Avis Australia Car Hire Review
Selecting a hire car company can be a tough decision to make, particularly as at first glance, they all appear to offer the same service, at the same price. But look a bit deeper, and you could be surprised that one operator proves better than another, or more convenient for where and when you’re travelling.
One of the major operators in the hire car scene, Avis is a popular provider for both the casual weekend getaway, as well as those big business trips, offering a variety of vehicles and services for your time away from home. Currently operating in over 150 countries around the globe, the American brand has more than 170 locations around Australia, from the big smoke of the capital cities to the smaller, quieter country towns, making it worth investigating regardless of where you’re heading.
If you’re looking to book a car for an upcoming trip, read on to find out just what Avis has to offer, and if it’s the right provider for you in this Canstar Blue article.
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How do I book a car with Avis?
To make a reservation, you can book via the Avis website, or through the Avis App. All you have to do is enter your pick-up and drop-off location (if they’re different), the dates you’d like to hire a car for, and the pick up time. You’ll also have to provide your age and country of residence for rate calculations, with discount codes, vehicle type and your Avis Wizard Number all optional additions to help you find the car you’re after at an accurate rate.
After you’ve entered your details, Avis will offer a selection of vehicles for you to choose from, with a total dollar amount also shown. By selecting the vehicle you’d like to pick-up, you’ll be taken to another screen, which allows you to choose additional extras, such as protection and coverage, as well as GPS units and baby seats to make the trip easier or more comfortable for you and your passengers.
- If you’re a Qantas Frequent Flyer, you can also enter your details here to score rewards points.
Once you’ve selected any extras, you can proceed to the checkout where you’ll be asked about your personal details, such as your name and contact details. Be sure to enter these accurately as you’ll be asked to provide identification when you pick up your vehicle! If you’re picking up your rental from the airport, you’ll also be asked to provide your flight details, as this will help Avis staff keep track of your flight should you be delayed. Once you’ve entered all this, hit the Reserve button and your booking is locked in!
Can I change my booking with Avis?
You’ll be able to modify or cancel your booking with Avis, under the ‘Reservations’ tab on the website. Simply enter your details and your confirmation number and your booking information will be available for you to double-check, modify or cancel.
Will I be charged a cancellation fee?
Whether or not you’ll be charged a cancellation fee will depend on your type of booking, and how in-demand the car you’ve booked is. Generally, if you cancel your reservation more than 48 hours before the allotted pick-up time, then you should avoid any potential cancellation fee. But this will ultimately come down to the discretion of Avis, so be sure to contact them when you’re booking, or read the fine print to avoid any nasty surprises.
Where are Avis hire cars available?
Avis is one of the most prominent hire car providers on a global scale, with over 170 locations around Australia, providing a list of locations on its website. Avis is located at all major airports, meaning you can hop into a rental car as soon as you’ve stepped off the plane.
Major locations include:
Can I pick-up and drop-off my Avis car at different locations?
Depending on your trip, it isn’t always viable (or convenient) to drop-off your rental car at the same location as where you picked it up from. Thankfully, Avis offers the option to select a different drop-off location to allow you to work your hire car around your trip, rather than the other way around. If you’re looking for a different drop-off location, you can select it when making your booking, although this may incur a higher rate as a result.
What type of vehicles can I hire from Avis?
Avis has a number of vehicles available for hire, although the availability of each car will be dependent on how many other people are also looking to hire at the same time as you. On its website, Avis outlines a number of vehicles currently available, putting them into groups to be identified when booking.
Vehicles include smaller models, family-sized sedans, as well as larger utes, SUVs and 4WDs for those who are looking for a bit of extra room. Avis also has luxury cars, hybrid vehicles in addition to moving trucks and vans for those who need something specific.
- You can also filter vehicles by special features, such as transmission type, safety rating and those with a trailer hitch, making it easy to find what you’re looking for.
Where can I take my Avis hire car?
It may be tempting to take your hire car off the beaten track, but most Avis hire cars are strictly road-only vehicles, with a fee likely waiting for those who take their rental off-road. If you’re set on taking a hire car down a dirt road, Avis does allow you to do so with a 4WD vehicle, under certain conditions.
Additionally, there are some areas of Australia where you won’t be able to take your car rental, even if you’re in a 4WD. These areas are outlined in the FAQ section of the Avis website. If you’re looking to hit the snow, you’ll only be able to rent certain vehicles, which are also subject to availability, so be sure to check with the Avis branch you’re visiting.
- All Avis vehicles are also non-smoking cars, so if you or your passengers are smokers, you’ll have to smoke outside.
How much will a car hire from Avis cost?
The final cost you pay is a tricky one to nail down, as it will be the result of multiple factors, including what type of car you hire, how far in advance you booked, how long you’re hiring a car for, whether or not you damaged the car, if you used any discount or promotions, plus plenty of other reasons, meaning budgeting for a hire car can leave you scratching your head.
To help make sense of what will likely be on the final bill, Avis offers a full breakdown of its rate, which include:
- Daily rate
- Vehicle Registration Fee
- Concession Recovery Fee or Premium Location Surcharge (if applicable)
- Administration Fee
- Goods and Services Tax (GST)
- Any additional services such as one-way fee
- Any optional extras such as Excess Reduction, GPS, Child Safety Seats (if selected)
- A credit and debit card fee will also be included within the total rental invoice amount
Avis costs explained
Avis rates are based on a 24-hour vehicle rental period, plus a one-day minimum charge. However, all optional services, such as Excess Reduction and GPS units, are charged at the full day rate, even if you only rent them for a few hours.
There are a few things you’ll need to be aware of when renting through Avis to avoid any surprises when you get the bill. These include:
- Time & Kilometres – While most Avis rentals include unlimited kilometres, some rentals are under a different rate structure which is essentially broken down by how much you travel in a day, week or month. If you exceed the number of included kilometres, you’ll incur a ‘kilometre charge’.
- No Show Fee – Avis claims that it often doesn’t charge you if you fail to pick-up your rental, or you cancel less than 48 hours before the allotted pick-up time, however this will depend on the type of vehicle you’ve booked, and how popular it is with other customers. So, if you’ve had a change of plans, it’s best to cancel as soon as possible to avoid any additional fees.
- Late Charges – Most Avis rentals are based on a 24-hour day, meaning if you pick up a car at 10am, you’ll have to return it at 10am. Avis offer a 59 minute ‘grace period’, meaning if you return it before 10:59am (if you were supposed to return it at 10am), you won’t incur a late charge. However, if you return your hire car anytime after the grace period, you’ll incur a late charge.
- Fuel – It’s common practice to refill the tank when you’re returning your hire car, although this can be time-consuming and you’ll often be at the mercy of local fuel prices. To combat this, Avis gives customers the choice, including a Refuelling Service Charge or purchasing the Fuel Service Option, with a full description of each outlined on the Avis website.
These are just some of the more common charges and fees you’re likely to encounter when hiring a car through Avis, some of which are specific to what type of vehicle you’ve hired and where you’re planning on taking it. To avoid any surprises on your final invoice, it’s always best to get an Avis staff member to outline any fees you’re likely to encounter, as well as make sure you read the rental agreement before you drive off.
How can I pay for my Avis hire car?
To pay for your hire car, Avis has a number of options for both individuals and businesses to choose from. If you’re business is picking up the bill, Avis will generally send out an invoice, whereas for an individual, you’ll generally have to settle the bill at the checkout. Most Avis locations will accept cash, traveller’s cheque, as well as debit and credit cards.
If you’re in a hurry, Avis offers Rapid Return at selected locations, where Avis staff will meet you in the carpark with a hand-held computer that prints out a receipt instantly, making the return process easier if you’ve got a flight to catch.
Which credit cards does Avis accept?
Avis accepts a number of credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard and American Express, in addition to Diners Club credit and charge cards. Debits cards that display a Visa or Mastercard logo will also be accepted. When paying by car, you’ll also encounter a 1.29% fee of the total rental invoice amount, which may prove a shock if you’re travelling for a few weeks.
If paying by debit card, it should be noted that a ‘security hold’ of $400, in addition to the ‘Estimated Total’ value of the rental, will be placed on the card account, working similarly to a deposit. Avis isn’t responsible for any overdraft fees you might incur from this transaction, so it’s best to make sure you’ve got enough money in your nominated account before you hand it over at the counter.
- You can’t collect a vehicle from Avis with someone else’s credit card, so be sure to book under whoever is paying for it!
Can I pre-pay my Avis booking?
In a world where time is money, Avis offers a way for drivers to save on their car hire with a pre-pay option. Labelled as ‘Pay Now’, this pre-pay feature entitles you to a discounted rate, although isn’t available on bookings made within four days of your travel, or for Corporate rate bookings. Pay Now allows you to pay for the rental period and any optional extras you’ve booked, while Avis state that additional charges may apply at the end of the rental period and must be paid on location when you return your vehicle.
How can I get a discount on my Avis hire car?
With hire cars potentially blowing out your holiday budget, any discount or promotion can prove the difference between stressing about your bank account and enjoying the scenery. One way to score a discount is by signing up to Avis Preferred, or by linking your Qantas Frequent Flyer account to Avis, as points can be used for upgrades or discounts.
Similarly, keeping an eye out for Avis Coupons, which are generally advertised on the Avis website or through its affiliates, can also make the final bill a bit easier to settle. However, ensuring that you’re booking well in advance of your travels, as well as keeping in line with the Avis guidelines and rental agreements, will also ensure that you’re not out of pocket when it comes time to return your rental.
Who can rent a vehicle from Avis?
To hire a vehicle from Avis in Australia, drivers are subject to a few requirements before they’re given the keys. Below are the major factors as to whether or not you’ll be eligible to hire a car from Avis:
- Age – Drivers must be aged 21 or over to hire a vehicle, although drivers aged under 25 will be subject to an ‘underage surcharge’. Younger drivers are also only able to hire certain vehicles.
- Licence – Drivers must have a current licence on them at the time of booking. Avis will not allow those with a suspended, revoked, expired, cancelled or surrendered drivers licence to hire a car. Similarly, those on a Learner’s permit or Provisional or Probationary licence are also not allowed to hire a car. Drivers must also have held their licence for 12 consecutive months before hiring a car through Avis.
- International drivers – Avis accepts international licences from New Zealand, the United States and various select countries outlined on its website. Those with an international driving permit must also bring along their drivers licence.
Can I add additional drivers through Avis?
If you’re looking to share the driving load, you can add one or more additional drivers to your rental agreement, but Avis requires all drivers to be there when you pick-up the keys, and if your additional driver is under 25, expect to pay an underage surcharge. If you’re a member of Avis Preferred, additional drivers such as the main driver’s spouse can be added as an additional driver, free of charge.
- Additional drivers will cost you $7.49 per driver per day, according to the Avis website.
What happens if I get in an accident in an Avis hire car?
When you’re out on the road, there’s always the possibility that you run into a bit of trouble. Whether it’s a flat tyre, or you’ve been in a multiple vehicle accident, Avis outlines a process to follow if there’s been an incident.
If you’ve been in an accident, even if you weren’t at fault, you’ll be required to pay the excess, with the amount outlined in your rental agreement. If fault has been established to be a third party (i.e. not you), you’ll be refunded the excess, with the timeframe also outlined in your rental agreement. You’ll also be required to fill out an Avis Incident Report, as well as any accident reports required by the local or state authorities.
If you’re worried about the possibility of getting into a fender-bender while in an Avis hire car, you can opt to purchase extras such as the Loss Damage Waiver or Excess Reduction, which will limit how much you’ll pay if there is an accident. Unlimited liability, including Public Liability and Property Damage, are included in all rates at no additional charge.
- If you receive a traffic violation when behind the wheel of an Avis rental, such as parking fine or speeding ticket, Avis takes no responsibility, so brush up your road rules before heading out!
Other things to know about Avis
There’s plenty of information to take on board when it comes to investigating the car rental market, with a lot of it seemingly behind a shroud of mystery. But to make your dealing with Avis easier, here are a few areas that may prove helpful down the line.
What is the Avis Wizard Number?
The Avis Wizard Number is a number that identifies customers, essentially like a virtual ID. You’ll receive a Wizard Number when you sign up to Avis, and can use this number for all your future bookings, giving you easier access to reservations, discounts and your profile information, as well as records of all past travels and receipts.
- Your Avis Wizard Number is a six-character combination unique to you, and is part of your Avis Profile.
What is Avis Preferred?
Avis Preferred is Avis’ loyalty program, which is free to sign up to. By signing up to Avis Preferred, you can earn points to be used later on upgrades and accessories, like GPS units and Roadside Assistance. Avis Preferred also entitles you to a shorter waiting time, meaning you can get your travels underway quicker. Avis Preferred Plus is also available for customers, although you’ll have to meet certain criteria to qualify, but once you do, you can expect further benefits, discounts and extras the next time you hire a vehicle through Avis.
Avis Mobile App
Like most companies, Avis has an app to help customers on the go book or modify their reservations. Available through both Android and iOS operating systems, the Avis app allows you to manage current bookings, look at past bookings or book a car for a future trip, as well as outlining nearby petrol stations and parking spots when you’re in a new city.
- The Avis app is free on both operating systems, meaning it won’t impact on your travel budget.
What other hire car brands operate under Avis?
With hire cars and truck rentals big business around the globe, most brands you will find operate as a subsidiary under a bigger brand. While Avis is one of the largest brands available for drivers to choose from, names such as Budget Rent a Car and Payless Car Rentals are also owned by the Avis.
Is hiring a vehicle from Avis a good move?
Car rentals can be a tricky industry to navigate, particularly if you’re new to it. With so many providers available, along with different rates, fees, vehicles and discounts available, you wouldn’t be alone if you felt overwhelmed when you’ve tried to book a hire car for a trip away. While smaller providers might offer more competitive rates, larger brands such as Avis may be appealing for those looking to travel somewhere specific, with more locations and vehicles available for hire.
As a result, it pays to look into all available providers, as well as reading the fine print, as you may find a more suitable, or more affordable provider for your next trip. However, which hire car provider you sign on the dotted line will come down to your individual circumstances, with vehicle availability, location, optional extras and membership discounts all areas to consider before hopping behind the wheel.
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