Cheap Car Rentals: Saving Money With the Capital One Travel Portal
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Capital One also has a travel portal as part of their No Hassle Rewards portal, similar to Chase Ultimate Rewards & Citi Thank You Points, where you can book cheap car rentals.
Cheap Car Rentals Series:
- Part 1 – Finding The MOST You Should Pay With Hotwire & Costco Travel
- Part 2 – Save Hundreds of Dollars by Using the Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi Thank You Portal!
- Part 3 – Saving Money With the Capital One Travel Portal
- Part 4 – Southwest Airlines’ Car Rentals
- Part 5 – National Car Rental’s “Last Minute Specials”
- Part 6 – Priceline’s “Name Your Own Price”
- Part 7 – 5 Ways to Add an Additional Driver for Free
- Part 8 – Let Autoslash Do The Work
- Part 9 – American Airlines Car Rentals
- Part 10 – Why Everyone Should Sign Up For Frequent Car Rental Programs
- Part 11 – Save More With Car Rental Savers
- Part 12 – Do You Know How To Get The Lowest Price For Drivers Under 25 Years Old?
- Using Airlines Miles for Car Rentals
- Using Hertz Coupons & Discounts
- Using Airline Discount Codes & Earning Miles for Rentals
Capital One Travel Portal
I first read about cheap car rentals via Capital One on Rapid Travel Chai. In my experience, rentals weren’t always cheaper on the Capital One travel portal, but they were sometimes cheaper than the Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi Thank You portals.
The BIG advantage of the Capital One No Hassle Rewards travel portal is that you can book one-way car rentals (where you rent the car in one city, but drop it off in another city) and pick-ups at non-airport locations. You can’t book these type of rentals with Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi Thank You points.
You can also pay with any credit card, so you could use a non-Capital-One credit card to pay for the rental if it has primary car insurance. But you need a Capital One travel rewards credit card or a checking account to access the portal. There is also NO cancellation fee if you cancel a booking made with a credit card, though there is no refund if you don’t pick up the rental and don’t cancel beforehand.
Another benefit of the Capital One Travel portal, if you’re paying with Capital One points, is that you could get a much nicer premium car or SUV for the SAME price in points!
But unfortunately, if you’re paying with a credit card, the price does change for different types of cars.
In my tests for the rental car series post, the Capital One portal wasn’t as low as the Chase Ultimate Rewards or Citi Thank You portal, but I’ve seen the Capital One portal with occasionally lower rates than elsewhere. But the rates were still cheaper than Hotwire or Costco Travel!
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How To Access The Capital One Travel Portal
You need a Capital One checking account or credit card which earns “No Hassle Rewards” points to access the travel portal. Cards which earn cash rewards points may have access to different cash rates.
This link to CreditCards.com has 2 Capital One cards, one with an annual fee and one without an annual fee. Note that the cards have only a 10,000 point sign up bonus and that Capital One usually pulls your credit from all 3 credit bureaus.
My oldest credit card is a no-fee Capital One credit card which I got in college with a $200 limit, which was enough for breadsticks at the Pizza Express across form my dorm. I gradually increased the credit line and financed my 1st car using a 0% APR offer (a 6 year old Ford Escort) in my junior year when I needed a car for an internship. And I probably used the card for a few dates with Emily!
I did get the Capital One Venture Rewards card a few years ago when they had a 100,000 match your miles bonanza, but cancelled it because of the annual fee.
But the no-fee Capital One card still gets me access to the No Hassle Rewards portal and the cheap rental car prices.
The credit card prices were the same regardless of accessing the portal with a Capital One Venture card or a regular no-fee Capital One Platinum card which both earned “No Hassle Rewards.” The points rates varies depending on which card I used to log into the portal, but the credit card rate was the same.
Step 1 – Log in
Log into your Capital One account using this link
Step 2 – Explore Rewards
Click on “Explore Rewards.“
Step 3 – Redeem
Click on “Redeem“ on the top left hand menu bar. Then click on “New Travel: Powered by Travelocity“ and search for your car rental.
[Note that price comparisons between rental agencies were made on the same day, but posted later. The credit card prices were the same regardless of accessing the portal with a Capital One Venture card or a regular no-fee Capital One Platinum card which both earned “No Hassle Rewards.” The points rates varies depending on which card you have.]
A) ~6 Days in Tampa
At $169, the Capital One portal is slightly more expensive than the Chase Ultimate Rewards & Citi Thank You portals, but much less expensive than Hotwire/Costco Travel.
B) 1 Weekday in New York
At $54, the Capital One portal is slightly more expensive than the Chase Ultimate Rewards & Citi Thank You portals, but much less expensive than Hotwire/Costco Travel.
C) ~1 Week in Maui
At $319, the Capital One portal is much more expensive than the Chase Ultimate Rewards & Citi Thank You portals, but less expensive than Hotwire/Costco Travel.
Note that the redemption using points remains the same across different vendors and that a larger car costs the same as a smaller car!
Using The Capital One Portal For Car Rentals
1. Restrictions, Refunds, & Fees
You can cancel a booking made with a credit card for NO charge by calling 1-877-523-2912 (Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm EST, Saturday/Sunday, 9:00 am to 10:00 pm EST).
However, if you make a booking using Capital One rewards points, you can only make ONE change, so you’re better off cancelling the reservation and making another reservation so that you don’t lose flexibility if you need to cancel in the future.
Here’s the complete cancellation policy:
- If using a credit card to book your credit card will be charged in full at the time of booking.
- Due to program restrictions, reservations booked using rewards can be changed only ONCE. After a reservation booked using rewards is modified once, it CANNOT be changed or cancelled again.
- Changes in itinerary can result in a change in price. If a price increase occurs, then the difference in price CANNOT be paid with rewards. Price increases must be paid with a credit card.
- No monetary refund will be given for cancellation of a reservation booked using rewards. An equivalent amount of Rewards, minus any cancellation or change fees, will be credited back to your Rewards account if changes to your rewards reservation result in a refund.
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.
All fees are included in the price except for extras like GPS etc.
2. Pay With Credit Card OR Points, but NOT Both
You can pay for rentals through the Capital One Travel Portal using any credit card or you can redeem points provided you have enough Capital One points for the FULL rental.
You don’t have the option of redeeming for a combination of points and cash.
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 earn 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 credit card price from the Capital One 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 Capital One portal is not always the cheapest, but it is worth checking if you have access to the Capital One portal. And it is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for 1-way rentals or non-airport locations.
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.
If you’re using Capital One points, you can often get a premium car or a SUV for the same price in points as an economy car!
In my experience, the Chase Ultimate Rewards & Citi Thank You portal often have the lowest price on car rentals. But sometimes the Capital One No Hassle Rewards portal has better rates so it doesn’t hurt to check! And especially for 1-way and non-airport location rentals since the Chase and Citi portals don’t have this option.
The Capital One portal doesn’t charge for cancellations, if you book the car using a credit card.
Please share your story in the comments if you’ve used the Capital One travel portal for car rentals!
PS: I’m traveling today to meet our friends from Chase, so I won’t be able to get to the comments and email for a bit.
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