If prices were about the same would you rent from Budget or Avis?

Old Aug 21, 11, 8:37 pm
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If prices were about the same would you rent from Budget or Avis?

Yes, I know this is the Budget forum and that both companies are owned by the same 'group', but I've got to ask. I'm looking at a 2 week rental in Maui this winter through Cap. 1 (powered by Travelocity) and the prices for a Mid-SUV are w/in $20 of each other (Avis is $20 higher). Who would you pick & why? I only rent cars once or twice a year so I don't have much knowledge of the two programs. I'm guessing it's 'six of one half dozen of the other'. I believe that either company will allow my wife as an additional driver for free.

Lastly, what constitutes a Mid SUV with each company? I'm guessing a Ford Escape or equivalent.

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Old Aug 21, 11, 10:55 pm
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In many rental locations they share cars. I use Budget because I have Fastbreak and haven't figured out the Avis program, however about a third of the time I get an Avis car.
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Old Aug 22, 11, 7:37 am
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Originally Posted by Ambraciot View Post
In many rental locations they share cars. I use Budget because I have Fastbreak and haven't figured out the Avis program, however about a third of the time I get an Avis car.
Interesting. I recently joined Fastbreak/RapidRez too so I guess I'll go with whoever has the lower price. Thanks.
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Old Aug 22, 11, 2:33 pm
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The cars are the same. The Avis program has the benefit that your car will be ready when you arrive. But I almost never like the cars they assign me, so it ends up being no benefit at all.
Fastbreak is convenient. And overall, I get treated more nicely at Budget than Avis. YMMV.
Pick the best price and the best mileage/point bonus.
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Old Sep 2, 11, 7:38 am
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Technically, Budget is the, er, budget brand, and Avis is the premium brand.

If both brands are operated by corporate, then theoretically, Avis should offer the better experience. I once got my hands on the Avis Budget location standards manual, and Avis has stricter requirements on their locations than Budget does. For example, IIRC, Avis managers had to open another counter terminal if the customer wait time exceeded 4 minutes, whereas Budget had no such requirement. Avis shuttles were required to be at least as frequent as the best competition, whereas Budget's shuttle frequency requirements were much lower.

Now, of course, that's in an ideal world, and who knows if every location follows those standards exactly...

I don't know if this is as much an issue in Hawai'i, since the islands are (relatively ) small and rental locations are limited anyway, but on the mainland, it should be noted that virtually all Avis locations across the country are either corporate or are licensees that use the corporate fleet and corporate computer systems, whereas many Budget branches are independent franchisees. This means that if you encounter problems with your vehicle, you should theoretically be able to stop at any Avis in the country and switch to a replacement vehicle, whereas if you attempt the same at a Budget independent franchise, you might as well be taking your Budget car to a Thrifty or Enterprise or Alamo office--they wouldn't be able to do anything for you. And if you get stuck truly in the middle of nowhere, I would have a feeling that Avis, as the premium brand that "tries harder," would be more likely to go a little bit further in getting the problem resolved as quickly as possible and making sure you're happy with as little downtime as possible, whereas Budget may take the cheapest course of action that leaves you stranded for a whole day without a car while tow trucks shuffle back and forth. Nothing to support that feeling other than my years of familiarity with the industry...

As for rewards: frankly, I think they both suck. I wouldn't choose Budget or Avis based on their rewards programs. Budget doesn't even have one, and Avis only gives you worthless weekend rewards if you're Avis First. (With the high surcharges, it's not worth earning airline miles, either, unless you find a promo that gives you a crap-ton of miles; you'll usually find those promos more with Avis than with Budget.

All of the above, though, should be trumped by any specific location reports. Honestly, there's such little difference among rental agencies these days (rental cars truly are a commodity) that regardless of the corporate standards, I'd choose a well-reputed Budget location over a theoretically-superior-brand Avis that's known for mediocrity. In places where both brands are corporate, though (which is most larger airports), all else (including primarily price, as you mention above!) being equal, I'd gravitate towards Avis, just because they at least have an image to maintain and so are theoretically more likely to kowtow to you if something goes awry.

Last edited by jackal; Sep 2, 11 at 7:50 am
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Old Sep 2, 11, 9:55 am
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Regarding rewards - Avis/Budget offer some decent third-party rewards without surcharges, mostly hotels. The ones that stick out to me for short term rentals are Best Western (Avis), Choice (Budget - Avis has it but has a surcharge), La Quinta (both) and Hyatt (Avis). Starwood offers 50 starpoints per day, which is surcharge free and converts to 50 or 62.5 (using 20,000 point increments) miles per day in many airlines.
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Old Sep 7, 11, 8:31 am
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In my experience, I've had less trouble getting miles/pts credited w/Avis.
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Old Sep 27, 11, 6:47 pm
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I've had some really disappointing experiences with Budget. They can be a bit cheaper, but you get what you pay for. One experience I had was once I was traveling back from Maine with my sister in a Budget Volkswagen Passatt (?) The handle to open the gas tank was inside on the driver's door. I pulled the handle and it broke! Could not open the gas door! Drove from Maine to Providence with my sis, freaking out! The gas gauge said I had three miles left of gas when I pulled into the TFGreen airport location to swap the car out. The guy there says "I won't charge you because you are bringing the car back empty" Well, Duh, Thank you! I had to swap the car out, just to return the new one the next morning. Very, very frustrating. Avis seems to have power windows, etc. on their cars, whereas Budget's cars seem to be manual. If the price difference is considerably lower at Budget, I still go Budget....
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Old Oct 3, 11, 11:21 am
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At the location I most often use, Avis and Budget use the same counter, the same employees, and the same fleet. Curiously, the rates offered on the two brands' respective websites are not the same, so obviously I just use whichever's cheaper.
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Old Nov 11, 11, 10:10 pm
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After 20 years of renting, thousands of times, I will never use Budget if I can avoid them. As others have posted, Avis is the corporate, premium brand. Avis posts frequent flyer miles quickly. Avis corporate locations tend to have better customer service (your own experience may vary), more knowledgeable staff and better cars.

Same thing goes by the way with the National/Alamo family. I love National, I avoid Alamo like the plague.
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