For travelers - what's the best Rental Car Company?

I have been traveling a fair bit as of late and I have been using Hertz Rent a car. Frankly I do not like them at all! Their customer service has been lax, and their cars have been not so great…dirty, stinky, smoky etc…etc…
I have heard there are car companies that are better, some noteables are Enterprise, Avis, National. I’ve only rented from Enterprise in the past and they seemed very professional - mostly young college grads working there and their cars seemed a little better - I am renting form them this weekend- but they do have a fair bit of paper work…

So when you travel who do you rent with and why?..thanks for the info.

I’ve been a Hertz #1 Club Gold member for 9 years. Rarely had any problems. If I am ever unhappy with the car assigned to me, I go to the counter and get it resolved. I rent about 40 times a year, so I get free upgrades and very new cars. Frequently the cars have less than 1,000 miles on them.

BTW, Hertz, and Hertz #1 Club Gold are essentially two different rental companies who share some services. I have zero experience with the regular Hertz counter.

As far as other companies, I like Budget, and will occasionally use them for personal travel – I’ll check their price for sure. I’ve heard great things about National, and awful things about Thrifty.

I am a corporate travel agent, millions of dollars in car rentals flow from my keyboard every year. From my experience, as in most things, your service will improve as you spend more money.

A few helpful questions.

Are you renting for business or pleasure?

Do you need a car to go from point A to point B? do you need a snazzy car to impress clients?

Are you a tall man and need a big car?

Are you paying for it out of your own pocket or do you expense the rental?

Does you company reimburse you for rental car club membership?

Do you travel to major cities all over or do you drive from Podunk to Bumfoock?

I never rent from Hertz because they’re prices are too high, which IMO is a good enough reason for anyone to avoid them.

I’ve had problems with long lines several times with Alamo, so I gave up on them.

Never tried Thrifty.

Beyond that, they all seem to be about the same, and perfectly okay, so I go by price. I usually end up with Budget or Avis.

Once upon a time when I was a frequent traveler and flew bi-coastally on an almost weekly basis for two years, I rented exclusively from Avis.

Being a frequent (regular) customer has it’s advantages.

I remember being distracted from an early morning flight and rear ending a car on the Oakland Bay bridge at rush hour. The front end was a total write off. I called Avis, they directed me to the nearest rental office where I picked up a new car, no questions asked. Never heard from them again on the subject.

Such nice people.

I still rent from them as a preference if their prices are competitive.

Another Hertz #1 Gold regular (10x per year or so for past 5 yrs).
Very good service, somewhat more expensive than some other companies, but not always. When I travel on my own $$, I compare and if Hertz is close in price, I rent from them for my personal travel also.

My only beef has been with the Charlestown WV Hertz, where they do not seem to know how to clear snow and ice off of cars before patrons arrive, only to walk up to them after they’ve spent an hour with the pathetic Hertz scraper to help with the last 1% of the work. But a quick email got me $30 we’re sorry coupon.

At bigger airports, your name is up on the board, the keys are in the car, and your paperwork is all set.

Neverlost used to be a big plus for me with Hertz, although they don’t have it in the smaller markets. Now I have a GPS, so I don’t rent the Neverlost anymore.

I usually went with Budget when I was traveling. It seems to me though, it really depends on the region you are in rather than the company. Renting a car in FL was always a hassle, no matter who I went through (lots of mumbo-jumbo high-pressure sales add-ons at the counter). I have heard bad things about Alamo, so I have avoided them in general. Dealing with National and Avis was usually OK. Being more cost conscious than looking for perks, I usually found Budget to be the cheapest.

Please don’t tell me that you’re renting out of Phoenix. I’ll be going to Phoenix at the end of August, are you saying that I’ll be getting a dirty and stinky car? I’ll be using Hertz too, damn.

Another Hertz Gold club member. What others have said, they provide friendly service, upgrade your cars even when you don’t ask, and when you get to the airport Hertz rental area your car is waiting for you with a key in it.

I usually use Enterprise. They seem to have the best balance of customer service, decent vehicles, and reasonable rates.

Last month I got a really good deal from Hertz, and it went smoothly, but usually when I price shop, they’re out of the market. Enterprise is consistently competitive and I usually find them to be the best value.

I have lots of visitors to Las Vegas and I think all of these companies are rip-offs unless you stick to your guns…or at least stick to the rental agreements you made on-line, or per telephone. Every time they try to force you into at least one step higher in the car category…and they love to dangle that SUV or Hummer or some nonsense for “only” yadayada more per day.

There is a relatively “new” scam…you have to pay their insurance in case your rental car is in a wreck and they charge you the full rental fee they supposedly would have received during the time it takes to repair damages to that car. This is NOT covered by your own insurance. So if it takes a week (or longer) to repair the car, you are liable for the week (or more) worth of rental they supposedly lost. There is no way around that legal loophole, and the only insurance that covers it is the full blown max insurance per day they offer.

I’ll say bad things about National here at DFW. I’m a National Emerald Club member, but they didn’t have any cars when I went to pick up my reservation. Finally, they ended up giving me a huge gas guzzling minivan even though I’d booked a mid size car. Then they played games with the rate.

My best tip is:

If you reserve a car in advance, when you arrive at the counter, after handing over your license and credit card, your first question should be “do you have any FREE upgrades available?” The worst they can say is no, but I’ll tell you, it has been a successful tactic for me 80% of the time, and I sometimes end up getting a very good deal, indeed.

It backfired on me once, as I ended up with a Chevy Monte Carlo (which they considered a “luxury sedan”). Bleeeech.

I used to always use the “book the cheapest car available” and then get a free upgrade. However, more car rental companies have the economy car available. Still, most of the time I’d rather have the smaller car. When I got stuck with the minivan, it just guzzled gas, felt top heavy, and was tough to park since I’ve never driven anything like that.

My cross country rentals have been Avis-best price, nice cars, the only problem being proximity of the local Avis dealer. For several day trips, and interim vehicle month before last I went with Enterprise. Booked a Dodge Neon, ended up with a Ford Taurus-a very nice car for a little over a hundred per week.

If I’m paying for it, then it’s Enterprise. If the company is picking up the bill, I’ll go with Hertz. Since this isn’t the pit, I won’t tell you how I really feel about Thrifty, but won’t ever use them again.

I’m surprised people like Enterprise. They’ll quote you a great rate and then a young college student will spend 20 minutes trying to sell you a different car, every insurance scam under the sun, and just about anything they can. I hate Enterprise.

I just heard about this. Is it really new? I never get the insurance, but hearing about this makes me reconsider. What do other people do in this regard?

On the company dime, I had to use National and by and large it was ok with the Emerald Club. I think my better experiences have been with Alamo and Budget personally. But I agree with the person who said it depends on the region or even the individual location. Some National locations (Houston) let me down a bit in the past.

I use Enterprise for personal rentals on the weekend. I will often do a weekend rental from them if I know I have a lot of driving to do. I grab a compact for $10 a day and save myself the trouble of putting mileage and wear on my own car.

I’ve had nothing but first rate service from Avis. My experiences with them have been universally positive.