The Ultimate Guide to Budget Car Rental [Budget Fastbreak Loyalty Program]

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Everyone knows that renting a car can be a real headache, and sorting out which rental program to go with can be a bit confusing. But Upgraded Points is here to help!

Our previous posts have covered Avis, Enterprise, Hertz, and National — this post will cover the ins and outs of Budget Car Rental and its Budget Fastbreak Program.

Budget Fastbreak Program

Budget does not offer a typical loyalty program like what you might be used to. There are no elite tiers and you won’t earn points that you can later redeem for free rentals.

So how does the Budget Fastbreak program work? Fastbreak aims to make it easy to pick up and drop off your vehicle. The program is free to join — as a Fastbreak member, you simply flash your license, pick up your keys, and bypass the long lines. Returns are just as easy. Drop the car in the designated area and go.

As a Fastbreak member, you’ll also receive exclusive deals from Budget so that you can save more time and money. Now through December 31, 2020, if you rent twice with Budget, you’ll earn $25 in Budget Bucks (redeemable for a future rental). You can earn up to 52 coupons each year — that’s over $1,000 towards future rentals!

Hot Tip: If you’re someone who prefers a standard loyalty program that allows you to earn points and receive car upgrades for your status, Budget really doesn’t offer that. You might want to look into a program like National or Hertz

How to Earn Budget Bucks

The only way you can earn Budget Bucks is by signing up for the Fastbreak program and completing 2 qualifying rentals. Every time you do so you will earn $25 in Budget Bucks that you can redeem towards a future rental. You can earn up to 52 coupons each year, which would amount to $1,000 in free rentals.

Double Dip on Points

In addition to earning Budget Bucks, you should also make sure you are earning credit card points each time you rent a car with Budget. If you don’t currently have a credit card that offers bonus points for car rental purchases, there are plenty of great options.

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

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

Hot Tip: In addition to earning points, you’ll also want a card that offers excellent car rental insurance coverage to help keep you protected throughout your rental!

How to Join Budget Fastbreak 

To join Budget Fastbreak, all you need to do is sign up online. Once you’ve filled out all the necessary details, you will receive your customer ID number. You can use this number to log in to your account once you are enrolled.

How to Rent a Car Through Budget

Renting a car with Budget is a simple process. First, sign in using your customer ID number, then enter your pick-up location, date, pick-up time, renter age, vehicle class, and any corporate account number or offer code you have, then click Select My Car.

Budget Main Screen
Budget Car Rental main screen. Image Credit: Budget

The search results are given with a Budget-recommended option at the very top and the rest of the options sorted in order by price from low to high. From the top panel, you can filter your results by vehicle type, price, mileage, and the number of seats.

When you select which car you’d like, you’ll notice that there are pay now and pay at counter options. The pay now option gives you a discount for paying upfront but the reservation is non-refundable. The pay at the counter option is more expensive but allows you to cancel before checking-in if need be.

Hot Tip: There is also a pop-up that will prompt you to sign-in with your Amazon account. If you have one, you should definitely do so, as you can save up to 30% off the base rates and receive 10% back in an Amazon.com gift card after every completed car rental.

Budget Car Results
Budget car search results. Image Credit: Budget

Once you’ve selected a vehicle, you’ll then be prompted to add any extras for your rental. These could include insurance and vehicle protections, along with any other equipment additions like GPS, fuel plans, or a child safety seat.

Budget Add Extras
Budget extras selection screen. Image Credit: Budget

After you’ve selected any extras that you would like, you’ll be taken to the final screen where you can enter your flight details (optional) and finally, your payment details to finalize the reservation.

Do You Need to Add Extra Insurance?

Deciding to purchase coverage through Budget will depend on whether or not you have a credit card that offers primary or secondary rental car insurance.

You may be wondering, what is the difference between primary and secondary insurance? Secondary rental insurance kicks in to cover costs that your personal auto insurance won’t pick up. So, if you have an accident in your rental car, you still need to file a claim with your personal insurance provider and pay the deductible before any secondary coverage kicks in.

Primary rental coverage is the exact opposite, it kicks in before your personal auto insurance so you do not need to notify your personal auto insurance company and risk increasing your premiums if you have an accident. Usually, primary rental car coverage covers much more than secondary insurance and is much more likely to cover the entire cost of the car in the case of theft or total loss from flood or fire.

Here are some great card options that offer primary rental car insurance:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve card
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred card
  • Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card
  • Ink Business Preferred card
  • Ink Business Unlimited℠ Credit Card
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card
  • United Club℠ Business Card
  • United Club℠ Card
  • United℠ Explorer Business Card
  • United℠ Explorer Card

Budget Locations

Budget has thousands of locations worldwide across 131 countries. To find a location, click on Locations in the top menu.

To search for a location click Find a Location and search by an address, zip code, city, airport code, or attraction.

Miles, Points, and Partners

If you’re someone who would rather earn airline miles or hotel points for your car rental, you’re in luck! Budget offers 25 airline and hotel partners that give you the option to earn points or miles with that partner, instead of Budget Bucks.

Partner
Miles EarnedPartner
Miles EarnedPartner
Miles Earned
Aeroplan250 miles per rentalCopa Airlines ConnectMiles100 points per day up to 5 daysRadisson Rewards750 points per rental
AirAsia BIG250 points per day/2,500 per rentalEl Al Frequent Flyer Club10 points per rentalSaudi Arabian Alfursan600 miles per rental
Air New Zealand Air Points$2.50 Airpoint Dollars per dayEmirates Skywards500 miles per rentalSingapore Airlines KrisFlyer500 miles per rental
Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan50 miles per day or 500 miles on rentals of 5 days or moreFrontier Miles50 miles per day or 500 miles on rentals of 5 days or moreSpirit Airlines FREE SPIRIT50 miles per day or 500 miles on rentals over 5 days
American Airlines AAdvantage500 miles per rentalHawaiian HawaiianMiles250 miles per rentalSouthwest Rapid Rewards600 miles per rental
Asia Miles500 miles per rentalJAL Mileage Bank50 miles per day up to 250 miles per rentalThai Airways Royal Orchid Plus500 miles per rental
Avianca-Taca LifeMiles500 miles per rentalJetBlue TrueBlue100 miles per day up to 500 milesWyndham Rewards100 points per day
Best Western Rewards1,000 points per rentalMalaysia Airlines Enrich500 miles per rental
Choice Privileges1,000 points per rentalQatar Airways Privilege Club500 miles per rental

Budget Business Program

Small business owners can access big savings with the Budget Business Program.

Those enrolled in the program receive the following perks:

  • Up to 30% off base rates
  • $3 reward credit for every qualifying rental day
  • Access to the Budget Business Program member-only website
  • Complimentary Fastbreak membership to allow you to skip the counter at pickup
  • A dedicated support team

Meetings and Group Car Rentals

Need to rent a car for a corporate retreat, conference, wedding, or any other group event? Budget has you covered with its Group Car Rental program.

A dedicated Budget Meeting Specialist will build an exclusive package of special low group car rental rates which are valid 1 week before and 1 week after the event.

Additional benefits include:

  • A personalized booking page for attendees
  • Additional 5% prepay discount
  • Free unlimited mileage
  • Individual and corporate direct billing options

Budget Long Term Rental Program

Need to rent a car for a while? Budget will rent you a car for up to 11 months at a time. Long term renters can benefit from great daily rental rates and discounted loss damage waivers. If you need to change your car for any reason, contact the rental location from where you picked up your car to schedule a vehicle swap.

Budget Customer Service

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

From here you can select which issue you need help with and be connected with the corresponding department. You can contact the Budget Lost and Found, reservations, or meeting and group rental services and view FAQs and share feedback from your recent rental experience.

Want to speak with someone directly? Here are some helpful phone numbers depending on your needs:

  • Customer Service: 800-214-6094
  • U.S. Reservations: 800-218-7792
  • Reservations outside of the U.S.: 800-472-3325
  • Roadside Assistance: 800-354-2847

Competitor Price Comparisons

Curious how Budget stacks up against its competitors?  To find out, we’ve pitted them against Avis, Hertz, National, and Enterprise for a random weekend rental in Los Angeles. Here were the nightly quotes from each company – excluding any membership discounts:

Rental CarBudgetNationalAvisHertzEnterprise
Compact$97$116$108$114$80
Mid-Sized$109$129$120$127$86
SUV$147$170$158$151$113

In this search, Enterprise offered the best price at every car level, but Budget wasn’t far behind, coming in with the second-lowest price at each tier. Again, keep in mind that these prices do not include any membership, credit card, or corporate discounts, so be certain to account for those when doing your own price comparisons.

Hot Tip: Check out these great tips to help you save money on your rental car.

Final Thoughts

While there are dozens of car rental options out there, Budget offers competitive prices, long-term rental car options, rental car options for your business, and the option to earn miles or points with over 20 different travel partners.

Budget’s loyalty program, Fastbreak, functions more like a rebate program than a traditional loyalty program, but it can still be very helpful for those who are frequently renting cars with Budget. As always, the next time you’re looking for a rental car, make sure to compare prices of competing programs to make certain you’re getting a great deal!


Frequently asked questions

How do I rent a car with Budget?

  1. Sign in at Budget.com using your Budget Fastbreak customer ID number. Then enter your pick up location, date, pick up time, renter age, vehicle class, and any corporate account number or promotion code you have.
  2.  Next, select a vehicle that fits your needs.
  3.  Finally, you’ll be prompted to add any extras for your rental. These extras include insurance and vehicle protections, along with any other equipment additions like GPS or a child safety seat.
  4. Finalize your payment details and you’re all set!

Is the Budget Fastbreak program free to join?

Yes, the Budget Fastbreak program is free to join.

How do I sign up for the Budget Fastbreak program?

Signing up is simple! Just head to this link to do so.

Is there a limit to how many Budget Bucks you can earn and redeem?

There is no limit to how many Budget Bucks you can earn, but you can only redeem them 1 at a time.

Do Budget Bucks expire?

Yes, your Budget Bucks must be redeemed by the date listed on the coupon. This is usually 1 year after the coupon was issued.

Do reservations where you use a Budget Bucks coupon count as a qualifying rental?

No, any rental in which you redeem a Budget Bucks coupon does not count as a qualifying rental.

Jarrod West

About Jarrod West

Born and raised just outside of Cincinnati, Jarrod became fascinated with using points and miles as the perfect way to visit dream destinations without breaking the bank. Thanks to points and miles, Jarrod was able to spend 3 months traveling Europe financed nearly entirely with points and miles; while flying in premium cabins and staying in 5-star hotels along the way. To date, Jarrod has traveled to 16 countries and 22 US states.

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