The Ultimate Guide to The Avis Preferred Car Rental Program

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There are lots of car rental companies out there, and they all offer different rates, specials, terms, and loyalty programs.

This post is an in-depth look at Avis, including a breakdown of their rewards program: Avis Preferred. You will learn what Avis has to offer and how to make the most of each rental.

The Avis Preferred Program

Avis Preferred is a loyalty program offered by Avis car rentals. This program is revenue-based, so you will earn points based on how much you spend. Then you can use those points for free rentals, upgrades, and accessories.

There are 2 levels of status in the program — Avis Preferred and Avis Preferred Plus — plus 2 invitation-only elite levels: Avis President’s Club and Avis Chairman’s Club.

Avis Preferred

As an Avis Preferred member, you will enjoy expedited service and be able to go straight to your car at most locations. The program is free to join and does not require any minimum activity to remain active.

The only requirements are that you must be:

  • At least 25 years old
  • A resident of the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Not previously terminated by any Avis program or denied rental opportunities for any reason

Avis Preferred Plus

Avis Preferred Plus is the program’s elite status. As an Avis Preferred Plus, member you will get:

  • 1 free car class upgrade (when available)
  • Dedicated reservations number
  • Access to exclusive offers and discounts

There are 2 levels within Avis Preferred Plus that determine how many points you will earn per dollar spent. The spending requirements are based on a calendar year.

Level 1: 12 rentals or $5,000 spent

Level 2: 25 rentals or $7,000 spent

How to Earn Avis Points

You will earn Avis Preferred points every time you rent a car, and your earning potential is based on your elite status within the program.

Avis Preferred is the base level of the program (free to join with no minimum requirements):

  • Earn 1 point per $1 on every qualifying car rental (100 minimum)
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on accessories like a GPS, SiriusXM Radio, child car seats, or roadside assistance

Avis Preferred Plus members’ earnings vary by how many rentals they have already made (determined by the previous calendar year’s activity)

  • After 12 rentals or $5,000 spent, you will earn 1.25 points per $1 on qualifying car rentals (100 minimum) and 2.5 points per $1 on accessories
  • After 25 rentals or $7,000 spent, you will earn 1.5 points per $1 on car rentals and 3 points per $1 on accessories.
Avis Preferred Chart
Image courtesy of Avis.

A qualifying car rental is one that is completed and paid for at a participating Avis location.

Qualifying rentals do not include any opaque rental (when you don’t know the rental agency until after you pay) from sites like Hotwire or Priceline. Rentals using certain discount codes also do not count as a qualified rental.

Hot Tip: Joining Avis Preferred is free, and you will earn a 100-point bonus right away.

Double Dip on Points

Whenever you rent a car, make sure you are double dipping on points — earning both car rental program points and credit card points! Lots of credit cards offer bonus points on car rental purchases.

Earn 2x points per $1 for car rentals on these cards:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Mastercard®

Earn 3x points per $1 for car rentals on these cards:

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card

Hot Tip: Hit a home-run by also using a rewards card that has excellent car rental insurance coverage, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

How to Use Avis Points

Redeeming points is easy and starts at as little as 250 points for accessories and 700 points for car rentals.

There are 4 levels of point redemptions, based on the cost per day of your rental (not including any Avis Worldwide Discount (AWD), coupon codes, special rates or any other offer). There are no blackout dates for rentals using award points.

Avis Preferred Award Chart
Image courtesy of Avis.

How to Join Avis Preferred

To join Avis Preferred, all you need to do is sign up online. You will then get an Avis Wizard Number, which is your Avis Preferred membership number. You can use this number to log in to your account once you are enrolled.

How to Reserve a Car Through Avis

Searching for a car on Avis.com is easy. Just enter your pick up location, date, and pick up time on the main screen and click Select My Car.

Some optional fields will pop up that you can choose to fill out or not. If you have an Avis Wizard Number or discount code, enter it here.

Avis Preferred How To Search For A Car
Image courtesy of avis.com.

The search results are very clear and uncluttered (unlike a lot of other websites out there!) To sort your list by price, mileage, or number of seats, just use the sort button right above the search results.

You will notice there are 2 different prices: one if you pay at the counter and a lower one if you pay in advance.

Avis Preferred Search Results
Image courtesy of Avis.

Using the Pay Now price can save you up to 30% off the base rates, but there is a drawback — you will pay a fee if you have to cancel your reservation.

  • If you cancel at least 24 hours ahead of time, you will be charged $50.
  • If you cancel within 24 hours, a fee of $150 will be charged.
  • If you are a no-show for a prepaid reservation, you will forfeit the entire amount you paid.

After you choose Pay Now or Pay At Counter, you will be able to confirm your details and choose any extras you may want to add like insurance or entertainment.

You will see some package options featured — to pick and choose your coverage, just click on the Choose Individual Protections & Coverages drop-down box.

zen life and travel on instagram
Image courtesy of Avis.

Under the various insurance options, you will be able to add things like a ski rack, satellite radio, GPS, or child safety seats. Just check the box for any options you want to include then click the red Continue button at the bottom of the page.

zen life and travel on instagram
Image courtesy of Avis.

If you are paying for your reservation with a solid travel rewards credit card, you may not need any extra insurance.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers a car rental collision damage waiver (CDW) complimentary with your card. This is primary car rental insurance, meaning you don’t have to access your other insurance first.

Hot Tip: Get all the info you need about the primary rental insurance that comes with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card by checking out our guide to maximizing car rental insurance options with this card. For a full list of insurance options offered by various credit cards, take a peek at our guide to credit card insurance.

Reservations

There are a few things you can do when you click on the Reservations tab in the main menu.

Avis Preferred Reservations
Image courtesy of Avis.com.

First, you can make a new reservation by clicking Make a Reservation and proceeding through the search process as described above.

To change an existing reservation, click on View/Modify/Cancel and enter your last name and reservation number

You can get a copy of your rental agreement and receipt by clicking on Get e-Receipt. You will need the country of rental, your last name, and your confirmation number.

The final thing you can do here is access TripIt. This is a separate service that keeps your travel details in 1 master online itinerary including directions, maps, and even weather.

Avis Promo Codes, Discounts, and Special Offers

To see the current deals and promo codes being offered by Avis click on Offers in the main menu. From here you will be able to see U.S. Offers, International Offers, and Partner Offers.

U.S. and International Offers

If you scroll down a bit, you will find lots of different offers and coupon codes. There is a separate box that lists all of the coupon and AWD (Avis Worldwide Discount) codes currently being offered. Click on Save Now to view a list of all of the discount codes.

Avis coupon and discount codes
Image courtesy of avis.com.

To use a discount code (including coupon codes and AWD codes), input the code at the beginning of your search in the Discount Codes box. Then it will be automatically applied as you go through your search.

Avis Discount Codes
Image courtesy of Avis.com.

Hot Tip: You can use both a coupon code and an AWD (Avis Worldwide Discount) code on a single rental, but you can’t use 2 coupon codes or 2 AWD codes.

Partner Offers

Avis partner offers consist of discounts and deals offered by select companies that partner with Avis. These offers can be found on the home page of avis.com or by clicking Offers>Partner Offers from the main search bar.

Offers are subject to change, but may include the following:

  • AARP: Members save up to 30% plus get exclusive benefits
  • Fuel Rewards: Members can save up to 25% off plus earn 5 cents/gallon for every $50 spent on car rentals
  • Extended Stay America Hotels: Save up to 30% off your next stay at over 600 locations
  • British Airways Visa Signature® Card: Earn up to 100,000 bonus Avios in your first year (this is a public offer that is not exclusive to Avis Preferred members)
  • Veterans Advantage: Members save up to 25% at Avis
  • Universal Studios Hollywood: Save $10 off a 2-day pass
  • American Express Cardholders: Save an additional 5% on prepay rentals with any American Express credit card
  • Zipcar: College students can join Zipcar for $15 and get a $15 driving credit
  • Amazon: Save up to 30% off base rates and get 10%-20% back in an Amazon gift card

    Avis Partner Offers
    Avis discount codes, promo codes, and partner offers can be found on the homepage or by clicking Offers in the main search bar. Image courtesy of avis.com.

Avis Locations

Avis has 5,500 locations in over 165 countries. To find an Avis location, click on Locations in the main menu.

To search by an address, zip code, city, or attraction, click on Find A Location. You can also search by state by clicking on All US Locations or search by country by clicking on All Global Locations.

Miles, Points, and Partners

If you would rather earn airline miles or hotel points for your Avis car rental, you can do that through Miles, Points & Partners under the Cars & Services tab in the main menu.

Avis - Miles Points and Partners
Image courtesy of avis.com.

Airline and Hotel Points Partners

You can choose to earn airline or hotel points on your rental instead of Avis points. Participating airlines and hotel chains include (but are not limited to):

Airlines:

American Airlines: Earn 500 AAdvantage miles per qualifying rental

British Airways: Earn 1 Avios per $1 on Avis car rentals with a minimum of 500 Avios per rental. Plus earn 500 bonus Avios on your first rental when you join Avis Preferred. Receive 750 bonus Avios when you rent at least 4 times in a calendar year.

Cathay Pacific Airlines: Earn 250-500 Asia Miles per qualifying rental

Etihad Airlines: Earn 500-800 Etihad Guest Miles per qualifying rental

Frontier: Earn 50 Frontier Miles per rental per day on all qualifying rentals, or 500 miles on qualifying rentals of 5 days or more

Jet Blue: Earn 100 TrueBlue Points per day (up to 5 days) on qualifying rentals at participating airport locations

Southwest: Earn 600 Rapid Rewards Points per rental

Spirit Airlines: 50 Free Spirit miles on rentals 4 days or less, or 500 Free Spirit miles on 5+ day rentals

Virgin Atlantic: Earn 500-1000 Flying Club Miles per rental

Hotels:

Best Western: Earn 1,000 Best Western Rewards points per rental on qualifying rentals

Choice: Earn 1,000 Choice Privileges points per rental on all qualifying rentals

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts: Earn 500 World of Hyatt points per rental on all qualifying rentals

La Quinta Inn & Suites: Earn 1,000 La Quinta Returns points per rental on all qualifying rentals

Radisson: Earn 750 Radisson Rewards points per rental on all qualifying rentals

Wyndham: Earn 100 Wyndham Rewards points per rental on all qualifying rentals

Frequent Flyer Tax

This program is not without drawbacks. When you choose to earn points from certain hotel and airlines, you will be charged a fee.

Depending on the length of your rental, this fee negates the value of the bonus points, so it’s probably best to avoid the following programs if you can (especially for long rentals):

  • Alaska Airlines: $0.75 per day
  • American Airlines: $1 per day
  • Best Western Hotels & Resorts: $0.75 per day
  • Choice Hotels: $0.75 per day
  • Copa Airlines: $1 per day
  • Frontier Airlines: $0.75 per day
  • Hawaiian Airlines: $0.75 per day
  • Hyatt Hotels: $0.75 per day
  • JetBlue Airways: $1 per day
  • La Quinta Inns & Suites: $0.75 per day
  • Radisson Hotels: $0.75 per day
  • Southwest Airlines: $1 per day
  • Spirit Airlines: $0.75 per day
  • Wyndham Hotels & Resorts: $0.75 per day

Other Partners

In addition to hotel and airline partners, Avis partners with other companies to offer discounts and special offers:

Aeroplan: Earn 500 Aeroplan Miles at participating airport locations and 250 Aeroplan Miles at participating off-airport locations on qualifying rentals. A Frequent Flyer Surcharge of $0.75 CDN per day (up to $5.25 CDN per transaction) will apply.

Eurostar: Earn 25-50 points per qualifying rental in Europe plus additional discounts at participating European locations

Holiday Network: Save $50 on your next vacation rental with the code AWD when you book online

Avis and British Airways

Avis partners with British Airways to bring extra benefits to Executive Club members. Because of this, there are lots of opportunities to earn Avios points when you rent a car through Avis.

Note that your Executive Club member number must be attached to your rental to receive any benefits.

Avis and British Airways
Image courtesy of avisba.com.

All British Airways Executive Club members can receive the following benefits:

  • Earn 1 Avios per $1 on Avis car rentals with a minimum 500 Avios per rental (10,000 Avios maximum)
  • Earn 500 bonus Avios on your first rental when you join Avis Preferred, plus a complimentary upgrade on your next rental
  • 750 bonus Avios when you rent at least 4 times in a calendar year.
  • 250 bonus Avios when you pay for your Avis rental using a participating co-branded British Airways credit card
  • Free additional driver with every rental

Visit www.avisba.com for more information and full program details.

Avis Mobile App

The Avis mobile app has been redesigned to give you a seamless experience. You can use the app to do things like rent a car, choose your vehicle at pickup, cancel or extend a rental, find gas stations, and more.

You can also easily share your receipt with anyone — making it a great tool when you are traveling for business.

Download the app through the App Store or Google Play.

Avis Flex

If you are looking for a long-term car rental of a month or longer, Avis offers Avis Flex. Find it under the Cars & Services drop down on the main search bar.

Avis Flex Long Term Rental
Image courtesy of avis.com.

With Avis Flex, you can rent a car up to 11 months at a time. You can choose the exact make and model of your car, and also swap it out at the location you rented it from.

One-way rentals are also available, so you can take a long road trip without worrying about having to return the car to the location you picked it up at.

Through March 31, 2019, you can save up to 10% off the base rate of a rental of at least 28 days.

Avis for Business

The Avis For Business program is designed for small and mid-sized businesses. Details can be found under Business Rentals>Small and Mid-Sized Business.

Avis For Business
Image courtesy of avis.com.

As a member, you will receive the following benefits:

  • 1 free reward day after you complete your first rental
  • Double rewards during your first 90 days as a member
  • Up to 30% off base rates
  • 1 reward day for every 15 completed rentals
  • An Avis Worldwide Discount number to share with your employees

Buy a Car From Avis

Did you know you could buy a car from Avis? If you like the idea of testing out a car for up to 3 days before committing to purchase it, look for the Avis Ultimate Test Drive. Details are located under the Car Sales tab on the main menu.

Avis Ultimate Test Drive
Image courtesy of aviscarsales.com.
  1. First, choose your car and pick up location online.
  2. Pick up the car and test drive for up to 2 hours free of charge. Or keep the car for up to 3 days for as little as $46 per day.
  3. Decide to buy or not. If you purchase the car, your rental fees will be refunded.

Avis Customer Service

If you need help with the website or renting a car, you will find all of the Avis customer service information under the Help tab in the main menu.

Under Customer Service you will find comment and feedback forms, TTY/TDD information, request forms for past receipts or miles/points, phone numbers, insurance claim forms, FAQs, and lost and found.

Click on Worldwide Telephone Numbers for a list of phone numbers for every country Avis services. Here are a few common ones you might need:

  • Avis Roadside Assist: 800-354-2847
  • U.S. Customer Service: 1-800-352-7900
  • U.S. Reservations: 1-800-633-3469

Avis vs. Budget

Avis and Budget are 2 well-known car rental companies. So, what’s the difference between them? Not much actually.

They are in fact, the same company. Budget owns Avis (as well as Payless Car Rental), so their offerings and loyalty programs are very similar. However, their prices can be different.

Price Comparisons

I wanted to see how Avis stacked up to other car rental agencies as far as price goes.

To experiment, I priced out a few long weekend rentals for different types of cars in different cities. These prices are their standard rates without any special discounts. Here is what I found:

Rental CarAvisBudgetHertzEnterpriseDollar
Compact$141.24$143.43$184.02$191.36$136.17
Intermediate$99.10$92.20N/A$107.27$90.45
Standard SUV$199.58$122.18$371.30$92.99$112.79

As you can see, the prices are all over the map; there is no real pattern. Avis fell in the middle of the pack price-wise in every example.

If you don’t want to check lots of different websites each time you rent a car, consider searching through a site like Kayak — they will show you the prices for lots of different sites all in one place. Then you can go to the site with the lowest price to complete your booking.

Final Thoughts

Avis is just one of many car rental agencies to choose from. They offer an easy-to-use website plus discount codes and partner offers.

Their rewards program, Avis Preferred, lets you earn points based on your rental activity that you can redeem for free rentals or accessories. You even have the option to earn hotel points or airline miles every time you rent a car!


Featured Image Credit: Richochet64/Shutterstock

FAQ

Can I use a debit card to rent a car from Avis?

Debit cards are accepted at most U.S. locations for payment. However, if you are currently using a debit card, it might make sense to get a credit card that offers benefits like car rental insurance. Credit cards are accepted at all locations.

Can I take an Avis rental car into Canada or Mexico?

Yes, with advanced arrangement, a U.S resident may rent a car in the U.S and take it into Canada. U.S Residents using a corporate AWD (discount code) may take a car rented in the U.S into Mexico.

Is Avis Preferred free?

Yes, Avis Preferred (the loyalty program offered by Avis) is free to join. There are 2 levels of membership, Avis Preferred and Avis Preferred Plus — plus 2 invitation-only elite levels: Avis President’s Club and Avis Chairman’s Club.

Does Avis offer unlimited mileage?

Yes, most Avis rentals come with unlimited mileage. You will be able to confirm this on the payment summary page before you make your reservation.

Can my spouse drive an Avis rental car that's in my name?

Yes, a renter’s domestic partner can drive the rental car free of charge as long as he or she is at least 25 years old and has a valid driver’s license. Other drivers can be added for a fee.

Katie Seemann

About Katie Seemann

Katie is an Ohio native who caught the travel bug after spending a semester in college in Nottingham, England. In addition to exploring England, she visited Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands during that time and loved every minute of it (everything except the hostel in Scotland - that's an experience she doesn't intend on repeating!). In late 2015, Katie discovered the world of points and miles, and it literally changed her life.

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