13 Hidden Avis Surcharges Renters Need to Know

13 Hidden Avis Surcharges Renters Need to Know

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Transparency in pricing is what every consumer desires, yet when it comes to car rentals, hidden surcharges are often part of the deal.

Avis, despite its stature, is no exception.

In this article, we unveil the hidden surcharges that come with renting a car from Avis, arming renters with the knowledge to make budget-savvy decisions

Common Avis Surcharges Renters Need to Know

1. Frequent Traveler Surcharge:

Often, when you rent a car from Avis and choose to earn frequent traveler points (like airline miles or hotel points), you may encounter a Frequent Traveler Surcharge.

What the Avis Frequent Travel Program Fee looks like in a snapshot

This fee is a small percentage of the rental cost, sometimes flat, aimed at covering the expenses Avis incurs while participating in these loyalty programs.

Before opting to earn these points, it’s wise to inquire about any associated surcharges to ensure the benefits outweigh the costs.

2. Premium Location Surcharge:

Renting a car from a premium location such as an airport or a busy downtown area often comes with a surcharge.

What the premium location surcharge looks like on an avis bill

This surcharge helps Avis cover the higher operating costs associated with these prime spots. The fee may vary depending on the exact location, so it’s always a good idea to check in advance.

Sometimes, a short taxi ride to a non-premium location can save you a good chunk on your rental bill.

3. Direct Currency Conversion:

If you’re renting from Avis outside your home country, you might come across the Direct Currency Conversion fee.

This fee is applied when transactions are converted from the local currency to your home currency at the point of sale.

While it may seem convenient, the exchange rates may not always be in your favor. It might be worth it to do the conversion through your credit card, as they often offer better rates.

4. Location/Airport Concession Fee:

This fee is common when renting a car from an airport or a similar concession location.

It’s essentially a way for the rental location to cover the costs of operating within a venue owned by another entity.

These fees can add a noticeable amount to your final bill, so if possible, consider renting from a non-concession location to sidestep this surcharge.

5. Energy Recovery Fee:

Snapshot of the energy recovery fee (ERF) from a particular bill

The Energy Recovery Fee is a small daily charge that helps Avis offset the costs of various energy-related expenses, like the electricity used to clean and maintain the vehicles.

While it might seem like a drop in the bucket, over a longer rental period, these little charges can add up. It’s one of those surcharges that’s small but consistent, so budgeting for it in advance can help keep your finances in check.

6. Vehicle Licensing Fee:

The Vehicle Licensing Fee is another common surcharge you might encounter. This fee is aimed at recovering the costs Avis incurs for licensing their fleet of vehicles.

It’s typically a daily charge, and while it’s not a large amount, it’s another little add-on that can incrementally increase the cost of your rental. Being aware of it beforehand can help you better estimate your total rental cost.

7. Additional Driver Fee:

If you plan on sharing the driving responsibilities with someone else, you might be subject to an Additional Driver Fee.

This fee is charged by Avis to cover the insurance costs for more than one driver. The cost can vary, but it’s usually a daily fee. It’s essential to add all drivers to the rental agreement to ensure that the insurance coverage applies, even if it means paying a bit extra.

8. Young Driver Surcharge:

The Young Driver Surcharge is imposed on renters under a specific age, typically 25. This fee is a way for Avis to mitigate the perceived risk associated with younger, potentially less experienced drivers.

The surcharge can significantly increase the daily rental rate, so it’s advisable to be aware of it if you or any additional drivers are under the age threshold.

9. Fuel Service Charge:

Fuel policies at car rental companies can sometimes be a bit of a maze. If you choose to have Avis refuel the vehicle, a Fuel Service Charge will apply.

This fee usually comes at a premium compared to local gas prices, making it a costly convenience. It’s almost always more economical to refuel the car yourself before returning it to avoid this surcharge.

10. License Recovery Fee:

Similar to the Vehicle Licensing Fee, the License Recovery Fee is aimed at recouping the costs incurred by Avis for vehicle registration and licensing.

It’s a part of the fine print that can often go unnoticed but will show up on your final bill.

Being a small daily fee, it may not seem like much at first glance, but over a longer rental period, it could add a noticeable amount to your total cost.

11. Administration/Processing Fee:

Car rental companies like Avis often charge an Administration or Processing Fee for handling certain aspects of the rental process, such as processing fines or toll charges incurred during the rental period.

A screenshot of the admministration fee at avis car rental

This fee is essentially for the administrative work involved in processing these additional charges.

Being aware of potential administrative fees and understanding the circumstances under which they may be applied can help renters avoid unexpected charges on their final bill.

12. Early Return Fees and Late Fees:

Returning a rental car either earlier or later than the agreed-upon time can trigger additional fees.

Early Return Fees compensate the rental company for the change in rental duration, while Late Fees cover the extended use of the vehicle and could be charged on a per-day or per-hour basis, often at a higher rate than the original rental price.

It’s advisable to stick to the agreed rental period as closely as possible and to communicate with the rental company if any changes to the rental duration are necessary.

13. Toll Charges and Administration Fees:

Toll charges are straightforward – they cover the cost of any tolls incurred during the rental period. However, some rental companies, including Avis, may offer toll payment programs which, while convenient, often come with Administration Fees.

These fees cover the processing and handling of toll payments. It might be more cost-effective to pay tolls yourself, if possible. If you choose to use Avis’s toll payment program, be sure to understand the associated fees to avoid surprises on your final bill.


Avis, like many car rental companies, has its share of hidden surcharges that can catch renters off guard. But with this article, you can better plan for your rental expenses and perhaps find ways to minimize some of these additional costs.

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