When it comes to renting a car, the options can be overwhelming and hard to sift through. And depending on how and why you’re traveling, car rental companies are not one-size-fits-all. Maybe you're seeking the most bang for your buck, or you just want the convenience of an easy online experience. From stand-out customer service to companies with impressive rewards programs, our top picks for the best rental car companies of 2022 have you covered.
Best for Avoiding Additional Fees: National
Across the board, most car rental companies charge an additional daily fee for additional drivers and any added equipment you might need such as car seats, ski racks, or GPS devices. Car companies will also often charge one-way car rental fees. So if you pick up your car in one location and drop it off somewhere else, you will have to cover the cost of bringing the car back to its original rental location. National, however, will not charge you this one-way fee if you’re picking up and dropping off between airport locations.
If you’re a member of the Emerald Club Loyalty Program, all fees will still apply. However, the program does allow members to quickly and easily choose any car in the Emerald Aisle section at a midsize car rate. And depending on your tier status, you may be able to receive upgrades and opportunities for free rental days for every six or seven qualified rentals.
Best for Customer Service: Enterprise
Although Enterprise has slightly high rates in the rental car industry, they’re still a favorite with customers. A recent study showed that they ranked highest overall in customer satisfaction, with a score of 861 compared to the industry average of 830. Only three other companies ranked above the industry average.
You’re bound to find an Enterprise near you, with more than 7,600 locations across the country. They also have a four-tiered loyalty program called Enterprise Plus, which allows members to earn upgrades on their rentals each year. They can also earn and redeem points for free rental days, receive faster members-only check-ins and a dedicated phone number for customer service. (Fun fact: The company was named after the aircraft carrier the founder served on during World War II.)
Best for Unlimited Mileage and Second Drivers: Alamo
Alamo offers unlimited free mileage as a standard, and if you’re hitting the open road with another individual or a group, Alamo outlines a number of exceptions where it’ll waive the additional daily driver’s fee that is typically $15. Spouses and domestic partners of the primary drivers will not be charged an additional driver fee. In addition, the $15 additional driver fee is waived for corporate contracts where the additional driver is the renter’s business partner, employer or fellow associate. If you’re a Costco member renting through Alamo, you won’t be charged an additional driver fee as well.
The Alamo Insider free program gives customers a guaranteed 5 percent discount off the retail rate. Rotating discounts include deals for military members, AAA members, as well as free car class upgrades in certain categories.
Best Airport Locations: Hertz
Although it’s one of the largest car rental companies worldwide—with more than 1,600 airport locations in the U.S. alone and coverage in smaller cities like Beloit, Wisconsin, and Newport, Vermont—it’s not the cheapest. Hertz’s daily rate averages $60 (rates may vary depending on your specific location). We love the range of cars that the company offers: While there’s definitely your business-trip standards, high-capacity cars for families, and compact economy cars for budget travelers, there’s also a rental section of electric cars from Tesla and luxury “dream cars” from Mercedes and BMW that are treats for memorable trips.
The company also offers up to 30 percent off prepaid reservations, up to 20 percent off for AAA members. as well as no additional fees for AAA renters ages 20-25.
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Best Aggregator: Rentalcars.com
A rental aggregator is a handy tool if you’re looking to comparison shop for the best deals possible without toggling between a number of website tabs for each car rental company.
Rentalcars.com has a massive directory of cars and dealers available, including Alamo, Hertz, Avis, and Dollar, as well as relatively lesser known companies like Ace car rentals and Sixt. Overall, they have over 60,000 locations in 160 countries, with an estimated eight million customers. With all those options, customers are empowered to book what suits them best, which includes flexible options and features like price match guarantees, no hidden fees, the choice to choose car seats, and 48 hours to cancel or change your reservation at no charge.
Best Discounts: Avis
Avis’ average daily rates track with its competitors, but there’s a good chance you might be able to knock down the price, with various discount codes, rebates, and promotions available to savvy customers who aren’t afraid to put in a bit of research (AARP members also get special rates by default).
For example, U.S. active duty military, military veterans, and National Guard and Reservist members receive up to 25 percent off base rate rentals, while union members receive up to 30 percent off pay now rates. AARP members receive up to 30 percent off base rates.
If you’re renting in the Northeast (Maine to North Carolina), California, Chicago Area, Florida, Colorado, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, and Puerto Rico, all cars come with an e-Toll, so you don’t have to think about extra toll costs. Rentals are also suitable for companies whose employees need to snag a car for a bit—small businesses, in particular, can save up to 30% off their rentals. Signing up for their business program also means complimentary Avis Preferred membership which allows customers expedited pick up and drop off.
Best for Paying Upfront: Budget
Budget offers a discount of up to 35 percent if you pay when you make the reservation (daily rates may vary depending on your specific location). They also have rotating limited time offers, like 10 percent off rentals of five or more days, or SUV rentals for $50/day, an offer that’s attractive for families hitting the road and want more room. If you want something that’s not your usual rental car, Budget’s got that too—rent hybrids like the Toyota Prius, convertibles like a Chevy Camaro, and pickup trucks like the Jeep Gladiator.
Note that with many pay upfront rental policies, there will likely be a fee for reservation cancellations, so read the terms and conditions. For example Budget charges $50 for cancellations made at least 24 hours before your scheduled pick up and $150 for cancellations within 24 hours. Additionally, there are no refunds for no shows or returning the rental early.
Best for Rewards Program: Silvercar
Nearly all car rental companies out there offer a rewards program, and we’re fans of Silvercar’s straightforward and flexible approach. You’re automatically enrolled when you create a Silvercar account, earn one reward point per dollar for each dollar spent (not including related taxes and fees), and enjoy no blackout dates when you redeem points for free rentals. Plus, points don’t expire as long as you complete a transaction within five years. And depending on how many rewards points you’ve stashed, redeem them for 50 percent off a rental or free days—just pay taxes and fees.
Book an Audi sedan or SUV through the Silvercar app in more than 20 airport and metro locations including California, Texas, North Carolina, and Florida. Silvercar rental perks include complimentary Peg Perego car seats and pet carriers, WiFi, GPS navigation, and SiriusXM satellite radio. Rentals have been averaging $80/day in 2022.
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Best Online Check In System: Lyft
Lyft is known as an on demand ride share service, and in 2019, it launched the car rental program Lyft Rentals in partnership with traditional car rental service Sixt in some locations. Renting a vehicle through Lyft is as easy as opening the app, clicking on the key icon located at the bottom right of your screen, and following several prompts to customize your vehicle, including complimentary add ons at most locations like ski racks, child seats, even a phone charger. We also like that you only have to pay for the gas you use (estimated by market rates), get unlimited mileage, and are charged only for the tolls used—other companies may charge a fee for a toll transponder.
Its Lyft Rentals program also offers a $20 credit to use to and from the rental location (that’s $10 each way.) Locations fulfilled by Sixt receive a $10 Lyft credit to use anytime. Renting through the website instead of the app is also possible. To check in, just bring your phone and have your driver’s license ready.
Whether you're in search of a car rental company that provides stand-out customer service; you'd like an easy-to-navigate online experience; or you want to pay top dollar for a luxury car, these car rental companies check the box for many different types of travelers. If you're not sure where to start, we recommend going with National to avoid additional fees, or Enterprise for a really solid customer service experience.
Which car rental company is best? ›
- Best overall car rental company: Enterprise.
- Best car rental company customer satisfaction: Hertz.
- Best car rental company website and app: National Car Rental.
- Best car rental company for cheap quotes: Alamo Rent-A-Car.
- Best peer-to-peer car rental: Turo.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Budget, Hertz and Dollar ranked among the cheapest.Will US car rental prices go down in 2022? ›
While prices have slightly dipped from those highs, they're still higher every month so far in 2022 than before the pandemic. But not all rental car prices are created equal, even if the rental car is otherwise the same.Which car rental company has the newest cars? ›
Enterprise Holdings, the parent company of National (in addition to Alamo and Enterprise) and the largest rental-car company in the world, offers some reciprocal benefits between the Enterprise and National brands. It also has the newest vehicle fleet in the rental car industry.Which rental car company is best in USA? ›
The Enterprise named the best car rental car company in North America. The next three companies on the list—National, Alamo and Hertz also came in above the industry average. “Alamo and National share the same parent company with Enterprise (Enterprise Holdings),” says Taylor.Is enterprise better than Hertz? ›
Enterprise Rent A Car appears to be the low cost provider – $20 “cheaper” per day, but when you look at the total cost of the solution and value of it, it's actually more expensive, an inconvenience, and provides less value than Hertz!How do I find cheap car rentals? ›
- Skip the airport. Renting at the airport is convenient when you're flying into a new city. ...
- Shop around online. ...
- Turn to discount brands. ...
- Leverage memberships. ...
- Opt for economy cars. ...
- Stick to one driver. ...
- Use your own insurance. ...
- Forgo the extras.
Enterprise takes the top spot for service, but its base price of $47 a day is not as competitive as that of its sister company, Alamo. Yet Enterprise, which has 5,800 U.S. locations, gives customers a break on many of the add-on fees that can trip you up once you get to the counter.Is Turo safe to rent from? ›
Turo is a safe, convenient rental car company. The company offers rental more affordably than many fleet-rental agencies. You'll also get more choices that change day to day as cars become available. Take simple precautions like recording the car's condition when you get it and return it.What is the best day to rent a car? ›
Yes, the weekends! Generally, car rentals are needed more throughout the week which can cause a lack of inventory. Due to a lack of inventory, the price of what is available could be increased. Weekends are the best days to rent a car because most people do not need them on the weekend.
How far in advance should you rent a car? ›
Booking three to six months before you travel is usually ideal. Prices tend to be most competitive during this period. There isn't much benefit to booking further ahead. If anything, prices tend to be higher a year ahead.Is it better to rent a car in the morning or afternoon? ›
Make sure you get to the car rental agency early in the day. If you arrive before noon, there's a good chance you'll get a wider selection of vehicles at a better price.Is Hertz better than Sixt? ›
Who offers the best price? Hertz and Sixt both price match, so you know that you will get the best price whichever company you book with. However, Hertz has the advantage of offering a further 10% off your rate if you find a lower price elsewhere.What is the easiest car rental company? ›
SIXT is one of the most renowned car rentals across the world and most definitely also one the easiest and fastest car rental companies in the US. If you are looking to make an entry in style, SIXT is your company because they provide the most premium cars at affordable rates.Is Hertz or Thrifty better? ›
Hertz and Thrifty have identical price match guarantees, so whichever company you choose, you know you will get the best price on your rental. One advantage of renting with Hertz is the option to pay a little more to book without a deposit. The major point of difference between Hertz and Thrifty is their base prices.Which rental car company has most locations? ›
With over 4,500 neighborhood and airport branch offices, Enterprise is the largest car rental company in the U.S. Combined with its sister companies Alamo and National, Enterprise Holdings has offices located within 15 miles of 90% of the U.S. population, so it is by far the most accessible.
|Founder||Jack C. Taylor|
|Headquarters||Clayton, Missouri , United States|
|Number of locations||9,500 branches (2020)|
Alamo is owned by Enterprise Holdings, along with other agencies including Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental.Why is Hertz so much more expensive than enterprise? ›
One of the reasons Hertz is expensive is because they have a Hertz Gold Plus Rewards System. It costs nothing to join their rewards program which means they have to get the money to fund the system elsewhere. The Gold Plus Rewards System offers many benefits like complimentary upgrades and free rentals.Why Enterprise car rental is expensive? ›
The bottom line. Rental car prices have been surging because demand is high and supply is low, both due to the coronavirus crisis and the chip shortage.
What gets better gas mileage economy or compact? ›
The compact still has great gas mileage even though economy vehicles tend to do better.Is Enterprise or Alamo better? ›
Enterprise takes the top spot for service, but its base price of $47 a day is not as competitive as that of its sister company, Alamo. Yet Enterprise, which has 5,800 U.S. locations, gives customers a break on many of the add-on fees that can trip you up once you get to the counter.What is the easiest car rental company? ›
SIXT is one of the most renowned car rentals across the world and most definitely also one the easiest and fastest car rental companies in the US. If you are looking to make an entry in style, SIXT is your company because they provide the most premium cars at affordable rates.What's the best day to rent a car? ›
Yes, the weekends! Generally, car rentals are needed more throughout the week which can cause a lack of inventory. Due to a lack of inventory, the price of what is available could be increased. Weekends are the best days to rent a car because most people do not need them on the weekend.What is the cheapest way to hire a car UK? ›
- Pre-book online. Save a fortune by pre-booking your car hire online before you travel. ...
- Arrange your own car hire excess insurance in advance. ...
- Take your own infant and child car seats. ...
- Don't bother with the rental sat nav. ...
- Consider your fuel policy carefully.
The only difference really is Alamo let you choose your car from a row of cars, Avis allocate you a car. Whoever you decide to go with register on their loyalty program in order that you can go straight to the garage bypassing the sales desk. We belong to Avis Preferred and the service is excellent.Is Hertz owned by Enterprise? ›
|Founder||Jack C. Taylor|
|Headquarters||Clayton, Missouri , United States|
|Number of locations||9,500 branches (2020)|
They're the same company actually, and at the airports they share a lot of the same cars. Sometimes my Alamo receipt says Enterprise on it. Alamo lets you check in at a kiosk, speedy quick, and choose whatever car you like in your reserved class.Is Hertz better than Sixt? ›
Who offers the best price? Hertz and Sixt both price match, so you know that you will get the best price whichever company you book with. However, Hertz has the advantage of offering a further 10% off your rate if you find a lower price elsewhere.Who is the biggest car rental company? ›
The largest car rental company in the US is Enterprise Holdings, with a revenue of $23.9 billion and 1.1 million cars in service. As of 2022, the US car rental industry has a market size of $54.2 billion. There were 29.2 million cars rented in the US in 2021.
Is Turo safe to rent from? ›
Turo is a safe, convenient rental car company. The company offers rental more affordably than many fleet-rental agencies. You'll also get more choices that change day to day as cars become available. Take simple precautions like recording the car's condition when you get it and return it.How far in advance should you rent a car? ›
Booking three to six months before you travel is usually ideal. Prices tend to be most competitive during this period. There isn't much benefit to booking further ahead. If anything, prices tend to be higher a year ahead.What are the cheapest days to rent a car? ›
In some cases, the weekend rates can be almost half their regular daily price. This is because fewer people rent on the weekend than during any other time. There's also a good chance that you'll get a free upgrade to a better vehicle on the weekend.Is it cheaper to reserve a rental car in advance? ›
NerdWallet found that customers pay on average $75 more to book a weeklong rental car three months in advance compared with booking the same rental just a week in advance. That translates to an extra cost of around 15%, simply for booking early.How can I rent a car for cheap? ›
- Start with a car rental aggregator site. ...
- Always compare rates booking direct. ...
- Check car rental rates on Costco Travel. ...
- Check out car sharing services like Turo and ZipCar. ...
- Always book the cheapest economy car. ...
- Compare weekly vs. ...
- Look at renting a car away from the airport. ...
- Skip the upgrades.
How much does it cost to rent a car for a week in England? On average a car hire in England costs £291 per week (£42 per day).How can I save for a car hire? ›
- Don't book direct.
- Get the options right.
- Don't just opt for cheap.
- Buy 'extra' insurance.
- Ignore sales patter.
- Check the car.
- Don't drop it and run.