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why is car rental so expensive at airport?

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Niles, Illinois
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102 posts
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why is car rental so expensive at airport?

Hi,

Trying to get a car out of Denver for last week of June (21st to 28th). I can't believe how expensive it is at the current time to rent a car. I have tried using my Alamo insider discount, my AARP discount, coupons, codes, you name it. Still it seems car rental is going to cost me over $500, maybe $430 if I prepay (which I don't want to do). Off airport I can pay about $330. Whats the deal? Any help appreciated. I don't even know how to begin going off airport as I am not familiar with Denver at all. This is really bumming out my trip planning. Can't believe my car rental is going to cost more than my flight!!

Windsor, Colorado
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for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
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1. Re: why is car rental so expensive at airport?

This is frequently discussed here on the forum. This recent topic should answer your questions.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g33388-i253-k72810…

WestSlope,CO
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for Colorado
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2. Re: why is car rental so expensive at airport?

Are you going to be staying a night in Denver or setting out immediately?

Airport rentals are usually more expensive than off airport rentals just about anywhere, due to supply-and-demand, taxes, fees & costs of doing business at the airport and sometimes "just because they can" because of the convenience factor.

The good news is that Denver's pretty easy to negotiate an off-airport rental. That's why I ask if you are spending time downtown or in the Denver area, or if you are setting out for other destinations right away. Also, do you know your arrival time, approximately?

Niles, Illinois
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3. Re: why is car rental so expensive at airport?

Thank you fv, I followed your link and got a great idea.

Miss. still working out the arrival time, but it looks like it would be either 7:30 am, 9:30 am, or 12:30 pm. I am looking into renting from Enterprise located at the Holiday Inn at 6900 tower road near the airport. That way I can take the free hotel shuttle from the airport. Looks like I can get a premium car for $321 returning it to airport location. If I return it to the Holiday Inn its only $261! (wondering if I would be able to take the complimentary hotel shuttle back to the airport if I don't stay there!)

Of course, who knows maybe I should stay there my last night. Thanks for your help!

Columbus, Ohio
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4. Re: why is car rental so expensive at airport?

To your question on taking the shuttle to the airport from the Holiday Inn, the answer is yes. We did it last year & will be doing it next month, too.

Niles, Illinois
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5. Re: why is car rental so expensive at airport?

thanks getaway!!

6. Re: why is car rental so expensive at airport?

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Plantation Florida
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7. Re: why is car rental so expensive at airport?

I've found that rental car prices drop closer to the rental date. For example, I was looking for a 3 day rental from DEN using Alamo. A few weeks ago the rental price was $50 a day. With taxes this would have been over $200. I booked the rental yesterday and got a rate of $38 a day for a full size car for about $160.

In the past, I would use discount sites like Hotwire, but I've found the rental car companies are about the same the closer you are to the rental time.

I think it's a game they're playing, hoping business travelers book at the high rate, and don't change it. Nice to book well in advance to have everything taken care of, but with it seems the game now is to wait until the last minute, then book.

Th positive with booking from the airport location, is the rental car facilities are usually open 24/7. There is a group of hotels down the street from the rental car companies, and they have shuttles to the airport. What does this mean? You could book your last night in a hotel next to the airport, return the renal car one day early, and save a day on the rental car. Some companies count the day as starting at midnight, others count the day from when the rental starts, so it's trial and error finding the best rate and whether returning the car a day early with the hotel shuttle will work.

Edited: 03 March 2015, 12:54
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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8. Re: why is car rental so expensive at airport?

We've had good luck using Priceline for car rentals at DEN.

Colorado
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for Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Crested Butte, Gunnison
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9. Re: why is car rental so expensive at airport?

Assuming you're not using a 3rd party site, I don't see the benefit of waiting given that you can always cancel your reservation and rebook if prices go down. Not sure if that warrants digging up a months old post, but locking yourself in and checking to see if prices dropped seems like an obvious thing to do.

Fruita, Colorado
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for Fruita, Grand Junction
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10. Re: why is car rental so expensive at airport?

I prefer going direct rather than 3rd party. Only time I went 3rd party I got a terrible car, which I was told they kept for the discount trade. Not worth the lower price since it was dirty, almost out of gas and without the features like cruise control that I'm used to having. I promptly returned it and never again is my new policy.