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How Zalyn Works

While it's no secret that using a discount coupon is one of the best ways to save money on a rental car, doing it right (finding one that saves you the most) requires skill, patience & a lot of time. As a result, most of us satisfice and settle for a smaller discount.

At Zalyn, we're focused on helping car renters like you navigate the bewildering array of discounts up for grabs by making it easier for you to track down the best discount for your rental needs. Here's how we make it happen

Catch 'em

The first and foremost objective is to capture as many coupons as possible, so you never miss out on a discount just because you didn't have time to check the 47th website for car rental coupons. We have coupons that rental car companies publish on their website, send out via email, facebook and twitter. We also have coupons that rental car companies offer to members of partner companies like AAA, AARP, BJs Club, Costco, USAA and a number of Frequent flyer and Reward programs. We  have a thriving community that contributes anything we're missing.

When you search for a rental car on Zalyn, we ask you about your occupation, credit cards and memberships to figure out which discounts are applicable to you. After all, what's the point in showing the AARP discount to a 30-year old.

Squish 'em 

If you ever venture beyond the glitzy sales pitch of a car rental coupon, you'll find a rather lengthy and boring fineprint. Our data shows that the average fine-print has a whopping 231 words and at least 4 qualifying requirements. Unless you're an attorney, its safe to assume that you don't find the fineprint particularly interesting. However, you need to know these requirements upfront or you'll end up wasting time on a coupon that just wasn't going to work for your rental.

So, we built the Squisher, an algorithm that scans the coupon fineprint for known patterns and keywords to extract the most important parts and leave out all the legalese. The squisher detects statements like
  • Valid on a minimum three day weekend rental
  • A Saturday night keep is required
  • On rental of an intermediate through a full-size four-door car
  • Coupon valid at participating locations in the U.S. (excluding the New York Metro area), Canada, PR and U.S Virgin Islands
  • Coupon cannot be used for one-way rentals
By squishing the fineprint, we dramatically reduce the size of the terms & conditions that require your attention from a whopping 231 words down to just 34 words. Now, that's easy on the eyes!

Match 'em

You're eligible to use a coupon if and only if you meet all the terms & conditions. While there are hundreds of car rental coupons out there, what you're really interested are the ones that you qualify for. So, if you need a rental car in New York, a coupon that says its only valid in Florida is no good. The average coupon stipulates at least four distinct requirements (typically location, validity dates, rental duration & vehicle type). Wouldn't it be nice if you could simply say "Here's my rental info, show me the coupons that I qualify for?".

That's exactly what the Matcher does. When you enter your rental info & hit search, Zalyn scans through the fineprint of each & every coupon, evaluating terms & conditions against your rental info to see if you qualify. To understand how this works, lets see how the matcher analyzes this coupon in a bunch of different scenarios

Scenario Match? Why?
Midsize car
at Chicago (ORD)
from 4/1- 4/10
Requires Weekend Rental
Midsize car
at Chicago (ORD)
from 4/1 - 4/2
Min. 3-day rental required, Sat night keep required
at Chicago (ORD)
from 4/1 - 4/2
Only valid on Midsize - Fullsize cars
Midsize car
at New York (JFK)
from 4/1 - 4/4
Not valid in New York Area
Fullsize car
from Los Angeles (LAX)
to San Diego (SAN)
from 4/1 - 4/4
Not valid on one-way rentals
Fullsize car
at San Francisco (SFO)
from 4/1 - 4/4
All requirements met

Compare 'em

While the matcher helps you trim the list of potential coupons for your rental car down to a just a few, chances are that some of them are better than others. While its virtually impossible to know upfront (coupons are finicky) which one's better, with some number crunching and historical data we can come up with a pretty close estimate.

After the matcher helps us narrow down the list of coupons for your rental car, we calculate two important numbers
  • Chance of Success: This is based on historical user feedback indicating whether the coupon worked or not. Since we ask users for feedback only when all requirements are met, the historical data gives us a pretty good estimate on whether the coupon is likely to work.
  • Potential Discount: This is calculated based on the rental rate (say $45/day), rental duration (say 4 days) and and the type of coupon. For example, a $15 off coupon will have a potential discount of $15, but a $5 off/day coupon will have a potential discount of $20, while a free rental day coupon will be worth a $45 discount and a 10% off coupon will save you $18.
Coupons that offer a Percentage discount (e.g. Save upto 25%) are a little tricky since the actual discount percentage varies from rental to rental. It is almost never a 25% discount. We look at historical data to see how much others saved with this coupon and that helps us come up with an estimate for the discount you're likely to see. 
Based on the Chance of Success and the Potential Discount of each coupon, we come up with a rank for each coupon. We use this rank to sort the coupon for each rental car. In addition, we use the potential discount of the top ranked coupon to see if one (rental car + the top discount) is better than another (rental car + its top discount).

Stack 'em

What's better than a discount? Two discounts! That's what you get when you stack coupons. Not all companies allow you to stack coupons and there are rules around which coupons are compatible and can be stacked together.  Unless you rent cars frequently and dabble in discount codes, you're likely to find this challenging.

To deal with this and to help you stack coupons and save even more, we built the Stacker.  It works quietly in the background and checks for stackable coupons whenever you report a coupon as working. Click here to learn more about how stacking works on Zalyn.

The example above shows that the user reported that the American AAdvantage Discount coupon worked and resulted in a discounted total of $440 (down from $508). As soon as the feedback was entered, the stacker went to work and found two coupons that coupon possibly be combined with the American AAdvantage Discount for even more savings.

Using a stack is easy, simply click the stack button and you'll be sent over to a booking site with both coupons. Lets see how things went in our example  -

By stacking coupons, we were able to save an additional $34 and the best part is that the coupon stack was automatically generated for you.