National vs. Hertz vs. Avis

Today I arrived at the Milwaukee airport at 7:00pm. When I went to pick up my car at Avis (Preferred walk right to the garage), there was no car and no reservation.

I book my own travel all the time, and I could have sworn that I reserved a car, but when I now checked my records I realized that I had simply forgotten. This is probably a result of the excessive weekly travel I have been doing, too many places, too many rental cars.

So I walked back to the counter and I was going to go to Avis, but then the National advertisements rung in my head. “Choose any car in the isle.” I thought what they heck, if I am going to just pick any car company, why not try National for a change, see what they are like and enjoy choosing any car in the idle.

The lady behind the counter was very nice. She noticed we share a birthday. She assigned me a car in a few minutes. I didn’t get to choose. When I signed the papers, I realized that it seemed expensive: $110 for a day. I didn’t want to back out or make a scene. I didn’t know what Avis cars would cost, either, so I let it go.

When I got to the hotel, I went online and checked.

For 24 hours, 9am to 9am the next day, for an identical full-sized car:

  • Avis: $54 a day
  • National: $110 a day
  • Hertz: $141 a day

What the heck?

Sorry, Avis, for cheating on you. It was only once. It meant nothing to me. Please forgive me. I am coming back.

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