Off-airport Car Rental Deals - Especially for Using Points

@jackofall’s Car Rental Advice has great info on getting the best deals. But what about if you are using points?

You pay a premium for renting a car at the airport in terms of taxes/fees, which still have to pay with a points rental - some airports are worse than others about this (I’m looking at you, PHX), but they still add up at MCO. Additionally, you often pay a premium in terms of the points per day cost, and this can be really bad at MCO. However, if you look at nearby outlets for the same company, you can bypass these extra costs.

For example, for the trip I’m planning I can rent an Intermediate vehicle from Avis for a base rate of $138.75 with taxes/fees of $64.63 for a total of $203.38. If I burn 7,000 points I can get two free days, lowering it to a base rate of $92.51 with the same taxes/fees for a total of $157.14. Big whoop - I can probably do better with @JackOfAll’s tips and not have to burn the points.

However, if I rent from Avis’ Landstreet Road location (9 miles from the airport, and on the way to WDW), I can get an Intermediate vehicle from for the same base rate of $138.75 with taxes/fees of $23.98 for a total of $162.73. If I burn only 3,500 points I can get all the days free, paying just the taxes/fees.

In summary, by switching to an off-airport location, I save $133.16 and 3,500 points, which more than covers the cost of an Uber to the location (which I estimate at $20 each way, tops). Additionally, I skip the hell that is MCO car rental. Plus, for an additional $5.45 (total) I can upgrade to a Premium vehicle - I didn’t even bother to figure out the $/points cost for that at MCO, as it would be horrible.


This is good for me to think about. I strongly prefer a 12-pax for our potential November trip for 7.

How many days is your rental for?

Last June I got a full size SUV in Tampa’s airport for $360 USD (including all taxes and fees) for 11 days. We ended up flying to TPA since it was almost $1000 cheaper than flying to MCO last year, for a family of 4 people. This year, the flight costs were the same at TPA and MCO, so we’re flying to MCO and renting a car at the airport.

The prices were crazy expensive 4 months before our trip (over $700 USD). I ended up rebooking a few times since the prices went way down a few weeks before our trip. I’m still waiting to book a car rental since the prices are still too high and I also want to use my points.

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5 days. However, if I weren’t using points my first option would be to use @JackOfAll’s tips and look for MCO rentals. The big advantage of car rentals is that you aren’t on the hook for anything, so you can book the best deal on any given day, and then if you find a better deal the next day you cancel and rebook without penalty. Note that this only works if you do not book one of the pre-pay deals you find on sites like Priceline.

I forgot to mention that I found an awesome site called Autoslash last year. It will automatically apply all coupon codes that exist and let you know when there are cheaper rates available, so you can rebook if you want.

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Yes, Autoslash’s automatic search feature is great - however, I usually find better deals with CarRentalSavers in the first place.


Going to Orlando this summer, but no Disney…so really missing the DME! Renting cars is a major pain, and I feel like Im doing it all wrong!! Actaully, I know I am because I just realized today that I did a “pay now” on Autoslash instead of a “pay later”. Luckily I can still cancel and get my money refunded…phew!

So Im hoping to get some opinions on my tale of woe! I currently have 7 days out of Tampa with a return to MCO for 181 (compact) through Avis via Autoslash.

Now I have the possibility of staying at a friend’s condo for cheap…but I would need to add 2 days and fly in and out of MCO, so 9 days total). Looking today on Kayak, Carrentals, Autoslash (with the site looking different than the first time I booked?) and directly through Avis and Alamo…the cheapest I could find is booking directly through Alamo for 457!!! I reserved it (pay later this time!), but Woozers!! Im hoping @JackOfAll’s rental advice applies to the summer as well, and prices will go down? I tried @brklinck advice and looked at the Landstreet Road location, but I couldnt get my flight times to align. Sigh!

Anyone have any experience or words of wisdom for renting in August? Thanks so much for any and all advice!

Just keep following @JackOfAll’s advice. You still have plenty of time, and if you keep checking on a regular basis you should find better deals.

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