Even if you don’t travel extensively, each trip does a pretty decent job of cleaning out your bank account. Buying tickets is just the start. Then there’s food, excursions (if you’re not traveling for work), pre-holiday and post-holiday shopping, souvenirs… the list goes on. And if that isn’t enough, you also have to consider the cost of getting to and from the airport. Here are 5 ways to cut costs on airport parking and enjoy a discount:
How to cut costs on airport parking
Airport parking can be pricey. Of course, you can always opt for a cab or get an Uber or Lyft, but it’s better to avoid risking public transport and drive down in your own car. Doing so is usually convenient and cost-effective and saves a lot of time you would otherwise spend on a shuttle service to pick you up. Uber drivers can also get difficult when you’re carrying too much luggage.
So, while taking your own car to the airport can be a bit of a hassle, things can turn around in your favor if you simply know your way around airport parking discounts. Let’s take a look at how:
Searching for Airport Parking Coupons
Saving up on airport parking can start with something as simple as a coupon. Most airports in America provide coupons for their off-airport and economy parking lots. You’re likely to find some good options, especially if you plan to leave your car in long-term parking at the airport for a few days. To search for coupons, simply go on Google and search for “discount parking coupons” and add the name of the airport you’re traveling from. You’ll find plenty of options.
Credit Cards for Airport Parking Discounts
Credit cards also offer airport parking discounts. While you’ll probably want to use your present credit card, some credit cards offer more benefits than others. For instance, the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card is a great option to reduce airport parking expenses. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card lets you earn two Chase Ultimate Rewards points for every dollar you spend on airport parking. You also earn points on your flight, meals, hotel stay, and more during travel.
Unlike most of its counterparts, the Chase credit card counts garages and parking lots as part of travel. You can also use the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, which lets you earn three Chase Ultimate Rewards points for each dollar invested in airport parking.
Other cards that let you earn points, miles, and cashback on airport parking include Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard. You can earn two Barclaycard Arrival miles for every dollar spent on purchases and get 2.1 percent of your cash back when you redeem points earned through $100+ travel purchases. This is especially useful for people who are planning to spend around a hundred dollars on airport parking.
There’s also the Citi Premier Card that lets you earn 3 points on travel and includes parking lots and garages. While this is more than the Chase Ultimate Rewards partners, if you are thinking of redeeming your points in the form of airfare, then the Citi Premier Card is superior to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. This is because $1 spent through the Citi Premier Card gets you 3 points, while the Chase Sapphire Preferred card gets you only 2 points. Thus, redeeming points earned through airport parking for reduced airfare through the Citi Premier Card would be more economical.
Opting for Offsite Airport Parking
Opting for an onsite airport parking lot is one option. However, it can be expensive and depends on your luck because if the parking lots are full, you’re basically doomed. This is where offsite parking comes in. They are usually cheaper and offer shuttle services to take you to and from the airport, so you’re likely in good hands. Case in point – LAX airport long-term parking will cost you $40/day at the CTA lots, while offsite LAX parking will cost you just $8/day. You’ll find the following companies to offer some of the best offsite airport parking services:
Operating near forty-four airports in forty cities, ParkRideFlyUSA is the biggest company offering offsite parking services in the United States. You can check the coupons they offer, and if you travel often, then join their Frequent Parker Program. Simply signing up for this program will get you 5 points, and you only need 10 points to be eligible for one-day free parking.
The Parking Spot
Another well-known name among offsite airport parking companies, the Parking Spot, provides services in 22 airports and 19 cities. Their coupons vary across airports and, in some cases, are superior to the ones offered at ParkRide Fly USA. They also have a loyalty program that goes by the name The Spot Club. Signing up for this program gets you 5 points for each dollar you spend on parking, and after seven paid days of parking, you can get the next day free. The program is distributed across silver and platinum packages that offer additional benefits.
Fast Park & Relax
This offsite airport parking company operates near 15 airports and covers 14 cities. If you own an electric vehicle, you’ll be happy to know that this offsite airport parking company also offers complimentary charging for your car.
They don’t offer discounts or coupons, but you can enjoy several membership discounts. They also had special offers for veterans and those active in the military. Their loyalty program, the Relax for Rewards program, has an excellent redemption scheme. One day of paid parking gets you 1 point. You need a total of 8 points to redeem one free day. Three consecutive free days require 20 points, and a week’s worth of free parking requires 40 points.
Park N Fly
Park’ N Fly primarily has 16 parking locations; however, they have partnered up with companies to offer their services at 65 locations, bringing the total count to 81. Their loyalty program lets you get one day of free parking after seven paid days. Members who have signed up for their Gold and Platinum packages can enjoy further benefits. A slight drawback with Park’ N Fly’s loyalty program is that you can earn and redeem points only at their own locations and not at their partner’s. They are currently in Atlanta, Nashville, Cleveland, Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, Minneapolis, Oakland, Ontario, San Francisco, and San Diego.
This offsite airport parking company operates in 12 locations spread over 11 cities. They offer corporate discounts and discounts for senior citizens, AAA members, and government employees. Their loyalty program, known as Wally Club, lets you earn 1 point for each dollar you spend on parking. Redeeming 10 points gets a $1 deduction on parking.
Thrifty Airport Parking
Thrifty Airport Parking offers offsite parking in 11 cities. Their rewards program offers two options, and based on your traveling frequency, you can opt for whichever is best for you. Enrolling in their Preferred Rewards Points Program lets you earn 1 point for each day of paid parking. For example, 12 points will get you a free day of parking. Members of the Preferred Rewards Points program can also enjoy discounts according to their location. For most locations, the discount starts at 10 percent.
The second reward program offered by Thrifty Airport Parking is the Blue Chip Express Rewards Program. If you use Thrifty Airport Parking services thrice within twelve months, it lets you earn five Thrifty Blue Chip Rewards credits. A free day of parking costs 16 points under this program. The Blue Chip Express Rewards program is more economical if you’re a frequent traveler.
Present in six cities and seven airports, the PreFlight offsite parking company offers coupons that vary according to the parking lot you use. Their loyalty program, Frequent Parker, lets you choose between airline miles and free parking days. Six paid days of parking will get you one free day. If you’re opting for miles, then for each dollar you spend on their services, you can get one mile with United Airlines or American Airlines.
Opting for Airport Hotels
Hotels near the airport also offer park and stay packages that provide free parking for a set number of days. They also offer a shuttle service so you can travel to and from the airport. Some hotels require you to stay to use their parking facilities, but some offer monthly parking at a discounted rate.
Free Parking at Smaller Regional Airports
While most major airports won’t offer free parking, you can still try your luck at regional airports. For example, the St. Cloud Regional Airport in Minnesota offers free parking. You can also try your luck at the regional airport in Casper, Wyoming.
Regional airports aren’t the only option for free airport parking. Instead, you can also leave your vehicle with Travelcar. They let you park for free, and you also get paid by people who rent your car while you’re away. Your dues are calculated per mile. If you’re going away for a longer period, then you’ll be offered a monthly payment of 200 to 500 US dollars instead of the mile factor. You can also get a free car wash if you opt for this option. Some factors required for eligibility include:
- Your vehicle must not be over 7 years old.
- It must have been driven for more than 95,000 miles
You also need to be okay with your car being driven by strangers. The company provides 1 million dollars in liability insurance and coverage against physical damage or theft.
A Final Word
When it comes to airport parking discounts, you have a lot of options. What you choose depends upon your frequency of travel and the length of your trip. In the case of offsite parking companies, remember to not just factor in the price. Make a point of reading the customer reviews available for each service and additional amenities they offer. You must also check their shuttle schedule, so you don’t miss your flight.
Your decision will also likely depend on the company’s location and whether they offer services at your local airport. In some cases, smaller companies offer superior services. They might also offer better rewards programs. In the case of regional airports offering free parking, do proper research so that you don’t miss out and end up paying for onsite and offsite airport parking when you could have easily managed it for free. In the case of credit cards, remember that the Chase Sapphire Preferred card also lets you use their annual travel credit of $300 towards airport parking. You can also use parking apps and secure onsite and offsite parking spots at a discount.
It’s true that airport parking charges are something you’d rather skip, but with the alternatives available, things don’t have to be completely painful.
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