National vs Enterprise – Which is right for you?


Comparing National Car Rentals with Enterprise rent-a-car is a tough ask, especially since both businesses share the same parent company – Enterprise Holdings. However, in a competition, one has to come out on top. 

National car rental provides a better overall service when compared to Enterprise car rental. National rental offers a more customer-focused service with better-quality cars in more convenient locations.

In this post, you’ll learn why National offers a better service when compared to Enterprise but you’ll also learn about nationals shortcomings too. 

Why National Car Rental?

Car rental lot

National Car Rentals was founded in 1947 by a group of car rental agents looking to consolidate their earnings. As such, National became one of the first few rental companies to operate in America. The company changed several owners until it finally settled under the leadership of Enterprise Holdings. 

Over the years, National has become one of the most successful car rental businesses with over 1500+ locations worldwide. Their network has grown steadily, but that is because national doesn’t sacrifice the quality of service. 

So, what makes National so good?

Convenient Mobile App 

The modern world of technology has allowed companies and customers to stay connected at all times. But those who have not adapted to the change have lost out big time. Fortunately, National realized that quite early, and they developed a user-friendly app before their competition.

The mobile application allows customers to book a vehicle on the go and without visiting the company’s locations. It also allows users to check for car availability and the deals they could get with National. Available in both the App Store and Google Play

Loyalty Benefits 

National has an exciting loyalty benefits system that puts it above the rest in the market. For example, you could get preferential treatment by entering their Emerald Club. Some of the benefits include free rental days and the choice of convenient upgrades.

However, even if you don’t buy their Emerald Club program, you could get various benefits by booking a total of 85 paid rental days per calendar year. This gives you Executive Elite status, which allows for better upgrades on premium cars. 

Better Maintained Vehicles 

Interior cleaning

Enterprise and National share the same fleet of cars, but you get better-maintained vehicles when you book through National. That shouldn’t be the case, but several customer testimonials state that renting through National always resulted in a low mileage car.

Not only that, but through the latter, you get a better trim for the exact vehicle, which is surprising as well. Moreover, the rented car was in a much better state physically. So it’s easy to see why someone would choose National over its alternative. 

Why Not Choose National Car Rental?

Every business has its shortcomings, and National has some: 

Upselling Insurance 

Of course, we all need insurance, but how much? Upselling insurance is a large part of the rental business model. Rental companies know the easiest way to make extra revenue is to earn more money from the customers they already have. So check the insurance you are being offered, it may be overkill.

Expensive Rates 

Premium service comes at a cost. So, at National, you get cars for a higher rate. If you rent for a day or two, you shouldn’t feel the difference, but you might want to consider a cheaper alternative like Enterprise for extended rental periods. 

Why Choose Enterprise?

In comparison, National is better than Enterprise, but the latter still has a few positives. Here are just some of the areas Enterprise outshines National.

Payment Flexibility 

Enterprise accepts all forms of payment, including cash, credit, and debt, etc. Other companies are a bit rigid in their payment plans. Some won’t accept cash, while others will only take a credit card upfront to secure themselves. 

Reward System 

The points-based system at Enterprise is more rewarding than the one at National. The latter gives you one credit point for a four-day trip, while Enterprise offers one point on every dollar spent. That’s beneficial since you can get more favors by utilizing these points in the future. 

More Locations 

Enterprise has more than 6,000 locations worldwide, which is around three times better coverage than National. So your options are practically unlimited no matter where you are in the world. Also, Enterprise will undoubtedly expand their branches in the future, and you will benefit from the extensive coverage. 

The Down Side To Enterprise 

Average Customer Service 

Several customers have complained that the service at Enterprise is less than satisfactory. Here are a couple of the more common complaints:

  • Your rental is low on fuel, sometimes barely enough to drive to the gas station.
  • Renting at the counter is a poor experience, with long queues at airport locations. 

Higher Mileage Vehicles

We have mentioned before how National and Enterprise both share the same fleet of cars. However, when you book through Enterprise, you’ll likely get a higher mileage vehicle. Also, the vehicles are not in as good a shape as Nationals cars.

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John Cunningham

John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. I've been a mechanic for over twenty-five years, and I've worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Landrover, and Jaguar dealerships. My passion is cars. I use my knowledge and experience to write articles that help fellow gear-heads with all aspects of car ownership, including buying advice, maintenance, and troubleshooting.

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