Alamo vs National: Who can offer the best value on your next car hire?
We compare everything from cost to vehicle types so you don't have to.
We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!
You're heading on a holiday or business trip (or maybe both?) and you've decided renting a car is the way to go. After some initial research, you've found yourself debating between Alamo and National. Now what?
It's time to start looking into the finer details of policies, inclusions, vehicle types and even car rental excess insurance. That's where we come in – comparing everything side by side to give you peace of mind that you've booked the best car for you. Read on for our analysis.
TL;DR: Our verdict
The winner? We're giving this one to National as it has a larger presence worldwide, is available in more locations throughout Asia, charges a much lower car rental excess and doesn't charge for select additional drivers such as spouses and domestic partners.
Compare today's car prices
Alamo vs National
|Where can I hire a car?||National|
|What types of cars does it have?||Both|
|Does it require a deposit?||No.||No.||Both|
|Is insurance included?||Yes. Alamo includes standard cover with loss or damage liability in its rentals.||Yes. Third-party liability protection is included in all rentals.||Both|
|How much is the excess?||$4,400 for economy and standard vehicles;|
$5,500 for large and premium vehicles.
|$1,650 for economy and standard vehicles;|
$2,750 for large and premium vehicles.
|Do I need to wash the car?||No.||No.||Both|
|Rental requirements||Drivers must be aged 21 or above (except in some US states), and in possession of a valid driver’s licence either in English or accompanied by an International Driving Permit.||Drivers must be at least 21 years old with a valid driver’s licence for at least 12 months. The driver’s licence must be in English or accompanied by an International Driving Permit.||Both|
|Does it charge per mile/kilometre?||No. However, if your rental has limited mileage, you will be charged per kilometre/mile.||No. However if your rental has limited mileage, you will be charged per extra kilometre/mile.||Both|
|Is there unlimited mileage?||Yes, in most cases. However, it depends on the rental location and the vehicle type. Check your rental agreement.||Yes, on most rentals. If your rental has limited mileage, the conditions will be detailed in your rental agreement.||Both|
|Does it rent to under 25s?||Yes. However, renters aged 21-24 must pay a young driver surcharge and may also pay higher rates.||Yes. However a young driver surcharge of $15 per day applies to drivers aged 21-24, and drivers on a probationary licence incur a $20 daily fee.||Both|
|Does it accept cash?||Yes.||No.||Alamo|
|Does it price match?||No.||No.||Both|
|What are my payment options?||Alamo|
|Does it pick you up?||No.||No.||Both|
|Does it accept debit cards?||Yes.||Yes.||Both|
|Does it allow for cancellations/changes?||Yes. Before the rental period, you can cancel or make changes online. You can also make certain changes during the rental period. Cancellation fees may apply.||Yes. You can cancel or make changes online before the rental period begins. Fees may apply.||Both|
|How long does it hold reservations?||Until the end of the business day or for 12 hours after the scheduled pick-up time, whichever comes first.||Until the end of the day or for 12 hours after the scheduled pick-up time, whichever comes first.||Both|
|Can I add an extra driver?||Yes. However extra drivers are subject to a daily fee, which varies by location. Additional drivers must meet Alamo’s age and licence requirements and present themselves alongside the primary driver at the rental counter.||Yes. However extra drivers are subject to a daily fee. This is waived for spouses/partners, employers and employees on corporate rentals and for surrogate drivers for disabled renters.||National|
|Are cars auto or manual?||Alamo offers both automatic and manual vehicles.||Alamo offers both automatic and manual vehicles.||Both|
|Is GPS included?||This is available as an optional extra.||This is available as an optional extra.||Both|
|Any rewards programs?||Alamo Insiders offers members 5% off all rentals, everyday low rates and access to exclusive offers.||National's Emerald Club allows members to earn credits that you can redeem for free rental days, frequent flyer miles or hotel rewards. Depending on your tier, you can also get priority service at the counter.||Both|
|Can I get a discount if I pay upfront?||Yes. Pay upfront when you make your booking and get 5% off.||No.||Alamo|
|Book||Book with Alamo||Book with National|
Which is cheaper?
We compared the rental companies against each other, searching for a hire in the same location, on the same date and for the same number of days to see which would come up cheaper.
We did this via their official websites on 18 October 2018.
While National's daily rates are cheaper than Alamo's once all fees were added, Alamo turned out to be cheaper. The total saving with Alamo is mere dollars, but it could make all the difference to you.
What type of deals do Alamo and National have?
Alamo's deals cover rate discounts on locations, vehicle types and last-minute hires as well as vehicle class upgrades. Alamo's website is geared toward US customers and Alamo Insiders members.
National's deals cover discounts on locations, vehicle types, last-minute hires and timeframe-based hires such as hire two times, get your third hire free. Like Alamo, its offers are aimed at customers in North America though it does feature discounts on Europe rentals.
Alamo vs National: Who won?
National trumps Alamo as it's more widely available worldwide, charges much less for car rental excess insurance and allows you to add another driver for free, under select circumstances.
Alamo isn't without its merits though. It came up cheaper in the like-for-like comparison (just), lets renters to pay with cash and gives you a 5% discount by paying in full when you book.
Here's a list of both of their winning points:
- Available in Africa and in more locations than Alamo
- Cheaper car rental excess
- Can add additional driver for free if they're a spouse, domestic partner, disabled customer or hiring as part of a corporate or business car rental program
- Allows renters to pay with cash
- Renters can get 5% off their hire by paying upfront
Latest Alamo and National deals:
Popular National Car Rental coupon codes
|Last checked||Code description||Code|
|21 Sep 2020||Free car rental for members||********|
|19 May 2020||One way rentals from USD$9.99||********|
|6 Mar 2020||5% off when you pre-pay||********|
|6 Mar 2020||Free single upgrade + 5% off Insiders car rentals||********|
|5 Oct 2020||5% off for members||********|
More guides on Finder
Black Friday car hire deals for 2021
Get up to 50% off your next overland adventure with these Black Friday rental car offers.
Allianz vs NRMA car insurance
Allianz vs NRMA car insurance – we look at the differences to help make your decision easier.
Allianz vs AAMI car insurance
Allianz vs AAMI – compare policies side by side and see who has what matters to you.
AAMI vs NRMA Car Insurance
AAMI Car Insurance or NRMA? Compare their policies here.
Budget Direct vs NRMA Car Insurance
Budget Direct Car Insurance vs NRMA - which provider is right for you? Compare their policies here.
Youi vs Budget Direct Car Insurance
Compare Youi and Budget Direct Car Insurance. See who has the right policy for you.
Budget vs Avis
Find out which car rental company, Budget or Avis, will give you a better bang for your buck. Plus, all of the need-to-know details you should read before booking a car rental.
Launceston car hire
verything you need to know to hire a car in Launceston, including the best deals to save you money.
USA car hire guide and deals for 2021
A starter guide to hiring a car in America, from pick-up points to road trip itineraries.
Car hire Christchurch: Cheap deals, airport hire and more
Everything you need to know about renting a car in Christchurch, from which companies off Christchurch airport car hire to how you can pay as little as $34 per day for your car.
Ask an Expert