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My family just got back from a weeklong vacation over on the Big Island of Hawaii. We rented a car with Budget Car Rental but things didn’t go as smoothly as I had expected. I spent an hour, if not more, at Budget Car Rental, and that was not a good way to start our Hawaiian vacation.

6 Things you need to know about Budget’s Fastbreak

What is it? Budget’s Fastbreak Program takes pride in handling your rental experience expeditiously.

During rental pick-up

  1. Go to the Fastbreak queue
  2. Show your valid license
  3. Pick up your keys
  4. Escape the long lines

During rental return

  1. Drop off the vehicle
  2. Budget will email the receipt

I put the Fastbreak service to a test. Last year, we also went to Hawaii (Island of Kauai). I placed my booking via Costco Travel (a third party site), and chose Budget. Before we flew to Kauai, I created a free Fastbreak account with Budget.

Fastbreak came in very handy. There was a long line when I arrived inside the Kauai Budget office, but I was assisted very quickly since I had a Fastbreak account and was out of there within minutes. This meant, we were able to begin getting on our Kauai vacation quickly. C’mon, look at that line in the picture below.

A picture of me being assisted using the Fastbreak program – no line  (Budget Kauai, July 2017)

3 more things I learned about Budget’s Fastbreak

Fast forward eight months later to March 2018, I booked a minivan for my family, and booked it with Priceline and chose Budget Car Rental for our trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. When we got to the Budget office, I was shocked to see the long lines. I was thrilled to see the Fastbreak queue and there was NO ONE in line. So I confidently went to that queue. As expected, I was called up to be assisted next.

I gave the agent my Fastbreak #. The gentleman at the counter asked if I booked directly with Budget. I said, no, I booked with Priceline and chose Budget. In my mind, this was not any different with what happened last summer when we went to Kauai. I booked via Costco Travel and chose Budget. The agent told me that:

  1. Fastbreak Program benefits are triggered only if I booked directly with Budget (and not with a 3rd party booking system like Costco or Priceline or similar). I didn’t want to cause a scene, so I left the counter, and went all the way outside where the long lines stretched.

The line stretched all the way outside the BigIsland of Hawaii Budget office

2. Budget’s Global Terms and Condition did not specify Fastbreak perk had to be booked directly with Budget. While I was in line, I had all the time in the world to check Fastbreak’s Global Terms and Conditions. There was NOTHING specific that mentioned that Fastbreak benefits are only applied to direct booking with Budget. NOTHING.

3. All prepaid reservations (not booked directly with Budget) are handled at the counter, and not the Fastbreak line. I learned this from the Twitter messages between me and Budget.

Twitter exchange with Budget

Clearly, their T&Cs did not indicate that bookings have to be done directly with Budget in order to receive the perk. Budget’s Twitter account had admitted to that as well. I left it at that. I didn’t respond back to Budget’s Twitter account anymore. I was just pointing out that Budget should specify that for Fastbreak program to work, the rental booking must be booked directly with Budget and not with 3rd party sites.

For those of you who have Fastbreak, what has been your experience? Have you always booked directly with Budget to get this perk to work for you? Or, have you also booked with 3rd party sites – and what was the outcome?

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