The Hyper-Ritch Rent Cars Differently Than the Rest of Us

The wealthy do everything differently. We philistines frankly have no idea just how different their lives are. That includes something as simple as renting cars at the airport. If you’ve ever gotten on a plane, you’ll know what the process is like. Board, maybe get some peanuts, watch a movie on your iPad, go haggle with a rental car agent, cry. Every aspect of that process is different for the hyper-wealthy.

The rich don’t just do rental cars different

A white triple-engine private jet sits on a runway
A flight on a jet like this can cost tens of thousands | Robert Alexander via Getty Images

I should know. For some time, I worked at… well, let’s just call it “Bob’s Rent-a-Car”. We rented cars at a private airfield. Because it was a private airfield, that means we rented to people coming off private jets. Now, these are some of the most absurdly wealthy people on the planet, literally. Once, we rented a car to Jeff Bezos and his security team. I could name plenty of other A-listers that came through the airport, but for them, the rental experience is totally different.

Each guest (you have to call them guests) has a file. In that file are all kinds of ridiculous requests and pet peeves. One guy loved Fiji water so much he told us it, along with a random array of snacks, must be in his car. Another liked to have the radio set to a specific station. Additionally, all cars were washed, detailed, and cleaned obsessively. We’d also warm the cars up in the winter and pull them plane-side for those wealthy folks who just could not walk another step.

You’d be surprised what kinds of cars wealthy people rent

An olive green Toyota RAV4, one of the most popular rental cars
2021 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota

Now, I’m sure as you’re reading about this, you must think that Bob’s Rent-a-Car has a fleet of immaculately clean Bentleys, Ferraris, or some other six-figure car. Yes, we did have those, including a Bentley Bentayga Kim K was fond of. Honestly, we never rented them. Bob’s Rent-a-Car would rent those cars out for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a day. In most instances, the people I spoke to simply didn’t want something that ridiculous.

Peyton Manning liked to rent a plain-old Toyota Highlander for a few hundred bucks a day. Super nice guy, by the way. The wealthy like their rental cars to be subtle, especially some of our more recognizable clientele. By a shocking margin, the Toyota RAV4 was our most popular vehicle. That said, Bob’s Rent-a-Car knew who they were renting to and would charge “for the experience.” Honestly, the attention to detail is what our clientele pay for, not flashy cars.

Sometimes, money is everything

A black Rolls Royce in front of a private jet
A Rolls Royce is worth nothing compared to the jet behind it | Mark Ralston via Getty Images

However, there was always that one occasion every full moon when all the stops had to come out. Daddy Warbucks was coming to town and his security detail needed three black Cadillac Escalades, each brand new and well over $100,000 in value. If we didn’t have three on hand, someone was sent to another location to collect it, almost without exception. I once drove 357 miles in one day collecting cars. When you’re wealthy enough to pay $10,000 or more for a plane ride from Cancun to Los Angeles, the cost of your rental, or its flashiness, is something I’m simply too poor to understand.

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