Reader, htownzsos, left the following question on my using Priceline for rental cars page. The question brings up some good points so I thought I would answer the questions here on the main page.
Awesome article Scott really appreciate your post on the matter, never tried it this method but got a trip to the DC area and nyc week long in the works so have hit the internet for planning.
I was wondering if the method above works in this situation if I win the bid for a compact, midsize or even full size, at my comfortable price, would I be able to get to the rental counter and ask for an upgrade for a full SUV such as a chevy suburban and pay $10 – $20 extra per day?
My ultimate intent is to get the chevy suburban or similar for 8 people we actually have 12 people so might be getting two rentals, or do you think it’s better to get a 15 pass van, not much room for price discounts if we get a 15 pass van since limited places would have them in my opinion but would like your thoughts on it.
I’m aware how the rental sales men work on commission and that things like upgrades and the damage waiver are what they try to target to sell anyway. So I assume it would work anyways but just wanted your thoughts on it?
I know this would work under normal conditions had i just made a reservation then ask for the upgrade because my buddies do it when they go to vegas by booking a minivan then at the counter ask for the suburban for extra $10 per day, and works just fine, and they don’t use priceline bidding just normal travel sites.
When it comes to upgrading a rental car you got through bidding on Priceline, I would say that 80% of the time I get an upgrade from lot attendant and I have never paid for the upgrade. In December when we went to Hawaii, I got a full size car and ended up being upgraded into our choice of a minivan or SUV (we went with the SUV).
Although, I would never plan on an upgrade because I am not willing to pay for it, your situation is different given your willingness to pay. However, I think the cost of upgrading from a compact or full size to a suburban would be prohibitive, assuming they even offer you such an upgrade. Your friend’s situation is a little different given that they are not bumping up as far category wise.
My advice, since Priceline does not allow bidding on 15 person passenger vans, would be to go get the smallest car you can live with, in this case probably a mid-size SUV, and work the upgrade at the counter from there.
Bottom line is that more often than not you will get an upgrade for free, either at the counter, or from the lot attendant. But to make your vacation more enjoyable plan around your minimum needs. The last thing you want to do is get stuck with a car that won’t work.
Good luck and when bidding on Priceline, don’t forget to use my link, it helps support this blog. Your support is appreciated.