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Pimp Your Ride: Luxury Car Rentals

September 20, 2004 – You stay at five-star hotels, you have matching, high-end luggage and you fly business class when you can (or, let's be honest, when work is paying). So why are you still driving that crummy compact? Below you'll learn the best ways to splash out on a ride that reflects your own personal style.

Recently, at least one major US car rental company has begun to recognize what its European counterparts have known for several years – that travelers can be quite discerning when it comes to their driving pleasure.

Hertz's Prestige Collection

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Hertz (www.hertz.com) has 50 Prestige Collection locations across the US, offering a choice of Jaguars, Lincolns, Volvos, Land Rovers, and Cadillac Escalades. Designed for travelers who want to live the high life on the road, the Prestige Collection allows customers to indulge their desire for variety, glamour, and VIP customer service.

The VIP service includes free pickup and return from your resort or hotel (within a 15-mile radius), an exclusive toll free number for Hertz Prestige Collection customers (800/654-2250) and when you reserve by phone, you may arrange to have a print-out of driving directions waiting in your vehicle. Your rental also includes complimentary NeverLost navigation system in every car, and the ability to reserve vehicles specifically by make and model with guaranteed availability.

These prices do not include taxes or fees. Please note that rates are subject to change and New York locations are excluded. 

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Dream Exotics Rental Cars

If you really want to aim high, Dream Exotics rental cars (888/362-7791; dreamexoticrentalcars.com), located in Las Vegas, can fulfill almost every car fantasy. Prices start at $199 per day for a Cadillac XT5 SUV and go up to over $2500 per day for a Ferrari 488 Spider. Taxes are additional. All drivers must be over 21 years of age with full insurance coverage. Mileage is unlimited. As part of the service, your car is delivered to your hotel, airport, or other Las Vegas hotspot, with an optional $100 valet service to any other location in the city.

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Avis Prestige

In the UK, Avis has established the Avis Prestige division (+44 (0) 20 7591 0444; www.avisprestige.com), which offers access to luxury European vehicles including Porsche, Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, and Jaguar. Minis and Volkswagens are also part of this exclusive club. Rental conditions include additional refundable deposits of between $1500 and $4000, and a higher minimum age requirement for drivers (either 25 or 30 depending on the class of car). They are currently offering a website-only 20% off all published rates for prestige bookings. Prices start at approximately $200 per day including all taxes, insurance and unlimited mileage. In-car navigation systems are additional. Avis can also offer you these vehicles with a chauffeur!

Unfortunately, in the US, the only luxury vehicles available through Avis are Cadillacs.

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Europcar

Europcar (www.europcar.com), the largest European origin car rental company, has introduced a luxury car rental option in most of its Western European locations. If you're traveling in Spain, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, France, Germany or Portugal, perhaps a Mercedes or an Audi would be more reflective of your personal style. Rates are quite high (especially with the exchange rate on Euros) with prices starting at approximately $450 per day for a mid-market Mercedes Coupe with unlimited mileage. They also offer additional services such as chauffeurs, fixed in-car cell phones, baby and booster seats.

 

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