Budget Car Hire Review

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We survey thousands of car hire customers to give you an independent, unbiased rating of Budget and let you compare it with 12 other car rental companies.

Which? verdict: Budget has decent-quality cars and a transparent fuel policy, but there’s room for improvement, especially with queues and additional charges.

Budget customer ratings

If you want to see how Budget measures up against its rivals, read our best and worst car hire companies page.

Car hire company: Budget (117)

We sampled 2,282 Which? members in January 2020, a further 843 in January 2021, and a further 657 in 2022. Sample size is in brackets. Customer score combines overall satisfaction and likelihood to recommend. A dash means not enough responses to calculate that category.

What’s Budget like?

Given its name, you’d have thought Budget’s prices would be some of the lowest. They’re not.

Customers awarded it an average three stars out of five for value for money. This might be down to the cost of its additional insurance. One customer reported that excess insurance and roadside-assistance fees ended up doubling the original hire cost quoted. Another summed this up: ‘The system is based on low prices to get you in, then extortionate add-on charges.’ Find out more about car hire insurance.

Worse still, one customer was ‘overly encouraged to take out additional insurance’ despite already having it. This seemed to be a rare case. Other customers assured Which? that Budget staff members did not continue to upsell once they knew the customer had bought their own third-party insurance.

Budget’s customer service is a bit hit and miss depending on which office you visit. One customer recalled that staff were ‘very helpful’ and ‘trustworthy’. But overall it only received an average three out of five stars for customer service.

Several customers commented on the easy return of cars. However, the drop-off process must be slicker than pick-up, because 51% of customers reported having to queue for their car. One commented that their wait time was ‘so extreme and disheartening’ that they will avoid Budget in future, despite the rest of their experience being positive.

Should I book with Budget?

While it’s not at the very bottom of the pile, Budget is far from a star performer in our survey. Its extra costs irk customers, which is a shame as its name projects a different story. However, its returns process and clear fuel policy win it back some brownie points. For the lowest prices, we’d recommend booking a trusted local provider via Zest Car Rental instead.

Save Big with the Best Car Rental Deals

Us Deal

Pinch yourself now because budget is offering rental car deals on our already cheap prices. When your car is in the shop for a while, save more the longer you rent with a monthly car rental. Are you a veteran or currently serving in the military? Budget always offers a military discount for those who serve our country. If you’re the owner of a small business, there’s a budget car rental coupon just for you, too! What if we also told you that you can donate to charity and save money on your rental car? Talk about a win-win situation! Let car rental be the least of your worries and focus on planning a vacation, visiting family, and getting around town. Book a car rental today and use one of our many rental car deals.

From weddings, reunions, or group retreats to corporate meetings and conferences – some events just require guests to have their own transportation. Book five or more rentals with Budget for your next big event and get great low group rates!

A dedicated Budget Meeting Specialist will build an exclusive package of special low group car rental rates which are valid one week prior to and one 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

 To connect with a Budget Meeting Specialist and start planning for your next event, choose your event type and complete the form or call (800) 356-0147.

What is Budget Fastbreak?

Fastbreak is a car rental membership program that makes it quick and easy to pick up and drop off your Budget vehicle. Join Budget Fastbreak today — it’s simple, smart, fast, and FREE.

Want a brisk exit from the rental counter? As a Fastbreak member, you simply flash your valid license, pick up your keys, and bypass the long lines. Returns are just as easy. Drop the car in the designated area and go. We’ll email you the receipt.

As a Fastbreak member, you’ll also receive exclusive deals from Budget so you can save more time and money.

Fastbreak Members, register to earn $25 in Budget Bucks

Now through December 31st, rent twice, and we’ll email you $25 in Budget Bucks. You can earn up to 52 coupons each year – that’s over $1,000 towards future rentals! Register to start earning Budget Bucks today.

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