Solving The Miami Sunpass Toll Conundrum

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Flying from Miami Airport and renting a car means taking multiple trains and long walks, but it also means dealing with Sunpass tolls. Those were supposed to have been interoperable with E-ZPass years ago, but they are still not.

In general I fly into Fort Lauderdale and avoid the toll roads, but due to reduced flight schedules I’ve had to fly out of Miami in order to catch an evening flight back home.

With Silvercar abandoning their airport locations, there are no rental car agencies without usurious fees for using their built in toll transponders, so I went looking into a solution for a last minute day trip into Miami last month.

On the Sunpass website they sell a “mini transponder” for $4.99 shipped. Officially that must be permanently adhered to the windshield, though people report being able to move it from car to car. The bigger problem was that I wouldn’t actually get it on time.

But I bought it, and then had a Sunpass account. From my Sunpass account I saw that I could add additional vehicles and even assign when they would start and end:

 

So once I got my rental car, I logged into the Sunpass site and set the car to expire that night when I would return the car.

I never used a transponder, but sure enough, the system billed all my charges to my Sunpass account as I drove from Fort Lauderdale up to my grandparents in Boynton Beach and then back down to Miami. Taking the tollroads saved me half an hour of driving to Boynton and allowed me to return the car to Miami without being slammed by car rental toll fees. It took about 5 days for all of the tolls to show up in my account and they were debited from the $10 balance that I initially funded my account with.

 

Maybe this was all obvious, but luckily we don’t have tolls to pay in Cleveland and it’s only a challenge that I face when traveling!

But just to make sure, I shared this tip with several DDF members and they were thrilled with it and have used it on their trips to Miami this month.

What’s your Miami toll strategy? Have you tried just entering your rental car’s license plate number on the Sunpass site?

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213 Comments On "Solving The Miami Sunpass Toll Conundrum"

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A.G.

Does this work in Orlando?

Ben

Sunpass works throughout Florida.

Fe

When I used enterprise, they charged me a daily fee of 3.75 any day I used tolls. I ended up using one day so my total bill came out to less than $5.
Not bad.

Moahe

That’s great

AJK

Enterprise then is better then some other companies, which will charge you the daily fee + tolls for the entire term of the rental even if you only use it a single time on a single day.

Jake

National, (which is Enterprise sister company) also charges $3.95 plus the toll for every day that you use it. Not for the entire rental

Dan\'s the Man

There is a way to get to/from MIA without taking toll roads. I do that. Yes it takes longer. When I’m on vacation I’m in no rush.

Andrew

Every Walgreens, CVS and many other common retailers carry both the portable and the fixed SunPass in stock. No need to wait for online delivery

Bunim1

Oh man
Just rented a Hertz Car from MIA this past Sunday-Tuesday and noticed there was no tag readers in the car.
I assumed sunpass worked with the license plates on my car (Tennessee for that matter)

Should I be expecting a fine ?

Pad18

It’s possible to backdated on sunpass app.
In case you still have the plate number of your rental try to add on backdated on sunpass…

Mark

FYI you can purchase these transponders at any Walgreens or CVS in Miami

AJK

Many locations are out of stock, IME.

Daniel

I typically go to Miami once a year. I also got to Orlando occasionally. About 5-6 years ago I just bought a SunPass transponder for $10. I add the rental car to the account when I get it as you described. Saves me the car rental toll fee plus gives me the better toll rates as well.

I’d recommend anyone who spends time in Florida to get one. Well worth the $10.

Ben

Get Epass which works in Florida + 18 other states and you are covered in almost the entire country. Cost is $15 for the moveable transponder https://epass.cfxway.com/epassweb

DM

I got the E-pass and love it. If you are in a hurry, it can be purchased on Amazon. I still am not flying to FL and live in OH. So far for me, the pass works well in OH, WV, NC, FL. It is supposed to work well in other states as well. The biggest plus is that it is suction cup mounted and moves easily between cars. You need to update your account online when switching. The website is a bit wonky, but it is doable.

David

I ordered a Unipass – works all overacross the North East – cost $10 for transponder – removable like an Ezpass. No need for Ezpass anymore as this account will be billed like an Ezpass even I’m NY

Avi

Do you get discounts on the tolls same as ezpass NY?

Mark

I think that depends on what address the account is registered on.

Matt

Thanks for the write up! Just to make sure I’m understanding correctly: you used the sunpass lanes without having the transponder, but because you added your rental car license plate in your sunpass account, they were able to bill you that way? (presumably from a camera scanning your plate)

Martin

Correct: I was also even able to add the NYS plate number to SunPass plan

EA

Dan thanks for posting! If driving from Miami airport to the Miami Beach and just staying in the Miami Beach area do you know if the drive incurs any tolls?

I’m arriving Monday. Just to make sure I can buy the Sunpass today but don’t need to physically have the transponder when renting my car?

Lester

Wow you discovered something I was doing 5 years ago?

If you travel often to FL get the 20$ transponder that goes from vehicle to vehicle

Avi

Can I open a Sunpass account without a transponder purchase?

David

https://www.cfxway.com/uni/

Works in 18 states

KSMH

I have been using this for some time and have a great experience.
IMHO its easier then logging in online when renting.

Hvaces42

Wait until you get a replenishment charge out of the blue when the next guy rents that car and it wasnt removed from your account properly. Had that nightmare 5 years ago.

MarktMan

SunPass sells 2 transponders, the portable one is $19.99, it’s the fixed, permanent one that is $4.99 https://www.sunpass.com/en/about/sunPassTransponders.shtml

Eli

Just a warning. I have been doing this for years however today I tried to add my rental plate from ace and it would not add to my account. Do not rent from ace.

Freebie

Used this past 3 years. Works like a charm.
Just make sure that if u rent car, the device that’s in there is not enabled if they have switch inside otherwise you may get billed twice or to the rental

Oompaloompa

Been doing this since 2015. Sunpass sells removable transponder for $20 you can get in publix and elsewhere.
Finally moved to Florida (breath of fresh air out of loony New York) and use that same transponder now

Lester

New york smells much better since you left as well

Dave

Does it really though? Is it the state and city income taxes? Is it the wonderful leadership of the mayor and governor? Is it the harsh covid restrictions on the frum communities. So what exactly smells better?

Daniel

I bought a transponder 23 years ago at a Walgreens. I never added a plate and never had a problem. I do a lot of driving in South Florida when I come for Passover or winter break. Sunpass sent me a new transponder about 5-10 years ago when they redid them. The old and the new both have suction cups. It seems like you’re making something that’s very simple into something more complicated.

YOCHAI

I live in FL so I have a sunpass transponder stuck to my car. Does this mean I can add rental cars temporarily to my account and use them without the transponder?

Mashgiach

I live in Miami and for many years have had an EZ-pass ($1 monthly fee) for the exact opposite reason; for when I go to the NE.

Mcm4

How can I be sure they will bill me and not the car rental company? If they bill by plate… and if the rental car has sunpass can it be temporarily removed or disabled?

Amber Turner

I was wondering the same thing, and still do not understand that part of it.

Pad18

Does it works even if the rental company has a sticker sunpass on the windshield ?

Amber Turner

That’s the part I don’t get. The rentals come with a pass so I would assume that’s the one that’s automatically charged unless it can somehow be disabled.

qsman

My in-laws lived in Boynton for 5-6 years in the development next door, Lake Wynds and davened by Rabbi Ciment. Is your grandfather a resident or a snowbird?

DR

This unfortunately does not work for all rental companies. Advantage is one of them.
Its been a disaster. But instead of strong over $300 in fees for less than $10 in tolls, I left myself some extra time and skipped the toll roads.

Shmulit

Have been using this method for a few years. Can add multiple rental cars once you have the account set up.
But keep am eye out a month or 2 later for some charges on your CC from your car rental company.
There are always 1 or 2 tolls that will for some reason hit your plate and go to the rental company instead of the sunpass.

AJK

This is what I’m worried about. With Avis (and others I believe), they will charge you the daily rental fee + tolls for the entire term of the rental even if you only use it a single time on a single day. So five day rental and one toll of 33 cents ends up being nearly $60! ($11.95×5 + 0.33)

Dave

If you fly into MIA, and are staying on Miami Beach (or along A1A), I have an idea to avoid the Airport Expressway (FL State 112) tolls. Drive east on NW36th St, and you’ll meet up with 95 a few miles down. You’ll want to make sure your doors are locked haha.

jonny

I figured I go to FL enough that i bought a regular plastic transponder from a CVS in Miami. It was a major hassle to set up but worked fine once done.

I will agree with another commenter that Enterprise is not a terrible alternative. They charged $3.95 per 24 hour usage period (plus toll obviously). I booked thru Costco travel and got a full size sedan for $90 for 3 days. Seamless pickup/dropoff experience from the MIA location.

Let’s go

What is it that makes this work or not work based on the rental company?

TybeeDawg

I bought a state of North Carolina transponder, gives me SunPass, EZPass, and some others. The unit was free, put $20 on it, and the funds never expire. I’ve used it in FL once with no issues, using the same inputting the rental car information, and used a 3m strip to attach it to the windshield of the rental car. One thing you have to worry about is that some rental car agencies use their own transponders, not in a box to block it if you don’t pay for it. If you get one of those you may not have good luck with your own personal unit.

Marty

Always better off buying the transponder. And yes, I always enter the rental car’s license plate to the site.

Yehuda Fleisher

The portable transponder is $20. Are you saying you can purchase the $5 mini transponder and it will work vehicle to vehicle?

Carl Maltzman

I have an EZPass here in New York. I never mounted it on the window. I just hold it up to the window when necessary.

Pesach W

Hi Dan,
I’ve done it for years. I also use my IPass when I fly into Chicago or NY or NJ
My only challenge is when I go to Dallas. I ask my son in law to add my rental to his Toll tag.

Ari

Nice, thanks Dan! Just in time for Yeshiva week in FL! 🙂

Mark Davis

Dan, I understood, but judging from the comments others don’t understand that you never used a transponder. Maybe if you can clarify above that you just used the plate method and it charged to your account WITHOUT using a transponder then others will understand how cool this find is.
I flew into MIA once and got a rental car. The only way out of the airport I could find took me on a toll area, which was unmanned, so I had no way to pay the toll. Sure enough, when I logged onto the toll site it showed a huge charge for an unauthorized use. I contacted them and they removed it once I explained. Your idea would have made things a lot easier and would have also kept me from having to make routes that avoided toll roads for the remainder of my trip. So, thank you!

Yitzchak

What a super simple workaround!

Car

When renting a car in San Francisco and having to cross the Golden Gate bridge, I tried to pay my toll on their website. It’s been a few years, so I am not sure that I am remembering all the details, but I think I created an account, put in my credit card and added the rental car license plate. The bottom line was that it didn’t work. My card didn’t get charged by the Golden Gate bridge authority and instead I got hit up by the usurious fees of Plate Pass LLC (which I think is an entity owned by rental car companies to hide behind and profit from.) The sooner that there is a reliable way to avoid their fees, the better.

Miami

I am from miami. My family keeps a couple extra sunpasses around for when we need to rent a car. We also keep an EZ pazs for when traveling to the NE.
My best experience was with Illinois. They are toll by plate and you can sign up for an account after going through the tolls and add a vehicle as a rental.

Jerseysteve

Can one do the same with E PASS? (I would rather invest in that eco system so I can get a transponder that works in more places – but be able to use without a transponder like Dans way)

EG

Dan, Do you know which category Fox falls into?
I saw that you said not to use them, but I’ve already reserved and paid…

salm

thank you very much for the tip. so can i buy one and lend it out to my friends and relatives when they travelling from new York to Florida and rent their own cars by the airport ? how do they enforce the requirement to be on the windshield

jonny

So if you can enter a license plate for a rental car, what’s stopping you from entering any random persons plate so their account gets charged instead?

steve

how do you opt out from using the rental cars toll transponder?

Chevron

I’m surprised you guys didn’t figure this out years ago I could have told you about it years ago I just know personally that when I rented a car in Miami and I needed for the tolls a while ago I just logged into my account and added a rental car and it was fine

Freebie

@dan
Not sure where to post but being this about Florida I am asking Here.
Do you know when the best time to get good car deals in the west palm beach area is mid march to the end. I don’t think there is any Spring break this year do you think Prices will drop to like $15 to $20? Checking now they are anywhere from about $35 to $48 per dayor higher.

Whatever

MIA UBER -> Bright line train to FLL or WPN -> Uber to your location.
Will save you more money and time.

Tavster

I bought a $20 transponder many years ago and I bring it along whenever I fly to Florida

Joseph

I once flew in to Mia and put into the go’s to avoid toll roads, due to my mistake I turned too early and got got stuck on a road with a .33 toll. There was no way I was going to pay $75 (15/day x5 days)for administrative fees for a .33 toll. My third option is to cancel he credit card due to fraud and you won’t get charged highway robery. Problem solved

eli

thanks !

Eli Gross

I purchased a few years back the hard plastic transponder in wallgreens and bring it with me when I go and place on windshield in rental vehicles, never had a problem or had to enter in plate numbers online.

AK

Your solution was when doing this last minute without having the time to receive the transponders the mail. If I’m doing this in advance is there another way to go about this?

Michael

I have been using a suction Sunpass for years. Interestingly, the situation I faced on my most Miami car rental this past November, may have been problematic with your tag less approach.
When I tried entering the rental car info into the Sunpass app, I was told that the car is already registered to another Sunpass account and it wouldn’t allow me to register it. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Maybe the car was registered incorrectly to a non-functioning account and no Sunpass was paying the car’s tolls? Was the car still registered on a different renter’s Sunpass? If so, I felt that there may be a gazeilah issue. Also, maybe that renter may undo the charges. Either way it may appear that I went thru the tolls without a Sunpass. To be sure, i affixed my Sunpass the windshield.

Voice-of-Reason

Florida uses SunPass due the fact that EZ pass charges Avery account holder a $1 monthly fee. SunPass has no monthly fees associated with it.

Ben

Thank you very much Dan. I’ve been meaning to do this for years. We went thanksgiving and I rented through budget. I know I went to key biscayne 4x and the bridge is $2.25 each time for a total of $9.00. I was only billed $10.95 so far which is much easier to take. I am renting with Hertz on Thursday out of Fort Lauderdale, I’m going to try this out.

Dave

I have EZ pass. What’s the best thing to do in Fll and GA? Thanx

Meir

Does this toll/transponder information also apply to renting a car in FLL or MIA, and driving down through the Keys?

Steve

Does this with work with Sixt?

History Buff

Avis specifically says in the contract for Florida you may “use your own adequately funded, properly mounted and compatible electronic toll device to pay for all tolls, (iii) pay the toll authority directly through any available online or other service…” It might be an issue for Fox and others but Dan’s tip will work for Avis.

Zev

whats the best option for Fort lauredaile?

Clarifier

Sunpass rental fees were around $15
Pretty much the smallest expense of my vacation week!

dave

I’m surprised you never knew this, I went to FL with family a year and a half ago and was wondering what to do, I figured this all out fairly quickly with no forum help. We rented 6 cars and had them all on one account, although it wasn’t flawless, some tolls didn’t get picked up by sunpass and went through Hertz. we fought all convenience fees from Hertz but paid the tolls they had.

Meir

Check this one:
https://www.myncquickpass.com/en/home/index.shtml
and FYI, avoid FOX car rental.

Bunim1

A simple NY EZ Pass works in 19 states. And gets the discount in the NY Metro area …

All these other states, will not get the NY metro discounts. So stick to the NY EZPass and get a Sunpass for Florida …

Dans post was specifically for Sunpass lanes, which Sunpass is the easiest option as they allow you to add rental cars even retroactively …

Dave

Oh man! Finally! Thanks Dan

Tom A

The 4.99 is sold pretty much at all grocery and pharmacy chains. Super quick and easy to set up and the website is fairly solid.

The real conundrum is the surge pricing that can reach up to $15 to drive on i-95 at rush hour.

Shimmy

So just to get it clear , how do you make sure that the system charges “your account, instead of the rentals account by default?

Shimmy

Can you make a write up thru which platform its usually worth booking? From car rentals directly? Or from third party platforms?

Stephen

I have a sunpass for years and until this post always used it without having the car listed and never had a problem (once lost it leaving it in a rental car). Based on this post I listed my rental car and it worked well. Thanks

Duddy

I always knew this. Its just basics.

In NY EZPASS you can also add plates and it will charge the plate on file without an actual ezpass.

Mashbak 1

Dan
So one could just buy the Mini, never attach it.
Then go to the website and register the rental car listing the plate # and the relevant time frame of the rental.
Furthermore additional rental cars can be added.
At no time was the Mini attached to any vehicle.
do i have this right?

ad120

You will need to have your sunpass in your vehicle for Epass lanes.

Checkitout

I ordered a Sunpass account and transponder more than a year ago, because I was fed up with paying the rental car Sunpass fees in addition to the tolls themselves.
Sunpass offers two types of transponders: one that attaches permanently, and one that can be moved from car to car. Rental cars are allowed. When you get the car, you log into the Sunpass website, and enter the rental car’s state and license plate number, along with a start and end date and time.
You get an itemized bill of your tolls. Easy and practical!
My daughter and son-in-law recently went to Florida for a few days, so I gave them my transponder, entered their rental car’s info, and saved them $19.95 in service fees!

aaron

Just rented a vehicle here in Miami, I opened up a sunpass account and funded it, but when I tried to add the rental to my account it said this plate number is already associated with another account.
Anything I can do ?

Bostner

Dan
Are you sure the numbers are correct?

We in NY have the Verrazano bridge or George Washington bridge. Thier toll chargers are… very different.

Florida tolls sound like typos…

josef.koney

U can even add the plates retroactively by putting in a previous date of when you were using the car and it will add those charges to your account and take off the higher charge as well.

Meir P.

Can you buy the transponder and have the charges be retroed back from past tolls, like lets say like a week old if you attach it to your rental car license plate?

Bunim1

Yes. At least from the Sunpass side. If by then your rental company charges you, you may have to deal with it with them.

Aaron

Does anyone knows if this works with sixt ?
And what about Orlando ?

JD

Thoughts on making a move from Cali to Boca. Any tips on areas to live etc etc…. anything would be greatly appreciated. Don’t think I can take California with a Biden administration.

Savta

Thanks as always your method worked retroactively here in Orlando

od

if this wont work whats my best bet to handle miami area tolls?

ak

I’m trying to open a sunpass account (for a future rental) and it wants Vehicle and License Plate Information in order to open the account.

Esthar

Thank you so much Dan. YOu saved the day on our trip!

Abe

Dose anyone know which companies block this meathod

Sammy

I did this but no charges are showing up on my account. It’s been about 24 hours. How long should it take?

Kidooo

FYI I tried this with hertz yestersay and got an error message “the plate number is already associated with another SunPass account” so YMMV

Tina Mairi Schaffer

I used my sunpass for rental cars all the time. I now have the Uni Pass and it seems to be more difficult to add a rental via the app but doable.

MZ

Anyone know if this works with Thrifty?

YYZOGG

Rented from Alamo. “This licence plate is registered to another sunpass account “

EG

@Dan
You asked me to post my experience with Fox Rental.
BH I followed your instructions, they tried to convince me that it would not work, I persisted and I got charged on my Sunpass account for the toll that I went through and I did not get any charges from the Rental company.
Thank you

Marty

Thanks folks! I recently came back from FL and had a rental from dollar. I declined their too pprepay for $10/day plus tolls and just received a bill from them for about $10 in tolls and nearly $90 in “admin fees!” I just signed up for the Sunpass using Dan’s instructions and put the plates in retroactively. I’m very curious if this will work.

Marty

Quick update: I just got off with sunpass and they are saying that I need to deal with the rental car company because it was already billed. I’m wondering if anyone had dealt successfully with this.

anon

when driving from nj to orlando do you need a sunpass?

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