17 September 2019

UK one way car hire

One way car hire in the UK can be nastily expensive.  I recently priced up a one way car hire from London City Airport to Heathrow Airport - and for less than one day's hire Avis wanted around 100 gbp for a small car !

Sometimes you can find cheaper options using online travel agents, and I managed to get a good deal using the American Express travel website a good few years ago.

Another option is when car hire companies pay you to move their cars back to where they want them to be.

Europcar have been doing this for years with their "one way for just £1" promotion - but it's pot luck as to what they want moved, and the website User Interface is grim ... have a look for yourself  https://www.europcar.co.uk/deals/one-way-uk.step

Avis have a variation on the £1 theme, where they reduce the one-way fee down to £1 and you pay for the rest of the booking as normal.  Again it's pot luck as to what's available - at the moment there's absolutely nothing!  And from their website it looks like they only offer North (England and Scotland) to South deals (when they are available)  https://www.avis.co.uk/car-hire-offers/uk-offers/one-way-offer

I only recently hear about the Hertz offer - which looks much more useful.  A bit like Avis, they're interested in moving cars into the South East - but unlike Avis it's not just Scotland/North of England, they will also let you collect a car in Plymouth, Exeter Airport, Bristol Airport and Cardiff Airport.  For completeness, their other pickup points are their airport branches at Inverness, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle.

Once you select the Hertz collection point it then offers you a variety of drop off points - so for example if you collected a car at Exeter airport you could drop it off at Heathrow, Luton, Stansted, Birmingham or Manchester airports.  When you've selected your drop off point, you then select your pick up date and time - you get to choose!  On my Exeter to Stansted dummy booking, I was given 350 miles included as part of the £1 fee (212 miles if driven directly), and told that the car type would be decided on the day (so not suitable if you have a large family).  I was also given 24 hours, without an option to change.

When I did a dummy booking from Edinburgh to Heathrow, it gave me 550 miles (412 miles if driven directly) and two days hire, included in the £1.99 price
I tried reading the Terms & Conditions, but it's unclear what happens if you go over the mileage - they never quote a price per mile.

If you can accept the limitations, this could work out to be a great option for one way journeys, where you effectively just pay for the petrol !


No comments: