I have not had to deal much with rental car companies in America. It wasn’t until I was living in Italy that I even started really renting cars on weekend trips to various European countries. Let me tell you, renting cars in Europe is not a very complex thing.
You show up, give them some cash, and you are on your way. When I was in Dubrovnik, our Airbnb host set up a rental car for me and my friend Mary, at which point he drove the rental car to her house, dropped it off, collected 50 euros, and sent us on our way, even after we told him we definitely would be crossing the border to Montenegro in it. #longhairdontcare
That evening when we got back, we called him, and he walked over and picked it up. Easy peasy.
In Romania, we picked our car up at the airport, which cost something like 15 euros per day, and I didn’t even have my license with me. Whatever, haha. We were traveling to Bran from Bucharest to see Dracula’s castle, whether they liked it or not.
So imagine my surprise when I show up at the San Francisco airport at 03:30 on 04 January to pick up my rental car with Alamo, and they refuse to accept debit cards unless you have a return flight ticket from San Fran airport in hand? What. The. Fuck.
Let me back this up by saying that I got into this situation in the first place because I had found a round trip ticket from San Fran to Pittsburgh for $390 roundtrip, which was a complete steal, but then fog, rain, and bad weather in PA, DC, and San Fran continued to push my flight back, until the point where I was getting in so late I couldn’t catch the shuttle from San Fran to Monterey because it was closed for the night. The only acceptable solution was to rent a car one way and drop it off at the Monterey Airport.
Well, after hours of traveling, and an extra hour waiting for my luggage amidst 5,000 other people who had unfortunately not received their luggage and were screaming and shouting, I waited patiently for my ski’s to arrive through the oversize luggage door. then had to carry my ski’s and my suitcase, onto an elevator all the way across a bridge to a train, and then to the rental car counter where two very unpleasant and completely awful women, who should not be working customer service, were awaiting me and all of the other disgruntled passengers waiting in line. It was just an awful travel day, to say the least.
At which point I was told that only credit cards would be accepted unless I had a San Francisco plane departure ticket. Why does America make it so hard to travel? Why are things so complex here? Seriously, What The Fuck.
You are probably turning it around on me saying why didn’t I have a credit card readily available. Well what has the world come to? How is a debit card, which is actual money, not accepted?
In order to get the rental car, I called American Express for global support. DID YOU KNOW that the American Express Platinum Card offers Emergency Travel Support? This was my first time using it and WOW were they wonderful. I had an old AE credit card in my wallet that was no longer functioning.
Not only were they able to help me remain calm, but they also did a quick security check, and reactivated my old card so that it could be swiped at the counter. The man on the phone was so nice, he even offered to allocate more funds if I needed. It was almost like calling my parents for help, hehe.
I told him that I would be home shortly and thanked him Ohh-so-much for all of his help. I packed everything into the rental car around 04:00 and hit the road in abysmal weather conditions, I hydroplaned within 2 minutes of merging onto the highway. Luckily I did make it home safe and sound around 06:40 and slept through the day, heading to class the next morning.
Oh! Did I also mention that the American Express Platinum card $450 annual fee is waived for all military members? If you are interested let me know and I’ll send you a referral link!
This article appeared first on The Cassey Excursion.