Cheap Car Rentals: Part 12 – Do You Know How To Get The Lowest Price For Drivers Under 25 Years Old?

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Cheap Car Rentals: Part 12 – Do You Know How To Get The Lowest Price For Drivers Under 25 Years Old?

Million Mile SecretsCheap Car Rentals: Part 12 – Do You Know How To Get The Lowest Price For Drivers Under 25 Years Old?Million Mile Secrets Team

We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Rental car companies charge more for drivers who are under the age of 25 than those over the age of 25.  And drivers under 21 years find it very hard to rent cars by themselves.  Blame it on the statistics!

Statistics show that drivers under the age of 25 have more accidents.  So car rental companies charge more for drivers 25 years or younger.  You also have to be at least 21 years to rent a car from most companies, except in Michigan and New York where state law bans this practice.

NOt Paying
She’s Happy Because She Didn’t Pay Extra Fees For Renting a Car!

But young drivers pay for the privilege of renting a car by paying surcharges ranging from $14 to $73 a day!

Did you know, the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card offers excellent primary car rental insurance.   This covers damage due to theft or collision to your rental car, when you pay for the rental with your credit card.  So you can save a lot of money using this credit card for your rental car instead of buying the same type of insurance from the rental car company.

You’ll also earn bonus points on your car rental that you can turn into travel rewards or cash back when you pay with the Chase Sapphire Preferred.  This is way better than paying for your rental car with a debit card!

Using the USAA discount code is the secret to getting low prices for car rentals for underage drivers and to rent a car if you’re between 18 to 25 years old.

The USAA discount code also waives additional driver fees so it could be useful for folks who aren’t below 25 years as well!

Cheap Car Rentals Series:

Young Driver Surcharge Fees

Drivers between the ages of 21 to 24, can rent from Advantage, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty by paying a $14 to $73 extra fee per day.  US government or military personnel traveling on official business are exempt from young driver surcharges.

Some car rental companies have restrictions on the types of cars which folks under 25 years can rent.  Here’s a table outlining all the fees and restrictions if you didn’t read Million Mile Secrets and know how to get around them!

 AlamoAvisBudgetDollarEnterpriseHertzNational Thrify
Minimum Rental Age21 Years21 Years21 Years21 Years21 Years20 Years (21 years in Mississippi)21 Years21 Years
Vehicle Rental RestrictionsNoneNo full-size & premium SUVs, Minivans, Passenger vans, Signature SeriesNo luxury cars, minivan, passenger vans, speciality vehicle, full-size & premium SUVsVaries depending on locationNoneNo Prestige Collection or no Adrenaline Collection carsVaries depending on locationNo premium, luxury, SUV, speciality, minivan, van, wagon, convertible, or pickup
Young Driver Daily Surcharge under 25$25$27 $27Varies depending on location$20+$15$25Varies depending on location
Michigan Daily Surcharge (18 to 20 years old)$26$41$41 (corporate locations only)Varies depending on location$26$20 to $41$26Doesn't indicate
Michigan Daily Surcharge (21 to 24 years old)$14$28$28 (corporate locations)Varies depending on location$14$20 to $25$14Doesn't indicate
New York Daily Surcharge (18 to 20 years old)$66$52$52 (corporate locations)Varies depending on location$66$20 to $41$66$73
New York Daily Surcharge (21 to 24 years old)$24$35$35 (corporate locations)Varies depending on location$24$20 to $25$24$35

I don’t like how vague Dollar and Thrifty are about their underage driver fees.  I would avoid renting from them because I’d want to know approximately how much I would pay before getting to the rental counter.

As you can see from the table, Hertz allows drivers as young as 20 to 21 to rent cars, allows for more car choices, and offers the lowest underage driver fees.

Comparing Underage Rental Car Surcharges

Here’s a table comparing rental rates for drivers 25 years or older and drivers under 25 renting an economy car in Charleston from September 6, 2013 to September 8, 2013.

I tested rates for the ages of 20, 21, and 24 & the underage driver rates were the same.  It didn’t matter how underage you were or how close to the age of 25 you were.  You still had to pay the fee.

2 Day Weekend Rental, Charleston, September 2013Over 25 YearsUnder 25 Years
Budget$157$224
CarRentalSavers$85(No option to indicate age.)
Costco$87$219*
Hertz$221$259
Ultimate Rewards Mall$79(No option to indicate age.)
USAA$50$50**

CarRentalSavers and Ultimate Rewards  don’t let you specify your age when you make a booking, so an underage driver might be surprised when the bill at the counter is more than the rate shown online.

*Underage drivers using CostcoTravel have to call Costco and are transferred to either Avis, Budget, Dollar, or Enterprise.  The agent confirms your Costco membership number and quotes you a price.

**There are no young driver fees when renting from Avis, Budget, Enterprise, or Hertz for USAA members.

Budget

Let’s see how much extra an underage driver would pay.

A driver 25 years or older renting an economy car from Budget for a weekend in Charleston would pay $157.

Over 25 Driver Pays $157 For A Weekend Rental From Budget
Over 25 Driver Pays $157 For A Weekend Rental From Budget

Underage drivers would pay $224 or $67 more dollars!

Underage Driver Pays $224 For A Weekend Rental From Budget
But an Underage Driver Pays $224 For the Same Rental From Budget

Costco

Drivers above 25 years pay $87 for an economy car for a weekend in Charleston.

Over 25 Drivers Pay $87 For A Weekend Rental Through Costco
Over 25 Drivers Pay $87 For A Weekend Rental Through Costco

While younger drivers must call 877-849-2730, select from Avis, Budget, Dollar, or Enterprise, confirm their Costco membership, and get a quote.  The phone call can take a long time.  It took almost 30 minutes for Budget to give me my quote.

Rates vary depending on the underage driver surcharge assessed by each company and rental location.

Under 25 Drivers Pay $219 Or More For A Weekend Rental From Costco
Under 25 Drivers Pay $219 Or More For A Weekend Rental From Costco

USAA

The best way to reduce costs for folks under 25 is to sign-up for USAA membership (it is free).

Using the USAA discount code waives young driver fees when renting from Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Hertz so an underage driver would only pay $50.

Under 25 Drivers Pay $50 For A Weekend Rental From USAA
Under 25 Year Old Drivers Pay Much Less ($50) For A Weekend Rental From USAA

1.   Use USAA TO SAVE MONEY FOR UNDERAGE DRIVERS

Link:   USAA.com

USAA is a Fortune 500 company which provides banking, financial services and other discounts to the military and their families.  Anyone can join USAA and you don’t need to be associated with the military to join and receive certain discounts.

However, USAA restricts certain products and services only to members with military affiliation.  USAA members who’ve served longer may get better offers and discounts.

The good news is that USAA discounts for car rentals are available to anyone!

“Our investment products, most checking and savings products, credit cards, life insurance, and shopping and discounts are available to other individuals.”

USAA Membership Benefits For Other Individuals
You Don’t Have to be in The Military to Get Car Rental Discounts From USAA!

You can join USAA by calling 800-531-8722 or by registering online.

USAA Member Discounts On Shopping, Home Security, Cars, And Travel
USAA Member Discounts On Shopping, Home Security, Cars, And Travel

Here’s another example of the low car rental rates using USAA, this time using a different city and a different rental car company.

A driver under 25 would only pay $67 through USAA for a rental in Providence.

Under 25 Driver Pays $67 For A Weekend Rental From USAA
Driver Under 25 Years Pays $67 For A Weekend Rental From USAA

But that same driver would pay $271 – or $202 more – without the USAA discount!

Under 25 Driver Pays $271 For A Weekend Rental From Avis
Under 25 Driver Pays $202 More For The Same Rental Without USAA Discount!

Note that if you’re between 18 & 20 years old you can use only the USAA discount code for Hertz.  The discount codes for Avis, Budget and Enterprise require you to be at least 21 years old.

Other Benefits of USAA

The USAA discount code also gets you these benefits:

  • Discounts of up to 25% off Avis or Hertz and 20% off Budget and Enterprise
  • No additional driver fees for spouses and USAA members
  • Primary liability coverage.  Coverage with some rental car companies is limited to the state minimum coverage, though.

How To Use USAA To Rent Cars

Step 1 – Log In To Your USAA Account

Enter your Online ID and password to log on to your USAA account.

Log Into Your USAA Account
Step 1 – Log Into Your USAA Account

Step 2 – Enter Your PIN

USAA is big on security (no surprise) so this is the first of two security steps!

Add Your PIN
Step 2 – Add Your PIN

Step 3 – Answer Your Security Question

Answer your security question.

Answer A Security Question
Step 3 – Answer A Security Question

Step 4 – Click On “Our Products” Menu

Click on the “Our Products” dropdown menu.

Under-25-Car-Rental20
Step 4 – Click On “Our Products” in the top Left Part of the Screen

Step 5 – Select “Travel Discounts”

Click on “Travel Discounts” in the menu under “Shopping and Discounts” on the right of the page.

Click On Travel Products
Step 5 – Click On “Travel Discounts”

Step 6 – Scroll Down To Rental Car Discounts

Scroll down to the rental car discounts section and click on “Learn More”

Click On Learn More
Step 6 – Click On “Learn More”

Step 7 – Choose A Rental Car Company

You can choose either Avis, Budget, Enterprise or Hertz and you will be redirected to rental car company to look up prices.  The USAA discount code will be automatically applied to your reservation.

There is no way to see the discounted rates for all four companies at the same time.  You have to search each rental car company one-by-one to find the best price.

Note that if you’re between 18 & 20 years you can use only the USAA discount code for Hertz.  The discount codes for Avis, Budget and Enterprise require you to be at least 21 years old.

2.   Use Corporate Discounts to Save Money for Underage Drivers

If you work for a corporation, you may be able to use your corporate discount for personal rentals and have the underage fees waived.  But this varies based on your employer, so check with your corporate travel department.

3.   Local Car Rental Agencies

Look for local car rental agencies in your college town which rent cars to students.  They usually will rent to folks below 25 years old and may have cheaper fees if you’re under 25 years old.

Bottom Line

Car rental companies charge high fees for rivers under the age of 25.

The minimum age to rent a car is 21, except in Michigan and New York where the minimum age required by law is 18.  US government and military personnel do not have to pay underage fees when renting cars on official government business.

But you can save LOTS of money by joining USAA and using their discounted rate for car rentals.

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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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This is a misleading article. I have no military background in my family but went ahead and signed up for USAA anyway based on the content of this article entirely to have the underage driver fee waived – only to be met with this statement when I try to book a car. “Waiver of underage driver fee is limited to USAA insurance eligible members only.” Non-military USAA members are not eligible for insurance and therefore not eligible to have the underage driver fee waived. It would be nice to see this article updated to save others from having the same frustrating experience.

I’m not military and it applied the fee waiver for me. Keep in mind that the discount is applied at checkout and different locations have different prices for the same car. The article is on point; the locations make the pricing difficult to predict and justify.

Who did you book with?

Usaa no long allows free members to waiver the under 25 fee. You must be an usaa insurance policy holder

It says USAA Insurance “eligible”, I don’t believe you actually have to hold the policy

Yeah, I just got the fee waived even though I don’t hold an insurance account. The discount is just automatically applied when you checkout. I think it also depends on where you’re picking up from, too. I checked two places and for the same rental one cost around $25 and the other was $75.

Thanks for this info! It did waive my underage fee, BUT they are smart. They won’t give you unlimited mileage, they will charge you for that when the discount is applied. And since I’m doing a roadtrip from Denver to LA, it will be almost as high as the underage fee.

I feel like unlimited mileage applies when you’re staying within a city. I just booked mine (under 25) and I’d be picking up and dropping off at the same place and I have unlimited mileage.

Not able to join USAA….no military affiliation….20 years old, U.S. citizen trying to rent a car in France

I used this numerous time at Enterprise and it worked great. Went to use it at Hertz at an airport and the clerk was rude and said I had to show him my USAA bank card. I said I don’t use them for banking and he said then he would have to charge me the fee, even though I showed him my member number.

I said never mind, stepped two feet away, booked an AVIS reservation on my phone in front of him and walked away with keys in 5 minutes. I checked with hertz after and they said that no one should have to show a USAA debit card. Not sure why that guy was on a power trip.

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