All rental vendors want your guaranteed business, therefore most of them like to offer their customers a “pay now” or prepay option. This allows you to pay for either the entire sum, or a large percentage, of your reservation in advance. For the most part, prepaying will charge the funds in one major payment so, be mindful of how much money you have available on your credit card. BUT, there are some perks to this strategy. Prepaying typically comes with a 10-15% discount as a little “thank you” from your vendor.
There’s a lot to consider with prepaying, so let’s discuss if your trip is a good candidate for it.
A major perk for prepaying is saving money and stress. Like mentioned earlier, prepaying can save you 10-15% on total costs. Also, knowing in advance how much your rental costs is helpful when planning and budgeting for your trip. As it was mentioned earlier, prepaying means one big, immediate transaction so make sure you can afford it at the time of booking.
Changing Trip Details
Depending on the vendor, prepaid reservations are set in stone which does not allow much room for any changes or adjustments. Other companies, may allow you to adjust your reservation but it might be more difficult or time-consuming than a non-prepaid scenario.
Cancelling Your Reservation
Depending on the vendor, you may either get a partial refund or, more likely, no refund at all. Regardless, most companies charge a cancellation fee for prepaid bookings. If you need to cancel your trip for any reason try to do so as soon as possible. Cancelling a prepaid trip more than 24 hours ahead of your pickup time, you get charged a $25* cancellation fee. If you cancel within the 24 hours before your pickup time, the fee increases to $50*.
*Fee prices are an industry average.
The Bottom Line
Rates fluctuate daily therefore today’s seemingly great deal may seem overpriced tomorrow. The best way to save money is to check rates everyday. Reliable third party sites, like AutoRentals.com, assure the lowest possible rates. If you are looking to prepay then check a third party travel site to make sure you are saving money.
If you are considering prepaying, inquire with a few rental suppliers about their policy on adjusting/cancelling prepaid reservations. This can be looked up online or by phone. If you are using a third party site then there are available links to find out vendor-specific contact information.