Previously, I posted about my experience renting the Maserati Ghibli from National Car Rental, but I didn’t really post the details of the rental itself or the costs. In this installment, you will learn how you too can rent a Maserati and feel invincible.
National carries the Maserati Ghibli at the following airports:
- Fort Lauderdale
- Los Angeles
- San Diego
The Best Part
While I am an Executive Elite Emerald Club member and usually grab all of the good upgrades whenever I land in a new city – this car is open to anyone. Relatively speaking, it can be really affordable. Regardless of the city in which you rent, the amount you paid for the rental, the car class – it’s the same for everyone – $100/day. At first that might seem like a lot of money, especially if you are thinking about 10 days in Orlando or a week-long golf trip to Phoenix. For the long weekend though, $100/day is a steal. I used a free day so I just paid taxes of about $10 plus the one day upgrade cost. That seemed almost too cheap for the one day considering that the vehicle leases for $849/month with $6,194 due at signing or $78,000 before I add any extras.
This makes the car accessible to almost everyone.
But you can’t reserve the car in advance. The Los Angeles location has seven available and they were 100% sold out before and after my rental. That’s impressive for any car model.
Snagging one in advance isn’t an option and that makes it tough to plan. There are a million reasons why you would want to be able to reserve an exact specific vehicle for your rental period and other travel industry models allow for this – you can get the exact seat you want on a plane, the exact room type you want in a hotel, why not a rental car? I think what further exacerbates this problem is that National recently rolled out their “Virtual Aisle” in the app which should let you choose your car in advance, so why can’t the Maserati be a part of that? You could just charge the upgrade to my card as soon as I pick the car I want if it’s not upgrade-eligible.
National representatives indicated to me that this was to make it more widely available than just those that use the app. Their democratic approach both in pricing and in availability is laudable, and I can appreciate why they are doing it this way, car rental companies only make money when their cars are on rent.
However, the upgrades and access to amazing cars with an easy experience are one of the reasons why the most loyal customers are loyal. It is similar to the “tens of dollars” upgrades that United was selling for empty first class seats. Elite travelers that are most loyal to the airline, enduring their delays, mechanical failures, and depreciating mileage currencies stay with the airline and in exchange are promised that if there is an open seat in first class that they will get the upgrade prioritized by status level. Instead, United started selling upgrades to their unsold first class seats for just tens of dollars (less than $100) instead of upgrading those that spend the most with them.
Likewise, you can imagine that a small business owner who spends thousands of dollars with National every year could be a little upset if he ends up behind someone that rented the cheapest economy car on Priceline and chose to upgrade for the $100.
Maybe a better way is through either the Virtual Aisle or even a quick email that gets sent out to elites 24 hours prior to the rental pick up time, “A Maserati is available for your trip to Boston tomorrow, click here to secure it now” for example.
Then again, National’s parent company (which also owns Enterprise and Alamo) makes billions every year as a private company, and they probably have a pretty good idea of what they are doing. Full disclosure: I did not make billions last year.
Not a fan of Maserati? What about a brand new Sting Ray Corvette?
In addition to the Maserati, National has also made Sting Ray Corvettes available in some locations. This is another great addition that I am sure at some point I could afford, but would rather just pay $100 to drive it every now and again. My dad has heard of Maseratis but doesn’t have the same brand attachment that he would for a Corvette. For a man that has never had a problem driving a rental car Impala or Civic, he would probably opt for a paid upgrade for the first time in his life for a Corvette.
The Maserati Ghibli or the Corvette are both great enhancements to my favorite rental car company’s line up. While I want a way to reserve them all for myself, I can appreciate that it gives everyone a taste of the good life, and putting cars on rent ensures the brand continues to rent them. Their follow-up marketing was also an interesting surprise, but I will have to share that later.
Have you rented a premium car like the Maserati? What was the cost?