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How I saved hundreds on a car rental when combining it with theme park tickets

March 05, 2022
5 min read
Airport car rental counters
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My mom loves a good deal. Her closet is full of clothes she didn't necessarily need (sorry, mom), but the sale prices were just too good to pass up. So when we asked her to come along with us on a recent family trip to Walt Disney World, I was on the hunt for any opportunity to save a few dollars and make her proud.

As you may already know, car rentals for vacations are not nearly as much of an afterthought as they once were. Depending on when and where you are traveling, availability can be sparse and prices can be much higher than you might expect.

Facing that exact situation on our recent trip to Orlando, I scoured the web to see if I could find a way to trim costs on our car rental. Here's how I saved us hundreds of dollars by bundling our theme park tickets and car rental using Undercover Tourist.

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What is Undercover Tourist?

I already knew we could purchase discounted Disney World tickets through Undercover Tourist, which is an authorized theme park ticket resale site that often has tickets that can be slightly less than what you'd find by going directly through Disney, depending on the exact tickets you need.

(Screenshot from undercovertourist.com)

For example, a three-day Disney World base ticket for March 28, 2022, is $402.43 with tax through Undercover Tourist and $416.13 with tax on Disney World's website. That's a savings of $13.70 per person. It isn't much by itself, but what happens after you add those tickets to your cart is the real money-saving surprise.

Related: How to use points for Disney World tickets

Car rental deals through Undercover Tourist

When I proceeded to the checkout screen, I was presented with a series of deals I could add to my cart. Usually, I ignore these sorts of things, but getting up to 50% off of car rental rates caught my eye.

With three adults and three kids (and the necessary car seats and boosters), I wanted the convenience of a rental car instead of just relying on Disney transportation. Plus, the free Magical Express Bus that used to run from the airport to Disney has been retired, so I needed to find a new way to get my family and all of our gear to our hotel.

(Screenshot from undercovertourist.com)

I clicked through the deal that claimed it could save me "up to 50% off car rental rates" when bundled with my theme park tickets. Being the deal spotter that she is, my mom was already checking car rental discounts through Costco, but I figured I'd give this a shot so we could compare prices.

My mom used the Costco Travel portal to price a minivan for three nights through Budget Car Rental, with pick up and drop off at Orlando International Airport (MCO). The cost through Costco for our days was $465.15 including taxes and fees, which was less than what I found searching directly through Budget's site but obviously still a chunk of change.

When I searched the same parameters through Undercover Tourist, I was thrilled to find it came through with its savings promise. The total cost for a comparable minivan for three nights was $228.75, which was $236.40 less than what my mom had sourced through Costco Travel.

(Screenshot from undercovertourist.com)

There are a couple of downsides. You are required to prepay when you make your reservation, but Undercover Tourist offers free modification and cancellation prior to your pick-up date and time, so it was a low-risk, high-reward situation.

I can't speak for all rental companies, but when I called Budget, they were not able to add my Fastbreak rental rewards number to my reservation. That meant I had to wait in line at the rental counter instead of going directly to my car – a small luxury I've grown accustomed to. We waited about 20 minutes in line, but we're never in much of a hurry with three kids in tow so it wasn't a dealbreaker for us.

Related: How to never pay full price for a car rental

Bottom line

I often look for car rental deals when I travel, but I had never found a minivan when I needed one for only $76 per day ... until this trip.

The deep savings I received through Undercover Tourist are only available when you bundle your ticket and car rental together. The company has similar deals when you bundle your theme park tickets and a hotel reservation, which I plan to test in the future.

(Photo by Tarah Chieffi/The Points Guy)

Although I only saved a few dollars on our Disney World tickets themselves, the hundreds of dollars I saved on our car rental was money I was able to put toward Disney souvenirs and snacks.

Trust me, we came home with plenty of both, including the all-important Little Mermaid bubble wand that made my kids' day. It was a much better use of the money than simply spending more on our vehicle rental.

Featured image by UIG via Getty Images
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.

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
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  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Annual Fee

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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases