Credit Cards

How Credit Cards Can Help You Save on Car Rentals

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Using your credit card to book a rental car can save you money, and depending on which card you have, those savings can be multiplied.

Many credit cards offer rental car insurance, which can significantly reduce the cost of the rental. Some allow you to redeem your rewards with a rental booking or offer access to premium rental car benefits, including discounts and upgrades.

While travel credit cards are often more focused on helping you score free flights and hotel stays, a card with sizeable rental car benefits can save you hundreds of dollars on your next vacation.

What Car Rental Benefits Do Credit Cards Offer?

Depending on what credit card you have, here are some perks you could take advantage of when you rent a car:

Rental car insurance. Many credit cards offer rental car insurance to give you a little peace of mind when you travel. To use this benefit, you typically need to use your card to pay for the rental in full and decline the coverage the car rental company provides.

Keep in mind, though, that most credit cards offer what’s called secondary insurance. Before filing a claim with secondary rental car insurance, you’ll need to do so first with your personal auto insurance company and your credit card’s coverage will make up the remainder.

If your credit card offers primary coverage – examples include Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Sapphire Reserve and the United Explorer Card – you can file a claim directly with your card’s benefits provider from the start.

If you have an American Express credit card, you won’t get primary coverage for free, but you can purchase it for as little as $19.95 for the entire rental period, or even less in some states. Compare that with the $10 to $30 per day that you’d pay the car rental company.

“The rate for this premium rental car insurance policy is very reasonable,” says Brett Holzhauer, credit card writer with personal finance blog “So if you have (secondary) coverage, this small investment could save you potentially thousands if something were to go wrong.”

Rewards redemption. If you have a general travel credit card, you may be able to use your points or miles to pay for some or all of your rental car booking.

Depending on your card, you may have one or two options. The first is to book a rental car through the rewards program platform. This option is convenient, but you may be limited on the number of companies you can compare, making it tougher to ensure you’re getting the best price…Read more>>