USAA is my favorite bank, and one of my favorite companies, for many reasons – customer service, ease of use, portability, and benefits. One of the lesser known benefits that USAA provides concerns rental cars, specifically discounts with certain companies – Avis, Budget, Enterprise, and Hertz. Also, and this is huge, USAA provides primary liability coverage if you rent with one of these 4 companies through their website! Finally, they waive most fees associated with these rentals, including the additional driver fee and the under age 25 fee. All of these benefits combined are why I usually rent through USAA, even if the fee is a little higher than on Hotwire, Priceline, etc.
As an example, using Avis’ USAA site, I was able to book a hypothetical car at Las Vegas from Sept 17th – 21st, over a weekend, for $159.13 for a subcompact.
Most rewards credit cards with which you book your rental car provide secondary insurance, ie it’s insurance kicks in after your primary auto insurance is tapped out. Daraius from Million Mile Secrets provides a good explanation of car rental insurance here, and notes, “[liability coverage] is the most important rental car insurance coverage to have because the liability of a serious car accident could be hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars!”, and I agree.Here is an article on the current credit cards that offer primary rental insurance coverage. (of note, since this article’s publication, there is no more Chase Fairmont card). Also, Chase Sapphire Preferred will be offering primary liability coverage sometime later this year, and American Express offers Premium car rental protection for an extra fee per rental.
When you book through USAA however, you will have primary liability coverage, fees waived, a discount from 5-25% off, and you can use whatever card you’d like! You can view all the included benefits below:
Of note, USAA does not primarily cover the first $5000 of loss or damage to rental vehicle, but your credit card or auto insurance might, depending on their terms.
There are also links on the webpage to enroll in these rental companies’ loyalty programs, which I recommend you doing. Of note, having certain credit cards, such as the American Express Platinum, or a World Mastercard Elite, will automatically give you high-level status in these programs. For example, having a Barclaycard Arrival, which is a World MC, will give you Avis First status, which is their highest status. You can then match status with other programs; a good website to check that out is Status Matcher.
If you have any questions feel free to email me.