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.

Updated

Fact checked

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

FeatureAlamoNationalWinner
Where can I hire a car?
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Latin America
  • Caribbean
  • Europe
  • Asia Pacific
  • Middle East
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Latin America
  • Caribbean
  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Asia Pacific
  • Middle East
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
National
What types of cars does it have?
  • Vans
  • SUV/minivans
  • 4WD
  • Utility vehicles
  • Sedan
  • Compact cars
  • Premium/luxury vehicles
  • Hybrid vehicles
  • High performance vehicles
  • Vans
  • SUV/minivans
  • 4WD
  • Utility vehicles
  • Sedan
  • Compact cars
  • Premium/luxury vehicles
  • Hybrid vehicles
  • High performance vehicles
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.

National
Do I need to wash the car?No.No.Both
Rental requirementsDrivers 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?
  • Cash
  • Credit card
  • Mastercard
  • Visa debit card
  • Credit card
  • Mastercard
  • Visa debit card
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
BookBook with AlamoBook 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.

The verdict?

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.

Look below for the latest deals with both car rental companies.


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:

National:

  • 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

Alamo:

  • Allows renters to pay with cash
  • Renters can get 5% off their hire by paying upfront

Compare prices now


Latest Alamo and National deals:

National Car RentalNational Car Rental

Free car rental for members

Join the Emerald Club and earn 1 rental credit for every qualified car rental. Inclusive of free rental days and other benefits. Destinations include Australia, Canada, United States and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Alamo Rent a CarAlamo Rent a Car

One way rentals from USD$9.99

Available on select rental dates across Orange County, San Francisco, Montreal, Toronto and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Alamo Rent a CarAlamo Rent a Car

5% off when you pre-pay

Pre-pay for your Alamo car hire and get an instant 5% off your booking.

Last verified

Alamo Rent a CarAlamo Rent a Car

Free single upgrade + 5% off Insiders car rentals

Valid for travel on select dates across United States, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean and Latin America. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Alamo Rent a CarAlamo Rent a Car

5% off for members

Join Alamo Insiders, a free membership program, and get 5% off. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

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

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site