Last Updated on August 29, 2023 by Kristin


Budget Car Rental is owned by New Jersey-based Avis Budget Group, which is also the parent company of Avis Rent a Car, Payless Car Rental and the car-sharing service Zipcar. Avis Budget Group also owns a few local car rental brands outside the U.S.. Its international brands include Maggiore in Italy, FranceCars and New Zealand’s Apex Car Rentals.

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Budget focuses on the value-minded traveler more than sister company Avis does. While well-known in the U.S., Budget actually has about 2,700 locations in more than 120 countries and offers a more extensive system than Payless.

History of Budget Rent a Car

The ownership of Budget Car Rental has changed hands several times since the Morris Mirkin founded the company in 1958 and launched it as a Chicago-based operation the following year. The company got its name from its focus on budget-minded travelers.

The 1990s were a time of innovation for Budget. It included its “Unlimited Budget” loyalty program in 1996, which allowed travel agents to earn points toward a MasterCard debit card. It also introduced its “Fastbreak” program for paperless transactions in 1998.

Team Rental Group purchased Budget in 1997 and started publicly trading it as Budget Group, Inc. In 2002, Budget Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and was subsequently sold to Cendant Corporation. The company eventually moved its headquarters to New Jersey, and in 2006 Cendant split into four companies including Avis Budget Group.

How to Make the Most of Renting from Budget

There are several ways to make the most of your rental experience:

Skip the counter.

Join the Budget Fastbreak loyalty program to be able to pick up and return your rental car without waiting at the counter. Your receipt will be automatically e-mailed to you after you return the vehicle.

Use Budget’s rate guarantee.

If you pay in advance and then find a better rate elsewhere, Budget will match it and shave 10 percent off that price.

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Earn Budget Bucks for future rentals.

Rent twice with Budget and you can receive $25 in Budget Bucks to be used toward a future rental.

Use the app.

Budget offers a mobile app for iPhone and Android phones, which gives renters the chance to manage reservations, contact roadside assistance and look up rental locations.

Shop for vacation deals.

Budget partners with some big travel brands. For example, you can save on Universal Orlando Resort vacations and Legoland tickets.