Did you know that a used minivan costs about the same as a used BMW? Like, a 2012 Honda Odyssey with 40,000 miles is almost exactly the same price as a 2012 BMW 328i with the same mileage. Why do I know that? We finally surrendered to the reality that we have three kids, two of them babies who require a ton of stuff, and bought a minivan. Good at moving kids and all their gear, but a fun ride it’s not. So when National Car Rental asked me to try out their Premier Selection I was like, yes please!!
Here’s the deal. The National Premier Selection is a special section of National’s rental lot at 25 of the top airport locations across the US, and is comprised of high-end luxury cars like BMW, Lexus, and Maserati. You can choose to upgrade to any vehicle available and the upgrade charge depends on the car. For example, at the location I rented from (Nashville) the Maserati was $100 extra per day and the BMW was $50 extra per day. The whole process was super easy–I just chose my car, loaded my suitcase, and after a short stop at the check-out booth was on my way.
We are a Toyota-Honda household, so while I’ve ridden in some luxury vehicles I’ve never actually driven one, and always kind of thought they were mostly a status symbol. Turns out I was totally wrong and they are actually pretty awesome cars. I ended up choosing a BMW 328i as my “premier selection.” It was amazing.
This thing drove like a dream, accelerating faster than anything I’ve ever been in, hugging curves, and flying (responsibly) down the highway. I was incredibly comfortable, able to adjust the seat in more ways that I knew existed. The audio was beautiful, crisp and incredibly balanced. And there were so many buttons and controls it would have take me weeks to learn them all. It’s a small sedan, but there would have plenty of room for four adults to ride comfortably, with as much trunk space as a Camry. Cruising in the BMW through downtown Nashville while the Black Keys crooned, headed to a celebratory dinner with coworkers, will definitely go down as one of my favorite business trip memories. And I have to say, it was liberating to feel like a person again instead of just a mom! Especially after all of our minivan test driving….
Sure, you’re thinking, that sounds nice. But when does it make sense to upgrade to a Premier Selection during normal life? Trust me, there are plenty of times renting a luxury car makes perfect sense. If you are really trying to impress a client. If you are celebrating something. If you are driving somewhere far and just want to enjoy driving. Or maybe because you work really hard and deserve a treat!
Plenty of business travelers wouldn’t think twice about paying $50 for a first class upgrade for a four-hour flight. This is the same concept, except the experience lasts longer than four hours. And there’s no booze, but that’s probably a good thing. The next time I have to drive somewhere that’s several hours away from where I land I will definitely be upgrading my rental. And maybe someday I’ll sell the minivan and get that BMW.
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