Upgrade Me!

My flight landed in Albuquerque at midnight. About a week before, I had realized that this was much too late to rent a car and make the two-hour drive to Taos as planned. So I found a Best Western near the airport with a free shuttle (pool and hot tub too, bonus) and booked online for ninety bucks—the night before I was supposed to arrive. I’m sure if I had planned ahead, it would have cost at least 50% more!

But when I landed and called to find out where I met the shuttle, the front desk told me that the shuttle stopped running at 11. Oops. So I had to take a cab—$7 worked out pretty well! I probably could have walked if I’d known where the heck I was going!

I’m not sure if the front desk girl felt bad for me missing the shuttle, or someone else had requested a different room, but somehow I ended up with a Presidential Suite. First thought when I opened the door: This is not my room. Out quick! Before they see you! French doors separating the bedroom from the “suite” part. Am I paying more than they said I was?  Two bathrooms. Big screen tv. Somebody must have screwed something up. I felt almost like royalty (yes, in a Best Western). I never did find out what the mix up was. My room key envelope had a number crossed out and the suite number written in, so it must have been done on purpose.  I didn’t want to know. But for whatever reason, they didn’t charge me any more than they said they would. Free Upgrade!

Then I went to pick up my rental car. The girl driving the shuttle was pretty inspiring—had just finished her bachelor’s degree after six years of part time school and being a single mom. She said she was the first person in her family to graduate high school, and was only one more year and an externship away from a pharmacy degree. Her family couldn’t She was stressing over the heavy course load she was facing as well as the unpaid 60 day externship, but she said if she finished in one year, it would all be paid for her through a grant. Stories like that have a strange effect on me. I think it’s great that someone is able to overcome so much. But then at the same time, it makes me think I’m stressing out over absolutely nothing so difficult in comparison. We are who we are, I guess.

So back to the rental car. I had made a reservation for this, with my new Enterprise member number (whatever that is). I got talked into an upgrade by the guy at the desk, under the assumption that the “great $7 a day promotion” he was talking about was the whole cost—not in addition to my existing cost (yes, I know, I’m new at this). I picked the Kia Soul, because I like the commercials with the hamsters and it’s similar in size to what I’m looking to upgrade my own car to. After almost everything was said and done, I noticed the final cost was $80 more than what I was expecting! When I told him we should cancel it and go back to the compact car I had originally requested. He stalled and said no, he’d made it work. I said good and rode off down the highway in the Soul. Groovy. We’ll see what happens when I return it…

Renting a car is such a racket. I already pay for insurance, and I think you HAVE to have insurance in order to rent at all. So then why do you need their additional damage waivers that would cost you up to $40 a day more? I could take the insurance off of my car and switch it to the rental car for 10 days and not pay $40 a day. I think I’m going to be checking out the Advantage Rental Car next. They seem to have the most competitive rates, according to Priceline. But I’m sure there’s some kind of racket with that too.

In the meantime, I’m going to be putting this Soul through it’s paces…it doesn’t seem to like going more than 60 miles an hour. This is a problem when the speed limit is 75. I did double check that there was unlimited mileage with the rental, which is a good thing—I’m probably going to be putting more than 300 miles on this bad boy! Let’s see what it can take.


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