Renting a Car Under 25: How to Save Money - Points Guy (2023)

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At the time of writing this articleGlobal Corona-Virus EpidemicI have finalized my air travel plans for the remainder of 2020. However, before that I have to make some family trips from my home in New York to my hometown of Chicago, leaving me with a responsible (and distance-compliant) way to travel between the two cities: driving.

But like most New Yorkers, I don't have a car, so I'll have to rent one if I decide to make the 12-hour drive from New York to Chicago. Unfortunately, that's easier said than done for me. At the end of the year I'm 24 years old, which means I pay the underage car rental fee at almost all car rental companies - in most cases it's over $30 per day, which practically doubles the cost of many car rentals .

I am planning my first drive this Memorial Day weekend and want to find the cheapest way to rent a car under 25. To my surprise, there are many ways to avoid the under-25 fee if you know where to look. I'll show you everything you need to know if you're renting a car under the age of 25 - including how to waive the under-25 fee altogether, manage your insurance and discuss how you can earn extra rewards.

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Car rental up to 25 years

Renting a car when you are under the age of 25 can be a confusing process - in fact, some companies are completely banned from renting to anyone under a certain age. For example, Hertz does not rent to anyone under the age of 20, while other large companies such as Alamo, Budget, Enterprise andNationalI will not rent to anyone under the age of 21.

However, several states have laws prohibiting this. In New York and Michigan, for example, anyone over the age of 18 can rent a car. However, you will still be subject to the under-25 or “young driver” fee, which can be more expensive than the fee for drivers aged 21-24.

The fee for guests under the age of 25 varies by location and car rental company. Here in New York, Budget charges $35 per day for people in this age group. When renting for a week or more, that can quickly add up, making car journeys too expensive for many.

Renting a Car Under 25: How to Save Money - Points Guy (1)

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In addition, this fee does not bring any benefit to the person renting the car. It doesn't include supplemental insurance, compensation waivers, or other benefits, so you only pay this fee for the privilege of under-25 driving.

Related:Which car rental is right for you?

How to avoid the under 25 fee

Luckily, there are several ways to avoid this fee with different car rental companies. Here's a quick look at all the ways I've found - they're all perfectly legitimate and don't require things like using a company code for a company you don't work for or otherwise using the system.

Book with Silvercar

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Silvercar is a car rental company owned by Audi. As you might expect, the company only rents silver Audis at airports in the United States and at select downtown locations in Miami, New York and San Francisco. The company currently rents Audi A4, A5 Cabriolet, Q5 and Q7 cars and SUVs, each equipped with conveniences such as Apple CarPlay, Sirius XM radio and on-board WiFi to help passengers stay connected.

What surprises many is that this premium car rental company does not charge anyone under the age of 25 for any of their rentals, regardless of what car you rent or what city you rent it in. There is one exception to this rule, however: you must be 22 years of age to rent a Silver Car, except in upstate New York, where anyone over the age of 18 can rent one. Unfortunately, drivers between the ages of 18 and 21 are charged $75 per day in New York City.

This makes Silvercar a great option for 22-24 year olds to rent a car in cities where Silvercar operates. Daily rates tend to be slightly more expensive than the over-25 rates offered by other major car rental companies, but the money you save by not paying the under-25 fee usually offsets the higher cost.

What I also like about Silvercar is how easy it is to get insurance. I don't own a car and don't have my own car insurance, so I need to get basic liability insurance from a rental company. Silvercar lets you buy this insurance at the point of sale, and it's quite reasonably priced - I paid just $9.34 a day on a recent trip to Los Angeles.

Do you own a Chase Sapphire reserve card? You canSave 20% on all Silvercar bookingsUse promotional code VISANF20 and pay with Sapphire Reserve. This gives you the right to receive the cardComprehensive insurance for primary collision damageThis can save you a lot of money when your car gets damaged.

Related:Everything you need to know about renting from Silvercar

Become an AAA member and rent fromHerc

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The American Automobile Association - better known as "AAA" or "Triple A" - is a federation of auto clubs across the United States. Members are entitled to a range of benefits including free roadside assistance, travel discounts and other miscellaneous benefits. However, one of the most valuable benefits is the Hertz discount.

All AAA members can use the AAA corporate rate when renting through Hertz. This includes a range of different rental benefits, including additional Hertz Gold Plus Rewards points, access to special fares and most importantly, the young driver fee waiver for those aged 19-24.

Related:Your guide to points, miles and loyalty points with Hertz car rentals

At the time of writing this articleAAA MembershipIn the Northeast US, prices start as low as $4.50 per month. This is immediately offset against the money you save by renting through Hertz, making the membership fee well worth it if you need to rent a car.

Remember that you must book your rental throughAAA page on Hertz websiteand present your AAA IDs when picking up the vehicle. Additionally, these benefits are only available for bookings in the US and Canada.

I highly recommend signing up for AAA membership if you are under 25 and want to rent a car. This is by far the best rental car deal on the domestic market.

Last thing:Hertz has partnershipszDelta AirlinesIUnited Airlineswhich they are offering free to elite members and select cobrand credit cardholdersHertz's elite status. Be sure to register before renting to get car upgrades and other benefits – more on that at the end of the article.

Ask your university or your alumni association for a discount code

Many universities and their alumni associations offer discounted car rentals to students, staff, and alumni. My school - DePaul University - has Avis discount codes,Pursue,Hercand National, which can be used on all rentals, regardless of where I rent the car and whether it is related to university activities.

I looked through these promo codes last year and noticed that my school's Enterprise Code not only offers a special college rate, but also waives the incidental fee, includes unlimited additional drivers, and adds free liability insurance. While I can't speak for your school, it's definitely worth checking to see if your school offers car rental discount codes that waive the small fee.

Many of these promo codes do not require you to be an active student or worker. In the case of my school, the code can be used by any current student, parent of a current student, staff, or alumni.

Related:How to save on car rental

Check if you qualify to join the USAA

The United Services Automobile Association, USAA for short, is a financial services company that provides services to individuals who serve or have served in the United States Armed Forces and their families. Some of the most popular offerings include banking services, auto loans, and insurance products.

USAA members are entitled to preferential rates and waive fees for under 25s on the siteZeitungBudget,PursueIHerc. If you qualify, compare prices for each of these rentals using a USAA promo code. You can find these promo codes on the websiteUSAA car rental site- Remember to log in to your account.

Rent over Carla

Carla is an online travel agency (OTA) specializing in car rental. It works with all major car rental companies and, according to its website, can help you find great deals at exclusive prices.

Renting a Car Under 25: How to Save Money - Points Guy (4)

Interestingly, OTA waives fees for many rentals for those under the age of 25. On the checkout screen you can see which rental companies do not charge this fee. However, there is no way to verify this when inspecting the cars prior to checkout.

However, there are a few things to consider when renting from Carl. During my test research, I found that this fee only applies to Carla's "Surprise Provider" offers. That means you don't know who you're actually renting a car from until you've paid for it, which some (myself included) may find disconcerting.

In addition, you are unlikely to be eligible to earn car rental points, qualify for elite status or enjoy the benefits of elite car rental status if you rent a car through Carla. This is because most car rental companies require you to rent directly from that company in order to earn these points.

Most cars rented through Carl are also non-refundable. AccordinglyOTA-Website, its fares are "subject to special restrictions similar to those of airline tickets" and that one of those restrictions "is the imposition of cancellation fees". So if you are unsure whether you will actually use your rental car, it may be better to book a refundable rate directly with the rental company.

It is also worth mentioning that I did not find any way to get liability insurance from Carla. You may still be able to buy this car from a rental company, but you won't know the price until you've booked a 'Surprise Provider' deal.

Despite these downsides, the Carla could be a great deal for those under 25 who have existing car insurance and don't mind a little privacy with a rental.

Related:Hot Spots: How to Avoid Car Rental Companies Taking Advantage of You

Check the coronavirus exceptions

Many car rental companies are waiving the under-25s fee to rent a car during the global coronavirus outbreak. These companies offer this discount so that students can go home earlier than originally planned if they have to move in the summer.

However, the nature of these car rental companies is a bit risky - Avis, for example, states that they waive the fee for drivers between the ages of 21 and 24. However, major markets such as New York, Michigan and Maryland are exempt, and young drivers in those states must continue to pay premiums until age 25.

Here is a list of all rental companies who are waiving fees during the coronavirus outbreak:

  • Zeitung- Free for children under 25, ages 21-24 through June 30, excluding New York, Michigan and Maryland
  • Budget- Free for children under 25, ages 21-24 through June 30, excluding New York, Michigan and Maryland
  • Pursue- No fees for those under the age of 25 for those aged 18-24 with a valid student ID card by May 31st
  • Herc— People over the age of 18 can rent an apartment to people under the age of 25 free of charge until May 31

Use a credit card with rental insurance

One of my favorite credit card benefits isBasic scope of car rentalThis is included in cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. If you pay for your rental with one of these cards, you are entitled to insurance against damage to or theft of your rental car.

This ranges from a total write-off (e.g. if your rental car is stolen or destroyed) to a minor fender flare. Rental companies often offer you the option to sell this exemption when you rent a car, but it usually costs between $10 and $15 per day. This can add up quickly if you rent cars frequently. So be sure to consider one of these credit cards if you frequently purchase property damage insurance.

Remember, the indemnity waiver worksNOcover liability insurance. While most car rental companies offer minimum government liability insurance, if you are not covered by standard rental car insurance, you should purchase higher coverage from your rental company.

Related:5 steps to the perfect car rental

Earn rewards on rentals

Most major car rental companies have a loyalty program. In the case of Hertz, you can join himGold Rewards Programand earn points on all rentals when you book direct. You can redeem these reward points for free rentals or transfer them to airline or hotel mileage programs. However, in most cases it is best if you redeem your points for a free rental as this will give you the most benefit.

Check if your landlord has a loyalty program - depending on how often you rent, you can quickly earn points to benefit from free rental.

Check if you qualify for free car rental elite status

As previously mentioned, some airlines offer complimentary Elite car rental status to their Elite members and some single-brand credit cardholders. In the case of HertzElita United Premier Silver and Premier Goldand Delta Gold members qualify for complimentary Hertz Five Star status. In addition, United Premier Platinum and 1K, United Club℠ Infinite Card and Presidental Plus cardholders andDelta Platinum Elite Members and Diamond MedallionQualify for complimentary Hertz Presidents Circle status.

Elite car rental statuscan make renting a car a lot more enjoyable. You have the right to collect additional points and vehicle upgrades. So this could be your ticket to driving a premium car at a great price.

Related:Credit cards with elite car rental status


While it is more difficult for people under the age of 25 to rent a car, it is certainly not impossible. Use the methods in this article before booking your next rental. This will save you money on the under-25 fee and have a more convenient rental experience.

Also, remember to pay with your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve Card to qualifyfree comprehensive insuranceYou charge your card for the rent.

Featured photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg/Getty Images.

Editorial Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and not those of any bank, credit card company, airline or hotel chain and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company.


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