How to Book Cheap Car Rentals in Los Angeles [Price Comparisons]

Ford Mustang Car Rental Los Angeles

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Although Los Angeles has good public transportation, it is easier to visit all of its attractions with a rental car. You’ll also have the flexibility to take road trips from the city to nearby Santa Barbara, Joshua Tree National Park, Palm Springs, or Napa Valley. Consider rush hour before setting off, as it can get jam-packed around the city, and do your research when it comes to parking to avoid excessive fees.

There are a few different options when it comes to renting a car in Los Angeles. We’ve looked at renting from the airport and neighborhood offices and whether it’s best to book direct with the rental company or with an online travel agent.

Los Angeles International Airport Car Rentals

ConRAC Facility rendering
A rendering of the Consolidated Rent-A-Car (ConRAC) facility scheduled to open in 2023. Image Credit: Los Angeles World Airports

Los Angeles International Airport Car Rentals

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) doesn’t have an on-site car rental facility (yet) with 1 due to open in 2023. In the meantime, car rental offices are dotted around the area surrounding the airport, with some agencies permitted to operate courtesy shuttle buses to and from the terminals.

Other agencies are permitted to operate shuttle buses from the Remote Rental Car Depot, which is located at the corner of Century and Airport Boulevards. To access the shuttle pick up point, passengers must ride the Metro green line shuttle that operates from near the pink LAX shuttle signs on the lower level.

We’ve compared prices for agencies with shuttles to/from the terminals and the Remote Rental Car Depot, to see which offer the most competitive rates for LAX.

Price Comparison for Terminal Car Rentals

We searched for a 7-day rental for a standard vehicle to compare rates between agencies.

Rental CompanyPrepay RatePay on Arrival Rate
AlamoN/A$474.66
Avis$294.99$350.99
Budget$302.39$335.99
DollarN/A$500.42
EnterpriseN/A$531.62
Fox$191.38$210
Hertz$313.51$364.92
NationalN/A$496.62
SIXT$309.98$323.50
ThriftyN/A$476.28

Advantage Rent-A-Car and E-Z Rent-A-Car were excluded from the price comparison as searches returned no results across multiple dates.

Fox offered the cheapest prepaid and pay on arrival rates compared to other agencies that operate shuttles from the terminals.

Price Comparison for Remote Depot Car Rentals

Rental CompanyPrepay RatePay on Arrival Rate
Ace Rent A CarN/A$233
MidwayN/A$258.23
Next Car of Los Angeles$250.56$267.87
NU Car Rentals$186.83N/A
U-Save Car & Truck Rental$206.02$236.31

Advantage Rent-A-Car, E-Z Rent-A-Car, Priceless, and Allied Rent A Car were excluded from the price comparison as searches returned no results across multiple dates.

The rates offered across the agencies at the Remote Rental Car Depot were mostly cheaper than those that provide shuttle buses directly from the terminal. U-Save Car & Truck Rental offered the cheapest prepay rate ($206.02) and Ace Rent A Car offered the lowest pay on arrival ($233) rate.

Los Angeles Neighborhood Car Rentals

Los Angeles has a convenient metro train system to get around the city, but if you’re looking to go further afield, renting a car is a wise decision. Los Angeles has plenty of neighborhood offices for renting midway through your trip. Rates can be cheaper than renting from the airport.

Price Comparison for Neighborhood Car Rentals

Rental CompanyPrepay RatePay on Arrival Rate
Avis$318.24$334.99
California Rent A CarN/A$210.88
Budget$175.49$194.99
EnterpriseN/A$370.92
Hertz$249.07$252
MidwayN/A

$188.42

SIXT$234.36

$246.31

When running searches with the same criteria, we found Budget to be $126 cheaper than the airport rate, and Enterprise was $213 cheaper.

Hot Tip: Don’t let your hard-earned points go to waste — our guide details the 10 best hotels in L.A. to book with points for maximum value!

Book Direct With the Car Rental Company

If you’re after the lowest price, you may not get this by booking directly with the car rental agency. To find the best price, you can use one of the travel websites featured below. Cheaper rental agencies will offer excellent rates, but they may fall short in some areas such as customer service or quality of vehicles.

If you rent regularly, you may want to find a consistent and reliable rental agency that ticks all the boxes. Take a look at our article on the best car rental companies to help you decide.

Nearly all rental agencies have loyalty programs to incentivize customers to become repeat bookers. Some reward customers with points that can be redeemed against free rentals and others have elite tier statuses that give additional benefits such as free vehicle upgrades or free use of a GPS or car seat.

Book With an Online Travel Agent

Using an online travel agent is an easy way to compare the best rates available across multiple rental agencies. Car rental comparison sites allow customers to streamline their searches using various criteria, such as rental agency, vehicle type, fuel policies, and agency ratings.

Rentalcars.com

Rentalcars.com
Rentalcars.com search results. Image Credit: Rentalcars.com

The lowest price for a standard vehicle with Rentalcars.com was $279.86, renting with Thrifty. Not only was the rate $196 cheaper than booking direct, but the deal also included a guaranteed vehicle upgrade, priority service at the counter, and free additional drivers aged over 25.

Within the search results, Rentalcars.com displays the customer rating for the specific office, which is useful, considering customer service can vary from branch to branch. The rates with Rentalcars.com are always “Book now, pay later,” so you have flexibility with most rentals for free cancellation.

Hot Tip: You won’t find search results for Fox or SIXT with Rentalcars.com, so be sure to check direct rates with these companies to get a full comparison of what’s available from LAX.

Orbitz

Orbitz Car Rental
Orbitz search results. Image Credit: Orbitz

Orbitz offered a prepaid rate of $187 for NU Car Rentals, which is the same rate to book direct with the rental agency.

If you plan to book through Orbitz, it’s worth signing up to Orbitz Rewards, where you’ll benefit from special insider prices for hotels and car rentals. Members can also earn Orbucks on eligible bookings, including accommodation, flights, and vacation packages. Car rentals do not qualify for Orbucks unless they are booked as a package deal.

Kayak

Kayak
Kayak search results. Image Credit: Kayak

Kayak is a metasearch website that searches and displays hundreds of deals from rental agencies and online travel agencies. Most of the time, the user is directed to the third-party website to complete the booking, with the only exclusion being for private deals. These deals usually require the booking to be completed on the Kayak website.

Kayak displayed a rate of $192 when renting from LAX. The price was through Priceline when renting with Fox and was the same rate available as booking direct. Unfortunately, Kayak doesn’t offer a loyalty program, so there is no real incentive to book with Kayak, but it is an excellent website for comparing offers.

Expedia

Expedia Car Rental
Expedia search results. Image Credit: Expedia

As Expedia Group owns Expedia and Orbitz, Expedia also offered a prepaid rate of $187 for NU Car Rentals. Although this is the same rate available as booking directly with the agency, Expedia has a loyalty program that rewards members with points for booking. Members receive 2 points per dollar spent on car rental, hotels, and vacations, with a lower-earning rate for flights.

These points can be redeemed against future travel with 140 points equalling $1 off. It’s not a fantastic earning rate, but if you use Expedia to book all your travel needs, then the points would soon rack up.

Hotwire

Hotwire
Hotwire search results. Image Credit: Hotwire

Hotwire provided the cheapest rate available ($182) when renting a standard car from Los Angeles International Airport. The offer was an opaque Hot Rate Car, where the rental agency is not confirmed until the booking is complete. The possible brands included Ace Rent A Car or NU Car Rentals, and the offer was cheaper than going direct to either agency.

Hot Rate Car deals cannot be canceled or amended but can provide excellent savings if you’re confident that your situation won’t change. Hotwire doesn’t offer a loyalty program but is a great option if the price is the deciding factor for your booking.

Price Comparison for Online Travel Agents

WebsitePay Later Rate
Rentalcars.com$279.86
Orbitz$187
Kayak$192
Expedia$187
Hotwire$182

Final Thoughts

The best platform to book your Los Angeles car rental depends on your circumstances. If you’re planning a one-off rental, then it is likely that price will be the most important factor, in which case, use online travel agents to compare prices and sign up to price alerts to wait for a reduction in pricing.

If you’re a frequent renter, you may want to consider trying a few different rental agencies and choosing 1 to stick with. Car rental loyalty programs often provide more favorable earning rates and benefits that could outweigh the few extra dollars you could save booking via an online travel agent.


Frequently asked questions

How much does it cost to rent a car in Los Angeles?

Kayak states that the average daily rate for a standard car in Los Angeles is $24 per day. The rate can vary depending on several factors, including the agency, time of year, and specification of the vehicle.

Is it cheaper to rent a car or Uber in LA?

This depends on how much traveling you plan to do while in Los Angeles. If you’re looking to take the occasional trip, then Uber could be more cost-effective, but if you’re looking to travel regularly to different attractions, a rental car would likely be cheaper.

How old do you have to be in LA to rent a car?

Most rental agencies will rent to customers 21 and over, but if you’re under 25, it’s likely you’ll be charged a young renters fee.

Do you need to rent a car in LA?

Although Los Angeles has good public transportation, it is easier to get around all of its attractions with a rental car. You’ll also have the flexibility to take road trips from the city to nearby Santa Barbara, Joshua Tree National Park, or Palm Springs.

Where can I find car rentals in Los Angeles?

Car rentals are available at Los Angeles International Airport with some agencies picking up from the terminals and some from the Remote Rental Car Depot. There are also lots of neighborhood offices throughout the city that often provide cheaper rates than renting at the airport.

Amar Hussain

About Amar Hussain

Amar was born and raised in England, UK, embarked on an 11 country round the world gap year after graduation and then became well and truly hooked. The first gap year inspired a second which ended up being a 23 country down-the-world trip from Canada to Antarctica. Since then Amar has endeavored to turn his gap year into a ‘gap life’ and has spent the last 10 years traveling the 7 continents.

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