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Is limited mileage on car rentals in Northwest typical?

Egret1986

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I confirmed the exchanges for our two-week Montana/Wyoming trip for this upcoming summer before checking anything else. I was horrified about the airfares. I went ahead and bit the bullet and bought our airfare since we really do want to see these National Parks sometime, and might as well do it now since we were able to get the exchanges. Now it's the auto rental. I've never had to rent a car that didn't have unlimited mileage, but it seems that all the car rental companies are charging over the limited mileage .25/mile for the area. This could be quite costly since we'll be doing a whole lot of driving. Are there any other options? Does anyone know something I have yet to discover? Thanks for any input, good or otherwise!
 

camachinist

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I've rented out of SEA and BOI this year and no issues...Hertz mid-size, full-size and Prestige series...

IIRC, the only Hertz vehicles with mileage charges (over 100 per day) are the big SUV's and a few of the specialty Prestige vehicles. I've rented Volvo's and Jag's with no mile charges.

Shop around.... and read that fine print :)

Pat
 

toni3063

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Egret1986 said:
I confirmed the exchanges for our two-week Montana/Wyoming trip for this upcoming summer before checking anything else. I was horrified about the airfares. I went ahead and bit the bullet and bought our airfare since we really do want to see these National Parks sometime, and might as well do it now since we were able to get the exchanges. Now it's the auto rental. I've never had to rent a car that didn't have unlimited mileage, but it seems that all the car rental companies are charging over the limited mileage .25/mile for the area. This could be quite costly since we'll be doing a whole lot of driving. Are there any other options? Does anyone know something I have yet to discover? Thanks for any input, good or otherwise!

We're not going to Montana, however, we are going to the Rockies and will be doing alot of driving. I booked (as I usually do) through Priceline. I offered them $20 a day for a SUV (Ford Explorer type), unlimited miles for 7 days and they accepted the offer. I usually book through Priceline to pickup at the airport that we're arriving at, and have always had good luck with them accepting offers from $15 - $25 pr. day (depending on size vehicle we need and I never accept smaller than a mid size). I'm also very surprised that often my husband is able to get an upgrade to the next size vehicle at no charge. His last trip to VA they upgraded him from a mid size to a Sebring convertable (no charge) and he paid $20 a day unlimited milage for 5 days through Priceline. If you've never used Priceline... it's very easy. They will give you your answer within a few minutes. Just make sure before you make your offer that you are getting everything you want (unlimited miles). The only down side is that they charge your credit card at time of booking. If your plans are at all ify... then Priceline would not be a good choice. You also do not know which company will accept the offer until it's accepted. It's been Avis that accepts our offer 90% of the time.
 

Carolinian

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In car rentals within the US, I have noticed that if you rent in a smaller city, the rental agency is likely to be a franchise rather than a company-owned location. The franchise locations are usually the ones with milage limits and extra miles charges. Try finding a nearby city large enough to have a company owned location. That will probably have unlimited miles.
 

sfwilshire

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We rented from National a couple of years ago and drove over 1,000 miles from Denver through Yellowstone, Glacier, Rocky Mtn Natl Park, etc. I was nervous when we turned the car in, but it was to the penny the price it had shown when I reserved on the web. I was very happy.

Sheila
 

Egret1986

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Thanks all!

All rental companies checked have limited mileage with 150/day the most I could find. All rates were really high. We're flying in and out of Missoula. The airline tickets are bought and this airport is midway between our starting and ending points. If I can get unlimited mileage through Priceline, that's definitely the way to go. I don't care for Priceline for airfares because the one time we did that, it was a terrible schedule with long layovers between flights. But I have used them for car rentals in the past and have been very satisfied. I've got my fingers crossed on the unlimited mileage since we plan to drive to and through three national parks and expect to rack up the miles.
 

Carolinian

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I think that being restricted to Missoula may be the problem.

In North Carolina, everyone has unlimited miles on rental cars out of the company-owned offices in the big cities like Raleigh, Charlotte, Wilmington, etc. but in the smaller cities like Greenville, Kinston, New Bern, etc, the rental car offices are franchises and they almost always have a milage limit and significant charge for extra miles.
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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I fly all over the Northwest and, in my experience, almost all airport rentals are unlimited mileage (including car rentals thar serve the airport but are at offsite locations). Conversely, many rentals at local locations have mileage restrictions. What you are seeing my be unique to Missoula.

If you are going to be doing a lot of driving, you also need to be careful about restrctions on the states you are allowed to take the car into. Many rental companies, especially those that offer unlimited mileage, restrict you on the number of states you can take the car into. They do that to prevent someone from renting a car with unlimited mileage at a low daily rate, then using the car for a fast turn around cross-country trip (e.g., dropping a child off at school).
 

Carolinian

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Non-airport locations, except for Enterprise, seem to be a vanishing species in car rental in this area. All of the airport locations in small city airports around here that I am aware of are franchise operations rather than company owned, and they are the ones with milage restrictions.
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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Carolinian said:
Non-airport locations, except for Enterprise, seem to be a vanishing species in car rental in this area. All of the airport locations in small city airports around here that I am aware of are franchise operations rather than company owned, and they are the ones with milage restrictions.
That's not necessarily the case.

At many smaller airports in the NW, I have learned that you can often save money by bypassing the national reservation system and book directly with the franchisee. During times when the national reervation systems jack up the rates - or show no availability - the frachisee will often have cars available and at lower rates. Amd I've always been able to get unlimited mileagle - or at least get pricing for unlimited mileage vs mileage options.

OTOH - I had an experience on Orbitz the other day where I thought I was getting a great deal from Budget (at on local rental location), only to find that I had some severe mileage limitations that weren't revealed until I got to the page that shows the cost breakdown. I wound up renting from Thrifty at a local location, getting unlimited mileage.
 

DebBrown

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This is odd and must be a new thing in Missoula. My son lives there and I just checked old rental car confirmations from our previous visits and we always had unlimited mileage. I wonder if it is just a summer thing? Maybe everyone was flying into Missoula and racking up lots of mileage?

I would try calling a local company direct. At least you might find out why they are limiting the miles now.

Deb
 

Egret1986

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Thanks, Deb

I know we will probably be racking up quite a few miles also. We definitely expect to be going over 1050 miles per week. I've got a reservation with Dollar right now, which can always be cancelled at any time. It's still over 7 months out, so I will continue to monitor this reservation as well as other auto rental companies, and do as you suggested and make a call and find out what the deal is. Thanks!
 

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This summer we flew into Rapid City, SD to do 3 n/ps and a few n/ms which required ~ 2k miles of driving. Prior to the trip, I looked into a rental car and found all the rental car cos offered 1050 miles+$0.25/mile. We choose an economy car from Thrift ($206 w/ tax + 25c/mile over 1050 miles). When I was picking up the car, I mensioned to a rental agent about how expensive & why limited miles. I was told w/ $10 a day addition, I could get unlimited miles. So of course I took that offer. Btw, his answer to my questions was there were no a/ps close to Rapid City so people tend to put lots of milage on the rentals. Maybe you can call Missoula rental office and ask for unlimited mile deal.
 

MULTIZ321

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Egret,

The best mileage deal I could find for Missoula for Summer 2006 was 2100 free miles from Enterprise.


Richard
 
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