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Cheating on Hertz

While I'm not a hard core car renter, I learned a long time ago it wasn't worth it to try and save a buck and have remained loyal to Hertz. With the local city taxes in many areas renting a car can be an expensive endeavor. However, I learned on a difficult trip when I arrived into Tulsa, at another car rental desk after being told, "sorry we're out of cars," you get what you pay for. "What do you mean you're out of cars, I have a reservation?" I replied. I quickly learned that meant nothing, and in fact at the end of a long day traveling with daylight waning on icy roads, I'd made a horrible mistake to try and save a few bucks.

With Hertz you know as a Gold member you will have your car waiting for you, your name in lights. Okay maybe not the lights I'd always dreamed of but nonetheless, on a sign designating my car space and off I go.

So as a travel professional, when the odd named Sixt arrived into my office selling me cheap rental rates of great cars such as BMW and Mercedes. I thought, "no thanks, I'll just stick with Hertz."

But on a work related road trip when I was weighing the cost of renting a car vs Uber, I really looked at the car rental cost, and checked out at LAX. Indeed, starting from about $43/day there were some nice entry level luxury vehicles, and I thought, what the heck, in the spirit of education, I'll give it a whirl, knowing that really the best I could do is be out the door for about $100-$150. The very user friendly website yielded no red flags, and I was pleasantly surprised to get a text with my reservation and directions to pick up the car. Hmmm....does Sixt intuitively know I am a bit clumsy, making reservations, never printing them, and spinning through my emails later to try and locate my reservation as my phone battery is dying? So, I thought this is easy.

But, upon arrival at LAX I stepped to the far curb to wait for the dreadful rental car bus. In a flash, the orange and black bus swooped in and off I went to the lot. While not a fancy facade, I stepped into the building and was quickly directed to a man dressed a bit like a theater usher who asked my name and pointed to a car slot about twenty yards away and off I went. So, no name in lights, but really I was from the shuttle to the front seat in less than three minutes. That's a pretty good deal.

As I slid into the leather seats in the less than 2000-mile 2016 Mercedes C-Class, no sooner had I pulled out of the garage than I had my bluetooth connected to my phone and away I went.

The return was even less eventful as I pulled back in the car hanger and I simply got out of the car to a friendly attendant who was cheery and kind. $155 later I was on my way. And by the way, $46 of that was the premium protection I added because after all it was LA freeways, and I'm a bit paranoid about insurance.

Sixt, I'm in.

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