The Guy Who Rented 37 Cars In 2 Days

Over the years there have been some timeless trip reports published on forums and blogs. One which comes to mind is “8 bottles of Dom from LAX-BKK on SQ in F.” It might just be the funniest trip report every published on the internet.

Well, last week someone joined FlyerTalk with the handle 37rentals, and published an absolutely epic trip report as his first post. The trip report is titled “37 rental cars – 2 days – 185,000 miles,” and it’s well worth a read.

The premise of the post is that SAS EuroBonus had a promotion whereby you received 5,000 bonus miles per Avis rental. There were no restrictions on how long the rental had to be.

So 37rentals literally flew to Madeira in order to rent cars. 37 of them in two days, to be exact. Why? Because that’s where rentals were cheapest, and with the volume of rentals he was making, the cost of flights and accommodations became negligible.

Avis-Madeira
Photo from 37rentals on FlyerTalk

Here’s a teaser of this great report:

How many cars could I rent? The two Avis offices in Funchal were open from 8.30 am – 12.30 pm and 3 pm – 7 pm. Searching online, it seems that having two or more simultaneous bookings could present a problem. Furthermore, having back-to-back rentals from one and the same office could result in the agency combining them into one. So I settled for renting one car every half hour, each one for a half hour period, and alternating the rentals between the two offices. (They were located only 1.2 km by foot from each other.) I figured two days would be enough, or the reps might become fed up with me. (I also didn’t want to invest too much if things didn’t work out as I hoped.) I extended the final rental to 24 hours, giving me a third day of sightseeing at the end. This added up to 37 rentals, all picked up in two days.

Two weeks before my trip, Avis Funchal called me. A man explained that there had been an error in the system, and that 18 bookings had been created in my name. I told him that there must indeed be an error, because it’s supposed to be 37. After typing a bit at his computer, he told me that this was nonsense, and that he would combine all the rentals into one. I explained about the promotion and that I would really appreciate 37 individual rentals. He seemed to understand, but ended the conversation by saying “you will pay for this”, so it was unclear if he was onboard with it or not.

Now here’s to hoping all the miles post properly for 37rentals!

I’ve done some crazy trips in my life, from flying back and forth to Brazil four times in a row for miles, to flying around the world in 80 hours, to flying to Beijing three times in a month for the miles, but I think 37rentals‘ adventure takes the cake.

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Comments

  1. Amazing! As you say: Always one step ahead. Though in this case, SAS/Avis sort of dropped the ball on the terms of the promotion.

  2. I love the ominous “You will pay for this.” Well, yeah, that’s kind of the point. And so will SAS. Handsomely – especially at 5,000 miles per rental.

  3. Hopefully he paid for those employees lunch or dinner or bought them a bottle of wine or something. Not that it is required, but it sounds like they made this go a lot more smoother for him! Genius idea though. Maybe its just because its america but I would never attempt anything like this. I would envision myself dropping a grand only for the parties involved to find some loophole not to award the points!

  4. I think the point is every such loophole exploitation system may give the perpetrator his reward but creates cost on the system disproportionate to the reward accrued to one person. In this case waste of employees time as well waste of time for the real car renters. Not to say the waste of an airline seat and hotel for real travelers. Most of these loophole exploitation systems work because the people in the system are not as malevolent as the perpetrator. It would have been easy for avis employees to screw the guy if they so wanted.

  5. “creates cost on the system disproportionate to the reward accrued to one person”

    Sure. Tax loopholes work the same way. The difference is that there is an entire industry (accountants) that has been set up to help people and companies find and exploit those loopholes, and it is considered completely legitimate – whereas, for some reason, miles-maximizing behavior is considered illegitimate behavior by a “perpetrator” who is “malevolent”.

    Oh, and the other difference is that tax loopholes hurt *everyone* and take forever to fix (if they get fixed at all) because of how slow politics is and how many powerful vested interests control it – whereas miles loopholes hurt only the entity offering the miles, and that entity can act rapidly to close such loopholes.

    Say what you want, but when it comes to moral standing, I’ll take 37rentals over the likes of Enron, Goldman Sachs, etc any day.

  6. While it is fun to share your story with others I would prefer to keep silent about it. Who knows if Avis will try to block him somehow because of the publicity. The goal would be to fly under the radar. Avis might tighten the terms and conditions of their promotions to prevent abuse.

  7. @Danny

    It was a time limited offer and you had to book by June 31. 37 Rental did not post about until the deal was dead.

  8. Hertz Delta promo maybe 5 years ago was far better. 7500 miles per rental with no limit and no requirement to even take the car from the parking lot. Finally finished using those 2 million ish miles last year.

  9. @anonymous,

    Whoa – tell us more about how you did it. To get 2 million miles you would have had to rent 267 times. If you spent $50 on each rental, that would have been $13,000+ – seems kind of steep even for 2 million miles. Or was each rental much less than that?

  10. @anonymous

    Sure it wasn’t budget doing the delta promo? If not, budget had the same. Rent an suv, get 7500 delta miles. Reserved 20 in one weekend, got to airport and agent asked if I just wanted to do all 20 at once, without taking the cars. Sure!
    $18 after taxes for each rental was the best part
    Got about a million miles in next couple of weekends before they shut the promo down.

  11. I am re engaged with this sport after this funny post. I don’t know how you do it Lucky. I get burned out! Oh yeah I travel hack for a family of 5.

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