Alamo, Rudely, Doesn't Honor Costco Discount

Due to the Costco membership second driver discount, I suggested that my parents use Alamo on their trip to visit me. When my mother told the rep on the phone and again at airport pickup that she was a Costco member for the free additional driver, they told her there was no such thing and they had never heard of it. I have used this discount, and it was the only reason I recommended Alamo. Rather than contacting someone else who might know of the partnership discount or listening to their customer, they were rude to my mother and she left with no second driver rather than pay the additional $9/day they were asking for.

Since my mother told me what happened, I have sent four emails to Alamo customer service, thinking the error may have been in the local agents. I received the same treatment, but from different representatives in each response. In summary, it’s not their problem and the discount does not exist but we should contact Costco with our concerns. Although it is my opinion that it is Alamo’s problem, and not mine, I will be sending this summary to Costco also so that they can see how their “partners” are treating their members.


That’s really a shame. Alamo managed to turn good word-of-mouth and personal recommendation, the most powerful form of advertising in the universe, into two dissatisfied customers. We feel bad you couldn’t get your discount, Jenny, so here’s 385 car rental discount codes for National, Enterprise, Budget, AVIS, and HERTZ. Alamo isn’t on the list.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Pylon83 says:

    Has the OP considered that perhaps this is Costco’s problem for advertising a “Special” that they have either not fully negotiated, or is no longer available?

  2. jwissick says:

    I agree. I would take this up with Costco. They advertised it. It should be their job to make it right.

  3. e-gadgetjunkie says:

    Alamo is no longer owned by the same company, they and National have both been bought by Enterprise. I don’t think they have changed any corporate structures, but they might have.

  4. melmoitzen says:

    We tried the various Costco, BJ’s and other affinity discount codes to rent a minivan in Florida for the two weeks before this Xmas. Their discounts never amounted to much more than $100 off the full price of ~$750-$800 I was getting from the major agencies.

    Then I tried Hotwire, and wound up with one for $350 (turned out to be from Budget). While I’d think long and hard before using Hotwire or Priceline for airfare or hotels because of not knowing what kind of flight schedule or hotel location/quality you’ll wind up with, there’s not nearly as much mystery or brand differentiation with a rental car. Highly recommend HW or PL for this purpose.

  5. BigNutty says:

    Just keep badmouthing Alamo to everyone that will listen and never use them again.

    • jakihix says:

      @BigNutty: this was not an alamo mistake. alamo will honor your reservation print out that you have set up. if you have set up a reservation through costco then the benefits through costco are free additional drivers. when booking through another source like priceline, an airline expedia there are additional driver fees. these things are in writing when it is booked and can be printed out. the way this car was booked was not under those benefits

  6. icdawg says:

    Very interesting. I used this discount back on Oct 12-14 at the Alamo in Seattle and had no problem. Maybe they have gotten rid of it since then?

  7. shaunirving says:

    Easiest way to save on a rental? I never pay more than $25 a day through there, often under $20.

  8. AndyAndy719 says:

    Take it up with Costco. The same thing happened to me – AccessLine had a free trial of their fax to email service. When I looked – they billed me anyway. I asked them about it and this is what happened (I kept the support chat log):

    Andy Goodwin: and where’s my free month?
    Andy Goodwin: in the costco magazine it said one month free.
    Andy Goodwin: yet i got billed
    Iven J: let me take a look in to that
    Andy Goodwin: ok
    Iven J: I believe that the free month apply’s only if you call in to sign up and not to orders placed over the web
    Andy Goodwin: thats not what the magazine said
    Andy Goodwin: it gave a URL and everything.
    Andy Goodwin: granted, its $8. but its kinda shady, dont you think?
    Iven J: let me double check for you just a moment
    Iven J: That promo dose not start till June 1st
    Andy Goodwin: uhhh
    Andy Goodwin: i got the magazine this month
    Andy Goodwin: in fact, everyone got the magazine this month
    Andy Goodwin: it didnt say “wait till june 1”
    Andy Goodwin: it just mentioned a discount and a free month
    Iven J: I apologize for the confusion unfortunately that discount is not available until June
    Andy Goodwin: dude, i’m gunna call costco and complain.
    Andy Goodwin: i feel like i was taken advantage of.
    Andy Goodwin: really.
    Andy Goodwin: first you say its only if i signup via phone
    Andy Goodwin: then, it starts in june 1.
    Iven J: The offer is only available through our sales department so you will need to call in and it dose not start till June
    Andy Goodwin: i’ll take it up with costco.

    I called Costco – they emailed Accessline at 12:55, and I got this email at 2:30pm:

    Dear Mr. Goodwin,

    I have researched your account 312xxxxxxx and have discovered that we did
    indeed charge you for one month’s service. This was due to a computer error
    when you signed up online. We do apologize for the inconvenience and I have
    requested a refund to your account in the amount of $8.51.

    Just call their 800 # and let them have it. They’re really good about taking care of their members.

  9. AndyAndy719 says:

    And here’s a copy of the email the Costco rep sent Accessline:

    Andy Goodwin saw a promotion in May’s Costco connection that since he is a
    executive member that he can enroll now through 05/31/06 and receive a the
    first month of SmartFaxPro free. He was charged $8.51 on 05/1906 for the
    first month. The activation fee is also waived for members. Please call him
    back at 303-XXX-XXXX for resolution.

    I would appreciate being updated via e-mail of all updates as they

    Thank you.

    Hilary M.
    Executive Services

  10. SoFlaSnowMan says:

    Costco’s Alamo discount code is 675899 (available from Costco’s Web site). Using this code definitely provides an extra driver at no charge.

  11. Mike_ says:

    I’ll never use Alamo again. I had a bad experience in Maui.

    I stood around waiting more than an hour for my car. When I finally got it, the interior was caked with dirt, so I rejected it. They gave me another [slightly less] dirty car, which we accepted. After sitting in the sun for 20 minutes, the second car smelled like something had died in it. I drove back to the airport the next morning and traded it for a 3rd car. This one smelled like an ashtray, but there wasn’t much else in the lot, so I took it. Half a bottle of Febreeze later, we had tolerable transportation. The staff was unapologetic. I never got the discount I requested, but I wasn’t in the mood to argue. I just wanted to get on with my vacation.

    I’ve never been loyal to any particular car rental company. They’ve all been the same to me, so I just go with whatever national chain has the cheapest rates. From now on it’s “cheapest rates” and “not Alamo”.

  12. GearheadGeek says:

    So, on the Costco/Alamo page, it says:

    Your benefits with Alamo include:

    * Free unlimited mileage!
    * Up to 25% off standard rates!
    * Availability of online check-in!
    * 24-Hour Emergency Roadside Assistance!
    * Express rental returns!

    And there are links to click for additional savings, I assume you can only select one:
    * Save $20 off your rental
    * Save $25 off your rental
    * One free day
    * One free car-class upgrade
    * Save $15 off weekend rental

    There’s no mention of a free 2nd driver.

  13. newtonite says:

    I’m glad I saw this, having an active reservation through Costco for next month. I’ve found them to have some extraordinarily good deals.

    Step three of making a reservation still states that there’s no charge for an additional driver:

    (1) Additional Driver Included

    Costco will make good on it, they haven’t let us down ever. Just make some screenshots to cover yourself.

    I did get ticked off once at National. They gave us a smoked in car, and by the time we left with another one (a new one!) the ordeal added an hour to the ticking rental time which could have affected our return time charge.

  14. AT203 says:

    This is unfortunate for Alamo because of the convenient and catch mnemonic for dissatisfied customers: “Remember the Alamo, if you are a Costco customer and they are in a partnership to provide special discounts on your rentals, they will very likely remain willfully ignorant and be rude to you rather than be diligent and look up the discount for you.”

    Ok, I suppose it could be catchier. Still, way to be the Christmas Grinch Alamo!

  15. rjhiggins says:

    I’ve had enough dissatisfying experiences with Alamo that, despite the fact their prices are often lower, I refuse to use them.

    Those who choose to blame Costco, with absolutely no basis, are almost certainly dead wrong. You’ve got one company with a high customer satisfaction rating, and one car-rental company with a reputation for taking advantage of customers. It’s an easy call.

  16. brendanm14 says:

    I agree…..If you do not care about which rental company you want to use Hotwire is awesome.

    The only downfall is that you cannot cancel the reservations if something happens or by some act of God find a better deal on the rental companies website.

  17. dirtymoney says:

    This is about a different car rental company, but I thought I’d throw my experiences in….

    Enterprise car rental (who advertise “we’ll even come & pick you up!” will often never do this. On 3 different occassions in different cities I tried to get them to do this & they refused (and I wasnt far from the rental places).

  18. loueloui says:

    Amazingly I am a Costco member, and I currently have a rental car through Alamo. I can assure you that the free extra driver offer is valid, as I am currently using it until wednesday.

    Also, Alamo customer service and the rude idiots from India are the reason I will never rent from them again, even though I got a super cheap deal.

    I would certainly call Costco, and complain to them. From my dealings with them I can certainly say that they don’t play that game.

  19. comopuedeser says:

    Budget discounts everything. I’m sure other companies do the same. Go to partner websites and get the discount codes. Then enter them at Budget and you’ll pay hardly anything.

  20. jakihix says:

    I worked in car rental now for 22 years and i hope this will help. if you want to get the free additional driver under the costco benefits you need to book through the costco rate structure. this rate may not always be the best that you find and if you book the car on another site or different rate then you are under those terms. there are additional driver fees under those terms. always read the terms on the site that your on before you go pick up the car, they are all posted on the different sites.

  21. jakihix says:

    the employee may have been new. you do get a free driver through costco. the deal is though booked through costco. costco has a rates structure that is set and you get those benefits. if you book a different rate as through hotwire, priceline, orbits, ect then you are under the benefits of those rates instead (cheaper rate ect). when booking ask for the costco rate if it is the free driver you want. if you did book through costco then the charge automatically in the system wont charge.