Avis was founded by Warren Avis in 1946 at Willow Run Airport in Detroit with an $85,000 investment. Shortly after, Avis opened a location at Miami airport. After years of varying acquisitions and mergers, the car rental company has expanded to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. They have also launched an iPhone app.
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- Competitive pricing
- Luxury vehicles
- Available in all 50 states
Economy Price Range
Avis offers low to average prices for their car rentals. Avis also has a wide variety of vehicles. They have moving vans, which are not always available at other rental companies, as well as pickups, which may be even less common. While these are not available at every Avis location, they typically are, offering renters a wider variety than average.
Avis also uses many environmentally-friendly vehicles in its fleet. Most of its smaller vehicles are SmartWay certified that do minimal harm to the environment. All of their vehicles are 100 percent smoke-free in the U.S. and Canada, so smokers who want to smoke in their rental car will have to try another company.
Luxury Price Range
If you're looking to rent a luxury car, Avis offers low to average prices in the car rental industry. Many popular rental car brands out there do not offer luxury rentals, making Avis more advantageous to luxury car renters. Although there are a few companies that offer lower rates, Avis' daily rates are pretty average for luxury cars in the industry. Avis also has a special series of vehicles called "Signature Series" cars, which provide renters with a more exotic, luxurious experience. In this collection of cars, renters can choose from Mercedes, BMW's, Maserati's, Corvette's, or a variety of other exciting vehicles.
Avis stands far above the competition with locations in all 50 states. Most companies have locations in an average of 23 states. Knowing there is an Avis in your destination airport or city makes formulating travel plans in advance much easier.
With rental counters at most major airports throughout the United States and North America, Avis is much more accessible to travelers than its competitors. If you need a car right when you get off the plane, an Avis location most likely will be there once you check out your luggage.
Avis has streamlined the rental return process, so that renters can return their vehicles in as little as one minute, using a kiosk. This reduces stress for busy travelers, and ensures that renters trying to catch a flight won't be caught arriving late because of their rental returns.
Toll Prepay Option
Avis offers a Toll Prepay option called e-Toll, an electronic toll collection program which makes road travel more convenient. Avis e-Toll cannot be reserved in advance, but is already conveniently installed in many cars, so it doesn't need to be ordered through their website. When you're making an online reservation, it allows you to check the box if you want to include this as an add-on service when paying for your reservation online.
The thing to know about e-Toll is that you are automatically enrolled in it if you choose to not pay cash for tolls. This has led to customer issues who were not aware of this and found additional charges to their credit/debit card later on. Under the e-Toll program, once you pass through an electronic toll, you will pay a convenience fee of $3.95 for each day of the entire rental period, including any days on which e-Toll is not used, up to a maximum of $19.75 per rental month.
- Strict cancellation policy
- Roadside assistance is more expensive
- No online check-in
Avis charges $25 if you cancel within six hours before the rental period. After six hours, the cancellation fee increases to a no-show fee of $100, but the rest of the rental is refunded. The refund makes this a slightly better policy than some rental companies, which will charge late cancellation fees for as much as 24 hours before the rental period with no refund. However, many companies have less strict cancellation policies and often do not require a cancellation fee.
In case your rental vehicle has problems, Avis offers extended roadside assistance for $7.49 per day. This is slightly higher than the typical rental company who charges an average of $5-6 per day, but a good safety measure to take nonetheless.
On-Site Fuel Discount
Avis offers several Fuel plans but on-site fuel discounts are not advertised. On average, car rental customers are either expected to just bring the car back with a full tank or choose between fueling payment plan options.
Although Avis' return process is streamlined, their check-in process is not. This would not typically be a negative, since in-person check-in is standard in the car rental industry. However, being a global brand that has been in business for over 70 years, one would think they would have innovated a feature allowing customers to check in from the website instead of the rental counter.
While returning an Avis rental can be very quick, many customers report that they had to stand in very long lines when picking up their vehicle. Some stood in line for a couple of hours at certain locations, and noted that the employees at the counter seemed to lack a sense of urgency. When they arrived at the counter, employees tried to sell them insurance, upgrades, etc., taking even longer. For travelers getting off of a long flight, hurrying to a meeting, or anxious to begin their vacation, this kind of wait is not a desirable.