14 tips for making the most of your Rent the Runway membership

Rent the Runway has five stores across the country.

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Rent the Runway has five stores across the country.
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Celia Fernandez/Insider
  • Rent the Runway users can currently choose between three membership plans: Unlimited Swaps for $159 a month, 1 Swap for $89 a month, or 2 Swaps for $135 a month.
  • Unlimited Swaps is the most popular plan because users can rent four items at a time, and swap clothing pieces out as often as they want.
  • Rent the Runway style director Blaire Walsh told Insider the best tips and tricks for taking full advantage of the rental service.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Rent the Runway users looking to do more than reserve a single clothing item can choose between three different membership plans: Unlimited Swaps (formerly Unlimited, $159 a month), 2 Swaps (the new plan that launched in March, $135 a month) and 1 Swap (formerly Update, $89 a month).

The Unlimited Swaps membership allows users to rent four items at a time, and change them out as often as they want. The new 2 Swaps membership allows you to order a total of eight items per month (four at a time). Members who select the 2 Swaps plan can choose from over 700 designers and order items with a retail value of up to $5,000.

Although the 1 Swap membership also allows users to rent four items, they are only allowed to change them out once a month and are limited to pieces with a retail value of up to $350.

I decided to give Rent the Runway a try for a month, opting for the Unlimited Swaps membership because it would give me the chance to try out lots of different clothing and accessories. To take full advantage of the service, I spoke to Rent the Runway’s style director, Blaire Walsh, who shared tips and tricks for making the most of the Unlimited membership.


Before signing up, check out the Rent the Runway homepage or ask a friend to send you a promotion code.

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Rent the Runway offers promotions throughout the year to get people to try the service.
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Rent the Runway

When I signed up in February, there was a banner on the site that said I would get 50% off my first month if I signed up using the discount code available.

Asking a friend who already uses the service is another way to get around paying $159 for your first month, as you can often get a referral code for $100 off.

“The biggest thing with those promotions is getting people to try the service and see the value in having Rent the Runway,” a Rent the Runway spokesperson told Insider. “More than 75% of the business is now RTR Unlimited subscriptions.”


Although it’s more expensive, the Unlimited Swaps membership is the best option because it grants you access to everything Rent the Runway has to offer.

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Rent the Runway offers two three memberships: Unlimited Swaps, 2 Swaps, and 1 Swap.
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Rent the Runway

For $159 a month, subscribers can pick four items to rent and swap them out for something new at any moment. Users with the 1 Swap plan also get four items but are only allowed to swap them once a month. The newly launched 2 Swaps membership allows you to order a total of eight items per month, four at a time.

I signed up for the Unlimited Swaps plan, which allowed me to rent 10 items over the course of a month. I swapped out items on three different occasions, but dedicated users with an Unlimited membership could choose a new item every day if they really wanted.

According to the description on the website, the Unlimited plan also gives users access to more styles from a wider range of designers. Members who sign up for this plan are even allowed to wear items with a retail value of up to $3,000, meaning you can finally step into a gown from one of your favorite high-end designers.


You should subscribe to the emails.

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Emails will alert you to new arrivals.
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Celia Fernandez/Insider

Although your inbox may already be cluttered, subscribing to Rent the Runway’s emails will let you know when new arrivals have been added or if the rental service is doing any special collaborations.


When browsing for items to rent, sort by “newest” first.

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The “newest” filter will let you see what was just updated.
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Rent the Runway

If you’re looking for items that most likely haven’t been worn before, browse the app using the “newest” filter. A colleague of mine and longtime user of Rent the Runway said she’s had luck getting new items with the tags still on by using this setting.


The size and availability filters should always be set.

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Setting the size and availability filters lets you see what is immediately available to rent.
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Rent the Runway

You can search for all of the styles offered under the Unlimited membership, even if they’re currently unavailable. Adjusting your settings to “delivery today” lets you see what’s ready to be rented so that you don’t waste time sorting through items you’ll have to wait to get your hands on.


The detailed filters are your best friend when looking for something specific to wear.

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Rent the Runway’s different filters allow you to get specific about what you’re looking for.
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Rent the Runway

Walsh told Insider the service has lots of filters to narrow down your search on purpose. Subscribers can search by color, neckline, embellishments, sleeve, and body type – just to name a few.


Mornings are the best time to search for new arrivals.

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Rent the Runway offers new clothes on a weekly basis.
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Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway updates its clothing options on a weekly basis, but mornings are the best time to browse, according to a spokesperson for the company.

“Our subscribers tend to find that earlier in the morning is a better time to be browsing because you’re maximizing what’s available,” the Rent the Runway spokesperson said.


But don’t bother going to the store to actually shop for things.

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Rent the Runway’s stores have a small percentage of their entire inventory.
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Celia Fernandez/Insider

I went to the store after signing up for Rent the Runway for the first time, and in my experience, that was a mistake. The stores are meant to serve as a drop-off point and a place to try things on that you’ve ordered to pick up.

Our store definitely holds a smaller percentage of inventory that’s available to our customers.,” Walsh told Insider. “The upside to that is that it does get changed out on a daily basis. Every day new styles and new sizes are being swapped in and swapped out at all of our stores across the US.”


Read the reviews before selecting your items.

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Rent the Runways lets subscribers write reviews, and even upload pictures.
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Rent the Runway

In my experience, one of the best features of Rent the Runway has been the reviews. They give you an idea of how many people have rented the item you’re looking at. Members can also upload pictures so that others can see how something fits on.

“It is so helpful to see all of our customers posting how they styled it, or if they went a size up or down in certain styles. I find that feature to be super helpful while browsing,” Walsh said.


Try your items on as soon as you get them.

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With the Unlimited membership, you can swap the four items as many times as you want.
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Celia Fernandez/Insider

With the Unlimited membership, you can swap items as often as you’d like, so the smartest thing to do is try everything on once you have it in your possession. You can decide what you want to wear and what you want to return right away.

For instance, I ordered this camouflage puffer coat to be delivered to my office, but after trying it on right away and not liking the fit, I decided to return it the same day and pick something new.


If you live near a store or drop-off location, use that to return items instead of mailing them in.

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Rent the Runway stores have a self-service return section.
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Celia Fernandez/Insider

Scanning the item you want to return at a Rent the Runway store or drop-off location will immediately free up a spot for something new. Mailing the items in works, too, but you’ll have to wait for the item to arrive at a Rent the Runway warehouse before you can pick another item.


If you love a particular brand, click the “More From This Designer” tab to see what else is available.

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Rent the Runway’s “More From This Designer” feature lets you see what else they have listed from the same brand.
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Rent the Runway

I rented a burgundy croc-effect Marge Sherwood handbag that I became obsessed with, so using this tab allowed me to see what else Rent the Runway had available from the same brand.


Use the hearts to create a list of favorites for an upcoming event or season.

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Using the hearts lets the subscriber create curated lists.
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Chloe Pantazi/Insider

The hearts let subscribers save their favorite items in one place that’s easy to find.

“I personally like to refer to my hearts to look at styles that I’ve fallen in love with and aren’t available at the time so I don’t forget,” Walsh said. “That way you have one place to look back at all the amazing styles that you have saved throughout your search.”

You can also use the hearts to plan your wardrobe in advance. Create lists for any upcoming event and label it so that you can go back and scroll through what you’ve saved whenever you’re ready.


Buy scentless Febreze to spray your clothes.

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Having scentless Febreze handy is always a good idea.
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Shutterstock

Rent the Runway has everything dry cleaned, but sometimes certain smells just don’t want to disappear. Having scentless Febreze around to spray over the clothes before you put it on is always a good idea.