21

Avis and Budget are both subsidiaries of Avis Budget Group. When I travel they often share one rental desk at the airport. Running quotes through their respective websites they typically offer the same class of (very dull) car.

The only obvious difference is that Budget are usually less expensive.

Is there a practical difference, perhaps in staffing or approach? Or are they basically the same company with different branding to appeal to different demographics?

I'm in UK and mostly travel in Europe, if it makes a difference.

1
  • 2
    I've had good and bad experiences with both and I found that "branch to branch" variability is MUCH bigger than "brand to brand". In other words the: the difference between a good and a bad Avis experience will be much bigger than the difference between the "average" Avis or Budget (or Enterprise, Alamo, Sixt , Dollar, National, etc.). experience. My recommendation would be to make accounts with all of them and book any individual trip with the lowest bidder,
    – Hilmar
    Nov 6, 2023 at 1:36

2 Answers 2

28

The exact answer will vary depending on the country you're renting in (Avis exists in over 160 countries globally, so as you can imagine things do vary from country to country!), but in a general sense...

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.

However there are a number of differences between the two. In general, Avis is treated as more of the "business" brand, whilst Budget is more of a "leisure" brand. Many companies have corporate deals with rental car company including things like negotiated rate/conditions/etc, and in almost all cases these will be Avis, so if you're renting through your employer for a business trip, it's more likely you'll end up with Avis.

As a result of their more business-focus, Avis also generally have better benefits for regular travelers - a more complete frequent renters program (Avis Preferred, which includes better benefits the more you rent), a better mobile app, and a smoother airport location pickup process where you can go straight to your car and drive out without having to line up first.

Budget do still have some of these features, but they are generally aimed more for the infrequent traveler. Their member program (Budget FastBreak) doesn't have tiers to benefit more frequent renters like Avis does. Their pick-up process still generally requires you to interact with a person, even if only briefly, and their mobile app is less full featured than Avis.

From a price perspective, Budget will generally be cheaper if you don't have a pre-negotiated (corporate) rate - although that can vary depending on the circumstances and things like availability of coupons so it's generally worth checking pricing on both. Avis rates generally include unlimited miles (with some exceptions, such as some corporate one-way rates), whilst Budget can in some cases only include a limited number of miles per day - however this depends a lot on the specific vehicle/rate/country.

As mentioned above, Avis and Budget in many countries share a common fleet - so booking the same class of car from either vendor will potentially result in you driving exactly the same vehicle! However even then there may be differences. Avis generally offer a wider range of vehicles than budget, so if you're looking for a luxury vehicle you might find it only offered by Avis and not Budget.

Based on what I've been told my by local Avis/Budget location manager, they also attempt to prioritize better vehicles and upgrades more for Avis customers than Budget - although I don't know how strictly this is actually implemented. eg, if they have 2 rentals for a mid-size vehicle (one from Avis, one from Budget), but they only have one midsize and one full-size, then the Avis rental is supposed to get the free upgrade to the full-size car.

Avis also has more locations worldwide than Budget, although to a large extend this is because they do not operate the Budget brand in all countries. In most countries where Budget exists, the number of locations will generally be similar between the two.

From the perspective of someone looking to rent a car, I would suggest treating them both as separate companies, comparing the rates from both, and picking which is cheaper. I rent frequently from Avis and occasionally from Budget, simply because my employers corporate rates make Avis cheaper most of the time (even for leisure rentals), but if the price is better I will generally jump to Budget without a second thought as the experience is extremely similar.

4
  • 4
    Avis Preferred's fast pickup option is amazing and lets you skip the lines entirely. It works outside the US as well. If the price difference is very small I'd go with Avis every time.
    – JonathanReez
    Nov 5, 2023 at 17:11
  • "Avis [...] include unlimited miles [...], whilst Budget [...] include a limited number of miles" ... I've never use car rental outside of Japan, but out of curiosity, does this mean that usually you can drive as much as you can per day with Avis, but only x km/y miles per day with Budget? Or that the rental fee includes upto x km per day and you'll have to pay an additional charge on top for driving more?
    – muru
    Nov 6, 2023 at 6:02
  • 2
    @muru The latter. You're always allowed to drive as far as you want, but may pay €$₤¥₽₹ for the privilege. If you (massively) exceed the included distance, paying for a deal that includes such a distance in advance is generally (much) cheaper.
    – gerrit
    Nov 6, 2023 at 9:00
  • Thank you. In summary then the basic experience is the same (same desk, vehicles and staff) but there are potential extras for Avis corporate/loyalty customers and Budget don't have anything like Avis Preferred pickup for faster collection. There may also be differences in mileage allowance between Avis and Budget. I guess that means that if I choose Budget and have a terrible experience, it is likely that if I had gone with Avis in the same location it still would have been terrible, and more expensive. Good to know!
    – conradj
    Nov 13, 2023 at 17:53
4

Avis also offers a free additional driver if you're a member of certain frequent fly programs like British Airways Executive Club and Norwegian Reward.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .