Avis vs. Budget: Which Is Best? - NerdWallet (2024)

Unlike airline and hotel companies, car rental brands sometimes blur together, leaving travelers wondering what their differences are. While they may seem similar, there are notable differences between brands like Avis and Budget.

They have different rates, fleets of cars, locations, loyalty programs and services. Plus, if you have car rental elite status, the perks can vary, too.

But, you may not realize that Avis and Budget are under the same parent company: Avis Budget Group. Avis tends to offer a higher standard of cars and service with Budget taking up the economy sector. The Avis Budget Group is the second largest of the major car rental companies, coming in behind Enterprise and ahead of Hertz Global Holdings.

Let’s examine Budget versus Avis and how knowing the difference between them can benefit you.

Fleet and availability

Winner: Avis

Together, both companies have more than 435,000 cars in their fleet. No matter where you rent a car, they have locations at airports, in city centers and available on-call. Avis has more than 5,500 locations in 165 countries. It’s also known for having a more comprehensive selection of cars, especially in the luxury category.

Budget has a smaller fleet than Avis and about half as many locations — about 2,700 in more than 120 countries. Both brands have a wide array of cars from electric vehicles and convertibles to SUVs and standard sedans.

» Learn more: Rental car insurance: Do you need it?


Winner: Budget

Both Avis and Budget compete for the same business, but Budget often has cheaper rates, as its name suggests. Let’s compare the cost of a one-day rental from an Avis versus Budget car rental in Tampa and San Francisco to see which brand is cheaper.

First we looked at rentals from Tampa International Airport. A standard SUV from Budget costs $167, while Avis charges $204 for the same vehicle class. Both have similar restrictions like free cancellation and the ability to pay upon check-in. They also have an unlimited mileage allowance.

Avis vs. Budget: Which Is Best? - NerdWallet (1)

The below rates are from San Francisco International Airport for similar rentals on the same date. A midsize car costs $136 from Budget and $161 through Avis. That’s more than 15% cheaper when booking a rental car from Budget versus Avis.

Avis vs. Budget: Which Is Best? - NerdWallet (2)

Now, let’s look at a longer seven-day rental in October 2024 at San Francisco International Airport. An economy car is notably cheaper when booking with Budget than when making a reservation with Avis — $530 for Budget versus Avis’ rate of $615.

Avis vs. Budget: Which Is Best? - NerdWallet (3)

When comparing the prices of rentals at Tampa and San Francisco airports, Budget proved to be cheaper at both locations. Despite the price difference, Budget's car rental offers all the same amenities as Avis' — from unlimited mileage to the ability to take a free shuttle from the airport counter to the car.

» Learn more: Where to find rental car discounts


Winner: Tie

When it comes to Avis and Budget reviews, service can vary by location, but a professional survey shows where the brands stand: right in the middle of the pack.

According to rankings from a recent J.D. Power 2023 North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study, both brands ranked just below the study average, with Avis edging Budget by a hair. The study results come from feedback from over 8,000 travelers who rented cars at an airport location between August 2022 and August 2023.

But, what about when you’re renting a car outside of an airport? Some Avis locations will offer to drive the rental car to you or pick you up within a five-mile radius of the pickup counter. Be sure to provide 24-hour notice if you need this service. Budget offers a similar service at select locations.

» Learn more: The best apps for renting a car

Winner: Avis

When comparing Avis and Budget rewards, consumers tend to like the Avis Preferred loyalty program best.

The entry-level perks of Avis elite status include bypassing the rental counter and going straight to the car. When you reach Avis Preferred Plus status, you qualify for a car upgrade.

Avis President’s Club offers a double upgrade, and the invitation-only Chairman’s Club membership adds its own perks, like complimentary car delivery within 25 miles of any Avis location. Typically, to achieve President’s Club status, members need to make 20 car rentals or spend $6,000 with Avis during a calendar year.

Budget has its own program, called FastBreak, but it doesn’t have elite status tiers or provide extra perks to frequent renters. Another downside is that it doesn’t award points that can later be redeemed for free rentals.

It’s simply a membership that expedites the path to the driver’s seat. This is why it falls behind Avis, which has a more robust program with loyalty tiers and benefits for the most frequent renters.

Remember there are also many credit cards that come with complimentary car rental elite status perks just by linking your accounts. While Budget doesn’t have elite status tiers, these cards can help catapult you to higher Avis elite status or provide extra perks.

Cards with such benefits include:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express (complimentary Avis Preferred status). Terms apply.

  • Any Visa Infinite card (complimentary Avis Preferred status).

  • Any World Elite Mastercard (complimentary Avis Preferred status).

  • United Presidential Plus Card, United Club℠ Infinite Card or United Club℠ Business Card (complimentary Avis President’s Club status).

Cards with Avis benefits

The Platinum Card® from American Express

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on American Express' website

United Club℠ Infinite Card

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on Chase's website

United Club℠ Business Card

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Annual fee




Welcome offer

Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on eligible purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

Earn 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Earn 50,000 bonus miles + 1,000 Premier qualifying points (PQP) after $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

Still not sure?

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Avis vs. Budget: Which Is Best? - NerdWallet (7)

It’s not just credit cards that deliver the goods. If you have United Premier Platinum status or higher, you’re eligible for President’s Club status. If you have United Premier Silver or Gold status, you earn Preferred Plus status.

» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now

Avis vs. Budget recapped

Budget is typically cheaper than Avis, but it has a smaller fleet and no meaningful loyalty program. Avis, meanwhile, has a more rewarding loyalty program that can deliver perks if you rent frequently or have a credit card that provides access to elite status.

Either brand, however, is respectable and worth considering, especially since they’re owned by the same parent company. Your experience will vary by location, but if you’re hoping for car upgrades or a free rental, Avis is the way to go.

The information related to United Club℠ Business Card credit card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

  • Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

  • Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Avis vs. Budget: Which Is Best? - NerdWallet (2024)


Which one is better, budget or avis? ›

Budget is more affordable but has lackluster loyalty. Avis is pricier but has better loyalty and upgrade potential. Ramsey is a freelance travel journalist covering business travel, loyalty programs and luxury travel.

Does Avis do a hard credit check? ›

If you're using a debit card at a location that accepts them, most U.S. locations will perform a credit check for debit card renters to determine credit worthiness at the time of rental. The renter must meet Avis' minimum criteria in order to rent.

Does Avis negotiate car prices? ›

All vehicles listed on the site have been specially priced with a no-haggle price tag. We've eliminated the need to negotiate, so you're free to review product specifications and make a purchase without having to waste time haggling.

What is the cheapest car rental company? ›

  • Enterprise, Budget, Hertz and Dollar tend to be the cheapest brands.
  • Browse prices across brands and rental locations at your destination to find the best deal.
5 days ago

Which is better, Hertz or Avis? ›

If you're solely looking for the cheapest option, then Avis might be the way to go. However, if you're looking for a company that offers many insurance and add-on options, a business program, and a free loyalty program, then Hertz is a good option.

Is Budget and avis the same owner? ›

As you've stated Avis and Budget are both owned by the same parent company, and in many countries they are actually run almost as a single entity, in that most Avis locations are also Budget locations, and for the most part they even share a common fleet of vehicles.

Does Avis match prices? ›

If you book a prepaid rental on Avis.com and find a lower qualifying published Avis rate on another site within 24 hours of booking, you can submit the claim form below. If approved, Avis will match the base rate and give you an additional 10% off your prepaid rental.

What is the price target for Avis budget? ›

Stock Price Target CAR
Current Price$111.91

What is the Avis rate code? ›

AWD Numbers (Avis Worldwide Discount)
Save up to 10% on Rentals of 5 Days or MoreS018500
Save 10% on already LOW RATES at your neighborhood locationsK348200
Up to 25% off base rates with 5% donated to Susan G. Komen®A349300
Up to 25% off base rates with 5% donated to Make A Wish®H749900
3 more rows

Which rental car company has the lowest deposit? ›

Which car rental companies do not require deposits?
  1. Zipcar. Deposit amount: $0 (Instead, there's a monthly membership) ...
  2. Getaround. Deposit amount: $150. ...
  3. Sixt. Deposit amount: $200. ...
  4. Dollar, Thrifty, Hertz. Deposit amount: $200 for credit, $500 for debit cards.
Jun 30, 2023

Why are car rentals so much more expensive? ›

When travel restrictions started to ease in 2021, rental car companies found themselves in a pickle. They had to deal with an increase in consumer demand that they couldn't meet due to their now significantly smaller fleets. And even as demand surged, rental car companies couldn't restock their inventory fast enough.

Who is Enterprise Rent A Car biggest competitor? ›

Showing 10 out of 25 companies. Enterprise Holdings Inc, ALD SA, Avis Budget Group Inc, Hertz Global Holdings Inc, and Sixt SE are the top 5 car rental companies in the world in 2021 by revenue.

Are budget and avis together? ›

Avis is owned by Avis Budget Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CAR), which operates and licenses the brand throughout the world.

Is Budget car hire owned by Avis? ›

Budget is owned by Avis Budget Group, Inc. As our name suggests we've always been synonymous with great value for money. We now offer a range of pre-payment options and charge facilities designed to keep you in control and help you save money.

What is the highest tier at Avis? ›

Avis President's Club is the highest status in the Avis program and is awarded after 20 rentals or $6,000 spent. Benefits of this level include: Free 2-car class upgrade when reserving a midsize or above (when available)

Is budget FastBreak worth it? ›

FastBreak offers useful benefits that improve your experience, with minimal requirements in return. Despite its no-frills lack of status, the program is worth a closer look. That's true even if you are not the biggest fan of Budget and only rent with the company infrequently.

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