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Car Rental Question - HW or PL

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By LglBlonde,

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Our arrival at RSW airport is at 1:30 p.m. on a Saturday. (Nov. 12)

Our departure is Tuesday about 5:30 p.m. (Nov. 15) I'm trying to determine a way to only pay 3 days of a rental car without inconveniencing us too much?

I know most places allow a one hour grace period.

Bid 3:00 p.m. and try to pick up the car early?

Put in 4:00 p.m. drop off and be a little late?

But if we do this on both ends would we be charged the extra day anyways?

Thing is - Hotwire shows $20.95/day for our dates = $119 for four days or $89 for three days. We could use the $30 rebate (have E.com card from 2005 but not used HW rebate) - bringing price to essentially the 3 day price.

And I'm doubtful I could get a four day rental in this tough market on PL for less than $90!


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Well, I don't know what RSW is like, but if your flight is delayed at all, and after waiting for luggage, you may not actually be picking up the car until close to 3 pm, anyway. Especially since I think you will have to allow for a shuttle ride to the rental car pick-up, as well. And it is the actual time of pick-up as stamped on your contract that will be used for determining your return time requirement.

Most companies do have a 59 minute grace period, and some may charge an hourly rate for up to 3 hours rather than charging a full day for late returns. But you need to review this at the time of pick-up, as I am sure you are aware.

This is from Budget.

Do late-return fees apply?

Vehicles are rented on a daily, 24-hour basis. There is a 59-minute grace period for returns. After one hour, hourly charges may apply. After three hours, a full-day charge may apply.

I think Alamo has a similar policy but they reserve the right to assess a late fee over and above any other charges, although I have no idea how often this would occur and how much the charge would be.

If I were you, I would book for 3 days from about 3pm to 3pm and ask at the counter about what and how they assess late fees. If terms sounded too onerous, I would just make sure to get the car back within the time limits. But you're the only one who can decide how important having the car for an extra hour or so would be.... :)

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Thanks Scorp.

RSW is Fort Myers - I'm under the impression it's not all that big of an airport, though it has been about 5 years since I've flown in and out of there.

However, I think all rental car companies for RSW (for PL & HW) have in-airport counters, but shuttles to actual cars. So you are saying that the time won't start "running" until we are physically in the car and taking it on our way, as opposed to when we are at the counter, printing out the contract. In that sense, it may make sense to use 3 p.m. as a good median time.

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So you are saying that the time won't start "running" until we are physically in the car and taking it on our way, as opposed to when we are at the counter, printing out the contract.

You know, I am trying to find an old rental contract here and must have finally shredded them all!!! :)

I think they time stamp the contract when you are at the shuttle counter, but you usually have the car right outside at that point. At least for most of the airports that I have flown into, you may talk to someone at the airport counter, but the final paperwork is usually done at the shuttle location.

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I checked HW's prices today! Dramatically lower - $11.95 for Econ and $13.95 for Compact. Last week I believe it was 20.95 Econ and $24.95 for Compact. (I wonder if this drop has to do with being very close to a 30 day window on the rental since our pick up is 11/12.)

We went with the $13.95 compact. I booked 2:30 pick up and 3:30 drop off. I think we'll be okay - saved $20 this way too after taxes & fees. $57.03 total for three days + one hour. We got Hertz - which is actually in terminal counter & Walk to Car. Several at RSW (Budget & Avis) have in terminal counters, but shuttles to cars... interesting.

Here's link to my post:

Fort Myers Car Rental

HW beats PL here b/c HW allows a one hour grace period. So I booked 3 days one hour for a three day price. PL considers 3 days one hour to be four days.

Even if I got a PL bid of $11 a day (either Econ or Compact) accepted for 4 days would total $72 and 3 days would total $55, so I don't think I did half bad on Hotwire, and the stress of whether a bid will get accepted is now gone as well as whether I'd get the rebate from HW.

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