Auto Europe gets car rental deals when others fail

Renting cars in the US and some major international markets my methods include Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Costco, Priceline, occasionally airline booking codes, and rarely, car rental agencies or major 3rd-party sites like Expedia.

Auto Europe, in business since 1954, has lately joined my portfolio, producing tremendous deals in markets that many of the above methods show no availability while the agencies quote outrageous prices. I have recently used them for rentals in Cyprus, Bulgaria, Macedonia (FYROM) and Oman where they were 50% or more less than every other option I tried.

Auto Europe works with major rental agencies, which are disclosed at booking. They provide rentals worldwide, despite the name, and include neighborhood locations as well as airport, another area where many alternatives fail.

Searches show options displaying the agency and package. Numerous countries have mandatory insurance coverage that is accurately reflected in the price, in contrast to other sources that often leave this out or bury it in fine print. Also of great importance, they seem to always offer unlimited miles. My Auto Europe-Europcar rental in Oman had unlimited miles while every other option, even booking direct with Europcar, had barely enough kilometers to reach downtown from the airport, with a charge of about US$0.25/kilometer above that.

Prepayment is required. Reservations canceled with 3 days’ advance notice receive a full refund.

Readers, what are your Auto Europe experiences? Other alternatives you like?

Auto Europe SOF

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  • I also got a great rate from Auto Europe for a rental in Germany and would use their booking site again. I haven’t had much of a chance to try it again, though, preferring public transport in Europe compared to driving.

  • I loved them until last year, when their partner in Tenerife tried to bill me $50 for 4 litres of gas (on a full return) and they wouldn’t intervene. I had to have AMEX stop the charge.

  • chuck

    Auto Europe in general is OK. But beware, there are some fees that they will not have you prepay at time of booking, leaving you thinking EVERYTHING is covered and then, BAM, at the counter you are told that an additional premium location fee still needs to be paid. In Europe it is common practice for rental firms to charge a fee when picking up a vehicle at a station or airport. Sometimes these can be quite hefty in size. Also, AE does not do a stellar job on rates going 1 way or crossing borders. I have found Sixt to be a better deal at times thought they do not price in USD but rather local currency and therefore subject to currency fluctuation. In general, car rentals in Europe are hard to book. How fees are handled in each case will seem to vary.

  • Eager Traveler

    Car companies are hit and miss. Used AE in Venice a couple of years ago. After 5 trips back and forth across a 40 celcius parking lot I still had to drive away in a POC. Hertz may be more expensive but the service is ultimately worth it.

  • @The Deal Mommy, @chuck, @Eager Traveler – it excellent points, in the end it does depend on the partner they use, no way to control them, I have only booked when it is major names that I know, but of course things can go wrong anytime. Excellent point on the cross-border charges, those can be insane. Kudos to Auto Europe for pointing out to me the tire winterization charge for Sofia, but it was not until I confirmed the booking that I saw that Sofia Airport has a 20 euro charge for pickup before 9 am, fortunately I saw that and made the change to 9 am.