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The Best Rental Car Companies in 2024, Ranked

The Best Rental Car Companies in 2024, Ranked

A bad rental car experience can start your next vacation or business trip off on the wrong foot. Instead, make your choice from the 3 best rental car companies to start your trip off on the right note! 

A Look at the Best Rental Car Companies

  • Enterprise, Hertz, and National are the top-ranked companies
  • See the rankings by cost, access points, rewards, and ease of use
  • Choose the rental car company that suits your trip goals

If you’re gearing up for a trip soon and need to rent a car, you’ve got several options to consider – Enterprise, Hertz, and National are currently the top options. 

The best rental car companies have a few things in common that make them worth your attention when it’s time to rent some wheels. 

They offer affordable pricing for their reliable, modern fleet of rental cars and vehicles. They don’t charge a ton of surprise fees and make sure the service is simple and easy to use. 

The best rental car companies are also focused on offering as many locations and access points (like airports and self-service kiosks) to make your car rental experience seamless and quick, no matter where you are. 

Why bother with car rental companies that charge a lot of hidden fees and complicate what should be a simple process?

Keep reading to see our detailed breakdown of the 3 best rental car companies as we rank them according to their cost, access points, rewards programs, and ease of use below! 

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The 3 Best Rental Car Companies, Ranked

Woman signs rental car form with keys and toy car on the table for a piece on the 3 best rental car companies

Opat Suvi/Shutterstock

When you’re planning on renting a car for your trip, you need to look beyond the companies that supply you with a reliable car to get you from Point A to Point B. 

Aim your sights higher and look for the best rental car companies to get the most affordable prices, most access points, easy reservation and drop-off process, and access to great loyalty rewards and perks. 

We based our rankings on a 20-point scale, offering 5 points each for the rental car company’s rewards/loyalty program perks, locations and access points, average cost, and ease of use. 

Below, you’ll see where the 3 best rental car companies fall in the ranking – and which one gets a perfect score with our rating scale!

1. Best Overall: Enterprise

Best Overall
Enterprise Rent-a-Car
Cost: 5/5
Access Points: 5/5
Ease of use: 5/5
Rewards: 5/5
Overall rating: 20/20
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Enterprise offers some of the lowest car rental prices we’ve found, with economy cars costing $35-$72/day in most locations. This earned them a full 5 points in the cost category. 

It’s incredibly easy to access Enterprise car rentals with over 7,600 locations and more than 300 self-service airport kiosks nationwide. This earned them a full 5 points in the access points category. 

When it comes to ease of use, it doesn’t get better than Enterprise. The company earned 5 out of 5 points in this category, too! 

You can use one of their self-service airport kiosks for quick check-ins and drop-offs, access easy check-ins with their loyalty program, and use a debit or credit card to pay for your rental. 

The rewards programs (Enterprise Plus, Silver, Gold, and Platinum) make it easy for regular travelers to access special perks, discounts, and faster check-ins. 

When you sign up for Enterprise rewards, you can get free car upgrades and rental days, access to more vehicles, and a direct customer service line for fast help when you need it. 

But what do customers say about the company? Enterprise was just named the winner in Overall Customer Satisfaction by J.D. Power for the second year in a row. 

There’s no question about it – Enterprise is the best rental car company overall and you can’t go wrong when you rent from them.

2. Best for International Travelers: Hertz

Best for International Travelers
Hertz Car Rental
Cost: 4/5
Access Points: 5/5
Ease of use: 5/5
Rewards: 5/5
Overall rating: 19/20
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Hertz is a major name in the car rental game, offering a wide range of vehicles and ranking second on our list of the best rental car companies. 

Hertz rental car costs are a little higher than Enterprise at $40-$78/day for economy vehicles. For this reason, they earned 4 out of 5 points in the cost category on our list. 

Hertz had to slightly raise their car rental prices due to inflation, and it’s slightly dinged the overall customer satisfaction as a result. But not by much! 

The difference is only a few dollars away from Enterprise, and they were 2-time winners of the J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction award in 2019 and 2020.

Hertz access points are everywhere, which makes sense because it’s the largest worldwide airport car rental company. You’ll find over 8,500 locations in major airports and cities all over. 

That’s why we’ve named them the best rental car company for worldwide travel! 

With easy access (where they earn 5 out of 5 points) comes ease of use. Hertz has Express Rent Kiosks in tons of airports that use video chat with an agent for a seamless rental process.

Renting is even easier for loyalty rewards members of Hertz Gold Plus, which allows you to skip through most of the check-in process and earn discounts for prepaid rentals, free rentals, and AAA member discounts. 

Overall, it’s clear that Hertz is a rental car company that people are comfortable choosing again and again. It may not be the cheapest, but it scores highly in access, ease of use, and its rewards program. 

3. Best for Frequent Travelers: National Car Rental

Best for Frequent Travelers
National Car Rental
Cost: 3/5
Access Points: 4/5
Ease of use: 5/5
Rewards: 5/5
Overall rating: 17/20
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National Car Rental takes the third spot on our list of the best rental car companies, scoring highly in every category but just lagging behind Enterprise and Hertz in cost and ease of use. 

National Car Rental charges an average of $72-$84/day for its economy cars, which is quite a bit higher than the low end of both Enterprise and Hertz. 

Still, you’ll get some additional cost-saving perks and benefits with National, so it’s not a major drawback that the upfront cost is higher. We gave them 3 out of 5 points in the cost category. 

You’ll find lots of access points with over 1,500 locations worldwide so you’re never far from a vehicle when you need it. Many of these access points are located inside major airports! 

We gave National Car Rental 4 out of 5 points for the number of access points available and 5 out of 5 points for the overall ease of use. 

Their Emerald Aisle program lets you choose and pay for your midsize car without waiting in line – just go to the Aisle location and you’ll find the keys already in the car of your choice!

As far as customer rewards and loyalty, National’s Emerald Club is great with no rental drop-off fees, free amenities (car seats, GPS, and other equipment), and free rental days and car upgrades. 

The best part? Enterprise and National Car Rental are owned by the same company, so you can earn rewards points and perks with both when you use one! 

National Car Rental earned second place in Overall Customer Satisfaction from J.D. Power in 2022, indicating this is one of the best rental car companies if you want a great experience. 

Things to Consider

Rows of new rental cars parked rear to rear in a garage for a piece on the best rental car companies to choose from

Virrage Images/Shutterstock

We’ve looked closely at the 3 best rental car companies and covered what each one excels at and where they fall a bit short. What else should you consider when you plan to rent a car soon?

Take a look at these helpful tips and considerations to make your car rental process cheaper, faster, and smoother. 

  • You may not need to buy rental car insurance. Your personal vehicle insurance likely covers your rental car, and as long as you pay for your rental with a credit card, you probably won’t need to buy insurance from your rental car company. This will save you $6 to $17 a day with most rental car companies! 
  • Avoid renting at the airport if possible. NerdWallet found that airport car rentals are around 26% more expensive than renting from standalone locations outside of major airports. Unless the convenience is a major decision factor for you, rent from a non-airport location to save some money. 
  • Always sign up for rewards. The best rental car companies offer free rewards and loyalty programs for customers. You’ll earn points with every rental and purchase to redeem for free rental days, vehicle upgrades, faster check-ins, and more. It’s always worth it to sign up – and earn double rewards when you rent from different companies owned by the same corporation, like Enterprise and National Car Rental! 
  • Book direct when you can. Sometimes, car rentals are rolled into a bigger vacation package or bundle deal that appear to save you money. Make sure you do the math, because it’s often cheaper to reserve your rental directly with the company instead. You’ll be able to earn rewards and get a wider range of car choice by booking direct, too. 
  • Ask about extra membership discounts. If you’re a card-carrying member of organizations like AAA, AARP, or are a member of the armed services or law enforcement, ask your rental car company about available discounts. You may be able to save anywhere from 5% to 30% off your rental car cost just by asking! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Man uses a car rental app on a laptop computer with items on the desk for a frequently asked questions section on the best rental car companies

Got a few unanswered questions about choosing the best rental car companies for your upcoming trip? You might find your answers below in the most frequently asked questions! 

What is the most reputable car rental company?

The most reputable car rental company is Enterprise, twice-consecutive winners of the J.D. Power award for Overall Customer Satisfaction.

Enterprise has tons of locations worldwide and gets good reviews from customers traveling for business or pleasure.

How do I choose a good car rental company?

Picking a good car rental company is easy with our ranked list of the 3 best companies. We chose the best based on cost, access points, ease of use, rewards, and customer ratings.

If you'd rather do your own research, look at the overall cost, any extra fees that will be added, insurance costs, mileage limits, pick-up and drop-off locations, vehicle availability, and rewards program rules.

Which is better, National or Enterprise car rental?

Enterprise and National Car Rental are owned by the same company, but Enterprise has better policies and pricing.

Enterprise is the better option of the 2, but National can be great for frequent travelers due to their rewards program.

Is Enterprise or Hertz cheaper?

Enterprise can be a little cheaper than Hertz, charging an average of $35 to $72/day while Hertz charges $40 to $78/day for economy rentals.

Both are relatively similar in cost, so make your choice based on vehicle availability and nearby locations to make your pick-up and drop-off easy.

Is it better to book a rental car directly?

Booking a rental car directly on the company website or app is always the best idea. You can "cut ahead" in line, speed through the reservation process, and earn rewards points by booking direct.

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So, What Are the Best Rental Car Companies Overall?

We’ve closely reviewed and ranked the 3 best-known rental car companies that most customers are familiar with: Enterprise, Hertz, and National Car Rental. 

Enterprise earned a perfect score in our ranking with 20 out of 20 points in the cost, access points, ease of use, and rewards categories. 

They’re our top choice for the best rental car company because the cost is affordable, the locations are everywhere, and the rewards program earns you free rentals and more. 

But don’t think that Hertz and National Car Rental aren’t worth considering. These two companies are in close competition for second and third place on our list! 

Hertz earned 19 out of 20 points in our ranking, only falling behind Enterprise in the cost category since it’s slightly more expensive. 

With Hertz’ great rewards programs, the most rental locations in and out of airports around the world, and previous customer satisfaction award wins, they’re a solid choice. 

National Car Rental is third on our list, ranking as the best rental car company for frequent travelers. They earned 17 out of 20 points, falling behind the others in the cost and ease of use categories. 

Since National is owned by Enterprise, you can earn double rewards with them and benefit with easy, fast access by renting their Emerald Aisle cars. 

Enterprise is the best rental car company overall, while Hertz is best for international travelers and National Car Rental is best for frequent travelers (especially business travelers). 

Gear up for your next trip with a shiny, new rental car from any of these 3 companies and you’ll be in for a treat. Don’t forget to sign up for rewards to start earning points!