Orlando Car Hire Late Fees - Avis Preferred

As a frequent visitor to Orlando I have been hiring cars for 20 years now. I have been using Avis (avis.co.uk) for a number of years now and joined there preferred scheme about 10 years ago. It's free to join and as member you get perks for the more cars you hire, as you would expect.

There are 3 different levels of Preferred, Avis Preferred is where you start and then after you have rented 5 or more cars in a 12 month period and spent over 1000 Euros you move up to Preferred Plus. The next and top level is President's Club which requires 10+ hire's per 12 months and over 2000 Euro spend.

You don't get more discount for the higher up the preferred ladder you are but you do get more perks. Perks include a free weekend rental, free vehicle upgrade and free second driver. The free vehicle upgrade is subject to availability unless you are President's club level.

Avis Preferred Orlando Car Hire Free Upgrade

One of the best things of being a Preferred member is not having to queue up when you arrive at Orlando International airport. You can skip the line and go straight to the car park. From there you find your name on the board and go to the allocated parking space to get your car.

The contracts are normally in the car and all you have to do is show your driving licence when exiting along with the contract. If you don't like the car you can go back to the Avis booth on the car park level and ask for something different. They are normally very helpful and will suggest other options.

You also get sent special offers and discount codes that you can us when hiring a car. I have just used one to hire a car for my next trip to Orlando at the end of February and got a 15% discount.

I tend to use Avis 3 or 4 times a year and they offer a fair price and a good selection of cars. I am sure most Orlando car hire companies have some kind of loyalty scheme with similar benefits but I have only really used Avis.

Currently I am only a Preferred Plus member, I used to be President's Club but they down graded me. I don't think I hired enough cars in the 12 month period even though I spent well over 2000 euros, again a little annoying, should be either or!

Now the reason for this blog post was to share my most recent Orlando car hire experience. Back in November 2016 I was in Orlando for 35 days so had to hire two cars. The max you are allow is 28 days for any one rental. I had one car for 28 days and then had to go back to the Avis office to swap it for another for the last 7 days. I use the office in Kissimmee if I have to change cars as I don't want to drive all the way back to Orlando International airport.

I hired the car from 5pm and most car hire companies work on a 24hr period so the car had to be back in 7 days time before 5pm. Unfortunately we were running a little late and returned the car at 5.38pm. At the time I didn't think anything of it and then a few days later I was going over my credit card bill and noticed a charge of $15.81.

I contacted Avis customer service which is not the quickest by any means to ask what this charge was? They replied a few days later saying I had returned the car late so this was for an extra hour car hire. 

As you can imagine I was very annoyed by this having been a loyal customer for 10 years who has spent thousands of pounds hiring cars from them. I emailed them back explaining I have been a loyal customer etc etc and eventually I received a reply back saying as a loyal customer they would refund the extra hour charge.

The Avis customer service agent went on to say that I had actually picked the car up at 4.55pm and then returned it at 5.38pm making it 43 minutes overdue. The agent then explained that they normally allow a 29 minute grace period before they start charging for extra time.

With this in mind I wanted to let you know about this and to make sure you aware of this next time you hire a car in Orlando. I am not sure if all the Orlando car hire companies have this kind of policy but it maybe worth asking next time you hire a car.

Although I found this whole thing very annoying and it took a little of time to get it sorted it hasn't put me off using Avis, I will just make sure I return the car on time or as close as possible!

If you are interested in joining the Avis Preferred scheme I have copied the benefits below. For me, being able to skip the queue and go straight to the car makes it worth doing. As well as the vehicle upgrades!

Avis Preferred benefits 

With Avis Preferred:

  • €15 money off voucher*
  • Vehicle upgrade voucher***
  • Voucher for a free weekend rental**
  • Reach Avis Preferred Plus status even faster: the ‘loyalty value’ of your rental will go up by €100 if you hire a vehicle within 60 days of registration******

With Avis Preferred Plus:

  • Free vehicle upgrade***
  • Voucher for a free weekend rental**
  • Free second driver
  • Priority car availability

With Avis President's Club:

  • Guaranteed vehicle upgrade****
  • Double vehicle upgrade on weekends***
  • Voucher for a free weekend rental**
  • Free second driver
  • Guaranteed car availability*****

* After your second rental

** Valid for a three-day rental for a mid-size car in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France (excl. Corsica), Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy (excl. Sardinia), Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, South Africa and Turkey. This includes fees, mandatory cover and taxes. Fuel, extra services and airport surcharges are not included. For Avis Preferred cardholders, this is available after your third rental.

*** Subject to availability. Not eligible for vans, Avis Select Series, Luxury or Prestige cars, or rentals over 14 days.

**** Guaranteed at airport and railway stations and at city centre locations, depending on availability.

***** For bookings at least 48 hours in advance.

****** We will increase the ‘loyalty value’ of your rental by 100€ so you can accelerate towards Avis Preferred Plus status. This value will be credited within five days of the rental car being returned to us, at which point it can be viewed in your online account. This bonus only applies to new members.

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