Budget Car Rental The Ultimate Guide

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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