AutoSlash.com Review: My Car Rental Experience

I just got back from my trip to Orlando, where I tried the new car rental website AutoSlash.com to book, and previously wrote an introductory summary of their features. To briefly recap, the website takes advantage of a unique feature of car rental reservations to continuously check for lower prices over time and re-book you whenever there is a price drop.

Here is the price history of my one week rental of a mid-size car in April 2011 from Orlando International Airport (MCO). I later realized it included Good Friday and Easter weekend, which I think increased the demand of cars.

  • Day 1 – $665.61 including all taxes and fees, with Payless. This was really the lowest price I could find at the time across Kayak, Expedia, etc.
  • Day 2 – $346.18 with Dollar Rent A Car at .
  • Day 3 – $320.41 again with Dollar.
  • Day 38 – $273.68, final price with Dollar.

As you can see, there was a flurry of activity in the beginning, nothing for a long time, and then finally one last price drop at the end. This is only a theory, but I think that the folks behind Autoslash do a manual price search right after your rental reservation is first made, and again a week or so before your actual rental date. They are probably really good at finding the best price, perhaps they know some manual tricks that their automated scripts can’t replicate. Or, this is just a result of how the rental agencies vary their prices over time.

Regardless, I was really happy with my experience, and will use them again in the future. They found a better price than I could have found, with really zero effort on my part. Many of these rental agencies are clones of each other anyway. I picked up my car from Dollar with no issues with my special coupon code, and drove away in a huge Ford Crown Victoria with 9 miles on the odometer since that’s all they had left. I declined all additional insurance coverages from them, and returned it with no problems. This last part is more of a testament to that specific Dollar franchise, but it increases my confidence with places that aren’t Avis or Hertz.

Comments

  1. We can confirm that AutoSlash re-prices rentals multiple times a day, every single day. Each customer’s experience will vary based on variety of factors.

    If you happen to book at peak you will likely experience a number of price drops from Autoslash, as opposed to catching a low point in the pricing.

    Many times prices will either drop or increase in the week leading up to the rental. It’s mostly based on supply and demand. If lots of vehicles are available, companies will undercut each other and AutoSlash customers will benefit. If vehicles are scarce, prices will rise, and price drops will be less likely.

    One customer may get one or two price drops a week for 8 weeks, while another will have their rate cut in half the day before they pickup their rental. It’s hard to predict, but the bottom line is that with AutoSlash you can always rest easy that you’re getting the best deal possible.

  2. SJU airport 05/06 through 05/13
    autoslash right now has it as total price $126 dollars and hotwire has it as $115 dollars. Not a huge difference, but I guess I was expecting autoslash to match hotwire on my first search and not cost more.

  3. There are two key things to keep in mind…

    We discount the rate after you book. The rates you initially see are un-discounted. Once you book, you will likely get an email from us within a few hours that we’ve reduced your rate by applying a coupon or discount code. We’re not allowed to show discounted rates in the initial search. Other services (like Hotwire) can do this because they don’t tell you the name of the company until after you’ve paid in full for the rental.

    Hotwire (and Priceline) charges you the full price of the rental up front, and they don’t allow any cancellations or changes. They are what’s known as an ‘opaque’ service’. If your plans change, you’re SOL. AutoSlash charges nothing, and you can change or cancel at anytime without penalty.

    The bottom line is that you should go ahead and book and see what happens to your price. Your initially booked rate is basically just a starting point. Essentially the rate you book at is the highest price you’ll pay, and it will likely go down from there.

  4. I don’t think you need a manual search near booking to explain more activity at the front end followed by a lul. If you assume prices fluctuate up and down (which I think is perfectly reasonable), and you don’t HAPPEN to book at a cyclical bottom, you’d expect several bookings in a row as prices move towards one of those bottoms.

    Once that bottom is hit, and you’re locked in, you won’t see another change untill (or more accurately UNLESS) another bottom is LOWER than the bottom at which you locked in. I’m not surprised at all to see the pattern in your graph — it makes total sense, even as a 100% automated system, applied consitently from day 1 to day 40+.

  5. Samuel Victor says:

    I think you still need to manually find coupons and enter. I don’t think it applies coupon automatically…. which is a bummer!

  6. AutoSlash does automatically apply coupons, but it happens *after* you book. Typically after booking you get an email like this:

    http://bit.ly/SampleEmail

    When we first launched last year, we used to automatically apply coupons up-front and show discounted rates before the actual booking, but the rental companies weren’t happy with us to say the least, so we had to alter our business model for better or worse.

  7. @ Samuel Victor — not according to their website… or the resident AutoSlash commentor.

  8. Just wanted to say that I am a big fan of AutoSlash, and my experience reflected a few of the points described above.

    I made a reservation at a high un-discounted rate; then it immediately found me a much lower rate (presumably non-publishable); then a few days later it found me a slightly lower rate (presumably due to the agencies bidding).

    Best of all, I had the freedom to cancel the reservation in case I had to change my travel plans — which I eventually did. To their credit, AutoSlash made it very easy and convenient to cancel.

    I don’t think this combination of price search and booking flexibility is possible anywhere else.

  9. @GregK — You hit the nail on the head. A lot of it is timing.

  10. @Autoslash – Thanks for commenting, and that point about the first quote not being discounted at all explains a lot. That’s too bad, because I bet some people move on after seeing your initial prices are the same as at other travel sites. I’m just happy they still let you do this model of applying coupons for us.

  11. May be stating the obvious, but Priceline’s name your own price feature is a great way to book a car for significantly less than what you can find anywhere else. It allows you to choose everything but the company (date, pick up time, size/class of car, etc.) – only down side is that you pre pay, so no refunds if your trip is canceled. We’ve gotten mid size cars for as little as $13/day in SFO and great prices in Hawaii and Denver.

  12. Captain Cheapo says:

    Priceline is great until you go to pick up your car and the rental agency tells you that no cars are available, even though you already paid for it. Then trying to get a refund from them is like making a diamond out of coal. Autoslash worked great for me the two times I used them.

  13. I am very impressed with Autoslash. I just booked a 3-day rental for Milwaukee a week from now. The listed rate after taxes was $52, ($13/day) which seemed awesome, I booked it. Today I received an email offering me a lower rate of $35 from hertz – an instant $17 saved. I replied to the email and I now have a reservation for the new price. I checked priceline after originally booking and their listed rate was $52 – the “name your own price,” wanted me to bid $14/day for a “great chance” of getting “my price,” and at $10/day the total was still $49.

    Ive had several bad experiences with Priceline sticking forks in me and so far I’m very excited about Autoslash. I will follow up after the rental to complete my review

  14. Wow! Autoslash came back 18 days after my original booking and knocked off $105 for my 5-day rental in Orlando in mid-June. Thanks Autoslash!

  15. You are very welcome Brett! The question is, can it go lower??? :)

  16. martin ray says:

    Good information shared..

  17. I also had a very pleasant experience with Autoslash. Not only I have received a great rate, the customer support was exceptional. I got email reply in less than 5 minutes. Thanks Autoslash!

  18. im very glad to see the positive reviews of autoslash.com. i currently have a reservation pending for january (currently early december) and the emails notifying of a price drop just keep coming! undiscounted was $260 and my latest email states the rate is now $149! i have not done anything to assist with the discounts except to cancel my original reservation with dollar and rebook (the exact same reservation details) with autoslash.com directly. if nothing else, the discounts will pay for the fuel!

    very happy so far! -tom

  19. I just rented 2 cars in Grand Caymen for Feb but when I look at the res it shows tax and fee 0.00 ,,, does this mean the taxes are not included in the price?

  20. I took a look Karen. Apparently there are no taxes on car rentals in Grand Cayman. Our rentals always include all taxes and fees. Hope this helps!

  21. I had already booked with Budget on my own but then I read about autoslash in a NY Times article so I thought I’d give it a try and registered my booking with Autoslash. Didn’t expect it to help much as I was booking a car at a relatively small airport in Canada – Victoria, BC – not alot of competition I thought. But I just received an email today that they could reduce the price from $170 to $124. So I decided to signup. One concern was the following stmt:
    We’re sorry, but the price breakdown is not available at this time. Your totalprice is guaranteed.
    Total: CAD124.17

    I wonder why no breakdown and I wish they would state that this includes taxes.

  22. Hi Gary. Thanks for giving AutoSlash a shot. Sometimes it’s not possible to get the actual price breakdown directly from the rental company for a particular rental, but you can view it on their site directly. Just take your confirmation number, and go to rental company’s site and plug it in along with your last name, and you’ll see that the rate we quoted includes all taxes and fees.

    Just keep in mind that if you need to make changes to your reservation, do it on AutoSlash as opposed to the rental company. We will track your rate each day, and if rates drop, we’ll automatically re-book you to lock in the savings. If you modify it at the rental company’s site, things get out of sync and our price tracking doesn’t work anymore.

    Hope this helps!

  23. Thanks Jonathan for the quick reply! Yes, I confirmed my rental at the Hertz site and it does include taxes. Very impressed with AutoSlash!

  24. Autoslash is my best friend! I use it every year for our annual trip to Vegas. The price keeps dropping & dropping & soon it’s almost 1/2 of the original price. I’ve told a great many friends about this site & now they’re fans just like me!

  25. I bookmarked this when you posted and finally used it. I had been able to find prices on Kayak for a 3 day SUV rental for $147 with Enterprise. AutoSlash was initially $198 but within hours was $165, both with Hertz. I’ll keep seeing if they can beat that, but I booked with Enterprise directly also since AutoSlash does not seem to see that price for me.

  26. Hi, I am trying to book a car your website is not working. It’s not allowing me to put in the dates and time.

  27. I can seem to get the website to work. The calendar
    Doesn’t pull up or the time.. And when I put it in
    Manually it doesn’t take it!!!! Please help
    Thank you, sue

  28. @can’t

  29. Please contact us via the following page Sue and we’ll be happy to help you:

    http://www.autoslash.com/help

  30. I have a car rented with autoslash however I have been finding deals cheaper myself online, I’m still 17 days out before I leave so I am hoping autoslash will come up with a better deal as it gets closer to my departure.

  31. Limited number of companies at some locations?

    We go to Las Vegas 4 times a year for a week and rent car. Have ended up using Advantage, not always the very cheapest, but the easiest to deal with because so many of them, even the high rate companies, can be so snotty to deal with.

    But Advantage does not show up on quote, at least in Las Vegas.

  32. I would love to use the service, but it would not come up with cars in the RDU (raleigh durham airport) area. I hope they can fix this.

  33. Naoyuki says:

    It appears all of the major car rental companies have decided not to participate with AutoSlash. I don’t think I will be using them unless things change.

    http://inacents.com/2012/04/03/autoslash-loses-vehicle-rental-availability-from-dollar-thrifty-hertz-and-advantage/

  34. @Naoyuki We are still servicing our customers and helping them find deals on their rentals. Just book your rental anywhere you like, and then come to AutoSlash.com and click on the tab labeled “Track a rental you’ve booked elsewhere”. Our system them analyzes your rental and we’ll send you offers if we find a better deal elsewhere.

  35. Ridiculous! I have looked for cars at JFK 2 weeks ahead of time and all autoslash can say: sorry no cars available! What the heck

  36. Sorry for the difficulty Jay. Due to the aggressive pricing we’ve gotten people in the past, most of the major rental companies have blocked us from showing their inventory. There’s a link posted on our site, but you might have overlooked it. Please email us at supportautoslash.com with your needs, and we’ll be happy to help you find the best deal possible.

    Note that we’re hard at work on a new version of the site that should address the current shortcomings, but for the time being, email is the best way for us to help you. Thanks for your understanding.

  37. Hi Jonathan, I deeply regret having posted that without knowledge of the status quo. Please accept my apology! Hope you can straighten things out soon

  38. Is AutoSlash still currently working? I’ve reviewed some websites such as slickdeals to find coupon codes that equate to lower charges per day than AutoSlash.

    Did some of these car rental places ban Autoslash and if so, which ones and why?

    I’ve noticed that Autoslash posts on here so I’m looking for some feedback.

    Thank you

  39. AARP had an article on AutoSlash.com, so I thought I would try it out. I had already booked a Standard SUV for Sacramento, CA, using AARP’s rate promo code. In the past few days, AutoSlash.com has pulled down the rental cost by a whopping $363.34! That’s hard to believe because the original discounted rate was the lowest I could find on my own when I made the reservation several months ago.

    I’m very impressed so far. Of course the proof will be when Alamo honors the reservation and heavily discounted rate found by AutoSlash.com. Fingers crossed!

  40. Be careful of the “deals” they find for you. In my case my spouse was not covered in my quote and it was with the Avis I had booked. They did not disclose this.

  41. I have used Autoslash many times and have been happy….until today. Today I received an email from Autoslash saying my reservation had been cancelled (I need the car 2 days from now!). When I contacted Autoslash customer support to find out what happened, they said Enterprise would not honor the reservation price, which was booked almost 2 months ago. When we called Enterprise, they said that our booking agent (Autoslash) cancelled the reservation. Both sides are placing blame on the other, when all I want is my original reservation honored. Starting over today for a rental 2 days from now will surely NOT get me a good price for the Easter holiday. Autoslash….please come to my rescue and re-affirm my faith in you!!

  42. Jennifer says:

    I just had the exact same thing happen to me! Autoslash spontaneously cancelled my reservation (that I made weeks ago). Their email thanks me for using them and makes it seem like I cancelled the reservation myself. I went back through Autoslash and tried to book again (while waiting for a response from their customer service) and now it says that the car I requested is not available. NOT COOL. Now I have to start all over again and will likely get stuck with a higher rate. My first and last time using this website.

  43. robert gray says:

    I just went to Europcar web site and put in my confirmation # and last name, and the message “Sorry, we have not found any additional booking with the details submitted”, I then tried confirmation # and email address and got the same message..HELP

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