This morning, I went to Hertz.com to reserve a car for an upcoming visit to the Mainland. (Hubster will stay behind to guard the home and dogs.)
Because we have moved to Hawaii, the first step on Hertz.com required me to update my residential address, which many websites will not allow me to do because the U.S. Postal Service refuses to deliver to my subdivision on Hawaii Island. Because many websites and GPS / maps systems get their data from the U.S. Postal Service, our home simply does not exist on many apps or web interfaces.
To get around this problem, we rent a private mailbox at a local shopping center. But Hertz.com would not accept the complete address for our private mailbox, either, because it includes a PMB number after a Suite number. For some reason, Hertz.com does not like PMB numbers, so I was stuck with what the site would allow. After several efforts, I gave up on that page, figuring our mail eventually would find its way via our friendly mailbox guy named “Bob.”
In search of a CDP discount
So that I could get a discount on this rental, my next step on Hertz.com was to change my AAA-Texas affiliation to AAA-Hawaii. That required what's called the "CDP number." So I jumped over to AAA-Hawaii.com to login to my accoount, only the site told me that our membership was cancelled.
I had just renewed our annual AAA membership in early December 2020, well after we moved to Hawaii. And I had called AAA-Hawaii to update our address, PMB and all.
Silly me, I mistakenly had assumed AAA memberships were transferable. Wrong. Turns out I had to pay Hawaii a bunch more to be a member in this state, but no one bothered to tell me that, although AAA-Hawaii did start sending me a bunch of "upgrade your membership mailings." I guess that's what they meant.
Long-story gets longer ...
The purpose of all this was to rent a car at a discount, not endure a lengthy hassle to become a AAA-Hawaii member. Although a phone call to AAA-Hawaii is still one I need to make to see if my December AAA-Texas membership dues might indeed be transferable, I thought I could save time by simply rejoining AAA-Hawaii via its website, paying an additional $20 fee to do so, and paying an additional $50 to add Bill to the account. (Highway robbery!)
A confirmation email told me to login to my account. When I went to login using my user name and password, the AAA-Hawaii site still insisted that my account was canceled. That was maddening, since I had just renewed. I waited about fifteen minutes for the site to update, then finally figured I needed to re-register as a new account holder.
On the new registration form, I again entered my email address as my user name, but the site said I could not use it because it was already in use.
If my prior account was canceled, why would the AAA-Hawaii site not allow me to use my email address for a new account, especially since the site would not allow me to login with it to the old/canceled account?
Okay, so I figured the work-around would be to invent a different user name, which I did. That and $158 dollars later, I was IN.
Searching the site for the AAA-Hawaii CDP number, I clicked around but couldn't find a reference, until I located a page to download my temporary printed cards. I did so, then went to my computer downloads folder, where I opened the PDF and noticed that the CDP number was on the back of the card, but UPSIDE DOWN.
You see, AAA-Hawaii cleverly put the discount details UPSIDE DOWN because they assumed you would print this out, cut out the card, and fold it to put in your wallet. Instead, my goal was to copy the freaking CDP number and paste it in over on Hertz.com, but I couldn't do that.
Luckily, I can read upside down.
By now, my still futile efforts to rent a car had taken me well more than an hour.
Armed with my now right-side up AAA CDP numbers, as well as a carefully researched AAA PC number for a weekly discount rate, I went back to Hertz.com, where I indeed received the AAA discount, rented a car, and paid for it in advance in order to save a few more bucks.
This process had a few roadblocks, since Hertz.com wants to know your frequent traveler numbers, what time you arrive, and what time you will return your car. That meant I had to jump back to my email to search for my flight itinerary. Luckily, I remembered that some flight times had changed, so I then logged in to my airline site to ensure I was using the most recent reservations.
In order to accomplish all of these tasks, my IMac had at least six windows open on my screen. I sincerely doubt I could have accomplished this mess on a phone or pad. Blessedly, I have a wide-screen IMac.
Once my data was secured on Hertz.com, the rest was a breeze, although my rental did not qualify for my carefully-researched PC discount, because I had already received the "pay now" discount.
Total time to reserve this car, thanks to the amazing benefits of website technology, one and one-half hours.
How long would it have taken if I had simply called Hertz's 1-800 number or AAA-Hawaii's 1-800 number? I think I'll try that next time. What's your guess?