Alamo vs. Enterprise: Which Is Best?


Renting a car during your travels can be expensive and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Different car rental companies offer different experiences for renters, so it pays to be thoughtful before selecting a brand.

If you’re trying to decide between booking an Alamo versus Enterprise car rental, know that both are owned by the same parent company, Enterprise Holdings. Even so, differences abound; we’ll break down which company has the best vehicle availability, rental rates, service and loyalty program to help you make the right choice.

Winner: Enterprise

Considering numbers alone, Enterprise is the top dog. It has far more locations, especially in the U.S., both on-airport and off.

Enterprise

Enterprise maintains a fleet of more than 1.7 million vehicles, including in every U.S. state except Wyoming, Vermont, Montana, Maine and Delaware.

Enterprise has over 250 airport locations in most major cities across the U.S., which makes the rental company an easy choice when renting a car in conjunction with air travel.

Enterprise also has more than 9,500 rental offices in nearly 100 countries and territories, including Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and the U.K.

Its fleet offers not just cars, trucks and SUVs, but exotic vehicles and 12- and 15-passenger vans, too.

Alamo

A much smaller operation than Enterprise, Alamo operates 1,100 locations worldwide, including 336 locations in North America, though most are at airports.

Alamo gets a slight edge in terms of its international footprint. In Europe, Alamo has locations in 40 countries, while Enterprise is in 36. In Asia, Alamo is in eight countries, while Enterprise is in nine. And in Africa and the Middle East, Alamo has locations in 11 countries, while Enterprise is in 10 countries.

Alamo has just as many vehicle classes as Enterprise, ranging from four-wheel-drive vehicles to compact cars, SUVs to 15-passenger vans.

Winner: Alamo

While prices for optional add-ons (like car seats and Sirius XM) and taxes and fees are practically identical, and while both companies offer unlimited mileage, Alamo typically charges less. Rates are typically a few dollars less per day, which can add up on a longer trip.

🤓Nerdy Tip

In one sample search for a car rental in Las Vegas, it was significantly less to rent from Enterprise off-airport than from Alamo’s only area location on-airport. So if you have the option, check off-airport locations for big potential savings.

Enterprise

Across the board, from multi-day rentals to overnight rentals in cities big and small, Enterprise tends to be a few dollars more expensive per day for just about any vehicle, except occasionally when comparing off-airport prices to Alamo’s on-airport prices.

Alamo

Alamo is often cheaper than Enterprise, usually by a few dollars a day, which can add up for longer rentals.

Sometimes the savings can be even more significant. At least one sample off-airport search resulted showed a week-long rental in Boston cost $458.76 for a luxury car from Alamo versus $759.99 for an economy car from Enterprise.

Winner: Enterprise

Besides ranking No. 1 for the third year in a row in the J.D. Power 2023 North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study, Enterprise also offers free pickup if you rent from non-airport locations.

Enterprise

As long as you rent from non-airport locations, Enterprise offers free pickups if you don’t have a way to get to the rental office. A team member will pick you up, deliver you to the rental location and then you can pick up your car and be on your way.

The company also offers separate and dedicated customer service lines for reservations, general questions and roadside assistance so you can get in touch with the right person sooner.

Alamo

Alamo isn’t far behind Enterprise when it comes to customer satisfaction, ranking third in the J.D. Power satisfaction study (scoring 862 points to Enterprise’s 866).

Service may vary by location, but there are dedicated and separate numbers to call if you need help with reservations, roadside assistance, general questions or if you have a disability.

Winner: Enterprise

If you’re considering a rental based on the potential to earn loyalty points and status or have status from another rental company matched, choose Enterprise.

Alamo doesn’t have a traditional loyalty program or elite tiers, though for those who don’t rent often, the ability to earn hotel points and airline miles with Alamo may be more enticing.

Enterprise Plus

Enterprise’s loyalty program is called Enterprise Plus, and it’s simple to earn points and status: For every dollar you spend with Enterprise or its partner National Car Rental, you earn a point. Those points can then be redeemed for free rental days.

You can also obtain elite status via rental activity, and the company offers a status match program. There are four tiers:

  • Plus: This is the base level, which you’ll remain in until you exceed five rentals. It’s free to sign up, and you’ll earn 1 point for every rental.

  • Silver: You’ll qualify when you make between six and 11 rentals, plus get one free vehicle upgrade per year and earn 10% more points on every rental.

  • Gold: After 12 rentals or 40 days of rentals, you’ll earn a 15% bonus on points and two free upgrades per year.

  • Platinum: After 24 rentals or 85 days of rentals, Platinum members get a 20% points bonus on rentals and four free vehicle upgrades every year.

To keep points active, you do have to rent a car at least once every three years. As a member. you’ll get access to a dedicated phone number for faster customer service.

Alamo Insiders program

While Alamo does operate the Alamo Insiders program, it’s not a traditional loyalty program. Instead, it is a way to receive email deals and a 5% discount on reservations in which you choose the “Pay later” option than earn loyalty points or status.

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That said, Alamo does let you earn airline miles or hotel points for every booking if you add your preferred frequent traveler number when you book.

The number of points and miles earned depends on what loyalty program you link, but some popular ones include:

  • Alaska Mileage Plan: 50 miles per rental day.

  • American Airlines AAdvantage: 50 miles per rental day.

  • Delta SkyMiles: 2 miles per dollar.

  • Frontier Miles: Up to 500 miles per rental.

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards: 600 points per rental.

  • Hilton Honors: 500 points per rental.

  • Best Western Rewards: 3 points per dollar.

Credit cards with built-in rental car insurance

Save money at the counter by booking with a credit card that includes rental car coverage in its travel benefits. Just be sure to decline the coverage pitched to you by Enterprise or Alamo.

Cards with auto rental benefits
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

NerdWallet Rating
Chase United Airlines Mileage Plus Credit Card

United℠ Explorer Card

NerdWallet Rating
The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

NerdWallet Rating

on American Express’ website

Rates & Fees

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

NerdWallet Rating

Annual fee


$0 intro for the first year, then $95.

Rental car benefits


• Primary rental car coverage with reimbursement up to the cash value of most rental vehicles.

• Booking a car rental through Chase Ultimate Rewards® earns 5 points per dollar spent.

• Redeeming points to book travel through Chase — including renting cars — gives you 25% more value per point.

• Primary rental car coverage that reimburses up to the cash value of most rental cars.

• Other day-of-travel benefits for United flyers include a free checked bag, priority boarding and lounge passes.

• Complimentary elite status with Avis, Hertz and National, which entitles the member to upgrades and discounts.

• Secondary rental car coverage.

• Other benefits include expansive airport lounge access and hundreds of dollars’ worth of travel credits.

• Primary rental car coverage with reimbursement up to $75,000.

• Booking a car rental through Chase Ultimate Rewards® earns 10 points per dollar spent.

• Redeeming points to book travel through Chase — including renting cars — gives you 50% more value per point.

• Cardholders eligible for special benefits from Avis, National and Silvercar.

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When it comes to Enterprise versus Alamo, Enterprise emerges victorious regarding its impressive number of locations, service and loyalty program. But that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone.

After all, in most cases, Alamo was cheaper, plus those who don’t rent often and aren’t concerned with status may prefer Alamo for its ability to earn airline miles or hotel points with every booking.

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024, including those best for:



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