need for transportation from the airport, I figure it will be to our advantage to rent a car at MCO for those first 3 days.

But: Hoo boy prices.

shoveling money

After some watching, I was able to catch an Avis rental for a full size car for $361.
That rental is for pick up at MCO and drop off on Sunday at the Wyndham in Kissimmee.

I have elite status in each of the rental companies via my travel credit cards. I really like National’s status because if you book a mid-size or above you get to grab any car from the Executive aisle and there can be some pretty nice cars there! My son was psyched to grab a new 4-door Jeep pickup on our Miami trip, but there were Audi SUVs and as we left they drove up some BMWs.

(Pro Tip: I used my Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP) to book that Miami rental, and that card offers primary rental car insurance. BUT: Half way through the trip I looked something up in the terms and realized that certain cars are excepted - including cars with open pickup beds. I was then a little nervous until I returned the car!)

Anyway: National’s prices were bonkers : $499 for the same rental: full-size car, pick up at MCO and drop at the WDW Car Care center. When I first checked, even if I priced a rental with return back at MCO it was still over $400.

However, today that MCO-return National price was different: $309.
(The Car Care center return option is STILL $499. Pretty nuts to charge $190 for a different return location in such a high volume location.)

My plan on Sunday was to check out of Grand Cypress, drive the family over to the Swan to drop them and luggage off, then return the rental and Uber back.

So, now I’m wondering if it might be worth going with National for the chance to to get a nice car upgrade, but have to deal with the time required to go all the way back and forth to MCO on Sunday.

National will likely end up slightly cheaper even taking into account a longer Uber.



I started using National through work, and they do have some nice cars in the executive aisle!

1 Like

Welp, Made the decision to go with National and will suck it up and return the car to MCO rather than locally in Kissimmee.

Didn’t hurt the rental went down another $6 today to $303.
I read some Avis reviews for MCO and, boy were there some bad ones. Like anything these days, hard to know when to trust reviews.

But overall:

  • I liked National so far in Miami
  • Probably better for me to focus on a single rental company to speed up earning free days
  • The Executive Aisle car lottery could prove fun if there are some interesting cars to choose from.

While it will take a little more time and $ to return the car and Uber back from MCO, the $57 in rental savings more than covers the extra charge.

Plus, I keep forgetting: Our multiple Amex cards give us $35 in Uber credits each month. Since I’m not Ubering when home, I tend to use the credits for Uber Eats. But, the $35 that month will cover most of the likely MCO to Swan charge, so… National it is!


FWIW, I found National to be the best option at MCO so far. I was able to get EE status by them matching my Sixt status and it worked well. This was the first time I got a car similar to what I wanted and had reserved and didn’t have to queue for ages. Hertz and Sixt have been an absolute scam - long queues, poor service, no cars in the category I booked so they try to charge you for an upgrade etc…


You could Mears or Sunshine Flyer back from the airport to save some $.


Well, that’s a great suggestion! :slight_smile:
I’ll have to think about the timing.


Just give them some flight that arrives before you will. No worries if you show up ‘late’.


Thanks for the tip! In my mind I kind of thought I’d have to finagle a particular time, but if they just stick you on the next one out, that might be just the ticket.


That’s exactly what they do.


Deciding how far I’m willing to go to embarrass my kids in park.


You mean by wearing the wrong IP




yabba dabba this is the way


We had breakfast at Ale & Compass on our departure day, and there was a guy wearing this a couple tables over! Well, I never actually saw the front, but I’m pretty certain it was a Fred Flintstone shirt based on the back of it!


Last January, I rented from National at MCO (used emerald isle) and dropped off at the car care center in WDW. They did not add any additional charge for dropping there.

Looks like they are upping your charge. Maybe see if you can find a company account number for national. When I look through my work travel site, it is showing $31.50/day.


Good point. My work allows us to rent from National for personal use with the company account as long as we pay for it with a personal credit card. Saved us a boatload on our trip out west last year, and we automatically get extra drivers included too.

1 Like

I’m NYS state government, tried to see if we had some sort of code at that level, but struck out.

If you find and try corporate codes found online, they don’t do any verification on them?

When I’ve used codes for legit things I do have access to, like the Verizon govt employee discount, they usually make me verify via my company email address etc.


They definitely do this. It only cost me $16 to get to the hotel. Much cheaper than Uber.


I have not been asked to prove when booking through my National App. Although, I did use my legit company code.

1 Like

My son’s absolute butter fingers with his new-ish iPhone last trip gives me great pause for our upcoming trip as we upgraded him to a ginormous iPhone 14+ this year.

Also, when my regular camera became wonky my own phone paranoia while on the move caused several errant misinterpreted ambiguous body parts in my trip report photos.

So, I’ve been looking at checking out these Koala phone tethers for the trip.

I may just go 100% phone photos again - although I’ll miss the super zoom on my camera.
There seem to be no end to similar knock-off looking tethers on The Amazon, but they all seem kind of poor design.

Anyone have experience with these or something similar that they liked?
I’m just not sure if I’ll end up finding it annoying.