The 5 Best Car-rental Companies – Travel + Leisure

Stefanie Waldek is a freelance space, travel, and design journalist who loves aviation, storm chasing, and "The X-Files." She's happiest when cruising at 36,000 feet or at sea level in polar regions. Her favorite places in the world are Antarctica and Oklahoma City, and her travel bucket list includes eating hot dogs at all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums. * 8+ years of writing and editing experience for print and digital publications * Former editor at Architectural Digest, Tripadvisor, and ArtNews * Traveled to all seven continents, each more than once
Like the travel industry as a whole, car-rental companies have had a tough couple of years — most notably last summer’s “carpocalypse.” When demand dropped in 2020, they sold off their fleets, only for demand to return in full force the following year when air travel was limited. A shortage of rental cars drove up prices and left many customers stranded without vehicles, despite having made bookings. Still, many Travel + Leisure readers remained loyal to their favorite car-rental companies.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Car-rental companies were rated on vehicle selection, vehicle availability, car-rental location, service, and value.
Sixt (No. 5) is the only European car rental company on this year's list, but it's been expanding in the United States, giving it more visibility to voters. "Great value, easy to use — main thing is I just forget how great Sixt is," one voter said. "Would like to use it more."
WBA fixtures Hertz, Alamo, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car appear in this year’s No. 4, No. 3, and No. 2 spots, respectively. (In fact, Hertz and Enterprise are both WBA Hall of Fame honorees, which means they’ve been on the list of the best car-rental companies for at least 10 consecutive years.) “The service at Enterprise is top-notch every time I go. The value is good. The cars are clean and well-maintained,” one voter said. “I have no complaints.”
But it's another WBA Hall of Fame honoree that tops this year's list of the best car-rental companies. Read on to find out what our readers love about National.
From 2014 to 2020, National Car Rental was voted the best car rental company by T+L readers, but last year, it was dethroned by Enterprise Rent-a-Car. Now it's back on top as the "most flexible, reliable, and reasonable car rental agency," according to one voter. Several other voters also commented on the company's reliability and efficiency as chief reasons for choosing it over the competition. "I have never waited in line to check out my vehicle," shared one fan. But its easy-to-use rewards program also won people over big-time. "When I travel I stick with National because of their rewards program," they continued. "The more you use their company, the more you save."
WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 80.08
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WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 77.56
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Score: 75.23
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WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 73.56
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Score: 72.68
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