Pros / Enterprise carshare lets you rent for a few hours at a time.
Cons / Weekly rental rates are sometimes expensive.
Verdict / With low daily rates, an excellent rewards program and the most locations, Enterprise is the best car rental option.
To find the best car rental service, we looked at pricing, rewards benefits and other car rental services. Enterprise scored highest in most of these categories, making it our choice for the best car rental service.
Because pricing depends on duration, location and car choice, we accounted for these variables when pricing quotes. We reviewed prices for week-long and day-long rentals in New York City, Los Angeles and Houston. We looked at how much economy, compact and full-size cars would cost.
Enterprise regularly posted the lowest rates for a daily rental, often $20 less than the average. The only rental company with lower costs was Thrifty. If you’re only renting a car for a few days, Enterprise is one of the best value options.
If you need to rent for a longer time frame, Enterprise’s rates are slightly cheaper than average. As with most rental companies, the further out you book, the lower the price you pay. If you make a reservation for the day before, be prepared to pay extra.
Like all rental companies, Enterprise charges a daily fee for additional drivers. At $12, Enterprise’s additional driver fee is average for the industry.
The Enterprise Plus rewards program is free to join. Like many rewards programs, it gives points for each dollar you spend on qualified rentals. If you book through a third party, you won’t earn points on your rental, so if you want to take advantage of the Plus program, book through Enterprise. The minimum number of points for a free day is 400, the lowest amount we tracked. Enterprise Plus points can also be transferred to friends or family as long as they’re a Plus member.
There are multiple tiers to this rewards program. You are eligible for the Silver level after six rentals, and you’ll earn 10 percent bonus points on what you spend. You’ll also receive one annual car upgrade. After 12 rentals or 40 days, you advance to the Gold level, which gives you a 15 percent bonus and two free car upgrades a year. Platinum is the highest level – you earn this status after 24 rentals or 85 days. At the Platinum level, you earn 20 percent bonus points and get four yearly car upgrades.
Even if you’re not a regular renter, there are other benefits to take advantage of. Plus members can use an expedited checkout line to get to their rental car quicker. This is a great timesaver that’s worth signing up for by itself. You can also elect to receive discounts and other offers via email.
With more than 4,600 locations in the U.S. and many more worldwide, Enterprise has the largest footprint of all the rental companies we reviewed. There are advantages to choosing such a widely available company, such as neighborhood (non-airport) rental locations. We recommend trying to rent away from airports because they often add concession fees that can add as much as 10 percent to the base price. Car rentals are already taxed highly by cities and states, so avoiding another fee is worth the hassle of booking away from airports.
Enterprise offers a pick-up service to get you from a hotel or your home to the rental office to complete the process. This is available at non-airport locations and is a great way to avoid paying for taxis.
One interesting service that Enterprise alone offers is a carshare service. Once you join online and receive a membership card, you can go online and book a car for as short as a few hours. Just hold your membership card to the sensor on the window to unlock it. When you return the car, hold your card up again and the car will lock and end your rental. This service is available in 35 states, Canada and the U.K.