Cheap Car Rentals: Save Hundreds of Dollars by Using the Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi Thank You Portal!

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I haven’t seen this blogged or written about in much detail elsewhere.  And it may very well be SINGLE most useful tip which I share this year!  I’m somewhat embarrassed that it took me this long to find out one of the most useful benefits of Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi Thank You points.

The secret weapon to slashing hundreds of dollars in car rentals is to book car rentals with cash (or you can redeem points) through the Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi Thank You or Capital One travel portals.

Ultimate Rewards Travel 10

The Keys to Cheaper Rentals

These rates were MUCH lower than any of the other rates which I found.  In this post, I will explain how to use the Chase Ultimate Rewards and the Citi Thank You portal since they appear to be run by the same company and have identical terms & conditions and appearance.

You can redeem Citi Thank You points for 1 cent per point or Chase Ultimate Rewards points for 1 cent per point or 1.25 cents per point depending on which Chase Ultimate Rewards card you have.  Or you can pay cash.

The only difference is in the rental car cancellation policy.  Chase Ultimate Rewards has NO cancellation fee for rentals cancelled before 2 days of pick-up, but Citi Thank You portal charges $15 for changes before 2 days of pick-up.  Both sites have a fee of 1-day’s rental charges if you cancel within 2 days, and no refund for no-shows.

 ~6 Days Rental in Tampa~1 Day Rental in New York (La Guardia)~7 Days Rental in MauiCancellation Policy
Hotwire$286$131-$362 Economy Sedan
-$487 SUV
VERY Restrictive. No refunds, cancellations or modifications after booking.
Costco Travel$330$117- $401 Sedan
- $386 SUV
Can cancel, change, or no-show with no penalty
Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal

$156$46$207Can cancel/change for free within 2 days of pick-up. 1 day car rental penalty for cancellations within 2 days. No refund for no-shows.
Citi Thank You Portal$156$46$207Can cancel/change for $15 within 2 days of pick-up. 1 day car rental penalty for cancellations within 2 days. No refund for no-shows.
WinnerChase Ultimate Rewards & Citi Thank You PointsChase Ultimate Rewards & Citi Thank You PointsChase Ultimate Rewards & Citi Thank You Points

Rentals from BOTH the Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi Thank You portal were the same cash price in my tests!

Cheap Car Rentals Series:

Chase Ultimate Rewards

In short, you get access to the Ultimate Rewards portal and their terrific rental car deals with any Chase Ultimate Rewards point card.

You can access the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to select airlines or hotels, and can redeem Chase Ultimate rewards points for 1.25 cents towards travel with the:

You get access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, can redeem Chase Ultimate rewards points for 1 cent (as opposed to 1.25 cents) towards travel, but can’t transfer Ultimate Rewards points to select airlines or hotels with the:

These cards also have NO annual fee, so they could be worth keeping just for access to the cheap rental deals!

I verified that the cash price for the car rental was the same whether you used a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Freedom, Chase Ink Bold or a Chase Ink Plus.

Note that Chase Ultimate Rewards does NOT charge a change fee for cancelling a rental car outside of 2 days from pick-up, and you pay 1 day’s rental if you cancel within 2 days.  However, no-shows get no refund.  I also preferred calling Chase Ultimate Rewards to cancel the rental than calling the Citi Thank You folks.

How to access The Ultimate Rewards Portal

Step 1.  Log in to the Ultimate Rewards portal

Step 2.   Click on “Travel” in the top menu bar, and then click on “Flights, Hotels, & Car Rentals

Ultimate Rewards Travel-003

Logging Into The Ultimate Rewards Portal

Step 3.   Search for your car rental.


In short, you get access to the Ultimate Rewards portal and their terrific rental car deals with any credit card, bank account, or other Citi product which earns Thank You points.

However, Emily and I both have only Citi Thank You Premier cards, so I was unable to see if other Citi Thank You accounts had access to the same great rental car rates.  I suspect all Citi Thank You accounts have access to the discounted rental car rates.

Here’s a list of current Citi credit cards which earn Thank You points:

Here are more ways to earn Citi Thank You points.  Citi Thank You points can be transferred from 1 Thank You point account to another, but they are quirky, so read this post to learn more about losing Citi Thank You points after cancelling a Citi Thank You point credit card.

It could be worth it to have a fee-free Citi Thank You card (Citi Preferred has no annual fee) just for access to the cheap rental deals!

How to access The Thank You Portal:

Step 1.  Log in to the Thank You portal

Step 2.   Click on “Book Travel” in the top menu bar, and then click on “Cars” under the “Travel Center

Ultimate Rewards Travel-006

Logging Into The Thank You Portal

Step 3.   Search for your car rental.

Note that you will pay a $15 change fee for ANY changes/cancellation to a rental car within 2 days (unlike Chase where you pay nothing for changes).  You also pay 1 day’s rental charge if you cancel within 2 days.  And no-shows get no refund.

I preferred calling Chase Ultimate Rewards to cancel the rental than calling the Citi Thank You folks, because the Citi Thank You folks kept transferring my call whereas the Chase rep cheerfully cancelled my rental!

Price Comparisons

[Note that price comparisons between rental agencies were made on the same day, but posted later.]

A)   ~6 Days in Tampa The cheapest rate from the 1st post in the series was $286 for a very restricted reservation from Hotwire.  But the rate from the Chase Ultimate Rewards & Citi Thank You portals is $156 or a savings of $130!

The Chase Ultimate Rewards & Citi Thank You portals save 45% off the Hotwire rate with MORE flexibility for cancellations!

Ultimate Rewards Travel-004

Saving 45% of Hotwire With Chase Ultimate Rewards & Citi Thank You Points

B)   1 Week Day in New York – The cheapest rate for a car from the 1st post in the series was $117 through Costco Travel.  But the rate from the Chase Ultimate Rewards & Citi Thank You portal is $46 or a savings of $71!

The Chase Ultimate & Citi Thank You portals save 60% off the Costco Travel rate with almost as much flexibility!

Ultimate Rewards Travel-002

Saving 60% With Chase Ultimate Rewards & Citi Thank You Points

C)   ~1 Week in Maui – The cheapest rate from 1st post in the series was $362 for a very restricted reservation from Hotwire.  But the rate from the Chase Ultimate Rewards & Citi Thank You portal is $207 or a savings of $155!

The Chase Ultimate & Citi Thank You portal saves 43% off the Hotwire rate with MORE flexibility for cancellations!

Saving 60% With Chase Ultimate Rewards & Citi Thank You Points

Saving 60% With Chase Ultimate Rewards & Citi Thank You Points

Using Chase Ultimate Rewards & Citi Thank You Points for Car Rentals

1.  Restrictions and Refunds.  The Chase Ultimate Reward & Citi Thank You portal do NOT let you book 1-way car rentals.

However, you can cancel a reservation for FREE (only with Chase Ultimate Rewards Points) up to to 2 days before pick-up by calling 1-866-951-6592.  However, you will pay $15 for each change if you use Citi Thank You points.

If you cancel the reservation within 2 days of the pick-up date, for both Citi Thank You Points and Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you have to pay a fine equal to one day’s rental cost (which is usually pretty reasonable.)

You don’t get ANY refund if you no-show and don’t pick up your car.  So always cancel your reservation if you don’t plan on renting the car.

2.  Pay With Cash, Points, or Both.   One of the best features of the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal is that you can pay for your rental with a charge to your credit card, points, or a combination of cash and points.

Ultimate Rewards Travel-008

Pay With Cash or Points

In some cases, you won’t get the option to pay for the rental using cash (see image below), but you can always choose to pay with 1 point and charge the balance to your credit card (which is like saving your points and paying with cash!)

Ultimate Rewards Travel-007

You Can Even Pay With 1 Point!

3.  Earning Miles/Points.   I haven’t made enough reservations to see if I can add an airline or car rental frequent traveler number and earn miles/points for the reservation.  I suspect that I won’t be able to earn miles/points for the reservation.

However, you can sometimes earns airline miles for short reservations, like say this offer for 1,500 US Air miles for a 2 day or longer rental (targeted to US Air Preferred members, but works for most).  In some cases, particularly for short rentals, it make sense to forgo the lower cash price from the Chase Ultimate Rewards/Citi Thank You portal and earn miles for the rental.  But do the math for yourself!

4.   Bypassing Airport Rental Car Counters.   I’m also not sure if you can add your rental car number to the reservation so that you can skip checking in at the rental car counter and go straight to the car.  I tried calling Avis to add my number to a reservation, but was told I couldn’t do it because the rate would increase if they associated my Avis number with the reservation.

But I’ll gladly wait for 15 to 20 minutes at the airport to save hundreds of dollars!

5.   Personal Observations.  The Chase Ultimate Rewards & Citi Thank You portal has beaten other sites 80% to 90% of the time, but this is MY experience.  The portals are usually the cheapest site for longer rentals (1 week+) or for rentals during the weekday, but may not always be the best for weekend rentals (where Costco Travel & other sites may have the edge).

Sometimes you will see only 1 rental car provider or the rates will be comparable to elsewhere.  But the rates usually reduce and you can see more providers if you check back in a few hours.

SUVs and mini-vans also aren’t always available, but check for yourself, since your experience will be different!

Bottom Line:

In my experience, the Chase Ultimate Rewards & Citi Thank You portal often have the lowest price on car rentals.  And you can redeem cash, points, or a combination of cash and points for a car rental!

The cancellation and change policy on these car rentals are also MUCH better than the rigid Hotwire policy.  The Chase Ultimate Rewards portal doesn’t charge for cancellations up to 2-days from pick-up, while the Citi Thank You Portal charges $15 for each change.  Both sites have a fee of 1-day’s rental charges if you cancel within 2 days, and no refund for no-shows.

Please share your story in the comments if you’ve used the Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi Thank You portal for car rentals!

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204 responses to “Cheap Car Rentals: Save Hundreds of Dollars by Using the Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi Thank You Portal!

  1. Definitely will save me money on my next vacations, thanks

  2. Looks good. I tried a dummy reservation connected with an upcoming trip and the prices here were about 20% lower than anything found. Thanks for the tip. It looks like this is a winner when you know confidently that you won’t need to make any change within the final two days before a reservation.

  3. I just followed your advice and booked a rental at Chase Ultimate Rewards (all cash) for an upcoming Austin, TX. You are correct, it was the best price I could find.

  4. Sadly one way rentals are not available through Chase UR. I am planning on a SFO – LAX Highway 1 trip and need a one way rental- no cheap way to do it I guess?

  5. I finally have something most people do not have, better car rental rates. The company in which I work has a negotiated rates with National. I’m glad I don’t have to use points for this…

  6. Thanks for the find!

  7. Can’t seem to be able to rent convertibles 🙁

  8. For a second I thought this would be my answer to a $1000+ rate for a 10 day SLC-LAS rental. One-ways are a killer, even with Costco and codes.

  9. Thanks for the tip Daraius – I’ll definitely check this out next time I need to rent a car!

  10. Can I rent through the portal, but use my United Card so that I can get primary rental insurance? All other cards offer secondary rental insurance.

  11. Good question, Tana. I was wondering the same thing.

  12. There are coupons showing in my car rental section under “Special Offers” which offer things like a complimentary upgrade, and a free day of GPS use…can you use these on top of the already great savings found in this portal (i.e. book a compact car and get a free upgrade to an intermediate car, all while already getting the lowest available price)?

  13. very helpful post Daraius & Emily, thank you.

  14. Great story as usual; FYI, United allows you to use miles and money for rental cars and hotels; the miles/points are almost similar to Chase but on occasion I have found some hotels available on United and not on Chase

  15. Can you rent from an off-airport location through the UR portal? I need a rental from downtown San Francisco but it only shows rentals from SFO…

  16. guera – As far as changing the credit card used for rental in the Ultimate Rewards portal – I just tried and you have to use the credit card that you linked into the portal with – the credit card number pre-filled out cannot be changed. Oh well – I rented via the other day via my Sapphire card – will have to just hope nothing happens :). I needed a full size SUV for 7 days and the price was MUCH cheaper.

  17. I saved $240+ on an upcoming 10-day Maui rental; I wish I could use my United card for primary insurance.

  18. I found CHASE UR car rental to be much, much cheaper than any other source (tho I neglected to price out a CITI TYP rental).

    My last rental was in Maui — $218 for a week, vs $300+ at other rental agencies. Was so much cheaper I worried it was a price glitch. Kept calling UR Travel CS to confirm the rental. Finally stopped being so obsessive and went on faith — it worked out just fine! The agency (Dollar) even stayed open past the posted closing time to handle a late-arrival flight — I appreciated that.

    I should mention that the rental is handled as a “tour package” rental, eg the only way to confirm it is thru the UR Travel Dept, or the car rental agency itself. The rez does _not_ show up in the rental co’s online rez system, so you can’t see it online. No worries tho, it worked like a charm.

    Also, the rental had a daily charge for an extra driver (wife), something other rentals quoted did not charge for. So you might want to factor that in.

  19. I generally use one way rental, it seems one way can’t be done from here?

    • @seaturtleguy @DaveS @Clare @Tony @Lively @Food Wine and Miles @Wes – Glad you found it useful! The trade-off is that you have to cancel within 2 days to avoid fees and that it may take longer to get the car at the airport, but the savings are quite enticing.

      @Joe @Acker @Dan – 1-way rentals are tough to get for less, but the best bet could be using rental car points. I’ll post about this later, but the Capital One travel portal could be better for 1-way rentals.

      @Tana @guera @pianodude – Unfortunately not. But the Chase Ink Bold/Plus offers primary insurance if you’re renting for business (not personal).

      @David – Where do you see the “Special Offers?” I can’t find it!

      @Billy D
      – Thanks for the tip!

      @Honey Boo Boo – Unfortunately you can’t rent from non-airport locations through the Ultimate Rewards portal, but you can using the Capital One travel portal.

      – The Citi Thank You portal seems to price out the rentals at the same price as the Ultimate Rewards portal. Ha! I called them a few times as well to confirm that all taxes were included and that there were no hidden extras! I was able to bring up an Avis reservation online at, but couldn’t do it with Thrifty. I believe Budget/Avis/Enterprise don’t charge for a spouse/domestic partner as an additional driver .

      @Dae – Autoslash has saved me lots of money and I have a post coming up on Autoslash as well.

  20. I still find Autoslash to be cheaper

  21. Does anyone know if you get 2x miles on Sapphire Preferred when buying travel using Ultimate Rewards? Or is 2x miles only when booked directly with airline, hotel, rental car company?

  22. As soon as you get into the UR portal, click on Travel and then down to “Flights, Hotels, & Car Rentals”, then click on “Cars” – the “Special Offers” is a big box and is literally right in the center of the main screen, just beneath a large picture of a Ford Mustang (on the left is your “Quick Trip Search”).

  23. Is there a way to rent SUV’s? I don’t see them listed.

  24. Thanks for the tips. There are limited article on rental cars and the info changes all the time. AAA is a great site for getting cheaper rentals if you are a member, but I had forgotten to check UR website, and the prices were similar. Being able to use points is a great way to save money if you have the points, so your tip saved us about $500. Thanks for another great article!!!

  25. @Got Points — I had the same concern, since sometimes I rent SUVs for Colorado trips. I did a test search for rentals in July in Denver. SUVs did not show up as an offer in the left column, but when I selected an actual cell (for example, Avis – Intermediate or Avis – Full Size) … then, the selections at the bottom allowed me to choose between a Car or SUV (under both the Intermediate and Full Size buttons). Of course, the SUV did cost more than what was posted in the original price table.

    Overall, this tip looks like a good deal, since the rental prices for Denver in the summer were better than I normally can find. Thanks Darius.

  26. I remember the first time I booked a rental car through the UR portal, I was so worried that I was missing something important because the rates were so much cheaper than I was finding anywhere else. Of course, everything worked out fine.

  27. Can I rent a car for someone else using the UR portal?

  28. steve – good question, I meant to ask this too. Can I pay for the rental, but put it under someone else’ name?

  29. @LMM (or anyone else) – I’m having trouble finding the SUV listings. Can you explain in a little more detail how to find them? Thanks.

  30. Unfortunately, Chase Ultimate Rewards is not the cheapest car rental option for my upcoming long weekend in Miami. Hotwire is about 1/2 the price of Chase Ultimate Rewards for some reason.

  31. Does the UR portal let you rent from non-airports? I want to rent from IAD, but I believe airport taxes are very high on rental cars there, so I prefer a Herndon, VA rental. But UR portal doesn’t recognize that city. (Kayak does.)

  32. Great info! I did some checking and found the prices to be much much cheaper for advanced reservations, but slightly more expensive for a last minute booking. This would be a great way to lock in a deal before hand and then re-shop the rates when you get a week out or so. I don’t travel nearly as much as most of you guys do, but I have found that often times the rates plummet at the last minute, so be sure to recheck your rates.

  33. Thanks, Daraius, for letting me know about the Chase Ink Bold/Plus as having primary rental insurance. Unfortunately I cannot pass off a rental from Orlando for a trip to Disney World as a business trip.

  34. Thanks a lot for another great find!! Just saved me $200 for a 5 days rental in Orlando!! :DDD! You Da man!!

  35. Any tips for avoiding under 25 fee?

  36. Thanks D,

    Saved me (8%) in Kauai over using United’s shopping portal (which was the cheapest I could find). Paying points for car rental in Hawaii is usually good value and this makes it even more attractive. Using points, out of pocket cost is less than $100 (vs $603 cash price) thanks to Ink @ 5x

  37. @Kerry sign up for natiatonal emerald club. Spouse and business associates are free.

  38. My last two long-term rentals for Hawaii trips were booked via the CapOne site. They were lower than all the other sites. I don’t have many CapOne pts so I just pay by credit card. This also gives me Primary CDW coverage using Chase UA Explorer card.

  39. Used Citi TY Points to book our last three car rentals. I could never find flights that worked for us to use the 50,000 bonus for the TY Premier from last year. Was glad to be able to use those points towards travel rather than just cashing them out. Haven’t had any issues with the rentals either and ended up using a different rental company each time.

  40. Nice.. I planing to just hang out at SFO during my 7 hrs laidover cuz taxi woulda cost as much as car rental ($70+tax and fee) but this very doable. I found from Dollar a rate of only 2,600 UR points or $33. VERY nice deal.. but I have a question., if we book with points/$, Is this the final price?

    Car rental always try to screw you when all type of fees here and there. On Dollar site, for the same type of car.. they have it for $26.99 BUT after you add

    Apt Conc Recov Fee $3.00
    County Rental Tax $1.25
    State Tax $2.55
    Tourism Surcharge $0.77
    Transaction Fee $20.00
    Total Est. Mandatory Charges $27.57
    Est. Grand Total $54.56

  41. oh BTW great post D., can’t wait to see the remaining of this series. Been waiting for a car rental tips/awards/etc blog to complete our travel of cheap flights and hotel. Now we have transportation, next would be cheap food.. lol

  42. It’s good but couldnt beat my corporate discount at Avis.
    Booked 4 day rental at HNL through Avis using my Corporate discount. Comes out at $189. Same thing through the UR portal comes out at $251. Gonna stick with my corporate rate.

  43. Oh D, Also I see in my Ink UR portal, If you click on “travel” then “profile” a list will be provide on the left., here you enter the traveler info, included airline FF#, and car rental club # also. This should link once you make your car reservation and be able to bypass the desk. But haven’t tested. If it work then once you make the reservation thru UR., we should also be able to see it under your car club account too.

  44. Is it safe to buy an airline ticket through the citi thank you point travel site and then cancel the credit card before I fly?

  45. I was able to to get bid on priceline name your own price for Kauai and get $35 per day for economy after taxes. I think a good strategy is to use Ultimate Rewards to hold a reservation and then use name your own price last minute to try to get lower rate.

    • @Paul – I beleive it should be 3X points for using the Sapphire through the Ultimate Rewards portal for travel.

      @David – I’ll look into it. Thanks!

      Got Points? @Eddy – What LMM says! Click on “Intermediate, Standard, of Full-Size” in the search results/grid and then scroll to the bottom and you will see the rates for SUVs.

      @HJK – I wasn’t able to find cheaper or even similar rates on the AAA website.

      @steve @David
      – You can book for someone else!

      @Carissa – It isn’t the cheapest all the time, but if you saw only 1 or 2 search results, it could be worth it to check back later.

      – It doesn’t, but the Capital One portal will let you search for non-airport locations.

      @LW Ron – You’re welcome!

      @Eric @romsdeals – Coming up in a future post…

      @Cheri @Gumbo – Thanks for confirming that there were no additional add-ons.

      @Kerry – None besides using USAA. I’ll cover that in a separate post.

      @Phil – I’m going to cover Capital One in a separate post.

      @Tommy – I believe this is the final price including taxes and fees, but not including extras like GPS, toll, etc. I’ve entered my rental car numbers in the portal, but the reservation doesn’t show on the rental car companies website. It would be great if it does link!

      @Duke – Some corporate rates have great rates in certain locations, so they will be hard to beat.

      – That should be fine since the ticket won’t get cancelled if you cancel your card.

  46. Another outstanding post! I have been working on finding the best price for a rental for our nine days in Maui in May when your post hit my e-mail box this morning. I logged onto my Chase Ultimate Rewards account and saved $150 over the next best price I was able to find. Thanks guys!

  47. Great post. What are one-way car rentals?

  48. Thank you! I have Citi Forward and the rates were indeed much better than Hotwire & Expedia. I’ve now booked the car rental for my upcoming Hawaii trip successfully through the TY portal.

  49. I am concerned about the fees as well. I don’t feel comfortable making a reservation without seeing all the components of the final price. Is there any way to see the detail?

  50. Would this also work with USAA memberhip / code for under 25 renters? Being able to use USAA is probably more saving than anything else for underage renter…

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  52. Exact same time/date/location search on Chase Ultimate Rewards gave me a close to 5 percent discount compared to Hotwire rates. However, what I did not know (I scanned your post and did not read each line) is that you can redeem each rewards point for 1.25 cents for this offer! I have a ton of Chase points so this will be very useful and all the more reason to start visiting office supply stores more.

  53. no, not necessary.
    I tried cvg on both this site and for 02/17 -02/24, and see is a lot cheaper.

  54. Ultimate Rewards can be very good, but don’t forget to check out the Visa Signature website ( for car rental discount codes. Using those codes just saved me $36 off of what UR priced me on last weeks 3 day rental in MN.

    • @Unrea – A one way rental is when you rent the car in 1 city (say San Fransisco) and then return it in a different city (say Seattle).

      – I don’t believe you pay extra fees i.e. the rates quoted are all inclusive.

  55. To date, I have found NOTHING better than the IBM corporate discount through Hertz. If you don’t mind posing as an IBM employee, google the CDP. While I *am* an IBM employee, I’ve NEVER been asked to verify my employment. Not once. Apparently neither have a lot of people (who are and are not employees)

  56. Great info! I was looking for rentals, and the UR came out $40-$200 less expensive than all the other sites.

  57. Awesome post Darius. Just saved $150 on a minivan rental for an upcoming six day trip to Florida. Thanks!

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  59. I know you probably don’t earn points on UR rentals, but what about elite benefits (e.g., National Executive)? There doesn’t seem to be any place to put in any elite numbers.

  60. I just saved $50 in a car rental in Anchorage. However, when I was testing Cancun car rental, Kayak had ridiculously cheap rental prices, whereas UR had much higher ones.

  61. How would UR know the difference between my rental being for pleasure vs business, i.e. primary rental insurance, as long as I use the Chase Ink Business Bold Card?

  62. Just found out you can use Skymiles for rental cars, hotels and a combo or hotels & rental cars

  63. Here’s a good one; I’m renting a car at FLL airport on a Wednesday and returning it on a Thursday same time; cheapest Delta car is 12,448 miles; cheapest UR car is 5,915 points……but for my rental from Thursday noon to Monday noon (weekend rates apply) both charge the same amount of points; pays to shop around I guess

  64. The terms and conditions for the Chase ultimate rewards site say that cancellations are subject to a supplier fee (no matter when cancelled). Is that enforced in practice?

    • @Billy D – If you were to get in an accident and file a claim, I’m sure they would ask questions to find out the purpose of your trip.

      – For rental cars the terms say no cancellation fees if you cancel before 2 days from your rental. I’ve cancelled 3 rentals with no penalty. The supplier fee is for airlines.

  65. I just checked out the UR rates for a 3-day rental in DSM for mid-February, and they were about twice as much as the rates that I was quoted on Expedia. I guess I will try to use the UR Rewards Mall to see if I can get some extra points anyway.

  66. So how does auto insurance work on car rentals booked through UR/Citi? My understanding is that unless the full amount for the rental is charged to a credit card, the usual primary or secondary coverage from that card does not apply. I don’t think a travel insurance policy would cover these rentals either. Are the only options at that point to use your private auto insurance coverage or to purchase a policy from the rental agency?

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  68. If I get the Chase Sapphire Preferred (to get the 40,000 points, but it has an annual fee) and also get the Chase Freedom Visa (because it has no annual fee)… would I get to keep the points if I cancel the first card? If I also have the other Chase card would that keep my Chase Ultimate Rewards Account open with my points?

    Awesome job on this by the way. I can’t wait for your other upcoming posts on rental cars.

  69. interesting, but I found the opposite,it could be beacuse I;m planning a few months out, but car rental savers got me a rate that was 100.00 less total than the starting quote at the UR portal…I’ll keep checking….

  70. Are these deals only for airport pickup?
    as well, do you get charged the airport fee? or its $45- $50 a day flat?

  71. Does the price shown include all fees and taxes or are these in addition to the price shown?

  72. These are showing similar rates to the daily rates available with the elite status “buy with miles” portals – which do tack-on taxes and fees. But their receipts do say “includes taxes”. So I’m guessing it’s a mistake and they’ll correct it quite soon, and the cry of “DealKiller” will come streaming in from far and wide.

  73. If it does include fees and taxes, it is a super deal, as for the location I searched, these added 50% to the rental price quoted on the rental car co website.

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  75. When you mention. You can either use cash points or both. By cash, you mean “as opposed to points” but obviously credit?? Same question with regards to “booking with cash” does that mean paying with ur cc ??and would have the insurance coverage ur cc provides?

  76. did anybody go thru the rental yet? I am curious to find out for sure if tax is already included or not. need to rent a van for 2 weeks soon

    • @James – 🙂

      @Dov – You’re right – I mean “with a credit card” instead of cash. I’ll edit the post with that change. If you pay in full with a credit card, I believe you would get the insurance coverage.

      @DougJ @EC
      – I completed 2 rentals and there were no taxes charged when I returned the cars at the airport. So it currently is what is displayed online.

  77. I do wish I could see what you all are referring to…I tried a 2nd itinerary/trip thru the UR portal….still higher at base estimate than thru other sites with all fees included…. am I doing something wrong,or does mileage vary on this?

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  79. Went to make my reservation today and ran into a glitch. The system only wants to allow me to use points or cash + points for this reservation. I would like to pay for the entire reservation out of pocket with my United CC, and can’t figure out how to get the system to allow that. Anyone know how, or know who I can ask? The FAQ’s on the site were completely useless.

  80. Thanks for the post. The Ultimate Rewards portal for certain car rental brands will only give me the option of paying with a combination of points and cash. If you pay with 1 point and put the rest on your credit card, does that mean you don’t have the rental insurance coverage from your credit card (because you’re not paying for the ENTIRE cost of the rental with your card)?

    • @Darcy @KR – With some vendors, you can’t pay entirely with a credit card. But using 1 or 2 points and then charging the rest to your Ultimate Rewards card usually has the same effect. That said, it is unclear if using 1 or 2 points towards the rental invalidates the credit card insurance. I’d assume it does invalidate the insurance benefit. You also can’t use a different card besides the Ultimate Rewards card you used to log into the portal with.

  81. Thanks! You saved me a bunch. Was going to SFO for 3 days. Online price on Orbitz was $154 for off-terminal compact car rental from Advantage vs $365 for Dollar car rental, Avis $521, and Hertz $522. On Chase UR portal, I paid $118 for the three days w/ Dollar. UR Hertz was $175, Avis $203, and National $157.

    I also have Amex Platinum which features elite/gold status with National, Hertz, and Avis. Any way to take advantage of this w/ car rentals? Seems like the prices from Amex are always much higher than UR.

    • @webazoid – I actually rented from SFO last week and you can use the elite lines if you rent from the UR portal. Just go straight to the elite line with your membership number and tell them that you don’t see your name on the board and can they get you a car. It worked for me at Avis last week. Thanks for the comparison – the regular rates at SFO were very high.

      You can also print out the coupons from the UR site for a 1 class ugrade etc. and use it with your rental.

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  83. Where are coupons for UR site for Dollar? I don’t know where to find for dollar, Avis, etc coupons. I haven’t created dollar membership number before booking. Should I do it now? Any way to input?

  84. Duh! It was right at bottom on Car Rental page on UR. Had to cancel my previous booking by phone since I accidentally selected economy instead of compact. On repeat booking, I selected compact for Dollar which means I’ll get free upgrade to mid-sized car. For days I’m selecting, $118 for 3 days mid sized at SFO is excellent compared to other sites (Via orbitz, its $174 ($30/day + tax) for Advantage 2 miles offsite, and $397 ($74/day + tax) for Dollar in-terminal). Can’t seem to get the sub < $15/day rentals that I've seen at SFO before, but better than nothing.

  85. Data points:

    1) Citi Thank You Saved me $20 on two days in Maui, that’s with a AWD number that usually beats all car search engines.

    2) Citi Thank You quoted me $603 for 6 days in Roatan (with Avis) when I go direct I pay $200.

    I’m guessing domestic, large market rentals will save you a lot more!

  86. I called the “Benefit Administrator” for the Sapphire Preferred (1-888-320-9961) and spoke with a rep who told me that “Ultimate Rewards points are considered part of the card.” As a result, he said that car rentals booked using Ultimate Rewards points or a combo of points/cash are considered paid entirely with the Sapphire Preferred and thus eligible for the insurance benefit. Can anyone else confirm this?

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  88. Thanks for the great report! But I was going to rent a car on the Chase portal when I see “Cancellations or modifications received at any time may be subject to the applicable Supplier fee. Such fee will appear on your monthly card statement as “Trip Charges.” Car cancellations received within two (2) days of pick-up date will be subject to a Supplier cancellation fee equal to the charge for a one-day rental, if applicable.” This sounds scary…some unspecified Supplier fee will be charged. Has the policy changed since the time you wrote the report?

  89. Awesome to know! I have yet to need to rent a car, but if I need to I will now do so through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal 🙂 Great tips, as always!

  90. I just wanted to say thanks, this saved me at least a couple of hundred dollars on car rentals, even though I only used 10 points/rental!

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  93. Harold J. Forbes

    Great post! I had previously booked with a coupon code and an employee contract code, and I was still able to save $40 on my six day rental at LAX in May and upgrade to a nicer vehicle by going through the Chase UR portal. Thanks!

  94. Miler-Is Carol’s comment true? If we cancel before the 2 day mark we are “subject” to a supplier fee?

  95. Hi,

    Thank you very much for these reports on car rental. I would not find the value of Chase UR portal if I didn’t read your post.

    I have one more question regarding the insurance. I booked 3-day rental at SFO via Chase UR, which is the lowest price I could find (more than 100 dollars less than second lowest fare elsewhere, thanks again for your posts here). However, the Chase UR portal only accept Visa or Master card. It means that I cannot put the car rental charges to my AMEX card, which has the valuable car rental premium insurance ($24.99 for up to 30 days).

    As I have been keeping putting my car rental charges to my AMEX for almost 3 years , I could just decline any insurance that the car rental company offered, which is usually at a higher price. Now I really have no idea regarding the insurance cost. Do you know how to get this information before I pick up the car? I want to put the rental cost and insurance cost together to compare among all sites.



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  97. Hi Daraius,

    I was looking at booking a flight through Ultimate Rewards. On Tuesday the flight I wanted from LAX-Bogota was about 48K points RT with Copa and I checked it the next day and it went up to 50, 592 points. I was wondering if you think the points needed would decrease or continue to increase and should I just book it now? The flight isn’t until late November 2013. Thank you

    • @Joshua – I haven’t been charged a fee for cancelling before 2 weeks.

      @Yi – Some Visa and MasterCards do have insurance, but may not be as good as the AMEX insurance. If you buy insurance from the rental company it will almost certainly be more than $24.99.

      @Bryan Battle – The amount of points varies and depends on the dollar price of the ticket. I can’t predict if ticket prices will increase or decrease, though!

  98. Hi Daraius,

    I was wondering if I would be able to book a car reservation under my brother’s name but using my mom’s UR account. We’re taking a trip together, and he would be the designated driver, but he doesn’t have an UR account himself and the UR portal is much cheaper than anything else out there. Thanks!

    • @Kelly – You can book a car for someone else through the UR portal. But I’m not sure if the credit card insurance would apply since your mom isn’t the driver. But you personal insurance may cover you, but check your policy!

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  100. I think with Chase UR, once you go to pay, say for a rental car, the field is prepopulated with your Chase UR credit card on file so there is no way to use another credit card to meet spend. The INK cards don’t give any bonus for renting, the discount is built into the rate, so no complaints. Still it would be nice to use say a Hyatt card or Costco True Earnings card which pay back 2 on car rentals. Then again, you wouldn’t get the low price to begin with. Zalyn seems to come very close sometimes beating UR on price so it’s not a bad choice if you want to meet spend with a card of your choosing.

    • @Kent C – You’re right that you can’t use a different credit card when you use the Ultimate Rewards portal, but you can use a different credit card if you go through the Capital One portal. If you have a Sapphire Preferred, you should be able to get 2X points for travel and an extra 1X point for using the Ultimate Rewards portal for 3X points in all. I’ve heard lots of good things about Zalyn, but it seems so complex to use (to me!)