Alamo Cuts Free Additional Driver

Alamo has announced that, effective June 16, 2014, members of its free Alamo Insiders program will no longer be able to add an additional driver for free.

Alamo Additional Driver Fee

They are also going to attempt and everyday low pricing model with coupons replaced by a 5% discount for members in the US, Canada, Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean. This is not relevant to me as booking direct from an agency is rarely the cheapest option, and Alamo seldom has big frequent flyer point bonuses either. I can only recall one time I rented from Alamo since I have always found something else a better option.

Renting through Costco Travel has traditionally waived the additional driver fee, and that is still listed for Avis, Budget and Enterprise but I cannot find similar language on the Alamo page and terms.

Those with additional drivers can still still escape the fee with other agencies:

  • Free spouse or partner: Avis, Budget, Enterprise
  • Free for program members: Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and National Emerald Club
  • AAA, AARP & USAA members when using their codes to rent, not other corporate/discount codes
  • Renting in California (by law)

Million Mile Secrets has an excellent piece and discussion in the comments on additional drivers.

I recently gave a presentation on Rental Car Savings at Frequent Traveler University in Seattle, see the slides:

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  • Gene

    I’ve never really understood this additional driver nonsense. If you aren’t buying their insurance coverage, what difference does it make who drives the car?

    Let’s say someone not listed on the rental contract wrecks the car. What exactly is the rental company going to do to you?

  • @Gene – I confess I have not researched it in depth, my wife has refused to learn to drive so it has not been an issue for me. I guess there could be issues if the car is in your name, the rental agency charges you for damage, your insurance company might deny the claim, and the additional driver might not have coverage, like I don’t, or that driver’s insurance might not cover unless listed on the rental. The fee is certainly a scam, however the consequences to the renter could be severe.

  • A

    I’m becoming a huge fan of certain CA consumer protection laws. The no-fee for spouses should be rolled out nationwide as a law. The fee is a complete rip off and unsafe on long roadtrips. I won’t rent from them in the future (not that I did in the first place).

  • guera

    I think that this is just another way for them to collect revenue, along with all the other garbage charges. Almost all the car rental companies charge a low daily rate, but when all the charges are added up, your final bill is about double what you’ve been originally quoted. We must look at the total estimated rental amount, which is usually in very small font. It is nice to be able to trade off drivers, but not at the prices that they charge to do so.

  • m

    nice post, but how about details on whether this applies to international rentals? i believe the USAA free additional driver is only valid for US rentals. Anyone?

  • @m – this would in theory apply to Alamo rentals anywhere, but each country has different regulations and each agency is very inconsistent country to country so unfortunately best advice is to research your particular destination ahead.

  • JB

    nice.

  • James

    Just FYI: Although Alamo now claims to no longer allow spouses to be free additional drivers in most states, MANY LOCATIONS STILL DO ALLOW ONE’S SPOUSE TO DRIVE FOR FREE. I’ve called and spoke with reps at locations today. Warwick, Rhode Island (PVD airport) is one of these locations. It’s a good thing, or they would’ve lost my business. Give it a try; the hard part is finding the true local number that connects you to the service desk at the ‘actual’ location.

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @James – great find. Getting an actual number to connect to the local is hard, recently I needed to connect to one at Portland, ME airport and they only way I inadvertently succeeded was an agent wanted to get rid of me so passed me to roadside assistance which was able to get the location manager on the phone, in that case I even had a local number but she said, “they never answer it.”

  • James

    Glad to hear somebody found my post! So far the best way I’ve found to get the local numbers is to go to the airport’s website. The numbers are usually on the transportation page and begin with the local area code. It’s worked multiple times for me. As for non-airport locations I’m guessing that the nearest airport location might know nearby #s.

  • James

    P.S. As for answering the phone, I just called one now, pressed 0, and had a live person in a few seconds. 🙂

  • Rapid Travel Chai

    @James – well, I was trying to call Dollar! I normally avoid them but there were the cheapest by far. Otherwise I believe will answer the phone.