How to avoid car rental additional driver fees

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When renting a car, additional driver fees can quickly add to the cost. Luckily, there are several ways to avoiding this extra expense. 

Here’s a look at the major rental agencies and their associated additional driver fees:

Car rental companyAdditional driver fee
Alamo additional driver fee$10 per day for each additional driver
Avis additional driver fee$13 per day for each additional driver ($65 maximum)
Budget additional driver fee$13 per day for each additional driver ($65 maximum)
Dollar additional driver feeAmount not advertised
Enterprise additional driver fee$10 per day for each additional driver
Hertz additional driver fee$13.50 per day for each additional driver ($189 maximum per driver)
National additional driver fee$10 per day for each additional driver
Thrify additional driver feeAmount not advertised

Is there any car company with no additional driver fee?

Budget, Avis and Enterprise do not charge a fee for an additional driver who is your spouse or domestic partner. And if you are renting under a business discount code, you may be able to have business colleagues as additional drivers.

You can avoid the fee at Hertz and National, for example, by enrolling in their frequent rental programs and then booking a car rental with your frequent rental number.

For longer trips, consider renting with either Budget or Avis. Even though the daily fee is $13, there’s a $65 maximum for a single rental period. That means you won’t pay the fee after five days. And for short trips with an additional driver who isn’t a spouse, try Enterprise or National. Both have the lowest advertised fee of $10 per day. Thrifty and Dollar don’t advertise their daily rate, so you may have to get a quote for your specific rental to compare prices. 

Hertz, on the other hand, has both the most expensive per-day rate for additional drivers, as well as a high maximum at $189. You’d have to rent a car for 14 days before the fee drops off. 

As always, it’s wise to compare your options on cheap car rental websites to find the best overall deal. And because each rental company has slightly different policies, it’s best to confirm the most current rules when you book your vehicle. 

Ways to add an additional driver for free

First, check the state laws. In California, any additional driver fee is illegal. And in other states, including Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin, it’s prohibited to charge extra for a spouse. 

Credit cards can be another way to save on your car rental, even if you can’t get the additional driver fee waived. For example, many travel credit cards partner with rental car companies to give you a percentage off anytime you make a booking with that card. Certain credit cards provide cardholders with rental car insurance. Consequently, you can decline coverage at the rental counter and still be protected in certain situations. 

Also, look for other ways to save beyond the additional driver fee. Use credit card points to lower your total bill and remember that roundtrip bookings can be cheaper than one-way rentals. And check out our guide to saving money on your car rentals, including tips like checking for hidden fees, such as toll passes. These strategies can help lower your overall costs, even with additional drivers.

Fee waivers for members of select groups

Certain memberships offer extra car rental perks, including getting the additional driver fee waived. AAA, for example, is known for its roadside assistance services. But becoming a member also gives you access to a waived additional driver fee at Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty, as long as both you and the other driver are members. On top of that, AAA members can also get the young-driver fee waived if any driver is under 25 years old. 

Similarly, AARP members get no-cost additional drivers when booking with Budget

If you’re a Costco member, you’ll get the fee waived for U.S. rentals from Avis and Budget, plus rentals from Alamo and Enterprise in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Germany, France and Spain. Depending on how frequently you travel, a Costco membership could be worth the savings, even if you don’t have a warehouse near you.

Finally, there’s USAA, the financial institution for military members and their families. It partners with Hertz, Avis, Budget and Enterprise to extend car rental benefits for members. To get the fee waived, the additional driver must either be a USAA member or the spouse of a member. 

Membership to these organizations may not be worth it for one rental car reservation but may be worth exploring if you’re a frequent traveler. 

Bottom line

Having more than one driver on a trip can take the burden off a single individual. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg to add an additional driver to your car rental. Make sure you explore all of your options to minimize your costs while also getting the coverage you need. Check to see what restrictions your state has in place, then look at some of your credit card perks and membership benefits for additional driver discounts.

Featured image by Zoran Zeremski/Shutterstock.

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Lauren Ward is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, he covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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