Budget Mobile App Icon

The Budget app is visually appealing in a color scheme that quickly reminds the user that the app is either related to Budget Rent A Car or the Denver Broncos. Playing second fiddle in the AvisBudget Group behind Avis (sister company Payless plays the kazoo), Budget's app falls short of the exceptional Avis app yet is arguably better than any of the apps created by Hertz Global Holdings (Hertz plus Dollar/Thrifty). It's much like the exceptional Avis app with two primary deviations. The first deviation is related to the Budget FastBreak program. Unlike the Avis Preferred program that's designed to earn free rentals, Budget FastBreak lacks the ability to earn awards based upon number of completed rentals. The second deviation is the addition of Budget's "Deals" (that aren't really deals) in the app.  

Similarities to the Avis App

We hope that you don't need to use any apps pre-rental -- booking through the Budget app means missing out on the best possible deals AutoSlash can find for you -- but the pre-rental app experience is just like when using the Avis app. A reservation made through AutoSlash with a Budget FastBreak number would be instantly viewable once logging into the app! The home screen is refined and the booking screen in the Budget app allows entering a lot of details on a single-screen, simple-to-use interface. Although these features are snazzy and easy to use, booking through the app means missing out on discounts.  

The graphics are clearly that of a rental car company.

The booking screen is identical to the Avis app except for color scheme.

After booking through AutoSlash with my FastBreak number, my upcoming reservation shows in the app.

Yet it's hard to drive a vehicle that allows "0" occupants.

Dissimilarities with the Avis App

The management of the AvisBudget Group appears to have some persistent, horrendously warped view of the Goldilocks Principle that they apply to their three rental car companies. The goal is apparently to make the Avis iteration world-class, the Payless version worst-in-class, then strip away some of the competence shown in the Avis implementation to make Budget "somewhere in between" (rather than "just right"). 

Customer Service: Avis is great, Payless gets class action lawsuits, Budget is ... somewhere in between.

Loyalty Programs: Avis Preferred is decent, Payless Perks is punitive, Budget FastBreak is ... somewhere in between.

Apps: Avis' app is superb, Payless' app is non-existent, the Budget app is ... somewhere in between.

Limited Integration with Budget FastBreak 

The Budget app does have to be punished for the weakness of the Budget FastBreak program. While it's beneficial to be able to see reservations made using a Budget FastBreak account, the only other features available to a FastBreak member are pushing notifications about a reservation, listing a favorite airport, and selecting a default car category. The FastBreak program doesn't offer points or credits toward awards based upon the number of completed rentals, so that's truly the extent of FastBreak "integration" with the app.

No ability to "edit" the FastBreak profile.

Deals that Aren't Deals 

Our AutoSlash team sees "silly" items every day when dealing with rental car companies. Budget managed to win a prize with their "Deals that Aren't Deals" function within the app. Remember that beautiful home screen where "Deals" was the third user tab?

Deals are prominently displayed on the home screen.

Well, Budget decided to code the deals feature in a way that the app doesn't download new deals. Can't find that promotional rate that Budget promised? That's because most of the offers "available" in September 2017 had expired in February and June. The fact that these errors persist in the current version of the app demonstrates that few renters use the app and/or AvisBudget remains dedicated to ensuring the Budget app falls well below the app of parent company Avis.

Even with the "Book Now" links, we can't go back in time to rent.

Our Take

The Budget FastBreak app is a good (but not great) entry. Yes, it's fantastic that we can see the details of our discounted reservations made using our FastBreak numbers but the weaknesses of the FastBreak program itself combined with Budget throwing out expired deals in a modern app means the only truly useful function for an AutoSlash user would be the ability to see details on current and future reservations. If our cell phones were running out of memory, we wouldn't bother to download the Budget app.


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