Under 25? Here’s how to avoid young driver fees

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In some states, you can obtain a driver’s license if you’re only 15 years old. But many rental car companies require you to be at least 20 or 21 to get behind the wheel. Even if you are old enough to rent a car, you may still be faced with a young driver fee if you’re under 25.

That’s because driving statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that younger drivers are more likely to be involved in a car accident. The young driver fee, which can be as much as $60 a day, is designed in part to account for that added risk.

Here is what a few rental car companies charge for young drivers, as well as their minimum age requirements.

Comparing young renter fees


AlamoAvisBudgetEnterpriseHertzNationalThrifty
Minimum Rental Age (except Michigan and New York which is 18)21 years21 years21 years21 years20 years21 years20 years
Young Driver Daily Surcharge under 25$20 average (location dependent)$27$27$25 average (location dependent)$29$25 average (location dependent)$29
Michigan Daily Surcharge (18 to 20 years old)$42$41$41$40$52$42$52
Michigan Daily Surcharge (21 to 24 years old)$19$28$28$19$29$19$29
New York Daily Surcharge (18 to 20 years old)$64.50$84$84$64.50$52$64.50$52
New York Daily Surcharge (21 to 24 years old)$24.50$35$35$24.50$35-45$24.50$35-$45

The good news is that even if you are younger than 25, there are ways you can save money on a car rental.

Alamo young driver daily surcharge

  • $20 daily average surcharge but varies based on the rental location

Avis young driver daily surcharge

  • $27 surcharge per day for ages 21 to 24
  • Ordinarily, the minimum age to rent at Avis is 21
  • Until March 31, 2021, college students aged 18-24 can rent at Avis with their student I.D. in all states except Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Maryland. For ages 18-20, the surcharge is $40.50.

Budget young driver daily surcharge

  • $27 surcharge per day for ages 21 to 24
  • Until March 31, 2021, college students aged 18-24 can rent at Budget with their student I.D. in all states except Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Maryland. For ages 18-20, the surcharge is $40.50. 

Enterprise young driver daily surcharge

  • $25 daily average surcharge but varies based on the rental location

Hertz young driver daily surcharge

  • $29 daily surcharge but the fee is waived until March 31, 2021, for standard car vehicle groups 
  • New York surcharges:
    • $52 per day for ages 18-19
    • $35-$45 per day for ages 20-24. The fee is waived until March 31, 2021, for standard car vehicle groups 
  • Michigan surcharges:
    • $52 per day for ages 18-19
    • $29 per day for ages 20-24. The fee is waived until March 31, 2021, for standard car vehicle groups 

National young driver daily surcharge

  • $25 daily average surcharge but varies based on the rental location

Thrifty young driver daily surcharge

  • $29 daily surcharge 

Fee waivers for members of select groups

If you belong to one of the following groups or organizations, you could have the young driver fee waived. You’ll want to check your eligibility before paying the additional fees, but this can save you a significant amount of money.

  • Military and government
  • AAA members
  • USAA members
  • Business travel
If you’re under the age of 25 and looking to rent a car, you can avoid paying a young-driver fee if you belong to certain organizations, like the military, USAA, or AAA. (Photo by Maksym Povozniuk/Shutterstock)

Military and government

Many car rental companies will either offer a discount or waive the young driver fee altogether for government and military personnel when traveling with official orders.

Alamo’s policy, for instance, is to not charge any underage or additional driver fees for government and military personnel on official travel. They also provide discounted rates for those traveling for leisure in Canada, Europe, and Latin America.

If you believe you are eligible for this discount, make sure you see the discounted rate reflected on the final order screen online.

AAA members

If you are a member of AAA, Hertz will waive the fee for those between the ages of 20 and 24. Besides the Hertz waiver, AAA membership also provides a number of services:

  • Towing benefits
  • Fuel delivery
  • Locksmith service
  • Battery and jump start service
  • Flat tire service
  • And more

AAA membership can be relatively inexpensive. For instance, memberships for AAA of Southern California start at just $52 per year. Young driver fees can run as much as $50 a day.

USAA members

If you’re a member of USAA and you are in the military or are a family member of a qualifying person in the military, you’ll be eligible for the following fee waivers:

  • Avis: $27 per day for young drivers ages 18-24
  • Budget: $27 per day for young drivers ages 18-24
  • Enterprise: $20 per day for young drivers ages 21-24
  • Hertz: $30 per day for young drivers ages 18-24

These discounts are only available to military and their families as they are the only ones eligible for USAA membership. 

Business travelers

If your company requires you to travel for business, check with either your company or the car rental agency to see if they have a corporate account or another business arrangement that can waive the young driver fee.

Some companies negotiate a fee schedule with the rental agency that excludes any young driver fees or surcharges.

Other ways to save money

If you don’t belong to any of those organizations, there are still ways you can minimize the cost of renting a car. Including, but not limited to, remembering to use one of the best credit cards for car rental insurance.

Mind your gas usage

Car rental companies may offer you the option to prepay for gas. This may be convenient but could cost you more.

By prepaying, you’re paying for a full tank of gas. If you bring back the car with any gas left in the tank, you won’t be entitled to a refund.

Even if the rental company is charging less than the average cost of gas for the area, you can always find a cheaper gas station on your own. Plus, you can save even more money by paying at a gas station with one of the best gas credit cards.

Don’t rent at the airport

If you want to save money, don’t rent a car at the airport. Instead, rent it from a company that’s at least a few miles away from the airport.

Renting a car at the airport may be convenient, but you’ll often pay more for the convenience.

In addition to charging more for their convenient location, the rental companies themselves are charged more for leasing the building space at the airport and pass the costs on to you.

Book a rental with miles and points

Booking a rental with miles and points is another good way to save. Here are three ways you might accomplish this:

  1. Rental-car rewards program: Many rental car companies have some sort of loyalty program, which typically offer discounts or even free rental days once you pass certain milestones.
    You can find rewards programs with many of the top rental car companies, such as:
    • National
    • Hertz
    • Alamo
    • Avis
    • Budget
    • Enterprise
    • Thrifty
  1. Credit card rewards: With a good rewards credit card, you can redeem your cash, miles, or points for a car rental. Credit cards that earn miles and points can often be more valuable than a cash back credit card, but either way, you’ll save. 
  2. Airline programs: Because some car rental companies have partnerships with certain airlines, you might be able to score a discount on your car rental if you book with a particular airline.
    As one example, Budget car rental has partnered with Southwest and from now until Jan. 31, 2021, you can earn up to 2,400 Southwest points (4x the standard 600 points) and save up to 30% on qualifying Budget rentals.

Bottom line

Many car rental companies charge a young driver fee if you’re below the age of 25, but if you know where to look, you can get the fee waived or reduced.

Being a member of groups like the military or AAA can automatically qualify you for discounts and fee waivers. Or if you travel for business, your company may have a corporate agreement that waives young driver fees.

If all else fails, you can look into redeeming miles and points or joining a rental car company’s loyalty program.

What do you think? Let us know any strategies you’ve found successful in saving money renting a car as a young driver.

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Sarah Hostetler is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets. She 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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