The complete guide to renting a car with Uber

Following Lyft’s lead, Uber recently started offering rental cars in the Uber app through its new service called Uber Rent. The company doesn’t rent cars directly but instead lets you book cars with major rental car companies like Hertz and Budget. In some cities, Uber will even deliver your rental car to your door.

Here, I’ll show you how to use Uber Rent to rent a car through the Uber app. I’ll also discuss why you might want to rent with Uber instead of renting direct with a rental car company.

Let’s get started!

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Why you might want to rent a car with Uber

So, you can rent a car with Uber, but why would you want to? After all, you’re essentially using Uber as a broker to link you with a local rental car company that will actually rent you the car. That said, there are a few benefits with renting through Uber — let’s take a closer look.

Easier rental experience

Frankly, renting a car is a confusing experience. Rental car companies aren’t known for having the best websites, so Uber attempts to fix this through its app. As you’ll see in the next section, renting a car with Uber is nearly as simple as requesting an Uber ride. Just input your pickup and drop-off locations, and you can rent a car with a few taps.

Uber Cash promotion

Through September 1, you’ll earn 10% back on all rental cars in the form of Uber Cash. You can use this credit toward Uber rides and Uber Eats deliveries, so it can be more valuable than rental car points in many cases.

Further, Uber will give you a $10 ride credit to help you get to your rental. Uber states that this promotion is for a “limited time” but doesn’t specify an end date for the promotion. Just note that this is limited to rentals in the U.S., and you’re only eligible for the $10 credit once per month. This is a nice touch, especially if you need to go to a local airport to pick up your rental.

Ability to pay with Uber Cash coming soon

Currently, you can book your rental through the Uber app but must pay for most rentals at the rental counter. The company told TPG that it plans to add the ability to pay for rentals with Uber Cash by the summer, which can be a great way to use Uber Cash credits offered by select American Express cards.

Uber Valet in Washington D.C., more cities soon

Uber also launched a new feature called Uber Valet that will drop off and pick up your rental car at your home, hotel room or wherever else you need a car. This lets you completely skip the rental car counter and makes the rental process more seamless than ever. The Uber Valet feature is launching in Washington D.C. this May and will expand to other cities throughout the year.

Related: Why renting a car may now be the hardest part of your journey

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How to rent a car with Uber

To rent with Uber, launch your Uber app and click the Rent button at the center of the homepage. This will take you to the booking screen.

From here, enter your pick up and drop off locations and when you want to pick up and drop off your car. Then, tap the Find cars button at the bottom of the screen.

You can see all rental options at the center of the screen. There are filtering options at the top of the screen that you can use to sort rentals by price and distance.

Tap on a car to view rental details. You can see car specs, cancellation policy and equip your rental with add-ons like a booster seat or a ski rack. When you’re ready to book, read and agree to the terms and conditions and tap the Reserve button. Uber will then confirm your rental with the rental car company.

Related: Here’s everything you need to know about the revamped Uber Rewards program

How do prices compare with booking direct?

I’ve found that prices in the Uber app are largely consistent with booking directly with the fulfilling rental company. For example, a Sixt SUV weekend rental near New York-JFK costs $382.74 in late May when booked through the Uber app. I found that Sixt charges the same price if you choose to pay for your rental at pick up.

The same goes for a week-long rental near Miami (MIA). Uber quotes $569.43 for a mystery rental through Thrifty, which is the same price as booking directly with Thrifty if you pay at the airport.

Don’t forget that your rental also includes a $10 Uber ride credit and — through September — 10% back in Uber Cash. These perks actually make it beneficial to book through Uber instead of directly with the rental car company. That said, a downside is that you may not be eligible to earn rental car points or use your rental car elite status benefits if you book with Uber.

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Another thing to keep in mind is corporate and university codes. If you’re eligible, you may be able to reduce the cost of your rental when you add one of these codes at booking. Further, you may be able to score a discount by using Autoslash to find a better rate. Always cross-compare the price in the Uber app with the cost of renting direct and using any available discounts.

Related: How to never pay full price for a rental car

Can I use my credit card’s rental car damage waiver?

Many credit cards will cover damage incurred to your rental car so long as you pay for the rental with said card. According to Uber, this coverage is available on rentals booked through the Uber app. This makes sense since you still need to pay at the rental car counter for most rental cars booked through Uber.

If you’re in the market for a credit card that offers a rental car damage waiver, consider applying for one of these Chase cards:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Plus, earn a $50 statement credit towards grocery store purchases in the first year of account opening.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve – Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Related: Can’t find a car rental? Here are 7 secrets that may help

Bottom line

It’s great to see Uber add new features to the Uber app — especially when travel needs are changing and rental cars are harder to find. I’m excited to see how Uber changes the rental car business for the better with Uber Valet. These days, rental car lines are long, so the ability to have a car delivered to your home or hotel will be a gamechanger for frequent renters.

That said, always cross-compare pricing with booking direct and with services like AutoSlash. You may be able to get a better deal this way, especially if you can use a corporate or university code to reduce the cost of a rental. That said, the current Uber Cash promotions may make booking with Uber more cost-effective if you can use the credit for rides or Uber Eats deliveries.

Feature photo by Fahroni / Shutterstock.com 

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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