How HFP clogged up the UK Avis network this weekend ….

A couple of weeks ago I ran this article about a shockingly generous Avios promotion run by car rental group Avis.

If you hired a Group C or above Avis car for three days, starting on December 8th, 9th or 10th, you would receive 18,700 Avios points.

Living in London, where car rental prices don’t drop too much at weekends, I didn’t fully understand how cheaply you could rent a car outside Central London.  The answer is ‘very cheaply’.

Head for Points was the only site of scale in the UK to publicise this offer.  It was actually aimed at members of Iberia Plus in Spain, and indeed the Avios will be dropped into an Iberia Plus account.  The small print specifically said that UK rentals would count though ….

It seems we created a bit of carnage at Avis depots around the UK.  Here are a few quotes from the HFP comments over the weekend:

Just picked up my car from Cambridge branch. The manager said that they’d been inundated with Spanish rentals and they’re simply not accepting any more bookings as he’d had to chase around to find enough cars for everyone. He was surprised to see lots of Spanish reservations but he had checked with head office and said that these rentals will all be eligible for the 18000 Avios promotion.

Booked a Group E for €49.18 from Peterborough. Very friendly clerk told me I was the fifth person today with a Spanish booking. They had suspected some sort of fraud and checked it with HO who told them about the promotion. He offered to let me leave the car there as I live 35 miles away, but I’d already pre paid for NCP parking for my own car. He also said they were now short of cars!

Avis 350

I ‘picked up’ 2 cars today. Was planning on driving them round the corner onto a street lit residential area i’d found on google earth but the guy on the Avis desk was really helpful. He waived both £12 refuelling charges and asked me to take the keys but leave the cars in the Avis compound as would be safer. He said he’d had c.20 bookings via Iberia and knew the score for avios so knew it wasn’t some sort of fraud trick on Avis.

Apparently this was causing huge issues at Avis in Liverpool today. Many many bookings and not enough cars. I set my parents onto this offer and my mum was lucky and got a car. She overheard plenty of folk in there asking if they could just leave the cars there as they didn’t want them anyway!!

Picked up my rental this morning from Basingstoke and was upgraded to a Skoda Octavia. I don’t know how Skoda have managed to make a car so boring but they have. The lady at AVIS said that there had been a lot of customers taking advantage of the deal.

Same over here. Their system went down in the morning, when it came back up, they had 17 more bookings. Completely out of cars as well – but they had no idea why, and I didn’t hang around to explain things. Hoping for the best.

I picked mine up today – Avis’s systems were down and reservations had to be completed manually. The attendant told me that there had been such a huge number of cars rented through this promotion and that it had meant that they had no more cars available for hire in their fleet. I was asked “Is this yet another Avios booking” when I arrived there. 

So, erm, sorry Avis.  But you did get quite a few bookings out of it!

PS.  If you did a booking under this promotion, remember that you are meant to refuel the car – and provide a receipt – however little mileage you have done.  Avis can fine you if this is not done.

HFP 'Credit Cards' page updated for December - what are the best deals this month?
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Comments

  1. whiskerxx says:

    returned mine on Sunday – office closed.
    Had driven 25 miles.
    Didn’t bother topping up the fuel.
    Invoice has posted with no further charges.

  2. I got my car on Friday – total cost of the rent around €84 (about £73).
    Got upgraded from C to K – an Audi Q4. Very stupidly I didn’t choose to reduce the excess on insurance to zero for £35 per day (I always do) and smashed the car 20 minutes into the hire.
    Total spend £73+£1000 excess+£66 admin fee. Didn’t top up the tank as I drove very few miles.
    I really hope those avios get posted or this would turn out to be my biggest avios mistake ever!

    • I feel for you. I wasn’t relaxed driving the car I had as I was afraid of something similar happening.
      Problem is at £35/day x3 days, plus the hire charges, I doubt it would be such a good deal.

    • Eek! Bad luck. Insurance4carhire.com is worth a look for the future if you don’t have Amex Plat!

    • This really warms my heart!

    • Sorry to hear that, really unlucky. £35 per day for zero excess is way too much so can understand why you wouldn’t take it – by luck we had 2 hire cars this year so already have 12 months excess insurance in place.

  3. Anyone driving one of these just a few miles and being hit with a fuel charge may look to quote the Consumer Rights act 2015.

    “Some examples of terms that may be unfair under the Consumer Rights Act include:
    fees and charges hidden in the small print
    disproportionate default charges”

    If you use around 1L of fuel and the minimum fill at a petrol station is 2L then it’s surely an unenforceable clause as it’s impossible to comply with?

  4. Andrew Clark says:

    Update on my AVIS rental. Credit card is showing £89 spend (which is correct) but the AVIS app is saying that with my rental I have also had spend of Euro 195.55. Anyone have experience of this, I hope it isn’t some additional surcharge coming my way.

  5. Andrew Tucker says:

    The invoice will provide a final price. You can view the invoice online here https://www.avis.com/car-rental/rental/display-rental.ac

    • Doesn’t seem to want to accept the reservation details. Anyone else having problems getting invoice details

    • Has anybody else been given a discount on the second page of the invoice that they did not expect ?

      I got a 5% discount – AWD X4065000

      The T&C’s say Offer may not be used in conjunction with any other coupon, promotion or frequent flyer points offer.

      I will not be happy if they use this to get out of the T&C’s

      • It looks as if this is a discount for using Amex:

        “When you pay with any American Express® Card between December 12, 2016, and February 28, 2017, you will receive an additional 5% off Avis base rates when you prepay your rental.”

        I didn’t know about this before paying for my rental. I too will be annoyed if they don’t credit the miles due to a discount I didn’t know about!

        • th real harry says:

          ooh-er!!! :)

          watch this space

          anybody get any points awarded yet?

          • 700 posted today, no sign of the bonus

          • th real harry says:

            oh well – you win some, you lose some :)

          • Also got 700 avios today into my Iberia account for my three day rental in berlin from the 9th to the 12th. I assume that the 18000 bonus will turn up in the fullness of time or there will be one hell of a sh1t storm for someone to sort out – I bet its eye wateringly painful for the marketing team that dreamed up this promo.

          • th real harry says:

            as long as you paid with MasterCard, should be OK :)

          • The 18000 are meant to take up to EIGHT weeks

            So let’s wait until late Jan before we start getting twitchy.

            I’m sure Rob will run an update on news of the points appearing before then.. :)

      • th real harry says:

        otoh they might prefer to take the £250K hit :)

        • Ah, you can still reply, was wondering how you all still posted here! Won’t post on a random one next time. 700 credited here too, be interested to hear from someone who didn’t pay on an Amex, it wasn’t even a Ba Amex (was lloyds avios)

  6. Hmm, Just checked my invoices……
    Mine – 4 mile – no added charges as expected
    My other half – 3 miles – £14.95 charge for refuelling!!
    Have called them up to complain and they have sent an email to customer services on my behalf……..Will await their response with interest! Glad I checked – thank you for the posters above who provided the link to obtain an invoice…!

  7. No one at Gatwick mentioned any re-fuelling charge and I didn’t pay it. When I took the car it wasn’t full but I couldn’t be bothered to complain about it as I already went back to complain about existing damage. I topped it up for £10 and returned the car after driving 34 miles. I was told I can get refund for the tank not full at the beginning of rental, but again didn’t bother as there was a queue to the counter.

  8. paul mcevoy says:

    Has anybody’s miles posted yet?

  9. Same here. No Avios and cannot view the invoice.

    Hmmmmm

  10. Still waiting for mine too and cannot view the invoice.

  11. “Car Hire With For 3 Days Avis’ just appeared on my Iberia statement along with 700 avios.

  12. The 18000 are meant to take up to EIGHT weeks

    So let’s wait until late Jan before we start getting twitchy.

    I’m sure Rob will run an update on news of the points appearing before then.. 😀

  13. Also had 700 post overnight… no 18k bonus yet

  14. My 700 points have landed in my Iberia Account. I also had the unrequested and unknown Amex discount using my Euros card for payment.

    As it was a joint promotion between Iberia and Avis who do we complain to first about the missing Avois?

    • ISTR the screenshot I have of the terms & conditions says that the promoter was Avis UK. But I’d give it a while yet – until the 8 weeks are up.

      Re: the strange 5% discount, I made my booking before the Amex offer I posted about was “live”, so perhaps it’s not that, but it’s some kind of similar automatic thing IMHO that has kicked in without request.

  15. Well I’d just happened to check my IB+ account and it shows 700 Avios credited on 9th December – however the other 18,000 don’t seem to be there.

    Currently in the process of chasing it up.

  16. The 700 base points has come through now into my Iberia account, anyone else?
    No news of the 18,000 though they do say could take up to 8 weeks…