AutoSlash: Save money on car rentals while you sleep

“Save money on car rentals while you sleep.” If it’s not their slogan, it oughta be. Because you may have asked yourself. Self? This AutoSlash thing. Is it an Urban Dictionary definition? For example, a thug deflates one’s tires for sporting a controversial bumper sticker. “Vote Cthulu: Why settle for the lesser of two evils?” or some such. Ain’t got nothin’ to do with that folks. Nothin’. AutoSlash is the best thing since sliced skinny bagels. And no Martha, has no financial relationship with AutoSlash. We just enjoy raking in the savings on car rentals, yo, and believe you will too. So what is AutoSlash and how does it all work Now, seriously folks…

Prepare youself for some serious car rental savings
AutoSlash web site
AutoSlash web site

Picture AutoSlash as a travel hacking organization doing your car rental travel hacking for you. I hope the truly Fine Folks at AutoSlash aren’t offended by that characterization. Praise it be, not pejorative. So, you independently make “pay at the counter” car reservations, then have track those reservations. While AutoSlash has a direct booking tab, I’ve never used it. Word on the street eons ago was that they didn’t have access to all of the car rental agencies you might want to book with; and their respective car rental inventories.

Once you’ve set-up tracking, AutoSlash begins to search through more promo and coupon codes than a human could, finds better deals for your reservations, then notifies you via email when it has a deal. If you like it, re-book directly with AutoSlash. If not, wait for another Deal Email to arrive.

The deal offered may be for a different sized car–e.g. compact vs. economy–or with another rental company–e.g. Avis rather than Advantage.

If you like one of the deals, re-book directly with AutoSlash and then you’re done. Kick back and watch the auto-rebooking emails come through. “You just saved W dollars on your company X rental for destination Y on date Z.” The re-booking will always be with the same company, for the same class of car, and of course the same date, once you’ve booked with AutoSlash vs. merely tracking a reservation.

So again, the steps are:

  1. Make your own car rental bookings for the best price you can find
  2. Track those reservations through AutoSlash
  3. Evaluate new deals that AutoSlash sends you
  4. Book a new reservation with AutoSlash
  5. Relax. Enjoy. Anticipate.

I find it both exciting and addictive to find savings emails in my in-box. The delight never ceases. It’s always an endorphin boost. “You just saved $53.89 on rental X!” That’s where the Save Money On Your Car Rental While You Sleep slogan came to me. Nothing better than finding free money and letting someone else do it for you.

Step by Step, Mile by Mile
  1. Make your car rental booking(s) at the rental company or companies of your choice. Do it directly through the car rental company’s web site (my preference) or Priceline (non-bid). Be sure to:
    • Choose “pay at the counter” aka “free cancellation”. Or you may be in a world of hurt / game over situation up front
    • Enter your car rental loyalty program number. You did get a loyalty program login and account number first, didn’t you?
    • Perhaps use Expedia to create a Top Three lowest price rental company list for your destination and date to make the booking(s). I’ve been known to make up to five (!) bookings. This gives me the best chance at saving money. As a courtesy of course, I cancel most of these after seeing how things shake out a day or two before the rental day commences. I like having at least two “pay at the counter” bookings with me when I arrive in case there’s an issue: long lines, no cars available in my desired size, etc.
    • Fill out each item completely, including:
      • Car rental company name
      • Confirmation number
      • Total estimated price including taxes
      • The destination (e.g. if you’re comparing airport to off-site / city)
  2. Navigate to and click “Track a Rental you’ve booked elsewhere

    AutoSlash Track a Rental tab
    AutoSlash Track a Rental tab
  3. Plug-in all the data for the Track a Rental form. Be mindful to check any Organizations you’re a member of, e.g. AAA; also, any Warehouse Clubs, e.g. BJ’s.

    AutoSlash reservation tracking form
    AutoSlash reservation tracking form
  4. Click the Track button (lower right corner of screen above)

And voila, your first AutoSlash phase is complete. AutoSlash will send you car rental tracking confirmation emails first. Then Lower Price emails later when deals are found. This could take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days.

As we’ve mentioned, book directly with AutoSlash via the email links they’ll send later. And once you’ve booked with them, you can save money while dreaming about your next trip. I’ve received significant auto-rebook price drops as late as a day or two before my rental date. So be patient if you don’t experience instant gratification. If there’s a rate drop, rest assured AutoSlash will find it.

Where AutoSlash shines

Informally, I’ve noticed AutoSlash finds better deals–and can make many cheaper re-bookings once you’ve found something you like–when you rent from an airport location. More competition in a narrow geographic area, so that makes sense–dollars and cents. But mostly dollars.

Where AutoSlash’s value declines

You may be significantly less lucky if you book in a small town, off-airport location. However, your chances may still be good if you book in a large city, off-airport location.

Other AutoSlash Advantages
  • Good customer service (at least via email; I’ve not tried phone)
  • Great FAQ and online help!
  • Helpful email newsletter that arrives infrequently (I hate being spammed)
AutoSlash Car Rental Tips, Tricks, and Gotchas
  • The biggest tip / trick is one I discovered years after becoming an AutoSlash user. You can make reservations directly with an outlet like Expedia or Priceline. Not merely search them to get a general idea of price. Then still track those reservations on AutoSlash. You’ll get an estimated total price and a confirmation number directly associated with the car rental company itself. Just save off that info for tracking and you’re good to go. Screenshotting may help. I’m a copy-paster.
  • Book as far in advance as possible to let AutoSlash Do It’s Thing. Savings come to those who plan and wait. Remember, as long as you book a “Pay at the Counter Rate”, you’ll never be on the hook for the cost should you not need the rental.
  • The biggest “gotcha”: never, ever book a car rental where you must pay in advance. Not if you want to use AutoSlash anyhow. Be super mindful and careful during any/all parts of the booking process. Always choose the “Pay at the Counter” / “Free Cancellation” rate. Or you’ll be stuck with a non-refundable reservation. Further savings-seekings in that scenario would be, as a Trekkie might say, futile. So, resist the temptation to click quickly. Think before you click! There’s time a plenty if you advance-plan. Chillax.
  • Another “gotcha” may be that AutoSlash won’t always save you the most cash. Some prefer Priceline “Name Your Own Price” bids for car rentals–and these rates can be truly phenomenal. Personal Choice Time Here–if you don’t know the rental car company in advance, you by definition don’t know its location. While you may be assured of  getting a rental at Airport or Location X, you may have quite a long, off-site shuttle ride to get there. This may slow you down considerably upon landing, with yet another barrier between you and your rental–or as flight attendants and pilots spookily utter: “…your Final Destination.” I’m a guy who likes to Get There and Go. Above Ground. Fast.

Check-in luggage and wait for a baggage carousel? Not a chance. Risk not being able to legitimately ditch the line at an in-terminal car rental or not having a shorter Elite line for loyalty program members? Not looking lucky either. Be the smart person at the terminal and get your car before others. In Orlando at airport MCO, the unfortunate ones won’t even have to know. Read on.

My AutoSlash Successes

AutoSlash has been my go-to travel hacking car rental tool for years. They’ve saved me a thousand bucks or more. Here are some quick examples:

  • Hawaii. With 3-4 day car rentals on Maui, The Big Island of Hawaii, and Kauai, I’ve seen savings of 50%. For 3-4 day rentals, those have started at around $300 all in and ended at $150, or less, all in. I’m sure I’ve had at least a $300 to $100 success, but I’d have to track down the data. My wife and I are returning to Maui for our 11th wedding anniversary. As the date approaches, the auto-savings emails keep arriving. Both my wife and these emails bring a smile to my face.
  • Orlando’s MCO airport for Walt Disney World Vacations. I’ve also seen price drops of around 50% over time. Big gem of a tip for you WDW fans: if you join Dollar and Thrifty’s loyalty programs and book using your respective account number(s), you can avoid the in-terminal rental desk completely, go straight to the garage, and they’ll take care of you there. Can’t recommend this highly enough. It’s not just cost savings we’re talking about now, but time. And time is money. So consider yourself making mucho dinero while you sleep. Incidentally, Dollar and Thrifty are next to each other at MCO and are owned by the same Parent Company. So you may not see much of a rate difference between the two if any.

If you have similar luck, a $500 car rental could become $250. A $1,000 car rental could become $500. Tax free savings in a way of thinking. With a Disney trip costing what it does–at least for those not in the mile and points hobby–every penny counts.

The Final Analysis

Dang, reader. Get thee to AutoSlash!

I’m so glad you’ve read this. And even gladder I wrote it. Each time the topic of car rentals comes up with friends, colleagues, and family, I’ve found myself going into 5-10 minute Live Verbal Tutorial mode: extolling AutoSlash’s praises (no one would want to hear me sing), describing how it all works, and answering questions. Personally rewarding yet tiring. And presumably sub-optimally effective. Too little content for too many words. In oration, if Brevity is the Soul Of Wit, then I’m the village idiot. So now I can do a quicker spiel and point folks to this blog post. You may find yourself in the same situation when, not if, you become an AutoSlash convert. If so, kindly point them to this post. You’re welcome. 🙂

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