Contact Free (or Reduced Contact) Car Rental Options

by Charlie Graham
Car Rental Phone as Key

Car Rental companies have long offered ways to help make the pickup process more efficient and customer friendly.  These options can vary from an expedited line at the rental counter all the way to using a phone as a key to check out, open the vehicle and drive away without any interaction with staff.  AutoRentals.com has collected the current pickup process procedures available from many rental car companies and offered these categories of the options.

Online Check-In:  Renters wrovide their driver profile and possibily payment info to decrease time at check out at counter.  Renters will still need to interact with auto rental staff to complete the rental transaction, sign paperwork and receive their rental car.

Skip The Line: Renters can skip the line at the rental counter and enter an in expedited line, but may still have to interact with staff at the car rental counter before heading to the rental vehicle.

Skip the Counter:  Renters can skip the rental counter and proceed to the car lot, but may have to interact with staff at rental car lot to be assigned a vehicle, verify contract information and identification, as well as payment if needed.

Straight to Car:  The renter is assigned a specific vehicle or is able to choose from group of vehicles, enter car on own and drive to check out kiosk or gate where contract and identification is authorized.

Phone as Key:  The full rental transaction, including Driver’s License verification, payment and agreement to terms and conditions is completed through a mobile application.  Renters are provided instructions and potentially transportation to their assigned vehicle, where the mobile app will act as a key to access and start the vehicle.  No interaction with staff is required, unless needed.

Delivery:  The rental vehicle is delivered to a specified location, where the rental transaction is usually digitally completed and with limited interaction with delivery driver.

Table of Contents

Enterprise Car Rental

CATEGORY:  SKIP THE COUNTER

Enterprise has recently introduced the Advance Check In, which, at the time of this writing, is available at over 100 locations. If applicable for a reservation, the renter will receive a text or email 2 days before their scheduled pickup to complete a pre-registration process. Once completed, the renter will receive a Rental Pass. The Rental Pass can then be shown along with a Driver’s License to an agent, who quickly collects a signature and then provides access to the rental vehicle. This greatly reduces any time in line and interactions at the rental counter to get the rental car customer on their way.

Alamo Rent A Car

CATEGORY:  Online Check-In

Alamo provides a time saving tool on their website that allows car rental customers to provide advance details of their renter profile to accelerate the check out process at the time of pickup. Further, select locations are also eligible for Skip The Counter . For this, renters will also need to select coverage options, agree to the terms and conditions and provide payment details. Then, proceed directly to the rental car lot to collect the rental vehicle.

National Car Rental

CATEGORY:  Straight to Car (for members)

The Emerald Club Loyalty program from National Car Rental provides its mainly frequent business travelers with one of the most convenient check out process in the car rental industry. At participating Emerald Aisle locations (https://www.emeraldaisle.com/locations), members can utilize the Emerald Checkout process. Here, the renter can choose any vehicle from the selected group in the car rental lot, then verify the details of the vehicle to match the car rental reservation on the National Car Rental mobile app. Next, the driver proceeds to the the exit booth to present the barcode produced from the mobile app, along with Identification to check out.

Hertz

CATEGORY:  Skip the Counter, Straight to Car (for members)

Hertz #1 Club Gold is one of the “gold standard” loyalty programs in the car rental industry. Included with membership is the ability to skip the counter and in some cases proceed straight to the car. If it is the renter’s first transaction as a Hertz Gold member, the driver may be required to visit the Gold booth in the rental car lot to complete a payment profile and verification. However, if it is a Hertz Ultimate Choice location, the renter may be able to go straight to the car of his/her choice in the group of vehicles, add the vehicle to the rental and proceed to the exit booth to proceed with check out. After the first rental in the Hertz Gold program, the renter can then proceed directly to the vehicle and then the exit booth.

Dollar Rent A Car and Thrifty Car Rental

CATEGORY:  Skip the Counter (for members)

Dollar Car Rental and Thrifty Car Rental offer skip the counter options for members of their Dollar Express Rewards and Blue Chip Rewards programs, respectively. Membership is free and skip the counter options are limited to participating locations only.

Avis Rent A Car

CATEGORY:  Straight to Car (for members)

Become a member of Avis Preferred to access expedited service at participating locations. Avis’ loyalty program allows the renter to go straight to the rental car and drive off, providing the exit booth agent the correct information to drive through. Avis also allows for most reservations to check in online to help speed up the check out process at the rental counter if the renter is not part of Avis Preferred.

Budget Car Rental

CATEGORY:  Skip the Line (for members)

Budget Rent A Car offers members of its Budget FastBreak program to Skip the Line at participating locations. Simply join the program and provide a renter and payment profile. Once arriving at the rental counter, find the FastBreak line, show a valid driver license, pick up the rental car keys and process to the auto rental to skip most of the lines at the car rental location.

SilverCar

CATEGORY:  Phone as Key, Delivery (for a fee)

SilverCar pioneered phone as a key process for the United States by connecting its all Audi fleet to the customer facing app. Renters can access all parts of their transaction, from reservation to opening the vehicle and returning the car rental from the app. The app powers a completely no-contact rental experience and SilverCar has recently added the option of having the vehicle delivered for a fee and only if requested 48 hours before the pickup time.

GreenMotion / MoveMee

CATEGORY:  Phone as a Key (select locations and specific vehicles)

GreenMotion launched a technology and car rental brand called MoveMee in 2019 to help facilitate its own contact-less rental and to offer its phone as a key approach for other car rental operations as well. Not only does MoveMee’s straight to car technology offer convenience and saves time, it also provides a peace of mind in reducing contact as much as possible.

Midway Car Rental

CATEGORY:  Skip the Counter (for members)

By joining Midway Preferred Renter Program, car rental customers can enjoy counter bypass and go straight to the rental car.

Europcar

CATEGORY:  Online Check-In

Europcar provides a process to allow for reserved car hires to check in online. This will result in an accelerated pick-up and the rental contract will already prepared.

Virtuo

CATEGORY:  Phone as a Key

Virtuo provides a seamless, mobile-only experience where the renter’s phone acts as a key. With the Virtuo mobile app, the renter can find car hires, reserve the auto rental and open the vehicle 24/7. The mobile app continues to be utilized throughout the entire rental period.

UFODrive

CATEGORY:  Phone as a Key

UFODrive presents the rental experience completely within its mobile app, allowing the renter to hire a car and access the vehicle entirely from a mobile device. This means no lines and no interaction with staff unless desired.

Kyte

CATEGORY:  Phone as a Key, Delivery

With the Kyte mobile app, the renter selects when and where to have the car rental delivered. The company delivers the auto rental in a touchless fashion to the address of the renter’s choice (within the defined geographical area). The rental can also be picked up at a specific address as well. The entire rental transaction is completed on the Kyte mobile app.

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