On Monday, we detailed how Alamo (and subsequently Enterprise) was the first major corporation to offer their annual Florida Drive-Out promotion. We also noted Enterprise was first in what appeared to be signaling behavior, raising rates over past drive-out offers. AvisBudget Group (the second of the three majors to hop into the fray) published their offers on Wednesday for both the Florida drive-out and Arizona drive-out and increased their own rates, almost matching Alamo/Enterprise's pricing by setting the baseline at $14.49 (instead of $14.99). Alamo/Enterprise's offer had one exceptional nuance -- limited cities where cars were available at $9.99 pre-tax/fees -- and Budget's offer has the same exceptional nuance and one fantastic nuance. And we don't use words like "exceptional" and "fantastic" unless there's something truly special going on!
The deal's just like any other drive-out specials -- the AvisBudget Group likes to get cars to Florida and Arizona in the winter (high-demand period) and away from areas like the Northeast U.S. and Northern Plains (low demand). In the early spring, those cars need to migrate back to the Northeast U.S. and Northern Plains. The rental car companies have decided it's cheaper to have individuals pay a comparatively small amount and move those cars voluntarily than pay many hundreds of dollars per car to have car haulers relocate those vehicles. It's a business practice designed to maximize profit and trust the fundamental laws of supply and demand (if you price a product low enough, someone will pay). And that fantastic nuance we teased comes out when looking at the Florida transfer deal.
Did you miss the incredible item? While AvisBudget's trying to get cars out of Arizona, the Terms and Conditions of the Florida Drive-Out promotion similarly allow transcontinental one-ways to California, Oregon, and Washington State. Maybe I look at too many rental car promotions; this detail sunk in immediately because it's the first time we've seen an advertised offer that allows cheap transcontinental rentals! Been trying to figure out how to transport a minivan-load of items from Florida to the West Coast cheaply? Book now, ask questions later. There are even aggressively-priced options for 12-passenger (full-size) vans from some cities.
In addition, the Budget Florida offer has some limited cities where quick decision-makers can find rates even below the advertised $14.49 (although that's not listed as a possibility in Budget's rules). Cars up to a full-size are currently available for $9.70 per day (pre-tax and fees) out of Miami International Airport.
The Arizona Drive-Out Offer
The Arizona Drive-Out Offer is nothing to write home (or a blog post) about, so it gets included in this blog post. The "specials" are much more costly (the cheapest car starts at $25.95 per day, pre-tax and fees), the pickup has to be in the Phoenix-area, and the eligible return cities are far more limited -- Albuquerque is as far "east" as one car return a car driven out of Arizona!
Terms and Conditions
The Terms and Conditions for each special are otherwise nearly identical for the two offers except:
- Phoenix offer starts with pickups on March 24 and the Florida offer starts with pickups on April 1.
- Full-size vans are allowed from Florida (but not Phoenix), premium cars are allowed from Phoenix (but not Florida).
- The Florida offer excludes Pensacola and Jacksonville, both homes of Naval installations with transient assignments (NAS Pensacola and NAS Jacksonville). Yes, AvisBudget Group -- we noticed!
Otherwise, it's fairly straightforward:
- Rates require a minimum 1 to maximum 14 consecutive day rental period.
- Offers may not be available during holiday and other blackout periods; rate surcharges during peak periods may apply.
- Offer subject to vehicle availability at the time of reservation and may not be available on some rates at some times.
- Renter must meet Budget age, driver and credit requirements. Minimum age may vary by location. An additional daily surcharge may apply for renters under 25 years old.
- Rates are non-discountable; they may not be combined with any other BCD number, coupon, promotion or offer.
- Taxes, concession recovery fees, vehicle license recovery fee, customer facility charges may apply and are extra. Optional products such as LDW ($29.99/day or less) and refueling are extra.
- Rates are based on U.S. currency.
Looking to Book One of these Specials?
The key is to simply act fast. Although the promotions technically are valid until the end of May, the companies only take reservations at these discounted rates until there are enough cars projected to get out of Florida (and Arizona). Once enough vehicles are booked, the promotional offers are pulled and normal rates (with their associated one-way fees) return. Hoping to take advantage of one of these promotions? Click below to request a quote and if the offer is available for your dates and locations, you'll see that Budget has highly competitive one-way rates.