Avis Budget released an analysis of car rental pricing today. The intent is to show how Hertz's negotiated Auto Club (AAA) rate competes directly with Dollar Thrifty's business. The issue might be raised in any antiregulatory analysis of the proposed Hertz merger with Dollar Thrifty.
Hertz's AAA rate is a good one, 35-37 percent better than it's non-negotiated rates. On Avis's site, it advertises a 25 percent discount to corporate clients. I'm sure some Avis platinum clients get an even steeper discount; whether that approaches 35 percent I don't know.
While deep discounts by premium brands for members of large institutions (IBM, say) are a fact of life, this deal--to anyone with AAA card-- is to an almost non-closed market. How many renters is this? The analysis does not say, nor does it show the actual percentage of Hertz's business this AAA deal represents. So will this really sway regulators?
The analysis also does not reveal midweek (corporate) pricing, which would obviously tell a much different rate story.
This will be interesting to see: how will a Hertz/DTG merger affect negotiations with Hertz's corporate customers? With two discount brands in the fold, would Hertz's corporate clients want to use Dollar (and its lower rates) for a portion of their rentals? Any lower pricing given to corporate customers might be offset by new clients attracted to the brand because of Hertz's new discount offering.
At any rate, any published, comprehensive rate comparison between brands is always an interesting peek into the business.