MONEY ranked the eight largest rental car chains based on average daily rates from Kayak and customer satisfaction ratings of airport shuttles, the reservation process, the pickup and return processes, and overall costs and fees from J.D. Power.
Enterprise was the runaway winner when it came to customer satisfaction, scoring top marks for its cars, reservation process, pickups, and returns. “When you leave the location, you’ve been asked at least twice, ‘How’s the customer service been today?’ ” says Rick Garlick of J.D. Power. But the white-glove treatment doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. While Enterprise isn’t always the cheapest option, customers still rated it No. 1 in value for its costs and fees. Earn loyalty points with Enterprise Plus.
Alamo’s prices are 7.4% lower than its sister company, Enterprise (they are owned by the same parent corporation) but has only slightly lower customer-satisfaction ratings. That makes Alamo popular among cost-conscious travelers, Garlick says. Plus, you can save even more if you join Alamo’s loyalty program, which automatically shaves another 5% off your rates and gives you access to other deals and perks. “The loyalty program makes it easy to enjoy benefits like complimentary upgrades within a short amount of time,” says Saglie of Travelzoo.
tip: Drive a better bargain
Unlike airlines and hotels, car-rental companies generally don’t charge cancellation fees. Continue to shop until you’re at the rental counter. If you see a better rate, cancel and drive away in the cheaper car.