By Paul Brady
July 08, 2020
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This year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on March 2, just before widespread stay-at-home orders were implemented as a result of COVID-19. The results reflect our readers’ experiences before the pandemic, but we hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your trips to come — whenever they may be.

It’s not an oxymoron: Rental car firms may be the stuff of stand-up punch lines, but for readers of Travel + Leisure, they’re also a critical piece of a memorable vacation. Iconic brands like Enterprise and Hertz open up a world of travel possibilities, with thousands of locations and useful loyalty programs that keep devotees coming back again and again.

Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.

Overall, car-rental companies posted higher scores this year than last year, a sign that readers were generally more satisfied with their experiences. Take No. 2 Enterprise Rent-A-Car, for example. (The brand has held the runner-up spot for eight years now and is also part of the World’s Best Awards Hall of Fame.) “Enterprise truly does pick you up and they’re very polite, very courteous, and very helpful,” one reader said. Another voter concurred: “I am not the easier customer, but they’ve always been wonderful at handing my curveballs and making it work. They are the true definition of great customer service.”

No. 3 Hertz also held onto its same ranking from 2019, as voters said their selection of vehicles and huge number of locations were particular assets. “Hertz is my go-to. I know I’ll get good service, a safe car, and reasonable prices,” one reader said. “I always have a wonderful experience with Hertz,” said another, who added, “I’m willing to pay more for their service.”

Still, it seems no company could beat National, a seven-time favorite for its ease of use. Below, the full list of this year’s best car-rental firms, as voted by T+L readers.

1. National Car Rental

Credit: Courtesy of National Car Rental

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 83.60

More information: nationalcar.com

The top rental brand this year got high marks for its above-and-beyond service and a broad selection of high-quality vehicles. “Love the pick-your-car option,” one reader said. “They always have a good selection and staff even waited past business hours for us when a flight was delayed several hours,” the same reader continued. Loyalty-program members said the perks were second to none. “As an Emerald Club member, I love just walking out to the Emerald Aisle and driving away — very convenient,” a voter said. Overall, many readers said this year that National brought the whole experience together, making car rental as seamless as it can be. As one reader put it: “I show up, skip the counter, pick any car I want, and drive off. They’re the best and most efficient — hands down.”

2. Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Credit: Courtesy of Enterprise Rent-A-Car

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 80.01

More information: enterprise.com

3. Hertz

Credit: Courtesy of Hertz

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 78.35

More information: hertz.com

4. Alamo

Credit: Courtesy of Alamo

Score: 76.81

More information: alamo.com

5. Avis

Credit: Courtesy of Avis

Score: 75.59

More information: avis.com

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2020.