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How to use AutoSlash to save on rental cars

Aug. 31, 2022
12 min read
Rental cars in South Africa
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.


Rental car rates are coming back down from their pandemic highs. But finding the lowest rates and going through all the potential discounts can be overwhelming. Luckily, this is where AutoSlash comes in.

In this guide, I’ll discuss how I use AutoSlash and everything you need to know about AutoSlash to help you save money on your next car rental.

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What is AutoSlash?

A rental car in South Africa that I found through AutoSlash. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

AutoSlash is a website that provides three primary services free of charge:

AutoSlash differentiates itself from other car rental websites by tracking rates so you can save money when they drop. Specifically, AutoSlash finds lower prices using coupons, discount codes and membership-related discounts.

Related: The 1-minute video you should take every time you rent a car

Available discounts

Rental cars at Hoedspruit Airport (HDS) in South Africa. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

When generating car rental rates, AutoSlash factors in coupons for all of the major car rental companies. You can find some discounts on AutoSlash’s coupon page, which I discuss below. But, AutoSlash also finds other discounts, including those related to the following memberships, programs and credit cards:

  • Memberships: American Automobile Association (AAA), Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and United Services Automobile Association (USAA).
  • Frequent flyer programs: Air Canada Aeroplan, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, American Airlines AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles, Frontier Miles, JetBlue TrueBlue, Southwest Rapid Rewards and United Airlines MileagePlus.
  • Warehouse clubs: BJ's, Costco and Sam's Club.
  • Credit cards: American Express, American Express Platinum, Discover, Mastercard, Mastercard World Elite, Visa, Visa Signature and Visa Infinite.

When you request a new quote or track a current reservation through AutoSlash, you provide information about your memberships, programs and credit cards. AutoSlash then shows you the cheapest rental car rates based on this information. The memberships you select will be auto-filled next time you search, assuming you don’t clear your browser data.

To take advantage of a discount related to a particular credit card, you may need to show your credit card at the rental car counter. But there is usually no requirement to pay with that card, so you can still use one of the best credit cards for rental car insurance.

Related: 9 rental car rewards programs you need to know about

How to use AutoSlash to get a discounted car rental quote

Using AutoSlash is quick and easy. ANDREW KUNESH/THE POINTS GUY

If you’re looking to rent a car, AutoSlash is an excellent place to start. Start by going to AutoSlash’s website and filling out the form to get a quote for a car rental. The first time I used AutoSlash, it took me less than two minutes to submit my request.

How to get a new AutoSlash quote

The first step is to choose whether you want to pick up your rental at an airport or near an address.

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Then input whether you’d like to return the car to the same location. If not, state the return airport or address near which you'd like to return your rental.

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Next, input the pick-up and drop-off dates and times.

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Then select the vehicle type needed from a drop-down list. Note that you can choose the "least expensive option." Doing so will include all vehicle types in one search and return results for the cheapest rental.

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For international markets, AutoSlash also includes a drop-down for choosing the transmission type: automatic or no preference.

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Next, you need to check the box next to the credit cards you carry.

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Then, you should check the box next to any memberships you currently have, loyalty programs you belong to and warehouse club memberships you carry.

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Finally, AutoSlash asks for your name and email to send the quote.

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After submitting the form, you can edit any information you might have entered incorrectly.

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The quote isn’t available instantly due to the depth of AutoSlash’s search. But you’ll usually receive it in just a few minutes (just be sure to check your non-primary email folders — my most recent quote went into the Updates folder of my email account).

How to book a deal using AutoSlash

After submitting a request, I always get a quote by email in under 15 minutes.

AUTOSLASH

Clicking on the link in the email takes you to a page displaying all your options.

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You'll usually see options that let you pay later with Priceline or AutoSlash or pay now with AutoSlash. For the pay later options, you won’t need to enter a credit card and can cancel anytime. Your credit card will be charged for the pay-now option, but you can usually cancel until 48 hours before the scheduled pick-up.

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Based on my experience, you'll usually get loyalty perks and earnings with your rental company if you select to pay later with Priceline and enter your loyalty information when booking. But, don't expect loyalty benefits and earnings when opting to pay now with AutoSlash (and there's no place to input your loyalty information for most car rental companies if you opt to pay later with AutoSlash).

You can enter your loyalty member number when booking a pay later rate through Priceline. PRICELINE.COM

Rental rates change frequently, so you’ll need to book quickly after getting the emailed quote if you want the price to be accurate. If you wait too long, AutoSlash will offer to generate a new quote when you click through the email.

Related: Stuck in a long rental car line? Here are 3 ways to get out

How to use AutoSlash to track a rental for price drops

After you’ve made a reservation with free cancellation, go to AutoSlash and fill out the form to track your rental for price drops. If you have your current reservation in front of you, filling out the form should take less than a minute.

AUTOSLASH.COM

The form for tracking price drops requires information about the booking, including your name, the rental company, your confirmation number, the pick-up date and the price reserved. You will also need to provide information about which memberships you hold and which credit cards you carry.

You’ll receive an AutoSlash tracking confirmation email immediately after submitting the form.

AUTOSLASH

You can click on a link in the email to only get notifications if select car rental companies offer less expensive rates.

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If you receive an email saying AutoSlash has found a lower rate, the booking process is similar to what is described above for a new quote.

If you book a lower-priced option, be sure to do all of the following:

  • Cancel the higher-priced reservation.
  • Cancel your current tracker (otherwise, AutoSlash will continue to send quotes when it finds lower prices).
  • Go to AutoSlash and fill out the form to track your new booking for price drops.

Longtime users know that AutoSlash used to track and automatically rebook users when it found lower prices. Due to pushback from rental car companies, AutoSlash had to alter the process. Now users must rebook (and re-track) whenever AutoSlash locates lower-priced rentals.

There’s really no downside to using the tracking functionality. If your originally-booked reservation remains the cheapest, you can rest easy knowing that you got a great deal. And, if AutoSlash finds you a lower rate, the few minutes of your time will be well worth it.

Related: Credit cards that offer elite status for car rentals

Car rental coupons

If you need or prefer to book directly with car rental companies, AutoSlash may still be useful for you due to the car rental coupons page. These coupons are specific to particular car rental companies and can be applied when booking directly.

You can select a specific company from the drop-down menu at the top of the page to only see the coupons related to that particular car rental company.

Related: The top 3 easiest ways to save on rental cars

Is AutoSlash legit?

A rental car in South Africa that I found through AutoSlash. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

I've used AutoSlash for dozens of rentals over more than five years. The site is legit and has saved me hundreds of dollars on domestic and international rental cars. Here's how I use AutoSlash and a note about the only issue I've ever had with the site.

How AutoSlash fits into my rental car routine

Whenever I need to rent a car, I open four sites: AutoSlash, Avis, Budget and Enterprise. For years I used AutoSlash as a one-stop-shop, but now my employer lets employees use corporate pricing when renting with Avis, Budget and Enterprise.

I've found the corporate rates pretty competitive in many U.S. cities. So, although I do searches on all four sites when renting a car in the U.S., AutoSlash usually doesn't provide the best quote.

But, AutoSlash can still be useful for tracking my rental. And AutoSlash has still been the most competitive when renting abroad. For example, for a recent rental near South Africa's Kruger National Park, AutoSlash provided the best rates I could find by far.

Related: What I’ve learned from multiple car rentals with the Capital One Travel portal

One note about using AutoSlash

Another car I found through AutoSlash, this time in Australia. KATIE GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

AutoSlash doesn't always tell renters which discounts were applied. As such, you should only select memberships and credit cards you carry. But, as my husband and I found in the summer of 2019, you may occasionally run into issues with AutoSlash reservations even if you are honest.

Despite using AutoSlash for dozens of rentals, we’ve only had one situation where the car rental counter refused to honor the rate we reserved using AutoSlash. In this case, we had booked a $338 one-week rental in Seattle while traveling in Australia. But, Dollar refused to honor the rate because AutoSlash had used an Australian resident rate (even though we never claimed to be Australian), and we couldn’t show Australian identification.

The reservation was through Priceline, as are many of AutoSlash’s reservations. But, the Priceline representative I spoke with wasn’t helpful and only offered to make a new reservation at a much higher rate. In reaching out after the fact to AutoSlash, an AutoSlash representative said our experience was uncommon. AutoSlash also offered to reimburse the difference between the rate we reserved and the rate we eventually paid.

Although this experience left us wary — and I now use a VPN to set my location to the U.S. when using AutoSlash outside the U.S. — AutoSlash is still a key part of my rental car routine.

Related: TPG staffer finds ‘surprise’ charge on rental car bill. He’s not alone

Bottom line

There are many ways to save when booking rental cars. The best method will depend on your memberships and travel style, but I recommend adding AutoSlash to your search process if you don’t already use the site. AutoSlash has helped me find competitive car rental rates worldwide, so I suspect it will also help you save money.

Featured image by Plenty of rental cars at PLZ. (Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.