RENTAL CAR INFORMATION
How To's For Renting A Car At A Discount Price
Rental Car Agencies
Here's a summary of some of the major car rental agencies in the US, including types of cars offered, preferred customer information, rental requirements, etc. All offer online reservations and toll-free telephone numbers when you need to speak to a real person. Join their specical member clubs and receive discounts on rentals.
Hertz rents economy cars like a Hyundai Accent, mid-sized cars such as the Mazda 6, full-sized like a Chevy Impala, all the way up to SUV's and mini-vans. Prices vary depending on days of rental, but start around $22 for the economy car per day, on up to about $81 per day for a Cadillac Escalade 4WD. These are non-discount rates. They offer free memberships in their "Hertz #1 Club," which gives you benefits such as faster reservations, no extra charges for additional drivers, faster service at your pickup point, discounts, and free travel days. The Gold #1 Club costs $60 per year, with more extra benefits like by-passing the counter at the airport and going directly to your car instead, both going and returning.
Avis' motto is "We Try Harder." Their rental line is primarily GM cars, and types of cars available range from subcompact to passenger vans, with plenty to choose from in between. They offer renter's programs for both business and personal use customers. For business renters, their "Preferred Service" program will let you skip the lines at the airport and go directly to your car in most locations. And if you rent more than 12 times a year, or have a cumulative total of 35 rental days in a calendar year, you qualify for enrollment in the "Avis First" program, with even more travel benefits. For non-business renters, there are programs such as the Avis Wizard program. You are issued a wizard number to use on all your rentals for faster and better service. The "Preferred Service" and "Avis First" programs are also available to individual renters.
As the name implies, Budget rents cars and vans or trucks for moving, for less money than most any other car rental agency, and still has great service. Budget rents small, medium, and large cars; SUV's and specialty cars like convertables and mini-vans. They are also a well-known renter of cargo vans and moving trucks. They offer daily, weekend and weekly specials, and sometimes you can fall into a last-minute special. Subscribe to their email newsletter so you will get notification of these specials.
Enterprise rents economy cars, intermediate and full-sized cars, SUV's and vans, pickups and cargo vans. They offer reasonable rates and good customer service. Their membership program--E-Plus--is free to join and gives discounts, faster reservations and pickup of your rental car.
Another well-known rental car agency, National also rents everything from economy cars to luxury cars and SUV's. Their membership program is called the "Emerald Club," and like the other agencies' programs, can provide you with discounts on your rentals and faster reservations and pickup service. There are plenty of specials, too.
Basic Information You Need To Know About Renting a Car
All major car rental agencies have the same basic requirements for renting a car. They include having a valid drivers license and clean driving record, be at least 25 years of age, and be a holder of a major credit card. Most rental agencies allow the primary renter and their spouse to drive the car, and you can add additional drivers for a per-day charge, as long as the extra driver(s) appear at the rental counter and show their valid driver's license. Some rental agencies will rent to drivers under the age of 25, but with extra daily charges.
You'll find most of the major rental agencies have counters at the airports, not all of them will be found at the smaller ones, but the major airports should have all of major car rental agencies present. Additionally, these agencies will have one or more locations in most major cities besides at the airports. This is especially handy if you are not flying, but renting a car to go on vacation, using it for out of town guests, or as a replacement for a car in the shop for repairs.
All major car rental agencies have online reservations center where you can make and modify car rentals. They also have newsletters you can subscribe to via email, to be notified of specials. You'll often get news of last-minute rental specials and deals for your location, so if you are a frequent renter, it may pay you to subscribe to one or more of these newsletters. There are often online specials for car rentals, and you can get discount coupons from publications like the Entertainment book or other magazines and newspapers.