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Friday, January 17, 2014

One Way to Get a Free Upgrade On Your Next Rental Car

Here’s one way to get a free upgrade on your next rental car. After you sign all the documents and the clerk tells you which car is yours, get into and drive off in the car you really want to drive. Almost all of the rental car agencies leave the keys in the cars now, so pick out a nice one and head to the gate. Of course, when you get to the gate and hand the paperwork to the guard, they’ll note that you have the wrong car, but there’s a good chance they’ll let you keep the car you're in and upgrade you for free. If they don’t, you can always go back and get the one you were supposed to have.

How do I learn about this? Because after I flew into Washington D.C. late last Thursday night, I caught the shuttle to Avis, checked in, signed the paperwork, climbed into what I thought was my car (the clerk wrote the wrong parking slot # on the paperwork), and drove away. When I got to the gate, the guard looked at my paperwork and informed me that I had the wrong car, but even though I volunteered to turn around and get the right one, she said, “Forget it,” and upgraded me (free) from a Ford Focus to a luxury Volvo wagon. So, there you have it: One way to get a free upgrade on your next rental car


  1. Great pro tip, Sean! I will try this out when I fly to Tampa in a few weeks.

    1. Nancy, Dan and I will be in Tampa Feb 18-24 -- Social Networks Conference (Sunbelt)