Car Rental in Calgary


samuraiya
on Mar 26, 2008 @ 09:54 pm

Hi, I'm looking into renting a car in Calgary while I'm there for a wedding this summer. It's my first time renting, so I've been reading up on reviews of car rental companies, which is really freaking me out. All these horror stories about hidden costs, unreasonable refueling charge, and rude service agents basically apply to every company I was considering renting a car from: National, Alamo, Budget. What's a girl to do?!
If anyone has any advise on this, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks.
 


7 Replies


Feisty Redhead
I don't know on Mar 27, 2008 @ 09:06 am

I'm in the US so I don't know anything that's going to help. But I just wanted to throw another thing out there to consider. My dad and I needed a vehicle to go to my cousin's wedding last year because ours at the time was not reliable for the long trip. So we decided we would just rent something. But turned out we couldn't. Because whoever would be driving the vehicle needed to have a valid, open credit card. It couldn't be debit, it couldn't be one of those pre-paid credit cards either and they don't accept cash as your payment. Dad doesn't have a credit card (couldn't get one even if he wanted to because of bad credit history) and while I have a card, I don't drive. They wouldn't let us put the charge on my card and have someone else drive - the CC HAD to belong to the person who would drive the vehicle. And they never bothered to tell us this till after we'd spent 20 minutes in the office setting up the rental. It was a complete waste of time for everyone involved. I don't know if the rental places in Canada are the same way but that might be something to ask about.
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mamaluv
ask up front and look for deals on Mar 27, 2008 @ 10:44 am

1) ask about extra costs (incl insurance, refueling, return fees - if you would bring it back to an alternate location, etc) up front and over the phone or per email so you don't have to stand there at the kiosk and waste your time. Most providers have similar services, but you may find some better than others on one or two aspects. Many places will not charge a refuel if you return it with a full tank (although some charge a top-up fee). Be specific when you ask and take notes (here is actually a good reason to do in person; what better way to scare an agent into honesty by taking notes in front of their face!).

2) surf the web for deals for specific providers. I would personally stick to the bigger names b/c they have a reputation to protect. Check if your credit card provider gets you an automatic discount, as well as CAA/AAA or AirMiles or any other consumer club. There may be some restrictions on the deals, but it might be very worthwhile.

3) bad agents are like bad waiters or salespeople; you either catch one or you don't. In my experience, it came down to finding someone having a bad day rather than a company-wide epidemic of rude jerks. If they are giving you a hard time, simply tell them you'll find another provider and "thanks for your time". Don't dish it back, it'll only make things worse and you look unprofessional at the same time.

4) Feisty brings up a good point about credit cards. Most agencies (and hotels) require it as security (makes sense, actually) and the age limit can differ according to province - I've noticed the cutoff is typically 21 or 25 depending on where you are. Ask specifically if more than one driver can use the vehicle. Most of the time they will extend driving privileges to a spouse, but not anyone else. They may allow a second driver for an additional fee.

Hope this addresses some of your questions!
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Ali de Bold
Enterprise or Budget... on Mar 27, 2008 @ 11:48 am

... tend to offer the best rates. It depends what you are looking for. When I rent a car I'm looking for a cheapie A to B, not anything flashy. For a small car you can expect to pay around $300ish per week, assuming you have your own insurance.

REALLY IMPORTANT: The rental company ALWAYS tries to sell you their insurance. However, you DON'T need it if:

* Your insurance policy for your own car at home has car rental insurance (this is an add on, not automatic, so check your policy)

* You have a visa that includes car rental insurance. This generally applies for higher end cards that have annual fees such as: RBC Avion, CIBC Aerogold, most platinum or Gold Visa cards, Corporate Amex, and many others. Just call your visa company and ask if rental insurance is included.

If you don't have insurance on your card or on your policy, you will have to pay an additional $10 - $20ish per day for the insurance from the rental company or you personally will be liable if anything happens. It's a pain because that can double the cost of your rental.

Before my last trip, I switched to a premium credit card to get the rental coverage. It saved us at least $300 this last trip alone, which makes it worth the annual fee. I highly recommend you check that out. Good luck!
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hunter_jc
Miss Chickie is Spot On on Mar 27, 2008 @ 12:24 pm

I used to work at a Car Rental in BC. So yeah, Miss Chickie is spot on regarding the insurance. Regarding fuel charge, make sure you fill it up back to the level when you get the car. And YOU have to check the car for obvious damages BEFORE you sign anything. Make sure they note those down on the contract BEFORE you sign it. Or you will be responsible for them even though the damages were there before.
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MizzRobin
Enterprise on Mar 27, 2008 @ 01:43 pm

I am originally from Alberta and I found that Enterprise Rent a Car had lower rates compared to all its competitors in Alberta. I always rent from them...they have weekend specials as well that make renting a car very affordable. Good luck! :o)
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samuraiya
Thanks for all the advise! on Mar 27, 2008 @ 02:01 pm

Thanks everyone for all the advise. Greatly appreciated.

I'll have to check with credit card company about the rental car insurance, which is adding about $250 for the whole week, so yah... hopefully I won't have to get that.

One thing I found is that it's way cheaper booking through Westjet using their corporate code... about a $200/wk difference. That's why I was looking at Budget, Alamo, and National at first since they're associated w/ the airline. But, will definitely check out Enterprise again.

Continuing to fish for e-coupons!!! Will update you all on progress.
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samuraiya
An update + some car rental tips on Apr 09, 2008 @ 09:05 am

Hi everyone, so I booked it. I made a reservation for a minivan from Alamo (going with a big group!). I ended up paying for the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) since I don't have car insurance and I'm not qualified for one of those platinum credit cards.

All the charges seem to be included in the total. Hopefully, everything will work out ok. (fingers crossed!)

Here's what saved me money though:
1) booked through the westjet site using their corporate number (saved over 25%). Note: you might be required to show your plane ticket though.

2) try to pick up from a local rental location rather than airport locations because the surcharges are insane. I saved $161 from the surcharges. Even the CDW is cheaper by $3.00/day, which adds up after a whole week.

3) try to book weekly. I could have saved another $88, but I'll be in town for a week + one day, so I had to pay way more for that one extra day over the weekly rate.

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