Which Car Rental Companies are the Same?

When it comes to car rental, there are a lot of brands out there, but only three main companies. Enterprise is the parent company of National and Alamo, while Avis owns Budget, Payless and Zipcar. Surprisingly, the most expensive and cheapest car rental companies are owned by the same parent company. Enterprise Holdings is the owner of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car.

Together, these three brands make up a fleet of nearly 1.7 million vehicles spread across 9,500 rental locations worldwide. Emerald Club Executive Elite members get one day of free car rental for every five eligible rentals, as well as other benefits such as free delivery at private airports. Generally speaking, those looking for deals should start their search with Enterprise, Budget, Hertz or Dollar, which are among the cheapest car rental companies. Interestingly, Hertz has simpler rental procedures than Thrifty, though not by a wide margin. Although you won't find these low-cost providers in every city and you shouldn't expect the newest fleet of cars, you may find rock-bottom prices.

Customers with prepaid Hertz rentals who booked before March 13 can cancel their reservation free of charge and transfer their balance to use on a future booking within 24 months. However, their prices are higher than competitors and additional costs such as GPS navigation, satellite radio and car seats are more expensive than other companies. Members of National Car Rental's Emerald Club loyalty program can get a free rental car after seven rental credits (one credit per rental) with either brand, avoid queues and get a rental authorization for an additional driver for free. If you're planning a road trip, attending work meetings or just visiting a new city, here's how to select the right car rental company for you. Start by looking at Enterprise, Budget, Hertz or Dollar as they tend to be the cheapest.

If you don't need the car for a whole week, look for weekend rentals as they're usually cheaper than on weekdays. Luxury cars are reasonably priced too and sometimes comparable to the cost of a compact rental car from popular competition. If you have any questions, call the branch directly to check if there is a delivery fee for one-way rentals. Budget also offers hybrids like the Toyota Prius, convertibles like a Chevy Camaro and trucks like the Jeep Gladiator if you want something other than your usual rental car. You can usually pay in cash or with a debit or credit card when you rent from both cheap and larger rentals.

So whether you're looking for an affordable option or something more luxurious, there's something out there for everyone.