I love a luxury bargain. What that means is that while I prefer the finer things in life, I don’t want to pay full price for them. Or, as my grandmother would say, I have “champagne taste and a beer budget.” (You gotta love the grandma sayings.)
Recently, I received an email from reader Rebecca. She suggested that Avis might be right up my alley, and wrote a very persuasive, detailed description of some Avis benefits and perks she thought I would enjoy. Rebecca was right! Avis is totally busting out with the luxury bargains.
Below, you can read a description of their rewards program, plus a few reasons why you might enjoy Avis as well:
The Avis Rewards Program: Avis Preferred and Avis First
Avis Preferred is the basic member level in the rewards program. It’s free for anyone to join. When you are a member, you can skip the lines and paperwork and go straight to your car. (The very first time you rent from Avis, you do need to check in at the counter so that they can set up your account in person, but after that, you can head straight for the lot). Another membership benefit is that if you’re on an Avis courtesy bus, you’ll be dropped off first (ahead of non-members).
Avis First is the “elite status” program for frequent Avis renters. To qualify, Preferred members must complete 12 or more qualifying Rentals or a cumulative total of 35 or more qualifying Rental days in a calendar year. Benefits of Avis First include:
- free 2-day weekend rental awards after every 4th qualifying rental (of 2 consecutive rental days or more)
- free upgrades
- frequent coupons and access to special promotions
Select and Go
This is the equivalent as walking into your favorite boutique to buy a basic staple item, such as a t-shirt, and then being offered an array of more premium tops to choose from instead…for the same price. Awesome!
Select and Go is a service offered to members with Preferred Status or higher. The way it works is genius:
- Check your email or use the Avis app to determine which vehicle you’ve been assigned. You can also do this in person, once you get to the lot.
- If the pre-assigned vehicle isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, select a different vehicle that better fits your needs from the Select & Go Exchange area — no extra charge.
- If you’d like to upgrade, pick a car from the Select & Go Upgrade area — this is usually where you’ll find specialty cars and SUVs — for an additional daily charge (displayed in the vehicle’s windshield).
- Once you’re happy with your selection, drive to the Exit Booth.
A tip from Rebecca: note that if you get in on a late flight, sometimes there aren’t many options left.
- Low Prices
Rebecca created this awesome price comparison chart. She writes: the rates can really vary, and for the heck of it I did a comparison. Interestingly enough, the Costco Avis rate was high. The Avis.com pre-pay rate was not bad, but the Amex Rewards *AWD code & United AWD prepay yielded the best rates. I also ran car rental rates on the AAA website. The results were not competitive therefore I left off.
*Note that AWD stands for Avis Worldwide Discount. You can find AWD codes by simply doing a search online. (For example, search for “United AWD Code” and see what comes up). You can also search sites such as Slick Deals or Fat Wallet for codes.
Rebecca: In the recent months that I learned about Autoslash, I’ve entered in my car rental reservations to see if they could find anything better. In one case they did, it was also with Avis, however in the end, the coupon they found was not honored. Further evidence that Avis has the best rates if you qualify for a good AWD rate code.
Tip: if you find an AWD code online and you want to figure out which company the code belongs to, start here. The web address will look like this:
Notice that the letter (A) and the last seven digits displayed (177232) correspond to the AWD code. In this case, A177232 corresponds to USAA.
So if you want to determine where another AWD code is from, simply change the numbers in the web address. You can then see if the code is right for you. Normally, Avis codes do not “stack” (you can only use one per rental), but you can always try and see if it works for you.
Convenient Phone App
Rebecca loves the Avis app: their phone app is seamless & easy to use. I can easily view, edit or make a reservation. I can see what car I’ve been dispatched – so that I know whether or not I want to exchange it with Select & Go…even before I get to the lot.
Earn Points and Miles
You can earn Points and Miles with every rental. Just use the AWD code that corresponds to the airline or hotel partner of your choice. You can find those codes under the tab “Cars and Services.”
If you forget to enter this code, you can also do it in person once you get to the site.
I have also had success with securing a great rate via my usual easy two-step method (read all about it here), then providing a miles-earning code in person. Right now (through December 31, 2013), you can earn 1500 American miles with every qualifying rental of 3 or more days. Just use code # MUAA070, and you can find the link here. I did this on a recent trip to San Diego and it worked great.
However, if you choose to earn miles for your rental you do not also earn Weekend Rental Rewards, which are the free weekend rentals you receive from Avis in exchange for all of your hard-earned points (thanks to reader Patrick for highlighting this fact).
I’m looking forward to including Avis in my Points and Miles toolkit. I’d love to hear if anyone else has more Avis experience to add!