Alamo vs Dollar
When hiring a car, is Alamo or Dollar your best bet?
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Alamo and Dollar both have reputations as budget-friendly, trustworthy car hire companies.
As reassuring as this is, it doesn’t make things any easier if you find yourself trying to choose between them.
We've simplified the decision by comparing Alamo and Dollar on everything from their fleet to the flexibility of their policies. Read on to see how they stack up.
TL;DR: Our verdict
The winner: Alamo wins by a hair with its larger fleet, wider range of payment options and transparency on its site regarding excess and reservation holding times.
Compare today's car prices
Alamo vs Dollar: Features, policies and fees compared
|Where can I hire a car?||Alamo|
|What types of cars does it have?||Alamo|
|Does it accept cash?||Yes.||Yes, but only in the US via a cash deposit identification card.||Alamo|
|What are my payment options?||Alamo|
|Can I add an extra driver?||Yes. Additional drivers incur a daily fee, which varies by location. Additional drivers must meet Alamo’s age and licence requirements and present themselves along with the primary driver at the rental counter.||Yes. Additional drivers must meet Dollar’s age and licence requirements and pay an additional fee. Drivers aged 21-24 must also pay an underage driver fee. Government renters, corporate account customers and drivers/companions of physically impaired drivers are exempt from fees.||Dollar|
|How much is the excess?||$600-$900 depending on the type of vehicle.||Unspecified. Contact your local office for details.||Alamo|
|Does it price match?||No.||Yes. If you find a better rate on a Dollar rental, Dollar will match it and give you a bonus 10% off.||Dollar|
|Does it pick you up?||No.||Yes, only for customers with a disability and their travel companion(s).||Dollar|
|How long does it hold reservations?||Typically, Alamo holds reservations for the remainder of the business day or for 12 hours after the scheduled pick-up time, whichever is first.||Dollar does not specify its policy online; however, chatting with a customer service representative, it will wait for delayed flights, but depending on the location, it won't necessarily hold a hire if you are delayed.||Alamo|
|Does it require a deposit?||No.||No.||Both|
|Is insurance included?||Yes. Alamo includes standard cover with loss or damage liability in all rentals. You can also purchase additional insurance.||Yes. Dollar includes standard coverage (loss and damage waiver) in the rental rates within Australia. You can also purchase additional insurance.||Both|
|Do I need to wash the car?||No.||No.||Both|
|Rental requirements||Drivers must be aged 21+ (except in certain US states), and have a valid driver’s licence written in English or accompanied by an International Driving Permit.||Drivers must be at least 21 years of age and have a valid driver’s licence. If your licence isn’t in English, you will need an International Driving Permit.||Both|
|Does it charge per mile/kilometre?||No, however if a rental has limited mileage, fees are charged per kilometre/mile for exceeding the limit.||No, however, if a rental has limited mileage and you exceed the limit, charges will be calculated by the kilometre/mile.||Both|
|Is there unlimited mileage?||Yes. However it depends on the rental location and vehicle type. Mileage limits are specified in the rental agreement.||Yes. If a mileage limit applies, it will be outlined in the rental policy and you may be charged per mile/kilometre if you exceed the limit.||Both|
|Does it rent to under 25s?||Yes. The minimum rental age is 21. However renters aged 21-24 will need to pay a young drivers surcharge and may also be subject to higher rates.||Yes. In most locations, the minimum age is 21. Drivers aged 21-24 may be subject to certain limitations and driving conditions, and may be subject to an additional fee.||Both|
|Does it accept debit cards?||Yes.||Yes.||Both|
|Does it allow for cancellations/changes?||Yes. Prior to the start of the rental period, you can cancel or make changes online. You can also make some changes during the rental period. Cancellation fees may apply.||Yes. If you cancel a prepaid hire more than 24 hours before the start of the rental, you will need to pay a $50 fee. This increases to $100 within 24 hours of the rental. You can make changes online, but they may impact your rental rates and fees may apply.||Both|
|Does it have manual and automatic cars?||Yes.||Yes.||Both|
|Is GPS included?||No, however you can add it for a fee.||No, however you can add it for a fee.||Both|
|Can I return the car early?||Yes. However, if returned more than 24 hours early, you'll incur a fee. If you hired on a deal based on a minimum number of days, your price is void and you'll be charged the number of days you hired, which could end up being more expensive||Yes. If you return the car more than 24 hours early, you'll only be charged for the days you actually hired the vehicle; however, you will incur a $25 early-return fee.||Both|
|Is there a loyalty program?||Yes. Alamo Insiders is free to join and gives members 5% off all rentals, everyday low rates and access to exclusive offers.||Yes. Dollar Express Renter Rewards allows members to earn points with each rental, which they can redeem for free rental days.||Both.|
Which is cheaper?
We put the question of cost under the microscope with a like-for-like search using Alamo and Dollar's official websites. We searched the same location, travel dates and rental dates and here's what we came up with.
In this instance, Dollar comes up almost double in price for the same hire dates and times making Alamo the standout winner.
What are the deals like?
Alamo has deals on particular locations and vehicle types, base rate discounts and vehicle class upgrades. The website is geared toward US customers and Alamo Insiders members. You can also save 5% instantly by prepaying for your hire.
Dollar offers discounts off the base rate within certain time frames and locations. The main website also has a strong emphasis on the United States, but international Dollar websites have their own local deals. Unfortunately, Australia does not yet have its own Dollar site; however, you can search for discounts valid for your location on the website. Prepay your rental and you can get up to 15% off.
Dollar offers bigger savings on prepaid rentals. It also makes it easier to locate relevant discounts by allowing renters to search for deals in their hire destinations. Check out the latest deals for each below:
Alamo vs Dollar: Who won?
It's a tough call but Alamo takes this one as its benefits affect a larger pool of people. It is available in more locations, has a larger fleet and is more straight up about excess and liability charges and about holding reservations until the customer arrives.
Here's a list of both of their winning points:
- Available in more locations worldwide
- Larger range of vehicles in its fleet
- Cash is accepted as a form of payment
- Potentially lower excess, depending on Dollar's quote
- Will hold reservations for up to 12 hours or until the remainder of the business day
- Price matches and beats better quotes on its cars by 10%
- Additional drivers can be added for free if they're government renters, corporate account customers and drivers/companions of physically impaired drivers
- Dollar will pick up customers with a disability and their companions for free
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