Credit Card Perks for Car Rentals

Certain cards can boost your status in a rental company’s loyalty program and give you an edge.

Young businesswoman in the office giving the car keys to customer
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you plan to rent a car this summer, be ready to contend with low inventory and high prices. After cutting back on vehicles during the pandemic, rental companies are facing a dearth of new cars to buy to replenish their fleets following auto-plant shutdowns last year and a semiconductor shortage that is now slowing production, says Jonathan Weinberg of AutoSlash, a site that searches for car-rental discounts.

Book early to snag a reservation at a reasonable price. But there’s a chance that when you arrive at the rental center, fewer cars will be on the lot than customers in line to rent them. At large rental centers at airports, line wait times can be two hours or more, says Weinberg.

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Lisa Gerstner
Editor, Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine

Lisa has been the editor of Kiplinger Personal Finance since June 2023. Previously, she spent more than a decade reporting and writing for the magazine on a variety of topics, including credit, banking and retirement. She has shared her expertise as a guest on the Today Show, CNN, Fox, NPR, Cheddar and many other media outlets around the nation. Lisa graduated from Ball State University and received the school’s “Graduate of the Last Decade” award in 2014. A military spouse, she has moved around the U.S. and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.