If you’ve rented a car at a major airport in the past few years, you’ve probably noticed the growing number of signs pointing you to more sporty and more luxurious cars. I’ve marched my suitcase right past these cars the majority of the time, but it got me thinking why upgrading to one of these uber-nice cars might make sense – that is, if renting a Corvette convertible or Maserati needs to make sense!
I partnered with National Car Rental to ask this question about their Premier Selection, starting with the question: Does anyone really rent these cars?
“Oh, yes!” said the National manager at the Orlando’s International Airport.
“We see several of these cars being returned each day” said the National employee who checked me in upon returning my car to the airport.
When I asked which car was most popular, it was hands down the Maserati. National added the Maserati Ghibli S Q4 in the past year. I’ll tell you now that I didn’t select the most popular car for my journey.
What I did select was an Audi A8 – more to my personality style. What a stunning car! More bells and whistles, window screens, seat buttons and back massagers than I’ve ever experienced! The cost of a new A8 is more than what my first home in cost.
I had a business meeting in south Florida, a four-hour drive from home in Orlando and a perfect opportunity to enjoy such a luxurious car.
When I arrived at my meeting, my colleagues wanted to see what I was ooh’ing and aah’ing over. Though they also gave me a lot of grief, especially the guys, when I told them that I choose the Audi over the Maserati!
I got back to my original question of why upgrading to one of these luxurious cars might make sense, especially since they come with an extra price tag (more on that later).
Here are the reasons I came up with:
- An extra-special event (wedding, anniversary, proposal, birthday, job promotion)
- Vacation getaway, especially for renting convertibles in warm, sunny locales
- To make a great impression on prospective or current clients, colleagues, relationships
- When considering buying one of these cars, for test-driving the car at length
- A reward for completing an especially challenging project
- You need an extra-large vehicle (Cadillac Escalade, for example)
- Simply for the fun and experience.
So how do you get the keys to one of these Premier Selection cars? Make a reservation for a mid-size car and then head out to the special section of the rental lot at any of the 25 locations where Premier Selection is available and you can choose to upgrade on the spot from a variety of upscale nameplates. The selection may include Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, BMW, Audi, Chevrolet Corvette, Toyota Land Cruiser and of course, Maserati. Not all cars are available at all times, so the selection will vary by airport and time of rental.
Each car will have the upgrade cost clearly displayed on a green tag on the window. Tags of $50, $75 and $100 were on the cars available in Orlando and this is the upgrade price per day, not per rental. (Use a ‘free day’ coupon if you have one and you’ll pay the upgrade cost, though you’ll save on the base rate.). If you’re an Emerald Club member, you’ll pay the upgrade cost as well since these cars are not part of the Emerald Aisle selection. Select the car of your choice and the upgrade cost will be added to your reservation. (Make sure you have car insurance, either through your credit card, corporate travel program or by selecting full coverage on your rental agreement!)
The rental couldn’t have been easier. The drive was amazing. My colleagues were impressed. Well, not really. They said I should have my head examined for not selecting the Maserati.
Next time! Maybe it’s time to shake up my personality a bit!