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Rent a car in Denver?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'm flying to Denver end of February and then driving to Vail to spend a week on the slopes.
It's going to be 5 of us and we will need a minivan to get all our skiing equipment to the final destination.
Anyway last year we paid $400 to rent a minivan for a week. We made reservation online, courtesy shuttle service bus at Denver airport drove us to the rent a car company location.Very easy, very reasonable rate.
Now this year i checked online rent a cars(, e-z rent-a-car, priceline) and can't find anything with pricing near the one we had last year. If I'd rent at Denver airport the prices are around $1000 and that is crazy is in my opinion.
Although if I'd rent in Denver city the prices are a lot better. Around $400-$500. The only problem seems to be how to get to the rent a car company location. Anyone in a similar situation like me? Any ideas?
post #2 of 24
 Old Boot and I had a very difficult time finding a reasonable price on a rental car in Denver from the airport when we went last year, and the air port rental price was similarly atrocious.  We ended up going to Hot Wire (  You can get a price, you have to prepay and they don't tell you which company you will be renting from but they guarantee it will be one of 5 major national chains.  We ended up getting an airport rental for 8 days for $250.00 total cost, much better then the $450.00 to $550.00 if we had rented direct and it was an Avis rental.  Worth having a look what price comes up if you can pay for it now.  I've used numerous times now for room and rentals when i can't find a good rate and paid this way and never been unhappy with the rooms, rentals or prices we secured for not knowing who we will be with until after paying.  With hotel rooms you pick the star category you want to stay in and area and then they get the rate and you take where they find heh.  Kind of fun.

A quick check doesn't give me great hope for 5 adults though, a full size SUV at the airport for the last week of February with all fees included is coming up at $590.00 and a mini van is $800.00.  Maybe someone has a better spot, though for $590.00 you seat 5 and have the same luggage room according to the site so it's still quite a bit less then $1000.00.
post #3 of 24
depending on distance, taxi or if going to hotel, shuttle.  for the $600 to $500 savings a little extra cost isn't too bad a trade off.  Enterprise advertises a pick up.  Does Denver have a bus to a on line (bus line) rental location?   while it'll take some time, only one needs to run out and return for remaining folks.

Rentals have become a costly item.  The package deals, hotwire, travelocity, etc seem to be best pricing unless someone in your group has a good corporate rate or better, gov't rate they can use.

good luck!
post #4 of 24
We looked at staying at in a Denver hotel off site of the airport for our first night so we could pick up an off site rental which are less then half the cost.  The only issue was it's 25 miles from the air port to the nearest off site rental agency.  There is a taxi service at the air port called Blue Sky Shuttle (or something like that), and they will take you downtown for $20.00 to $25.00.  If you can find a reasonable room, downtown Denver is pretty interesting also, if you are in early enough to have a look around the first evening.  The cost of the hotel and the ride down town will save you considerable.  A rental from Denver City area at hot wire for a 5 seat SUV is only $389.00 all fees and taxes included or a minivan is $440.00 all fees and taxes included. 

We didn't do the stay offsite as we only needed a car for 2 and the hotwire price for a car is very reasonable so we did the airport pick up.  But had we done the other option we would have used points for our hotel room in Denver.  My husband has used the Blue Sky (not sure of this name) service when he's in Denver for work.
post #5 of 24
Keep checking online. I went through this last year. I think we ended up with Buget or Enterprise. I also found different prices on Travelocity, etc vs. the rental Co's own websites. We ended up paying $350ish for an SUV when all the original quotes were over $750.
post #6 of 24
I usually use Enterprise.  They consistently get less expensive as you approach the dates until one week out, then sometimes shoot up based on availability.  It seems as advanced bookings are low this year so they are trying to capitalize on early bookers.  You can always book and cancel a rental reservation without penalty if you find a better price.
post #7 of 24
If you're going to Vail for a week and not planning to travel anywhere else, consider Colorado Mtn. Express.  They run DIA-to-Vail Valley door-to-door service for under $100 a person.  Big 10-passenger vans have room for lots of gear.

Of course, for five of you that'll run close to other rentals.
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Enterprise Airport location's price for 7 days, minivan is $1218 although one of the Denver city location's price is only $498 which is very reasonable imo. The 700 bucks difference is crazy.
And this is interesting. If reservation is made only 1 week in advance and not 5 weeks their price would be only $400. I always thought the earlier you make reservation the lower the price will be. Clearly I'm mistaken.
Edited by jarpil - 1/17/10 at 11:34am
post #9 of 24
Travelocity is currently showing vans from Advantage and EZ for under $500 per week with taxes.  Remember you can cancel a car reservation with no penalty, so grab a decent deal when you see one and cancel it if you find a better one.
post #10 of 24
I ran into the same thing over the holidays (ie $1200/wk) Finally went directly to the company and through a corporate discount, found a Std. SUV for ~ $400 /wk total. Normally I use HotWire for car rentals, I just found a Rav4 (mid-size SUV) for $360/wk.
FWIW, I think these guys are heavy use of cookies, so clear your cookies before proceeding.
post #11 of 24
 Here is the trick.  Rent the cheapest car you can from Thrifty and then upgrade when you get there.  I rented their surprise rental (they guarantee a mid size or better) for $90/week, upgraded to a Ford Edge when I got there , prepaid the gas and left with a total bill, outrageous taxes and fees included for right around $300.
post #12 of 24
 Try Priceline name your own price. It's better for hotels than rental cars, but you should be able to get it for 70% of the listed price.
post #13 of 24
I'm headed to Denver in late March, and have just been making arrangements this week.  I noticed that if you go to Dollar's website the prices are a little better than on Orbitz, and on Dollar's website there was a button in the search results page (the one where you pick if you want an economy car for $ or a convertible for $$$, etc.) that said something like "local specials".  I clicked that, and ended up getting an SUV for less than the price of a mid-size car.  Granted it was still $260 + tax = $345 for only 4 days.

If you have an extra hour or two, one member of your party could hop a city bus, pick up a car at a non-airport rental location, and drive it back to the airport to get everybody else.  And then do the reverse on the back end of the trip.  But that sounds like a hassle (which I'm sure is precisely why the airport rentals cost more).

What about flying into Vail/Eagle County airport, instead of Denver?  The shorter distance to the resort might make a shuttle cost less than renting, even for your group size.
post #14 of 24
Rentals in Denver are artocious and a total rip-off.  Worse is the damn taxes and fees they charge.  It's so bad that we will drive from Minnesota whenever possible.

Be careful about the pre-paid rates!  Read and understand the fine print when you pre-pay.  On one of our last times that we rented a car, I did the pre-paid rental route for a compact car for a long weekend.  Price quoted (and paid up front) was a significant savings.  As can happen on I-70, traffic was worse than I expected, we were a bit behind schedule when we got back to the rental spot at the end our tirp, about 45 minutes behind when I told them we would arrive (you have to give a pick-up and drop-off time when you make the reservation).  The bill went from @350 to $700!!  I blew a gasket and had to spend another 30 minutes arguing with the clerk in the store because the clerk checking the cars in "just does what the computer tells him - can't change anything".  They knocked the $350 charge down to the "daily" rate of $30 since I 'started' a new day.  I would have argued further, but by then we were so late that I thought we were going to miss our flight.  On top of it all, the car was a piece of sh*t. 
post #15 of 24
Interesting how folks will kick about paying $100/day to rent a $20,000 vehicle, but don't blink when paying $50/day for a $700 pair of skis.  What's up with that? The purchase-to-rental ratio is off by  an order of magnitude.
post #16 of 24
  What's up with that?

Cars last WAY longer than skis.
post #17 of 24
Ten times longer?  I don't think so. 

Anyway, the key is depreciation.  A ski depreciates about 50% in a year of demoing. Figure $350.  A rental car depreciates about 25% in the year the agency has it in the fleet.  That's $5k on a $20k vehicle. 

I still don't get it. It's still off by an order of magnitude.
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
Please keep it on the subject. Thanks.
post #19 of 24
Sorry about the topic drift.  Here's the answer to your question:
post #20 of 24
There should be a delete key
post #21 of 24
wrong spot!
post #22 of 24
Try a search of the's msot likely under the "resorts" section.
post #23 of 24

Car rates in Denver are dropping (but not the SUV and van rates).  Just rebooked my Dollar mid-size car for $117/wk plus taxes. 

post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Walt View Post

Sorry about the topic drift.  Here's the answer to your question:
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