is Alamo car rental ok?
April 3, 2012 5:41 AM   Subscribe

is Alamo car rental ok?

it's vacation time and I'm looking into rental cars to take on a roadtrip through the eastern US. I'm getting fairly decent quotes for Alamo but I wanted to make sure they are ok. any direct opinions? I'm already avoiding enterprise because I never seem to get the car I reserved.
posted by krautland to Travel & Transportation around United States (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Alamo is owned by Enterprise. With that said, I've never had a problem with them personally.
posted by true at 5:43 AM on April 3, 2012

Your experience with enterprise isn't that unusual for the industry in general... if the price is right, go for it.
posted by HuronBob at 5:45 AM on April 3, 2012

oh wait, if enterprise owns them does that mean the car I reserved can be pretty much any car on the lot as well? (and always magically happens to be a way smaller car)
posted by krautland at 6:00 AM on April 3, 2012

I've never had any problems. FWIW, if anything, the car companies always seem to try to give me a larger car, which I never want.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:09 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

I usually make reservations with several companies. Then, call them just before pick up time and see what cars they have available. Choose the best car and cancel the others. Don't be afraid to refuse the car they give you. They'll find another, better one.
posted by I'm Doing the Dishes at 6:10 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've never had a problem getting the car I reserved with them. I've always been sent out to the specific section of the lot with the type of car I wanted, and there has always been at least a few to choose from. But, then again, this is usually when I'm renting from a location near an airport, so I don't know if that makes a difference in what's available.
posted by random thoughts at 6:10 AM on April 3, 2012

I rented weekly from Alamo in Chicago for about a year and never had any trouble (just as random thoughts describes). I'm sure my situation was a little different in that I always rent economy cars, so there are no smaller cars to give me. I did rent from Enterprise a couple weeks in that gig, and on both occasions thy were out of the car I reserved and they tried to upsell me to something else at a higher rate.
posted by chazlarson at 6:28 AM on April 3, 2012

Just used Alamo. They are one of the companies that lets you pick from any car in the class you reserved. When I used them last month, I got a flat. They had assistance there within 20 minutes to change it for me. Then switching out the car was painless (I didn't want to drive 4 more days on the spare). I did get dinged $50 for the flat, but it could have been worse. The two mid-size cars I drove were a Nissan Cube and a Ford Focus. Both where in great shape and had plenty of features.
posted by kimdog at 6:36 AM on April 3, 2012

I've had the thing where the car you reserved is not the car you get happen with basically every company I've ever used (Alamo, Enterprise, Fox, I'm probably forgetting someone?). I always try to rent economy cars (I travel light, and I'm paying for the gas!) and I often get "upgraded" to something else, but always at the price I originally agreed upon.
posted by mskyle at 6:39 AM on April 3, 2012

if enterprise owns them does that mean the car I reserved can be pretty much any car on the lot as well?

That was my experience when I rented with Alamo last week. I reserved whatever was cheapest and presumed I'd get the "Take whatever we have left" situation but they actually had a few compacts actually on the lot (I was at a big airport) and one of them was a Fiat 500 which was fun to drive and got 36 MPG which was sort of great. If you're a bigger person you may want to clear this with them to see what they have left, but yeah they do the "Any car in your class" thing
posted by jessamyn at 6:53 AM on April 3, 2012

//The two mid-size cars I drove were a Nissan Cube and a Ford Focus//

Only in the rental car world are those mid-sized vehicles...

Alamo is fine. Really, all of the name brand rental companies are fine. If you have issues it's most likely due to the local station management, not the brand name on the station.
posted by COD at 7:00 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Alamo is fine. Watch your rental contract when road tripping, however. They often only allow you to travel to immediately adjacent states.
posted by dzot at 7:12 AM on April 3, 2012

I travel on business and I've rented with all of 'em. Alamo is no worse than the rest. If they have better prices, go with them; just check things like charges for mileage, insurance, and whether you can take it to other states. And be really careful about costing things out if you're returning to a different location. Those costs can be wildly different, even between different locations of the same rental car company.

The relationship between Alamo and Enterprise will depend on your rental location. Some places the Enterprise and the Alamo are effectively one location with two signs. Some places they operate separately, but maybe one stays open an hour or two later and covers for the other.

Every car rental company will eventually screw you on the car you requested, and try to call it an "upgrade." If you're reserving SUVs, this will typically not happen as often (or so I have been told by rental car agents). I always reserve a compact car and would say I get something bigger about 50% of the time. Thus far, I have not figured out a way to prevent this.
posted by pie ninja at 7:30 AM on April 3, 2012

We've used Alamo repeatedly and have come to prefer them.
posted by allnamesaretaken at 9:23 AM on April 3, 2012

Every car rental agency will at some point give you a different car than you reserved, and the lower-priced rental agencies will do it more frequently than the higher-priced ones. I hate this, but it is the way they organize the cars that accounts for it.

I haven't noticed a difference in the "they never have the actual car I wanted" pattern among Alamo, Enterprise, National, Budget, Dollar, and Thrifty. Hertz is more likely to have the actual car I selected, but they're way more expensive so I rarely use them unless I'm traveling on someone else's dime.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:27 AM on April 3, 2012

I have used Alamo at LAX. The shuttle was timely, and I used the Kiosk to check in, pick the car we wanted from the class we reserved (the children loved that part of the process), and drive out. I've never had any problems, so I would recommend them.
posted by KillaSeal at 11:53 AM on April 3, 2012

Also, If I remember correctly, the have unlimited miles, which is good on a road trip!
posted by KillaSeal at 11:53 AM on April 3, 2012

thatnks for the heads up, guys. I'm going to rent with them at some location either in manhattan or brooklyn and take it to a plethora of states, so this advice is really helping :-)
posted by krautland at 6:00 AM on April 4, 2012

Alamo is fine. They're actually the company I prefer because they don't charge a premium for renting a car when using your debit card. Hertz and Avis tried to authorize an extra $800 on top of the rental car cost... suffice to say, I didn't have that much in the account linked to my debit card!
posted by SpecialK at 1:15 PM on April 14, 2012

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