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Save Money On Car Rentals With Zalyn.com

by on June 13, 2012 · 17 comments

in Avis, Car Rental Bonuses, Hertz

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On last week’s Top 10 Tips for Saving on Car Rentals, one of the commenters suggested checking out a site called Zalyn that aggregates discount coupons for all the major (and some minor) car rental agencies sort of like Autoslash does, though Zalyn supports some agencies Autoslash does not, such as Hertz.

The site actually does a few things including collecting car rental coupons, running a coupon analyzer, and comparing the best ones for individual customers based on where and when they are renting cards, as well as whatever other possible discounts they might be eligible for based on memberships in clubs like AAA and Costco.

I decided to put the site to the test for an upcoming rental in Colorado. I needed to pick up a car at Denver International Airport next weekend for Friday-Monday, so I ran my dates and times through Zalyn and found coupons (some of them stackable) at the various car rental agencies. Zalyn pulled up coupons at Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Budget, Dollar, National, Thrifty and more.

Zalyn pulled up all the applicable coupons at the major rental agencies as well as a few smaller ones.

For my particular dates and location, the site told me it had found 218 coupons, 113 membership-specific coupons, 20 that weren’t applicable at my pickup location and 37 the should work for my specific dates.

The site registered over 218 coupons for my search.

To take a closer look, I focused on Hertz and Avis since I know I can earn airline miles with rentals through those two programs and I have Hertz Gold status from my Amex Platinum card.

Hertz
Zalyn actually pulled up two stackable coupons for Hertz. When I clicked on “Use This Coupon,” I was automatically redirected to Hertz.com with both the Promotional Coupon (PC) and Discount/CDP/Club Code discounts already slotted into the appropriate boxes and my same dates and times automatically registered. All I had to do was hit the search button.

Hertz was offering two stackable discounts and the codes were entered automatically in the appropriate fields when I was redirected to the Hertz site.

That pulled up the applicable options for Economy, Intermediate and Full-Size cars at daily rates of $23, $25.04 and $26.06 respectively per day.

I chose the full-size option for a total of $110.49 including (pretty hefty) fees and taxes.

The search results reflected both coupons and dramatic discounts on three different sizes of cars.

To compare I went back to Hertz.com and tried booking the same dates and location. The exact same cars came out to $59.49, $65.49 and $69.49 per day respectively.

If I had just booked a full-size car normally, I would have been paying $274.41. That’s a difference of over $164!

Without the coupons, I would have been paying nearly $275!

Avis
I decided to look at Avis as well since there were a few different coupons Zalyn pulled up.

First, though, I went directly to Avis’s site to see what a rental would cost me and found that I could get a Compact for $50.39 a day and a total of $205.41 for all three days including taxes and fees.

A normal compact car rental through Avis would have been well over $200 for my dates.

Using Zalyn, I found the same car for a base rate of $59.97 for all three days, plus taxes for a total of $90.63 for the entire rental period for a savings of $114.78.

Searching through Zalyn got me the same rental for less than half the price.

I ended up booking the Avis car just to save the extra $20, and since I still got the same 50 bonus frequent flyer miles per day of the rental I would have gotten through Hertz instead.

Much more valuable, however, was finding a centralized clearinghouse for car rental coupon and discount codes. I definitely plan on using Zalyn for future rentals. Has anyone else used the site? What was your experience? Any other tips out there for reducing car rental costs?

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Jason Scott

    Sounds like a really useful website. In my experience, Priceline’s “name your own price” has yielded good deals on rental cars in bigger cities. How do you think Zalyn would stack up with Priceline?

  • tivoboy

    I’ll have to check this one out. This was really the objective for some of the legacy booking agencies, we had created some spreadsheet and scripts to do similar, but it was pretty cumbersome. Let the savings begin!

  • Willymy

    I tried it for a Hertz rental for this weekend in Florida. Same car same everything over $120 cheaper. Great work finding this one

  • http://www.zalyn.com/ Zalyn

    @PointsGuy: Thank you for the great writeup!

    @Jason: We recently conducted a study comparing rental rates across a few travel websites for the major rental agencies to see how they stack up. We checked the rates at the top 10 airports on Expedia, Priceline, Kayak and Zalyn for a weekly rental(7 days), a weekend rental(3 days) & a weekday rental (2 days) booked 2-3 weeks in advance.

    The study revealed a few interesting points
    1. Expedia was cheaper than Priceline 86% of the time. The savings varied from 3-29%, giving average saving of 8.9%. The rental agency with the lowest rate on Expedia was mostly Enterprise.
    2. The study did not gather data for the “Name your price” feature on Priceline. It is possible that by bidding on Priceline you could end up with a lower price.
    3. Kayak was more expensive than Expedia and Priceline for 90-96% of the rentals.
    4. Zalyn was able to find a lower price than Kayak 94% of the time and lower than Expedia 66% of the time. The average savings over Kayak was 16.1% and over Expedia was 8.2%
    5. For some rentals, Zalyn was able to find Premium car / SUV for less than an Economy/Compact on the other sites!
    6. This study was done without using any membership coupons. Those who are members of one or more of the supported memberships could see bigger savings.

  • Bohemiana

    I think the site sucks. You have to sign up, which means getting a bunch of junk mail from them. If you simply click the coupon link nothing happens after you input the information. Why bother to have those fields? I must be missing something if you can find deals without signing up.

    I’m looking for a car for Chicago July 9-12 (Midway Airport). The lowest I’ve found is $58/day for a compact/economy. Every website from Expedia, Hotwire, etc is exactly the same price. I’m going to try Priceline closer to the date.

  • http://www.zalyn.com/ Zalyn

    Thank you for checking out Zalyn.com. We’re sorry that you’re facing issues and would like to clarify a couple of points

    1. You do NOT need to signup to use Zalyn.com. Signup is optional and is required only if you’re a member of certain groups that provide member-only discounts (e.g. AAA, AARP, etc). By signing up and specifying your memberships, you help us find relevant member-only coupons that apply to you.

    2. You will NEVER get any junk or promotional emails from us. We do not have a daily / weekly / monthly newsletter. We hate spam and junk mails as much as you do.

    3. To find coupons for your trip, please enter your trip details and hit the “Search” button. This will bring up the coupons that apply to your trip. Click on the coupon description link to see the coupon details. Hit the “Use this coupon” button and you will be sent to the vendor’s website to complete your booking.

    You can check out the FAQs and send us a note by going to http://zalyn.com/#!Contact. We will be glad to assist you.

  • Bohemiana

    I tried Chicago, IL with my dates 3 times and nothing happened. Closed the browser and started new each time, still nothing happened when I clicked on SEARCH. That’s why I figured I must have to sign up first.

  • Traveling Guest

    Fabulous site! I have cut our rental car cost in 1/2 for an upcoming 10+ day rental.

    The way I found the site most useful was to enter trip information in a typical travel site AND Zalyn at the same time. I could then glance quickly at both sites to see which coupon codes were worth trying. No need to bother trying the 10% coupon on the rental company that is more than double everybody else’s cost.

    I take the least expensive company/companies from the travel site, then click through from Zalyn to see the total cost. The most time consuming part for me is determining which car rental companies allow an additional driver for free, and under what circumstances (membership? to what?)

  • Lwestbirch

    I tried to rent in Denver with a drop off in Salt Lake City…would not calculate…why?

  • http://www.zalyn.com/ Zalyn

    Thank you for your appreciation.

    The technique you mentioned is the best way to find the cheapest vendor + coupon combination. It may not have been very clear, but we do have a screen(that pops up right after you hit search) where you can enter the daily rates offered by the vendors. We calculate the sub-total (excl. taxes) using the daily rate, your trip duration and the coupon to determine which vendor + coupon combination works the best.

    Entering the rates is entirely optional and you can choose to use the default rate for the calculation instead. As you figured out, the most accurate way to find the best vendor + coupon combination is by factoring the daily rate into the calculation.

    We would love to eliminate the need to manually key-in the daily rates and are working on figuring out a solution. We are also looking into augmenting member coupons with additional member benefits (additional driver, free gps, underage fee waived, etc.) Thanks for bringing this up.

  • Fanatic6711

    However, if you do have status through a credit card, sometimes it’s cheaper to use that than Zalyn’s service. Even by stacking together the promotions from the website, comparing to Amex’s Platinum discount, a Chevy Malibu or similar was $10 cheaper at the Charleston airport than going through Zalyn ($53.97 vs. $64) over 3 days (Friday June 22nd noon through Sunday June 24th at 2p).

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  • http://www.facebook.com/abmindprof Michael Newman

    It seems limited to Mex, US, Canada.

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  • Andy

    <3 it !!!

    Tried it for my week long trip to Denver at the end of the month. Found a great deal from Budget for literally half the regular price, down to $185 instead of $352. I usually find the best deals on Hotwire, but it beat Hotwire too!

  • Mike

    For a rental in Cancun, Zalyn shows me a free-day coupon for a one day rental! You gotta be kidding me.
    Anyways, I try it out and to my surprise I was able to complete the booking on Hertz.com. The final amount = $2.35 (just the taxes).

    Now I am happy that I got a steal but do you think I could run into any problems at the rental counter?

  • Marliesinlv

    iphonecarhire.com A must have for the traveller..

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