The 13 Best Websites for Finding Cheap Car Rentals

car driving on road

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Renting a car is rarely a fun activity. For many of us, it means we’ll devote time to finding the right price, deciding which features to add, and debating the cost and need for extra car rental insurance.

Thankfully, finding the right price doesn’t have to be difficult. There are tons of websites out there that claim to offer the best prices — but do they really? If you’re short on time or just want to get down to the nuts and bolts, we’ve given you a quick overview in the “Pros and Cons” section for each website listed here.

So, let’s get to it — here are 13 of the best websites to use to book your next rental car.

Book Directly Through the Car Rental Agency’s Website

There are lots of benefits to booking directly through your car rental agency’s website. Many rental agencies have loyalty programs, and you can often choose to earn airline miles instead of car rental agency points (though there may be recovery fees associated).

However, they don’t always have the cheapest prices, and if they do, it would take a while to search through all of the sites to find out who has the best price.

Even if you intend to book directly with a car rental agency, it’s often a good idea to do a quick price search on a metasearch site or online travel agency to make sure you’re getting a good deal.

1. Expedia

Expedia is a tried and true OTA that has been around since the 1990s. It’s a popular place to book flights, hotels, and rental cars.

The nice thing about booking your rental car through Expedia is that you can earn Expedia Rewards. Expedia also lets you bundle your car rental with a flight and/or hotel in a package which will generally save you money.

Pros and Cons of Expedia

Pros:

  • Expedia Rewards.
  • You can book your rental car as part of a travel package.

Cons:

  • The special deals aren’t always the best prices, and you often have to pay upfront to get the discounted price.

Hot Tip: For more information about Expedia check out our detailed guide to using Expedia to book flights, hotels, cars, and more.

2. Momondo

Momondo is a metasearch engine, similar to Kayak, so you’ll notice prices from lots of different agencies and online travel agencies. You’ll never actually book your trip on Momondo — instead, you can use the site to search for the best prices, then you’ll get transferred to that rental agency or online travel agency to book.

Momondo offers Surprise Agency bookings — these “opaque bookings” offer better prices, but you won’t know the rental agency until after you complete your transaction. Plus, Momondo never charges any booking fees.

Monmodo car rental
Keep an eye out for “Surprise Agency” bookings on Momondo to save money. Image Credit: Momondo

Pros and Cons of Momondo

Pros:

  • No booking fees.
  • Surprise Agency bookings can save money.

Cons:

  • No loyalty program.

Hot Tip: When comparing car rental prices from one website to another, it’s always good to click through all the way to see the final price. Many websites don’t display taxes and fees until the last page, so you may think you are getting a great deal when, in reality, you’re just looking at a base price that doesn’t include taxes and/or fees.

3. Kayak

Kayak is a metasearch engine that’s a popular way to search for cheap flights, hotels, and rental cars.

Kayak makes it easy to see all the information about each car rental in your search. Plus, you can easily sort and narrow your search results using the options at the left and right above the list. You’ll also see an indicator box above the search results that says whether or not it’s a good time to book.

Kayak’s version of an opaque booking is called “Surprise Agency.” They aren’t as easy to spot as some other sites, but they can save you money. I priced out a week long rental and Kayak’s price was $37-$43 cheaper than other sites!

Kayak Rental Cars
Kayak’s “Surprise Agency” rates can be easy to miss. Image Credit: Kayak

Most of the time you won’t actually book through Kayak — they will transfer you to an online travel agency or the car rental agency to finalize your reservations.

Hot Tip: For more information check out our complete guide to booking travel with Kayak.

Pros and Cons of Kayak

Pros:

  • Great sorting and filtering options.
  • Surprise Agency rentals can save money.

Cons:

  • No loyalty program.

Bottom Line: No matter where you book your rental car, an opaque booking will generally be the cheapest option. Look for these types of bookings on Monmodo (called “Surprise Agency” bookings), Hotwire (called “Hot Rate” deals), Kayak (called “Surprise Agency” bookings), and Priceline (called “Express Deals”).

4. Orbitz

Orbitz is another huge website that’s been used quite a bit to book flights, hotels, and rental cars.

I priced out a midsize car on Orbitz and compared the price to the car rental agency’s site (Dollar) and Orbitz was $7 lower than Dollar’s “Pay Now” price and $20 lower than Dollar’s “Pay Later” price. I also priced out a rental through Orbitz and Thrifty and the Orbitz “Pay Later” price was $7 lower than Thrifty’s (and only $2 higher than Thrifty’s “Pay Now” price).

If you sign up for the free Orbitz Rewards, you’ll access insider prices on some rental cars (highlighted in blue). You’ll also be able to earn Orbitz Rewards points on select car rentals.

Hot Tip: No matter where you book, you can often save money by paying for your rental upfront. The downside is that these “Pay Now” deals tend to be non-refundable, so it’s best to only do these when your plans are definite.

Pros and Cons of Orbitz

Pros:

  • The “Pay Later” prices on Orbitz can be the same or even lower than the “Pay Now” prices on other sites. This can be really important if you need a flexible rental.
  • You can book your rental car as part of a travel package.

Cons:

  • Orbitz Rewards can’t be earned on all car rentals.
  • You have to create an account to access insider pricing.

Hot Tip: For more information, check out our detailed post about booking travel with Orbitz.

5. Priceline

Priceline gained fame from the “Priceline Negotiator” and the “Name Your Own Price” tool. These tools brought opaque bookings to the forefront, but both have since been eliminated.

You can, however, still get good deals on opaque bookings (one in which certain details are hidden until after the transaction is complete). If you don’t have a car rental agency preference, check out one of Priceline’s Express Deals. With these rentals, you won’t know the exact agency until after your booking is complete, and the reservations are non-refundable.

Priceline car rentals
With a Priceline Express Deal you won’t know the exact rental agency before you book, but you’ll be able to see the potential ones. Image Credit: Priceline

I checked out an Express Deal on an economy car, but it only saved about $4 over a traditional reservation (which came with free cancellation).

Hot Tip: For more information, check out our detailed guide to Priceline.

Pros and Cons of Priceline

Pros:

  • Express Deals can offer savings over other sites (but they do require some flexibility).
  • You can book your rental car as part of a travel package.

Cons:

  • No rewards program.

Bottom Line: No matter where you book your rental car, be sure to use a credit card that offers great car rental insurance. One of our favorites is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card because it offers primary insurance. That means you don’t need to submit a claim with your existing insurance before making a claim with them. For more information, check out our detailed post about maximizing your car insurance with the Sapphire Preferred.

6. Skyscanner

Skyscanner, like Kayak, is a search engine, so when you find your car rental you’ll be transferred to another site to complete your booking.

While Skyscanner can offer good pricing, it’s hard to know which deals are the best because they aren’t marked as a special or opaque fare.

skyscanner car rental
This search result takes you to a Hotwire Hot Rate car — but you would never know this is an opaque booking just by looking at it. Image Credit: Skyscanner

Pros and Cons of Skyscanner

Pros:

  • Easy to use.

Cons:

  • No loyalty program.
  • Hard to spot the good deals (opaque and special deals aren’t labeled).

Hot Tip: For more information check out our complete guide to using Skyscanner.

7. Travelocity

Travelocity is a popular website used to search for cheap hotels, flights, and rental cars.

Unlike some other websites, Travelocity doesn’t offer a lot of “Pay Now” discounts.  In fact, the discounted “Pay Now” price option is only offered on rentals through Hertz.

So, if you are specifically looking for a rental from Hertz, Travelocity will suit your needs. If you are looking for the absolute cheapest rental, regardless of agency, you might want to look elsewhere to save with a “Pay Now” price.

Pros and Cons of Travelocity

Pros:

  • You can book your rental car as part of a travel package.

Cons:

  • No loyalty program.
  • “Pay Now” price discounts are only offered through Hertz.

Hot Tip: For more information, check out our detailed post about using Travelocity to book flights, hotels, rental cars, and more.

8. Hotwire

Hotwire is another site that offers opaque bookings with their Hotwire Hot Rate deals. You won’t know the rental agency until after the booking is complete, but Hotwire states that it will be from one of these rental agencies:

  • Ace
  • Advantage
  • Alamo
  • Dollar
  • Enterprise
  • Hertz
  • National
  • Nu
  • Sixt
  • Thrifty

I priced out some Hot Rate deals and they were indeed cheaper — the savings ranged from $9-$23 on a 3-day rental.

Hotwire Hot Rate Car Rental
Look for Hotwire Hot Rate cars to save money! Image Credit: Hotwire

Pros and Cons of Hotwire

Pros:

  • Hot Rate cars can save money if you don’t care what agency you rent from.
  • You can book your rental car as part of a travel package.

Cons:

  • No loyalty program.

Hot Tip: For more information, check out our detailed guide to using Hotwire to book flights, hotels, rental cars, and more!

9. Costco Travel

The first thing you’ll notice when searching for a rental car on Costco Travel is that they provide a chart of the prices at 4 major rental agencies (Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise), so that you can quickly see where the best price is from (the lowest price in each category will be in red).

I priced out several of these lowest-priced options for a week-long rental and each one of them saved money over booking directly through the rental agency. Most rentals saved an average of $29, and the savings jumped to $69 when looking at luxury rentals!

Costco Travel Car Rentals
Costco Travel provides an easy, quick way to see where the cheapest rentals are. Image Credit: Costco Travel

Pros and Cons of Costco Travel

Pros:

  • Easy to use table that shows which rental agency has the lowest prices.
  • All of the prices we checked were lower on Costco Travel than booking directly through the rental agency.

Cons:

  • Costco Travel only shows prices from 4 rental agencies.
  • You need to be a Costco member to use Costco Travel.

Hot Tip: For more information, check out our in-depth guide to Costco Travel.

10. American Express Travel

While American Express is known more for offering great credit cards, they also offer a travel booking service. You don’t need to hold an American Express credit card to use Amex Travel, but it can often get you more benefits.

Amex Travel offers a nice table layout so you can easily compare prices from many different rental agencies.

Prices at Amex Travel were in line with what’s offered directly through the car rental agencies, however, if you book direct you’ll often be able to take advantage of the “Pay Now” discount.

Amex Travel Rental Car
Image Credit: American Express Travel

Pros and Cons of American Express Travel

Pros:

  • Easy to use table that shows which rental agency has the lowest prices.
  • You’ll still be able to earn points and/or bonuses from the specific rental agency.

Cons:

Hot Tip: For more information, check out our complete guide to using American Express Travel to book flights, hotels, rental cars, and cruises.

11. RentalCars.com

RentalCars.com is a search engine that’s owned by the same company that also owns sites like Booking.com. Priceline, and Kayak.  As you can imagine, the site only offers rental cars.

After comparing some prices, we found that rentalcars.com usually didn’t offer the lowest prices. Part of this might be because there weren’t as many compact/economy cars available. However, when I compared prices on rentalcars.com to individual car rental agencies, sometimes the prices were slightly lower.

So, if you choose to use rentalcars.com, do some quick price comparisons before completing your rental.

Pros and Cons of RentalCars.com

Pros:

  • Prices were sometimes slightly lower than some rental agencies.

Cons:

  • No rewards program.
  • No advanced filtering options can make a search for a specific car difficult.

Hot Tip: Interested in getting status, fast? See which rewards cards come with elite car rental status in our guide.

12. Easy Rent Cars

Easy Rent Cars isn’t a well-known site, but it might be one you want to check out. It offers good search functionality, lots of coupons, and offers a rewards program. The downside is that you have to create an account to book a car and the coupons often come with lots of fine print.

Easy Rent Cars
Look for coupons right on the search page on EasyRentCars.com. Image Credit EasyRentCars

Pros and Cons of EasyRentCars

Pros:

  • Globetrotter Rewards Club.
  • Coupon codes available on search page.

Cons:

  • Coupons can be difficult to use and sometimes require a separate app (like Messenger).
  • You must create an account to book a car.

13. AutoSlash

AutoSlash is a bit different than other sites. To get a rate quote on a rental car you need to submit all of your rental criteria plus your contact information. Then you’ll receive an email with your price quote.

Pros and Cons of Auto Slash

Pros:

  • AutoSlash takes into account your rental car memberships and credit cards for any additional benefits.
  • A list of available coupons is available in the “Coupons” section.

Cons:

  • Price quotes aren’t instant. It takes about 5-10 minutes to receive an email with your price.
  • It’s hard to compare prices to other sites.

Price Comparisons

In the following price comparisons, I was looking for the absolute cheapest price available, regardless of rental agency, type of car, or cancellation policy.

Example 1: A weeklong rental from Phoenix SkyHarbor International Airport (PHX)

Example 2: A 3-day rental from Miami International Airport (MIA)

WebsiteExample 1: Weeklong RentalExample 2: 3-Day Rental
Amex Travel$323.94$42.62
AutoSlash$283.02$36.07
Costco Travel$318.07$85.60
Easy Rent Cars$276.84$17.65
Expedia$305.33$22.68
Hotwire$230.49 (Hot Rate Car)$39.70
Kayak$230.49 (Surprise Agency)$29.64
MonmodoN/AN/A
Orbitz$305.33$22.68
Priceline$259.58 (Express Deal)$29.64
RentalCars.com$282.68$38.10
Skyscanner$232.80$17.65
Travelocity$305.33$22.68

As you can see from these examples, prices are all over the map. Hotwire and Kayak’s opaque bookings tied for the cheapest week-long rental, while Skyscanner and Easy Rent Cars were the cheapest options for the 3-day rental.

For both of these examples, Costco Travel and Amex Travel were by far the most expensive.

Monmodo’s prices landed in the middle of the pack in both examples, however, I was never able to actually get through to the page to complete a booking.

Final Thoughts

Finding the best price on your next car rental doesn’t have to be hard — if you know where to look! These 13 websites can help you easily search through the options to find the best price on your next car rental. Which site you ultimately use is up to you — some offer a better search function, some offer their own rewards program, and some are just easier to use.

Try out a couple of these sites when you’re searching for your next rental to find which one works best for you.


FAQ

What are the best websites to use to book a rental car?

There is no one website that will always offer the cheapest prices every time. However, there are some sites that continually offer good deals. In our head to head comparisons, Hotwire and Kayak offered the cheapest week-long rentals, while Skyscanner and Easy Rent Cars offered the least expensive 3-day rental.

What is an opaque booking?

An opaque booking is one in which the car rental agency is hidden until your booking is complete. Many sites including Monmodo (called “Surprise Agency” bookings), Hotwire (called “Hot Rate” deals), Kayak (called “Surprise Agency” bookings), and Priceline (called “Express Deals”) offer opaque bookings.

What is the cheapest rental car company?

Unfortunately, not 1 specific rental agency offers the best prices all the time. There are a few websites which will usually offer the lowest prices on a consistent basis. Try searching for your rental car on a site like Kayak, Hotwire, or Priceline before deciding where to book.

Is it cheaper to rent a car at the airport or off-site?

Rental car prices tend to be more expensive at airport locations because of higher per day fees and airport concession fees and taxes. However, be sure to double-check pricing and add in any expenses you might incur (like a taxi or Uber) to get to the off-site location. Sometimes the extra charge is worth it for the convenience of an airport pickup.

Should I get car rental insurance?

Whether or not you should pay for the rental agency’s insurance policy depends on a few things. First, take a look in your wallet. Do you have a credit card that offers extra car rental insurance? If not, it’s probably a good idea to go ahead and take the insurance offered by the rental agency.

But if you have a good travel rewards credit card that comes with insurance, an additional policy might not be necessary. You can read more about this in our details post about the best credit cards for car rental insurance.

How far in advance should I rent a car for the best price?

The exact right time to book a rental car is an ever-changing thing — there is no formula to use to guarantee the lowest price, unfortunately. The general consensus is that unless you have lots of flexibility, it’s probably best to book as soon as you can.

However, if you can afford to wait (and have no preference for car type or rental agency) you may be able to get a lower price closer in. Waiting till the last minute to book does have some risk — cars can sell out and agencies can raise prices anytime. Even if you wait till the last minute, you should book online! Booking at the counter will almost always be more expensive.

Katie Seemann

About Katie Seemann

Katie is an Ohio native who caught the travel bug after spending a semester in college in Nottingham, England. In addition to exploring England, she visited Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands during that time and loved every minute of it (everything except the hostel in Scotland – that’s an experience she doesn’t intend on repeating!) In 2015, Katie discovered the world of points and miles, and since then she’s earned countless points and has an embarrassingly large number of credit cards in her wallet (which she needs a spreadsheet to keep track of!)

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