Whether you’re looking to visit Denver on business or are using it as a gateway to hit the slopes, chances are, you’ll want to rent a car. A mountainous panorama with 200 peaks is visible from the city, tempting visitors to hike, climb, and generally explore the great outdoors surrounding the city.
If you’re planning to stay in the city for the duration of your visit, you can easily get around using public transport. If you’re looking to explore further afield, you’ll need to rent yourself a car. There are plenty of places to rent a car in Denver, including the airport and from neighborhood locations. We’ve looked at the cheapest car rental deals for Denver, including booking direct and with online travel agents.
Denver International Airport Car Rentals
Denver International Airport Car Rental Center
Car rental companies are based on airport property at Denver International Airport (DEN). The rental center is located a short distance from Jeppesen Terminal with shuttles operating from island 4 on level 5. On the east side, shuttles depart from outside doors 505 to 513 and on the west side, doors 504 to 512.
We’ve compared prices for the 11 car rental agencies that are based on airport property at DEN. We searched for a 7-day rental for a standard vehicle to see which agencies provided the most competitive rates.
Price Comparison for Denver International Airport Car Rentals
E Z Rent-A-Car was excluded from the price comparison as searches returned no results across multiple dates.
We found that Fox offered the cheapest rates for prepaying ($198.14) and paying on arrival ($219.21). Many of the other rental agencies, such as Alamo, Avis, and Dollar, were twice as expensive or more. Unfortunately, Fox is not renowned for its customer service with pretty average customer review ratings. However, it will do the job if you’re simply looking for the cheapest rate.
Price Comparison for Off-Airport Property Car Rentals
Ace Rent-A-Car is located off-airport property and charges a 7-day rate of $262.70. Shuttle buses operate from the same pick-up point as the other rental agencies, but passengers must call 15 minutes before they would like to be picked up.
Hot Tip: If you need somewhere to stay when visiting Denver, take a look at the best cheap hotels in Denver.
Denver Neighborhood Car Rentals
With Rocky Mountain National Park just 70 miles from Denver and plenty of mountains and lakes in the surrounding area, renting a car is your best option. Getting around the city by public transport is easy, but a car will give you the freedom to explore the incredible scenery that Colorado has to offer.
You may want to hire a car for a day trip or midway through your visit. There’s no need to make your way back to the airport as some agencies have neighborhood offices. Many are located downtown, while others can be found in between downtown and the airport.
Price Comparisons for Neighborhood Car Rentals
We compared the neighborhood office rates with the same search criteria to see how they compared to the airport rates and each other.
Most agencies offer cheaper rates renting from a neighborhood office compared to renting at the airport. The prepaid and pay on arrival rates for Avis and Enterprise were almost $200 cheaper than renting at the airport. With the airport train costing $10.50 per way, you may consider forgoing the rental for your full visit and rent from a neighborhood office partway through.
Book Direct With the Car Rental Company
Some travelers like the idea of booking directly with the rental agency rather than through a third-party website, but this won’t always get the best deal. Many rental agencies offer special rates to online travel agents to drum up business against competitors, or the online travel agency will eat into their commission to provide the cheapest rates on the market.
Although rental agencies may not publically compete with these offers, many do offer price matches. If you’re keen to book direct, it’s worth picking up the phone to see if it can offer you a competitive deal. Not only will you deal directly with the rental agency for any queries, but you can also take advantage of its loyalty program benefits.
Some reward programs have instant benefits, such as Budget’s Fastbreak loyalty program, where members receive fast-tracked service at the counter over non-members. Other programs have long-term benefits, with members earning points for every rental that can be redeemed against free rental days.
Book With an Online Travel Agent
Rentalcars.com is a popular website for comparing prices across multiple rental agencies. When searching for your rental, each option has a customer rating that applies to the specific office, rather than for the overall brand. This is extremely useful as franchises can lead to inconsistent service from office to office.
The inclusions of an offer are clearly visible in the search results, so you can scan the results without the need to click through for more information. Rentalcars.com offered the most expensive rate ($236.36) of all the online travel agents, however, this was significantly cheaper than booking directly with Thrifty ($449.65).
Hot Tip: If you’re not sure which agency to rent with, check out our guide to the best car rental agencies, where we look at rates, customer service, and loyalty programs.
Unlike Rentalcars.com, Orbitz can be used to book flights, vacations, and activities, as well as rental cars. Not only can you book all of your travel requirements, but you can also earn points through the Orbitz Rewards program.
Booking car rental independently won’t earn you any Orbucks, unfortunately, but if you book it within your vacation bundle, you’ll receive 3% of your total spend. The Orbucks that you earn can be redeemed against free hotel stays.
Orbitz had a weekly rate of $219 for a standard car renting with Fox. This was the same rate being offered when booking directly with the rental agency, so unless you’re collecting Orbucks, you may want to book direct.
Kayak is a metasearch website that aggregates deals from rental agencies and online travel agencies. Kayak was featuring the same rate as Fox’s prepaid rate of $199, which was the cheapest rate available renting from an airport rental agency.
As a metasearch site, Kayak usually redirects visitors to the appropriate website to complete the booking. Occasionally, it’s necessary to book special offers on the Kayak website, which was the case for this particular offer, with the option to select prepayment or pay on arrival for a higher charge.
Kayak doesn’t have a loyalty program, so unless you find a cheaper deal, there is no real incentive to book via the platform.
Expedia was displaying the same rate as Orbitz ($219), as both websites are owned by Expedia Group and pull from the same pricing database. Expedia allows you to book all of your travel in 1 place, including flights, cruises, hotels, and car rentals, and has a customer service team to help with any inquiries.
Although the Expedia Rewards program isn’t the most rewarding loyalty program out there, you can earn points on all aspects of travel, including booking car rentals independently. Standard members earn 1 point per $1 spent on car rentals, hotels, activities, packages, and cruises. Silver and Gold members can also earn 1 point per $5 spent on flights. Elite members benefit from bonus point earnings, and the great thing is that you can still earn your standard frequent flyer benefits on top of your Expedia Rewards.
Hotwire is another website owned by the Expedia Group, but you’ll tend to find a difference in pricing. If you don’t mind which agency you book with, check out Hotwire’s “Hot Rate Deals” that are opaque offers that don’t reveal the rental agency until you’ve completed the booking. You’re not entirely in the dark, as you’ll be presented with several agencies that the offer could apply to.
Hotwire was offering a Hot Rate Deal of $229, which was over $30 cheaper than booking directly with the rental agencies. Hotwire offers various pricing tiers for Hot Rate Deals, based on agency ratings.
Price Comparison for Online Travel Agents
There’s no 1 place to find the best deal for your Denver car rental, so it’s worth browsing a few different websites before booking. If you’re consistently impressed with the service of 1 agency, and the price is not the deciding factor, you’ll find various benefits through loyalty programs that you can take advantage of.
If you’re looking for the best deal, try searching on a website like Kayak, which returns hundreds of deals which you can filter according to your specification. It’s always worth getting in touch with the rental company directly to see if they’ll price match an offer you’ve found elsewhere.