Find the main differences between Premium, Middle Segment, and Low-Cost car rental companies in 2023.
The reviews of car rental companies must be compared with their equivalent brands. We group them in different segments according to the rental price, but also the existence or not of additional costs when picking up the car, the type of fleet, the location of the offices, the services it offers and its customer service, and of the amounts of the franchise or blocking on the card as a deposit.
Based on these ten variables, car rental companies can be classified into three generic segments: Premium Brands, Middle Segment, and Low-Cost Brands. It is important that you know that the same company can exploit different brands for each segment, even the three segments at once (creating groups of companies with different brands), and each one has different marketing conditions. For example, both Avis and Hertz or Europcar have different brands depending on the segment to which they are going.
The car rental companies operate fairly homogeneously within the same country, but there are interesting differences between some destinations. Sometimes the reason is that the franchises are differentiated by regions, or because there are differences in characteristics due to the type of predominant public in a destination, such as business trips in Washington or tourism in Las Vegas, which causes that in Washington many companies offer limited mileage and in Las Vegas, unlimited mileage.
For this reason, it is interesting to take a look also at the general reviews of the car rental company, but also to the specific reviews in the destination. In CarRentals.Deals we have compiled reviews from renowned and independent websites about car rental companies, in order to offer a more complete and useful view about their experience, and we have built these sections on opinions by destinations.
Premium Car Rental Companies
They are characterized because their prices are slightly above average, they are reliable, they are located almost around the world, they are also located in almost all airports of the world and they have offices inside the terminals and railway stations. On the other hand, they do not have significant additional counter costs. They block reasonable amounts on the credit card, taking into account that you are going to drive a leading brand car.
- Avis: In our opinion, Avis is the leading global car rental provider. Founded in the USA, it has hundreds of awards and is present in +180 countries.
- Hertz: Awarded as well with the 2015 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice. It was founded in the USA. Now it is present in +150 countries.
- Europcar: this French company is present in +150 countries, and in 2016 was awarded the TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice.
- Sixt: Born in Germany, was founded in Munich in 1912. Now it is present in over 105 countries. It is characterized by offering a wide range of premium vehicles.
- Enterprise: It was founded in St. Louis in 1957, USA. Now is present in more than 90 countries.
- Advantage: It is a Canadian-owned car rental company headquartered in Orlando, Florida, and is one of the largest car rental companies in the United States
Middle Segment Car Rental Brands
This is a segment of brands with an intermediate price between Premium and Low Cost, but with a level of service and customer satisfaction similar to Premium. In this segment, we usually find many good regional or local companies, and especially the second brands of Premium companies.
- Budget (by Avis)
- Thrifty (by Hertz)
- Dollar (by Hertz)
- Alamo, also Redspot Car Rental in some locations of Australia and New Zealand (by Enterprise)
- National (by Enterprise)
- Keddy (by Europcar)
- Rhodium (by Goldcar)
- E-Z Rent-a-Car (by Advantage)
- Malco Rent a Car (regional in Spain)
- Caro (a regional company established in Germany and Austria)
- Ace Rental Cars
- AeroDrive Car Rental (regional in New Zealand and Australia)
- Apex Car Rentals (regional in New Zealand and Australia)
- JUCY Car Rental (regional in the USA, New Zealand, and Australia)
- RaD Car Hire (regional in New Zealand and Australia)
- Omega Rental Cars (regional in New Zealand)
Low-Cost Car Rental Brands
Deeply rooted in the main tourist destinations of the Mediterranean sea. such as Alicante, Valencia, Castellon, Malaga, Ibiza, although in recent years they have also spread to destinations such as Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Sicily, Greek Islands, Milan, Pisa, Bordeaux, Nice, Marseille, Munich, Amsterdam, Berlin and more.
They offer very low prices when booking, but, as a general rule, users are surprised with credit card Deposits of amounts greater than one thousand Euros (some Premium in some locations take also large deposits, please read always the car rental terms and conditions when booking). These amounts are defined in the terms and conditions, but many users do not pay attention to reading them. They count, on numerous occasions, with additional costs when collecting the vehicle, especially related to fuel.
The Deposit is the amount that the supplier will require at pick-up as a guarantee, held on the credit card, in the event of damage or theft of the vehicle. Visit our guide on card blocking to find out what the different rental companies are and how they differ at this point.
- Payless (by Avis)
- Zipcar (by Avis)
- Flizzr (by Sixt)
- Firefly (by Hertz)
- InterRent (by Europcar)
- FOX (by Europcar)
- Centauro (Spain)
- OK Rent a Car (Spain)
- Easirent (UK)
there are many…
Differences Avis vs Budget
Avis, Budget, and Zipcar, as well as local brands such as Maggiore, FranceCars, Apex, and Payless all, belong to the AvisBudgetGroup. Avis is the main brand and the others are its subsidiaries.
Avis is considered a high-end car rental company with higher prices, while Budget, Zipcar, Apex, or Payless are considered cheaper options. Generally, these companies rent from the same car parks and often even share the same counters. It is possible to rent the same car from any of them and pay a different price depending on the company you rent from.
So, what are the real differences between AVIS and BUDGET?
While AVIS targets the premium segment with newer vehicles and supposedly premium service, BUDGET targets more price-sensitive segments, although, in reality, the prices are usually pretty much on par with AVIS and customer ratings are always quite similar.
So, if not price, where is the real difference between AVIS and BUDGET? The real difference is in the booking conditions, such as insurance coverage, deposit, unlimited mileage, online check-in, etc. So as a conclusion, for practical purposes and for a middle-class type of customer, the differences between AVIS and BUDGET are very few or none.
What is the price difference between each type of car rental brand?
Please find below a table comparing the three-segment prices, deposits, and some extra charges. We have chosen Avis (Premium), Budget (middle segment by Avis), and Payless (low-cost segment by Avis). These prices have been compared in Las Vegas Airport (LAS), where the three brands are located in.
PRICES TAKEN FROM OUR WEBSITE FOR 1 WEEK – FOR AN ECONOMY SEGMENT CAR:
|Brand||Rental Price||Baby Seat Cost||GPS Cost||Deposit||Total Amount|
Let everyone draw their own conclusions. Differences between the Premium and Middle segments are quite insignificant. I believe that the difference is clearly seen. Whether you only rent the car or book some extras, the difference is more than $80 for the same service required: a car to ride. So, in the same company group, it makes sense to book the cheapest option.
Some considerations to keep in mind about low-cost car rental companies.
Low-cost car rental companies tend to be the ones that generate the most doubts among users. This is because the Car Rental Companies Search engines and car rental comparison sites hide or hinder finding and comparing most of the costs and additional conditions in the Terms and Conditions of the Rental (it is very easy to find in CarRental.Deals).
The result is that travelers, in many cases, if they book with other comparators do not discover what they have rented until they pick up the car.
What insurance do I book? Car Rental Company Insurance Vs Car Rental Comparison site Insurance.
First of all, we should know how car rental insurances work. This is a mess!!! Everything about car insurance is usually a little complicated to understand. Therefore, here we offer a simple and understandable guide that will make you not miss it.
But, at a glance… as default, all car rental companies include some coverages. The conditions of the coverage depend on each supplier, even if they have the same name, and they have to be specified in the terms and conditions that you sign when you pick up the car. On many occasions, there are problems caused by the insurance offered by rent a car comparators, since they are incompatible with those offered by the car rental companies themselves.
By kind or Insurance:
- Default Car Rental Insurance = High or medium excess + High or medium Deposit.
- Extended Insurance booked on Car Rental Comparison Websites. Better coverage than with standard insurance, but … these insurances are private contracts between the User and a third Insurance Company (other different than the car rental company), which means that when you pick up the car you do not reduce excess or deposit. Any damage to the vehicle must be paid by the customer to the car rental company, and then the user must contact the insurance company that was contracted to be refunded. High or medium excess + High or medium Deposit. Not a good option.
- Extended Car Rental Insurance = Low or Cero Excess + Low or Cero Deposit. It is bookable at the desk or on the car rental brand website.
So, what do we recommend?
We recommend that you book your car on a Car Rental Comparison Website like CarRental.Deals because in some cases you can save up to 30, 40% on the final rental price, and, with the money that you have saved, upgrade your insurance at the car rental desk. Even so, you are saving money.
Excess and Deposits by Car Rental Company Segment with Standard Coverages:
- Premium: Medium or Low Excess & Medium or Low Deposits.
- Middle Segment: Medium or Low Excess & Medium or Low Deposits.
- Low Cost: High or Medium Excess & Very High or High Deposits (You are almost forced to contract the insurance extension at the counter if you want to reduce this prohibitive deposit)
One of the points that generate more conflict in Low-Cost companies is fuel policy. Please read in your car rental terms and conditions the fuel policy applied in order to avoid misunderstanding.
The fuel policy FULL/EMPTY implies that pick up the car with a full tank (you do not pay market fuel rates, you pay the fuel price that the company says), along with a fee of around 30 € for the service filling (and you must return empty since nothing is reimbursed for the amount of fuel left in the tank). Definitely, this is NOT a good option.
It is evident that the car rental company benefits from that remnant of gasoline since the next user will be charged the full deposit again. But it is also an interesting option for the traveler on some occasions, since, when it comes to returning the car, avoid having to find a gas station to fill the tank (something especially useful when we must take a flight at dawn).
The best Fuel Policy is FULL/FULL. If you want to know more about the fuel policies of rental companies, we recommend that you read this article carefully.
It is usually unlimited, but sometimes in some destinations, there are car rental companies with limited mileage. It is not difficult to view while booking, it is shown throughout the reservation process, in all the search engines. The reason is that tourists make fewer kilometers to the car, compared to a person who rents a car to have work meetings.
For low-cost car rental companies, it is critical to return the cars to the manufacturer or sell them a second hand with as few kilometers as possible, that is why they charge the extra kilometers to compensate for the depreciation and discourage them from being used for professional purposes.
Booking a car at a good price is not a complicated task. We recommend using our search engine, but we also invite you to compare prices on other car rental comparison websites, and even on the official brand websites, and if you see it cheaper, reserve it.
We strongly recommend you to read the Rental Terms and Conditions, you also need to take a look at the rental information by clicking on the “Important Information” button where you can find all the restrictions, excess, deposit amount, insurance coverage, and more.
Do not hire the insurance offered by the price comparison website. Upgrade or contract the insurance extension at the company’s counter.
And finally, if you are the type of person who looks more at the service than the price, do not hesitate and hire premium car rental companies. In many cases, there is very little price difference.