Europcar vs Avis
Two big names but how do they stack up against each other? We discuss.
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Struggling to choose between Europcar and Avis for your next car rental? With their dominance in the market and extensive library of vehicles, it's easy to see why.
But rest assured there are differences between the two that could move your decision in the right direction. We take an in-depth look, comparing everything from cancellation policies to car rental excess to see which is the better choice.
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Europcar vs Avis
|Where can I hire a car?||Both|
|What types of cars does it have?||Both|
|Does it require a deposit?||No.||No.||Both|
|Is insurance included?||Yes. All rentals come with standard cover.||Yes. Standard rentals include a Loss Damage Waiver. Third party insurance is included for some locations.||Europcar|
|How much is excess?||The damage liability fee starts at $5,500 in Australia and increases for more premium vehicles.||Avis does not specify its standard excess price. This will be outlined in your rental agreement.||Europcar|
|Do I need to wash the car?||No. However, cleaning fees apply for very dirty or smelly vehicles.||No, but you should not return the car in an excessively dirty or smelly condition.||Both|
|Rental requirements||Drivers must be at least 21 years old with a full, valid driver's licence. In Australia, you must have held the licence for at least three years. Licences not written in English require an International Driving Permit (IDP).||Depending on the location, renters must be at least 21 or 25 years old with a full, valid driver's licence held for at least one year. Licences not written in Latin characters need an IDP.||Both|
|Does it charge per mile/kilometre?||No. However, if your rental comes with limited mileage, you will be charged per kilometre/mile if you exceed the limit.||No, but for rentals with limited mileage, you will be charged for each extra kilometre/mile.||Both|
|Is there unlimited mileage?||Most rentals come with unlimited mileage. Otherwise, the limit is outlined in the rental agreement.||Yes, most Avis rentals have unlimited mileage. If there is a limit, it will be specified in the rental agreement.||Both|
|Does it rent to under 25s?||Yes, but a young driver surcharge applies for most rentals.||Yes, in some locations, including Australia. Vehicle restrictions and underage surcharges apply.||Europcar|
|Does it accept cash?||In certain locations.||Yes.||Avis|
|Does it price match?||Yes. Europcar matches better prices on its cars and refunds you the difference only.||Yes. Avis price matches and beats better prices on its cars by 10%.||Avis|
|Does it pick you up?||No.||No.||Both|
|What are my payment options?||Avis|
|Does it accept debit cards?||Yes.||Yes.||Both|
|Does it charge for credit cards?||Yes. Rentals paid by credit or debit cards incur a 1.29% fee.||Yes. Rentals paid by credit or debit cards incur a 1.29% fee.||Both|
|Does it allow for cancellations/changes?||Yes. Cancellations and changes can be made online. There is no charge for cancellations up to 2 days before the pick-up time for "pay on arrival vehicles". Fees may apply if changed within 2 days of pick up or if the hire is prepaid.||Yes. Changes and cancellations can be made online before the pick-up time. A $50 processing fee applies to rentals cancelled before the pick-up time. This increases to $150 if cancelled past the pick-up time.||Europcar|
|How long does it hold reservations?||If credit card details are not provided when booking, one hour. If credit card details are provided when booking, until close of business, or until midday the following day at 24-hour rental offices.||Most Avis airport locations will hold your booking until your flight has arrived, even if it's delayed.||Europcar|
|Can I add an extra driver?||Yes. Extra drivers must meet the age and licence requirements and can be added for a fee. In Australia this is $7.32 per day, capped at $36.60.||Yes. Partners and work colleagues may drive the vehicle fee-free. All other additional drivers who fulfil the rental requirements are charged $5 per day, capped at $25.||Avis|
|Do they have manual and automatic cars?||Yes.||Yes.||Both|
|Is there a loyalty programme?||Europcar runs the Privilege loyalty program, which has four tiers of membership with increasing benefits such as priority check-in and drop-off, rental coupons, free weekend rentals, exclusive deals and partner offers.||The Avis Preferred loyalty program lets members skip the rental counter in select locations, make faster bookings and returns and access exclusive deals and partner rewards. You can also earn Qantas Frequent Flyer points with bookings.||Both|
|Is GPS included?||No, but it can be added for a fee.||No, but it can be added for a fee.||Both|
|Can I return a car early?||Yes, however it won't refund any remaining time on the rental contract.||Yes and you'll only be charged for the time you had the vehicle. If you purchased using a day-based deal this will be voided and you may end up paying more for less days.||Avis|
|Book||Book your ride with Europcar||Book your ride with Avis|
Which is cheaper?
To solve the ultimate question, we made a like-for-like search on each of their official websites. We chose the same pick-up location and dates for a driver aged 25+ and then looked at the cheapest possible car available.
Here are the results:
Avis is less than a quarter the price of Europcar. Looking further down for the same car to try to even the stakes, a Toyota Corolla hatch cost $1,073.55 for our chosen journey with Europcar while it only cost $370.88 with Avis.
The price hike could be due to greater demand with Europcar or might be skewed on location with Europcar having a smaller presence in cities like Launceston as opposed to major cities like Sydney and Melbourne.
To settle that score, we changed our search destination to Melbourne Tullamarine Airport and the difference in price dropped dramatically.
Europcar brought up a Toyota Yaris for $433.47 while Avis suggested a Hyundai i20 for $439.43 (or $432.89 if prepaid – for the record, Europcar doesn't offer a prepaid option online). You can see the breakdown below.
The difference might be miniscule in major cities but it's astronomical in smaller ones, so in this case we still reckon Avis won the war.
What are the deals like?
Europcar has a wide variety of offers available at any time, including destination- and vehicle-specific deals, early-bird bookings and book a number of days, get days free deals.
Avis offers a similar set of deals, ranging from upgrades and early-bird discounts to extra days for free deals. It's less inclined to offer percentage off discounts but is partnered with Qantas to allow you to earn points with your booking.
Both car rental companies have a wide variety of deals however Europcar is more inclined to offer discounts off base rates, which appeals to a wider audience. However it's important to keep in mind that generally Europcar's base rates are more expensive than Avis's which, with the deal attached, could even out the playing field.
Europcar and Avis deals and discounts
Europcar vs Avis: Who won?
Avis takes out the gold this time with a much cheaper car rental, a price match and better policy, wider acceptance of cash as a payment method, no penalty for returning your vehicle early and a more flexible additional driver policy, which allows partners and employers to be added for free.
In short, here's a list of both companies' winning points:
- All rentals come with standard cover while Avis's cover is more location specific
- Excess costs are from $5,500, which is specified before booking – Avis doesn't specify excess costs prior to booking
- Less restrictions on drivers aged under 25
- Bookings held until as late as midday the following day if you're delayed
- Cheaper overall cost
- Accepts more forms of payment, including cash
- Price matches and beats a better found price on its cars by 10%
- Certain additional drivers can be added for no extra fee. Other drivers can be added for $5 per day, which is cheaper than Europcar
- Early returns are accepted and you'll only be charged for the time you had the vehicle
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