I was very pleased this week to receive an e-mail from Roy Asfar, the VP for Marketing of Veterans Advantage asking if Scott Higgins, the Founder and CEO, could have a chat with me. I eagerly agreed and the three of us got on the phone for about an hour. First of all, I have to comment that I think that Scott is a great guy and is all about finding ways to get an advantage for his fellow veterans out there. A 5% discount might not seem much for some of the discounts offered, but you have to remember that for many services, such as airlines and rental cars, 5% of the total price is a huge amount of their profit. A small discount adds up over time. Scott and Roy are working hard to get whatever discounts they can from as many firms as possible for the members of Veterans Advantage.
To start, Scott and Roy wanted to take issue with my last rental car analysis. They actually thanked me because my blog caused them to review their system and found that the Dollar discount was not functioning correctly. They made a fix and I ran the analysis for the same time period again (22-30 May out of IAD). They also helpfully guided me through the website and show me how to apply the Enterprise discount which I was unable to figure out last time. Here are the results:
Company Travelocity Veterans Advantage
Budget $389 $342
Alamo $413 $350
Dollar $166 $158
Thrifty $166 $186
Enterprise $256 $243
Hertz $619 $344
Well, certainly very different results from last time! Veterans Advantage gave a discount over Travelocity in all but one company. I wonder about that one too, as Dollar and Thrifty typically have the same price, so maybe an error on my part or in the applied discount. Bottom line is that Veterans Advantage codes resulted in a discount in almost all instances.
This re-do also highlights a key thing to remember with rental car reservations – they change ALL the time! Unlike airlines which normally go up the closer you get to the flight date, car reservations fluctuate wildly. If you go back and compare these prices to the ones in the previous analysis, you will see a radical difference. I had booked Dollar at $248 for the same rental period that is now showing as only $158. Needless to say I cancelled my previous reservation with Dollar and rebooked at the (much) lower rate.
OK, so I am sold on the car rental discount with Veterans Advantage. Next time I will relate more of my discussions with Scott and more on the Veterans Advantage discount program.