Budget Car Rental USA Rental Rates FAQ | Budget Car Rental

These frequently-asked questions were assembled to help you understand Budget’s fast and friendly car rental process. If your question isn’t answered here, please contact us.

 Our lowest unaffiliated rates, always available on budget.com, won't be beaten. And we back this up with our Lowest Rate Promise. Budget also offers several discounts through this budget.com site. Visit our budget.com deals pages to see what’s currently available – and while you're there, sign up for our exclusive, money-saving Hot Deals mailing. We also offer special rates to associations, small businesses, corporations and affinity groups. Check with your organization to find out which specials are available to its members through Budget Rent A Car.

Car rental pricing is like airline pricing – if you travel at off-peak times or make a reservation seven or more days in advance, you often can get a better deal. If you have an upgrade certificate, note that upgrades are subject to availability at the time of rental. You should reserve the smaller vehicle online, and then upgrade at the counter if available. Check the terms of your upgrade to see which car classes are included.

Also, if you enter an offer code (BCD) for your reservation, budget.com is designed to compare the BCD rates to regularly available rates and present you with the lowest rental fees as the "budget.com rates". This always ensures that, based on what you have entered, you get the best possible rate available to you!

 Car rental pricing is a lot like airfare pricing – our prices change depending on car availability, location popularity, and many other factors.  We adjust our pricing on a minute-by-minute basis to remain competitive in the marketplace. Unless it’s an advertised special offer, there generally isn’t one set rate for a particular kind of car, but rather a range of prices depending on the length and dates of your reservation. Even with special offers, the advertised rate usually applies to a limited supply of cars because we have only so many makes and models at each location. When you see a great rate for the car you want – RESERVE IT IMMEDIATELY – because it might not be available later!

Different companies use different names for their car categories. For example, if you want to rent a Ford Focus at budget.com, we consider it to be a “compact-level” vehicle and it’s priced modestly. But if you shop another car rental company, they might categorize that same vehicle as an “intermediate-level” which means they will probably charge you more than Budget for the same car.

Conversely, if you simply search for “intermediate” cars, Budget may appear higher if you’re comparing one of our medium-sized vehicles to another company’s compact models that they happen to label as an “intermediate.”

Your best approach is always to compare a specific make and model at one car rental company with the same make and model somewhere else. On budget.com, you’ll see the specific make and model of the car available at your location in your selected car category on step 3 of the online reservation process under your rental summary.


Select your category in step 2 of our reservation process

You'll see your car type in the reservation summary on step 3


 Your total rental rate is calculated based on the information provided at time of reservation. Your per-day rate can vary depending on your rental location and is dictated by the day of the week you pick up the vehicle and the length of your rental. 

Rental car companies realize a significant portion of their volume during Monday-through-Friday business travel.  So, generally speaking, leisure travelers can find better rates on weekends when the demand for some car types isn’t as high. Also, the longer you keep the car, the better per-day price you’ll get. Time of month really doesn’t matter, but demand increases during holiday periods – so always reserve early.

All rates are based on a rental period with a minimum of 24 consecutive hours. If you return the vehicle within 24 hours after pick-up, you will still be charged for the full day.

 Budget’s pricing is based on your confirmed length of rental, as you indicated when you booked your reservation. Our rates vary, depending on whether you rent for one day, one week, or one weekend. So, if you return your car earlier or later than your designated return date, it could affect your price in either direction. Typically, the longer your rental period, the more you save on your per-day rate. Therefore, if your original confirmed rate was for a seven-day rental and you decide to return the car after just three days, your per-day price could increase, which could increase your overall rental fee as well.

Yes! At most U.S. and Canadian locations you may reserve and prepay toward your rental online at budget.com with a credit or debit card. Or, if you prefer, reserve on budget.com and pay in full when you return your car. NOTE: Even if you prepay, you will still need to present a credit card at the rental counter when you pick up the vehicle.

Learn more about all our Pay Online options.

We offer a long-term rental option for customers who need a vehicle for an extended period of time. A long-term rental constitutes a minimum of 30 consecutive days to a maximum of 330 consecutive days. The longer the rental, the greater the daily savings. Reserve your car today!

Fees and Taxes

Vehicles are rented on a daily (24-hour) basis. There is a 29-minute grace period for returns. After 30 minutes late, hourly car rate charges and taxes may apply. After 90 minutes late, full-day late charges and taxes may apply. After 7 hours late, if you didn't call to extend your rental, an additional $20/day late fee applies. There is no grace period for rental fees, surcharges and optional equipment or protections charges. Full-day late charges will apply for these items.

Budget's rates do not include the cost of fuel but we do offer four simple, convenient and affordable re-fueling options.

Reserve online today.

 If you choose our Refueling Service and not one of our other three simple, convenient and affordable re-fueling options, the Refueling Service charge takes into account both our direct and indirect costs of the fuel and maintaining our refueling infrastructure. The charge is intended to strongly motivate customers to save by refueling the car themselves. We don't have an on-site refueling infrastructure at most locations so we prefer that renters stop at a local station and refuel the car before returning it. However, customers can always choose not to refuel their rental prior to return, but we will then need to charge a premium for providing this refueling service.

Learn more about our fuel service options.

In the U.S., for Budget and all other rental car companies at many airport locations, concession recovery and facility fees may be charged. A vehicle licensing cost recovery fee may be charged as well. For U.S. Government rentals, the government imposes a $5/day Administrative Rate Supplement (GARS/GA). To help recover the escalating energy costs related to our business operations, the company has chosen to impose a separately stated Energy Recovery Fee (ERF) to all customers at all locations. Please check for all fees that apply to your rental in the Rates section during your online reservation process. Of course, other products or additional equipment that you add at the rental counter will be extra. But on budget.com, all additional charges that are known in advance of the rental are quoted as part of your total online reservation rate – so you’ll have no surprises when you get to the rental counter. Any charges that can't be determined until after your rental, including mileage and fuel charges, will be extra and are not covered by the guarantee.

Check for fees in the "Rates" section of your reservation summary

In the U.S., most fees and surcharges are mandated for all rental car companies by the local municipality or state/federal authorities. However, unlike Budget, some rental car companies do not disclose these surcharges when you reserve your car. We prefer that you are aware of all charges ahead of time – so when you pick up your car, you’ll have no surprises. If you have questions regarding any surcharges relating to your rental, please discuss the fees with a counter representative.

Taxes, fees and other charges always vary by location. A breakdown of all fees and surcharges is listed in step 3 of the online reservation process.

In Canada, the following additional surcharges for rentals may apply:

Concession Recovery Fee or Premium Location Surcharge:  The airports where the Company does business impose a concession fee in which a percentage of the Company’s gross revenue generated from that location is paid to the airport.  This fee is to reimburse the Company for concession fees paid to the airport for each rental.

Vehicle License Recovery Fee:  This fee is for the Company’s recovery of the share – prorated per rental day – of the costs to license the car and put it on the road in the first instance such as vehicle title, license plates and registration fees. 

Customer Facility Charge:  This is a fee imposed by airports and remitted to them, generally to pay down indebtedness on bonds used to construct new, or fund improvements to existing rental car facilities.

Energy Recovery Fee:  This is a fee that helps offset the escalating energy costs related to business operations.

Parking Surcharge:  In certain locations, the Company may include a surcharge to help offset parking costs at that location.

AC Excise Recovery Fee: Vehicle manufacturers pay a federal excise tax on air conditioners installed in vehicles and pass this cost on to the Company when those vehicles are purchased.  The Company imposes this charge to recover those costs.

Environmental Fee Recovery Charge: In Ontario, the provincial government imposes an Ontario Eco Fee that is paid when purchasing products that require special disposal such as oils and oil filters.  This charge is to reimburse the Company for the Ontario Eco Fee.  

Tire Management Fee: This is a Quebec-only fee charged to recover the costs associated with purchasing, storing and changing seasonal tires in accordance with Quebec’s winter tire legislation.

Frequent Travel Program Fee: This fee applies for all rentals where miles, points or credits are awarded and is charged to offset the costs to the Company of participation in these programs.

Deals, Discounts and Rewards

Every location has a limited inventory of each type of car. Some cars and locations are more popular than others and they sell out quickly – especially when there are low rates on a busy rental date. Try another pick-up time if your travel dates are flexible. Then when you see the car you want at a great rate, your best bet is to reserve it immediately before someone else does.

You’ve come to the right place – budget.com. Start by searching here. The more flexibility you have in your rental dates, the more you can save. Taking advantage of low car rental rates is a lot like finding low airfares. Your price depends on when you travel and for how long. When you find a great rate, book it fast before someone else does. The best rental car rates are usually offered on weekends, especially when you stay over on a Saturday night – and the longer you keep your car, the better daily rate you can usually get. Coupon codes and other discounts can help you save even more and, for maximum value, pre-pay your rental and you may save up to 35%.


Now, more than ever, travelers are looking to save on their car rental expenses. At most U.S. and Canadian locations, with our Pay Now rates you often can enjoy a Pay Now discount if you prepay online toward your rental at budget.com with a credit or debit card. Online is the easy way to reserve and pay. However, if you prefer, reserve on budget.com and pay in full when you return your rental.

Yes, and Budget makes it easy! You’ve always had a choice in your car rental preferences, and Budget offers you even more choices when it comes to your Vehicle Replacement needs. The next time your personal car is in the shop or just out of service, think of Budget. We’ll help manage all your insurance replacement rental needs — simply advise your insurance company, and we’ll handle everything from free local pick-up service, to direct billing to insurance companies, to offering the widest variety of vehicles out there. Vehicle replacement is easy with Budget’s specialized services:

  • free local pick-up/shuttle
  • repair follow-up and tracking
  • 24-hour roadside assistance
  • extended weekday hours
  • open seven days a week
  • one-way rentals
  • competitive insurance industry rental rates
  • current vehicle models

Make your vehicle replacement reservation now.

On the budget.com home page, just below the fields where you enter your rental itinerary, there’s a field labeled "optional offer code (BCD)" where you may enter your Budget Customer Discount number (BCD). A BCD is a seven-character code, one letter followed by six numbers (example: L######). When you enter a BCD and click "continue", the next screen will show all available vehicles at your selected location, and then you’ll see the rates associated with your BCD number. If you don't see the rate you’re expecting, check the terms and conditions on the BCD, since the rate may not be available for the specific location, dates and times you’ve entered. You also may enter your BCD during Step 1 of the online reservation process:


Enter your BCD number or coupon code in step 1 of your reservation

Like BCD Numbers, coupon codes are also seven characters, but they have four letters followed by three numbers (example: LLLL###). Simply enter your coupon code in the field provided, and the rental agent will apply your coupon benefit when you pick up your car, provided that all terms and conditions are met. Coupon benefits are not reflected in your online reservation details.

First, check all terms and conditions on the coupon to ensure that it is valid for your specific rental. On the Step 2 car selection page of the online reservation process, you'll get more information about coupon eligibility for your specific rental and available rates. Coupons may apply only to some rates. Select one of the "coupon applies" rates to attach the coupon to your rental. If you don't select a "coupon applies" rate, your coupon will not be included on your confirmed reservation.

Like using a coupon at grocery store, if you have a coupon for dollars off or for free rental days, we’ll apply the discount when you pay for your vehicle at the end of your rental. If your coupon is for an upgrade to a bigger car, your rental location will have to confirm availability of that vehicle once you arrive at the rental counter. Either way, be sure that you use a coupon or discount code that meets all terms and conditions of the offer before the deal expires. Coupon codes are always four letters followed by three numbers – for example, LLLL###. An offer code (BCD) is always one letter followed by six numbers – for example, L######.

When choosing your car, select a "coupon applies" rate to use a coupon for your rental. Coupon savings won't be reflected in your online rate, but will apply when you return your car - provided you meet all coupon terms and conditions of rental.

 Car rental rates, like airline rates, change day to day. For an advertised rate, the offer code locks in that consistent rate at participating locations – it's a rate that won't change regardless of any fluctuations in the car rental market that may push rates above or below the advertised rate but have limited availability. Despite the advertised rate that your discount is set to deliver, budget.com will always present either the advertised rate (if your rental meets all terms and conditions) or the regular budget.com rate, whichever is lower.

For offer codes that advertise a percentage off, that percentage may not be taken off the budget.com rate – the offer code may only be set to take a percentage off a rate available on other reservation channels. In any case, if you don't see the rate you’re expecting when you enter your Budget Customer Discount number (BCD), check the terms and conditions on the offer, because either the rate is not available for your particular rental parameters or it is sold out. A BCD is a seven-character code, one letter followed by six numbers (example: L######).


View the terms and conditions for the offer you've selected


If you are using a coupon (seven-character code, four letters followed by three numbers such as LLLL###), coupon benefits are not reflected in your online reservation total. The rental agent will apply your coupon benefit when you pick up your car, provided that all terms and conditions are met.

 Offer codes and coupons may be found in a variety of places – in newspaper, magazine or television ads, by clicking banner ads on Web sites other than budget.com, on the budget.com home page, in our budget.com deals pages, or e-mailed to you as part of our Hot Deals mailing. Also, if you're a member of an organization or company that partners with Budget, please contact that organization directly and ask whether they have a Budget BCD code or coupon you may use for your rental.

Click on a homepage offer tile

Then click on the offer's reserve button and the offer code or coupon number will be pre-filled for you on the next step

Car rental rates, like airline rates, change day to day. To control costs, Budget and your company have negotiated a consistent rate – one that your organization will pay regardless of any fluctuations in the car rental market. That price also might include insurances, which could reflect a higher rate – another reason why your corporate rate sometimes might appear higher than other available rates. Regardless of the rate delivered by your corporate discount, Budget will always present our other rates so that you can shop and compare as you like. If you do find a rate lower than your company rate, ask your company's travel manager if you may select it. Be assured – regardless of the rate you choose, you'll always get the same great Budget cars and service that make us a favorite car rental provider for millions of people each year.

 Yes! No matter where in the world you travel, start earning valuable frequent traveler account credits today through our global partners.


If you're a frequent flyer program member with any of our airline partners, renting with Budget pays off big in frequent flyer miles, points or credits. To earn airline miles, points or credits, just provide your frequent flyer number at the rental counter before picking up your car at participating airport locations. Or, to save time, reserve on budget.com with your RapidRez Number and add your frequent flyer information to your reservation on Step 4 of the online reservation process. A fee of up to $1/day applies for all rentals where points are awarded.