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Car Hire - Anyone with more experience than me - help please

Tauranga, New...
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Car Hire - Anyone with more experience than me - help please

Hi. Our family is doing a 3 week roadtrip following our week in San Francisco next month. It is the first time we have visited the States and may be the last (who knows), so I would like to make it a great experience - of course...

Anyway, everything is planned and has worked out really well except for the car hire (I think). We have booked via a broker in the UK (traveljigsaw) a Premium category vehicle (which is meant to be either a Chrysler Pacifica or 300) with Dollar Rentals at O'Farrell St. Got a great rate including all the insurances we will need - no worries there.

But- and here's where things get messy and I would like advice from someone with more experience in renting cars than me - when I have a look on the Dollar website for O'Farrell St, it is impossible to book a Premium category car - it's just not an option like it is at the Airport location. Therefore, are we significantly unlikely to get that grade of car?? How do these car hire firms work?? How large is the fleet at this downtown location I wonder?

Any advice (other than "there are no guarantees" - cos I know that) would be appreciated. Would we be better getting the car from the airport???

Seriously, if there are any locals who would be prepared to phone that depot and ask if they ever stock Premium category cars that'd be fantastic and I could relax about this issue (I tried, but my kiwi accent made communication virtually impossible :(

Thanks in advance

nzers

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San Francisco...
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1. Re: Car Hire - Anyone with more experience than me - help please

next month is an extremely busy month for conventions so they have likely a small inventory in the union square location - check the convention calendar with the dates you plan to be here to see what you are competing against: http://www.sfcvb.org/convention/calendar.asp

Huntersville, North...
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2. Re: Car Hire - Anyone with more experience than me - help please

We had reserved a Pontiac Solace this past Saturday from Avis in Union Square and while in line we overheard more than once that they were out of them. The more I heard it the more irritated I got but when it was our turn at the counter they had our car ready. So my point is, to maybe ease your mind, is that since you already have it reserved, it will be there waiting for you. I assume you could always google the rental company location in Union Square and call them directly. Hope it all works out for you. We did a 2 week roadtrip last Septemper and it was the best vacation of my life. Enjoy yours.

Orange, California
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3. Re: Car Hire - Anyone with more experience than me - help please

The smaller offices have a limited number of cars on site, mostly the economy cars, and mid size. When there is a reservation for a special size, like luxury, or SUV. So most likely they will have it there when you arrive. If you call the office ahead of time and check the reservation they can tell you the car they will have for you.

764
USA
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4. Re: Car Hire - Anyone with more experience than me - help please

Hi there,

I just called the main Dollar number and asked about whether the O'Farrell location has Premium category, and the agent said yes. If you are seeing that it is not possible to rent one online, it may be that they are sold out. The agent said that if your reservation confirms Premium, it should be on hold for you. Just bring your confirmation.

In my experience, car rentals in the US are pretty good. They've often upgraded my car rental - sometimes I ask, sometimes they just offer it. If your category is not available, they will most likely offer a comparable car, or an upgrade, depending on their fleet. If you have any problems when you arrive, I would ask to speak with a manager.

As for renting at the airport, in general, the fleet is usually bigger and it can be easier to just get the car from the airport, but if you cannot change it, I think you will be fine at O'Farrell if you have a rental confirmation.

You will have a GREAT time on your road trip!

laguna niguel, ca
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5. Re: Car Hire - Anyone with more experience than me - help please

the cars available in downtown SF are fairly limited, so often it is take what they have. It is a good idea to join rental car vip club, they are free, because they get first pick. We were in SF once and they were flat out of cars and there were people there who were going to miss a wedding because no way to get there.

Tauranga, New...
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6. Re: Car Hire - Anyone with more experience than me - help please

Hi. Thanks everyone for your replies (esp. 764 for phoning Dollar!). I am feeling a little reassured that we'll be OK as we definately have a confirmation for the Premium category car and maybe, as you say, they will hold one for us. I have also joined their Express Club as suggested...

It was just too expensive to change to the airport location due to all the add-on fees etc so we're stuck with the O'Farrell depot and will take our chances. Fingers Crossed and all that.....

Cheers

nzers

San Francisco
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7. Re: Car Hire - Anyone with more experience than me - help please

Beware when you go to pick up your car the lines can be very long and slow for all the reasons mentioned above. They transfer cars up from the airport location each day to cover reservations. Bring all your paperwork and perhaps the VIP membership will make it faster. Do not chose to refuel when you return the car - refuel yourself on the way in. Much cheaper.

8. Re: Car Hire - Anyone with more experience than me - help please

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