The Capital One Venture card had a brief place in my wallet.  In 2011 Capital One offered to “match your miles,” a lame attempt at switching big spenders from their co-branded cards to Capital ones’ 2% cash back card.  Capital One calls its cards “miles earning” cards, but they’re really just fixed cash back cards.  I gladly took the $1,100 bonus Capital One offered me, and then happily downgraded the card to the no-fee VentureOne (1.25% CB) 10 months later after I got the 11 month itch.

The sole benefit of Capital One cards remains their travel portal.  If you have a Capital One VentureOne (sidenote: how terrible is the naming of this card?) or any other card that gives you access to it the savings can sometimes be significant.  You’ve probably heard more about the Ultimate Reward Travel booking; which “offers” to let you use very valuable UR points for 1.25 cents per.  I have yet to find an example of when this is a good use of UR. You can use the site and pay cash instead of points, and if you find a good deal it might make sense to do so.

Capital One’s travel booking engine is similar to UR and other sites like lmtclub that I discussed in the Milenomics Hotel post. It is not possible to use these sites for BRG’s since you have to log in.  Capital One and Chase UR Travel booking can sometimes offer you savings over other booking sites.  One example of which is car rentals.  It isn’t always the cheapest, but it pays to check it when you have a need for a car.

Real World Example:

I’ll be renting in Nov for Thanksgiving, and have found $45-$50 being the average right now on the main car rental booking sites.  Using promo and corporate codes I’m able to get that lower.  As part of my comparison I loaded up Chase UR and checked there, as sometimes it offers deals as well. For some reason UR mall is showing me higher priced options than main sites; UR is starting at around $60 per day with all the taxes and fees included.

Chase UR Car Rental

Loading Capital One’s site shows an amazing rate: $24 a day, or $122.40 total for the same car that UR Mall wants $317.00 ($79 per day).  I can’t recall ever seeing such a large difference in pricing.  But I thought I’d share it here as some of you might also have a Capital One card collecting sock dust.

Capital One Car Rental

Like Chase UR Mall you can pay with points, or Cash.  I’ll be using my Chase MP Explorer card to pay for this one, as it includes primary rental car insurance.

I like saving $100+ and I’ll add it to the amount of cash Capital One has given me over the years. I’ll also keep an eye out for something lower priced…but $24 a day will be pretty hard to beat during the holiday week and picking up from the airport. If you know of any other good tips, feel free to leave a comment here.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

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– Written by Sam Simon. All ideas are my own, but I encourage you to see my point of view and I promise I’ll try to do the same. Connect with me on Twitter @Milenomics.

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4 thoughts on “Save Money on Car Rentals, with Capital One?

  1. This is great advice, and this is why I think it’s awesome to always have an Ultimate Rewards card and Capital One card. The problem, though, is that you have to make sure to do a few small transactions once in a while on those no-annual-fee cards that you hardly ever use, otherwise your card account might be closed and your credit score would take a hit.

    • Good tip Brandon. Capital one also zeroes out bills under $1 or so, which means the charge needs to be a little larger than that–or else you’ll never get a bill for it 😉 (which could be a good thing, or a bad thing)

  2. I’ve always wondered why everyone dislikes using UR points to actually book a flight. For example your going to china and you could book the $653 flight out of Boston that was around early this week. China on UA would be what 70k miles in coach. OR 52250 UR points and you’d get the 15k in miles if you booked the ticket on UR points right? or any flight up to about $900 if you value the miles and status.

    • Charles,

      It isn’t really a “one or the other” type decision. There’s no reason you can’t buy cheap fares with cash, or other “points” that have a fixed value. The great part about UR is that you’re able to extract a variable amount from them. Especially for business class fares, but also with coach you’re able to exceed the 1.25 Cents per point that you get when booking with UR travel. The flight I posted in the *A post from yesterday is a good example of this: LAX-CDG stop for a week, CDG-BKK stop for a week or two BKK-LAX. 65,000 miles.

      Further, the Capital One VentureOne (have I mentioned I hate that name?) card discussed in this post earns 1.25 cents per $1 spent, with no annual fee. That is the same value as 1 UR via the travel Mall. You could always bump up to a 2% (or higher) cash back card and use those points for your cheap fares, saving your UR for more complex, or expensive tickets.

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