5 Best Denver Airport Car Rental Companies — Browse Tips on Renting a Car in Denver (September 2023)
If you’re traveling to Colorado for the state’s near-endless, year-round adventure activities, or even just for business, chances are good you’re flying into Denver International Airport. The state’s main hub and one of the busier airports in the world, Denver’s airport welcomes nearly 100 million passengers each year.
So where do all those passengers go once they’ve arrived at the airport? The airport offers a variety of transportation options to get into the city and beyond, from a commuter train to public transit. It also, though, provides access to 10 major rental car companies. Car rental agencies have lots right on the airport grounds. They’re accessible via shuttle service from the Jeppesen Terminal, Level 5, and Island 4.
However, with 10 different on-airport rental car companies to choose from, how do you pick the right provider for your travel needs? Here’s everything you need to know about the top 5 car rental companies at Denver International Airport.
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With more than 3,000 Google reviews and a 4.3 average star rating out of 5 stars, Alamo is one of the more well-ranked rental car companies at Denver airport. Open from 4 a.m. until 11:45 p.m., the rental car company receives reviews such as “We rented from the Alamo location at the Denver airport and had a wonderful experience! The process was very easy (we used the skip-the-counter option by providing our card prior to arrival). We also requested to pick up our car an hour earlier and they kindly allowed us to do that — free of charge! The car was in nice condition [and] clean. The drop-off was quick/easy and the shuttle was prompt to the airport terminal. We will definitely rent from here again.”
The Denver airport Alamo location offers a self-service kiosk, accelerated check-in, and the aforementioned skip-the-counter service, for easier and faster travel. There are also after-hour pick-up and return services, just in case you do happen to arrive at the location between midnight and 4 a.m.
Alamo is one of the more budget-friendly national car rental providers.
Pros: Alamo offers budget-friendly rates and extra services to make the check-in process faster and easier.
Cons: If you’re a frequent traveler, the Alamo rewards program isn’t all that robust, so you might want to pick another provider if you’re particularly looking to earn rewards perks.
But while Alamo’s number of Google reviews and ranking at Denver airport are admirable, Enterprise admittedly blows Alamo out of the water. With nearly 8,000 Google reviews and a 4.4-star rating, the provider offers a standard of excellence that frequent travelers have come to know and love. Do note, though, that while Enterprise boasts a higher ranking and more reviews at Denver airport than Alamo, Enterprise is generally more expensive. That’s always something you need to take into consideration when planning your trip.
Another way Enterprise sets itself apart from some of the other rental car providers at Denver airport? It offers one of the best rewards and loyalty programs in the biz. You can move up through various loyalty tiers and premium statuses, earn points and even convert those points to miles within your favorite frequent flyer program.
The Denver airport Enterprise location is open from 6 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. You’ll notice it does open a little bit later than Alamo, but after-hour returns are possible. Pick-up service is not available at this location.
Pros: This Enterprise location is well-ranked and frequently used, and offers an awesome loyalty program that frequent travelers love.
Cons: Enterprise isn’t as affordable as some of the other car rental providers on our list and it’s not open as early as some of the other providers at the Denver airport.
Sixt is a European-founded car rental company at Denver International Airport that performs well with online reviewers. Recent reviewers report receiving extra perks like getting free car upgrades. Many say the check-in and return processes take less than five minutes. The Denver location is open from 5 a.m. to midnight, though 24-hour returns services are available. The location offers a range of vehicles, from family-friendly SUVs to luxury cars. Being a European-founded company, Sixt is known for offering a lot of German brands, but also a handful of American luxury vehicles.
Sixt offers a range of deals and special savings, depending on where you rent, so it’s worth considering those before you book. The Sixt loyalty program offers various tiers, and depending on how often you rent, you may qualify for extra perks such as free upgrades, free additional drivers, and overall discounts on your rental. Sixt loyalty program members can expect faster check-in, more vehicle choices, and access to special discounts.
Pros: Sixt is a well-reviewed rental provider that offers a range of luxury vehicles and SUVs.
Cons: Sixt’s loyalty program isn’t as robust as Enterprise’s loyalty program. Additionally, Sixt doesn’t boast as high a Google rating for its Denver airport location as Enterprise or Alamo.
Much like Enterprise, Hertz is one of the more widely-known car rental companies throughout the United States, with one of the better loyalty programs. However, do note that Hertz doesn’t have as many glowing reviews for its Denver International Airport location as Enterprise does. With a 3.5-star rating and more than 4,000 reviews, consistent review trends include praise for high-quality cars, but also complaints of a lack of available cars and long waits. In other words, renting with Hertz isn’t your worst option at Denver International Airport, but it can be a bit of a toss-up, depending on when you arrive.
The Hertz location at the Denver airport is open from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m., so it’s open much later than its competitors. Do note that there are some restrictions on payment at this particular location. The Hertz website says, at Denver International Airport specifically, “there are some restrictions regarding the use of a debit card. To qualify for a rental using a debit card, you will be required to provide proof of a return airline flight that coincides with your rental and present two valid forms of identification. You can use a debit card if it is already included in your Gold Plus Rewards profile or if the rental is an Insurance Replacement rental. Regardless of which card was used for the reservation and pick up of the car, debit cards are accepted for payment at the end of your rental.”
Hertz offers a range of vehicles and allows you to manage your rental via the handy Hertz app.
Pros: Hertz is open much later than other car rental companies at the airport and also offers a range of vehicles at typically agreeable prices, even if they’re not on the budget end. Hertz also offers a pretty nice loyalty program.
Cons: Customer experiences at Hertz are a bit up in the air. Some are fine, while others include long waits.
While Avis may not be as well-reviewed as the other providers on this list, it’s certainly better than some of the worst-performing car rental providers at Denver’s airport. If you find that all of the above are booked up, go with Avis before you head to any of the other guys.
Avis offers lots of discounts and special deals, and the Avis rewards program allows you to earn points and miles with other hotel and airline loyalty programs, such as American Airlines. You also get extra discounts if you hold a membership with certain Avis partners, such as AARP.
The Avis location at the Denver airport is open 24 hours, which certainly sets it apart from its competitors. Avis offers Preferred service at the location as well. This allows you to simply take the bus from the airport terminal to the Avis Preferred lot, after which you can check in on an app, grab your car, and go. Otherwise, you’ll need to check in with a staff member.
Pros: Avis offers a range of discounts and extra perks via partner providers and the Denver airport location is open 24 hours.
Cons: Reviewers report that this location’s customer service isn’t the best and wait times are occasionally long.
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You have to take a shuttle to Denver International Airport’s car rental provider lots. Shuttle service will pick you up at the Jeppesen Terminal, Level 5, and Island 4, which is accessed outside doors 505–513 on the east side, or 504–512 on the west side.
Yes, you can find a variety of car rental providers throughout the Denver area, so you’re not limited to just renting a car at the airport. If you’d rather go into the city and then rent a car after you’ve checked into your hotel, you can do so. You’ll find providers scattered all across Denver, with offerings from many of the same major providers located at the airport. Expect Enterprise, Hertz, Sixt, and others.
Not at all! There are many ways to get to and from the Denver airport, without ever stepping foot inside a rental car.
The A-Line commuter train runs between downtown Denver and the airport. Trains run every 15 minutes during peak travel times and every 30 minutes 3 a.m.–5 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.–1 a.m. Tickets are $10.50 per day.
Avail and Turo car-sharing providers allow travelers to borrow cars from locally-owned car owners, if they want the convenience of a private car, without the hassle of a car rental company. The airport has partnered with both brands and you can take a shuttle from the airport to the Avail office.
Charter buses pick up travelers from the Jeppesen Terminal, Level 5 if you’d like to get around that way.
More than a dozen hotel shuttles take travelers to a range of hotels all within a 10-mile drive of the airport. Hotel shuttles pick up travelers at the Jeppesen Terminal Level 5, Island 3, and outside doors 505–507 on the east side and 510–512 on the west side.
Taxis and ride-share services are also available.
Yes, you will need to pay tolls if you drive on toll roads throughout Colorado while in a rental car.
However, you will not need a transponder in the car for you to pay your toll fees. Instead, according to the Colorado Public Highway Authority, “if you are not an ExpressToll customer, you will automatically become a License Plate Toll customer when you drive a rental on a Colorado toll road. Cameras will photograph the front and rear license plate and a statement will be generated and sent to the rental car agency. You will receive this bill from the rental car agency.”
If, though, you are already an ExpressToll customer (which would be most likely if you live in, or frequently visit, Colorado), you can add a rental car to your ExpressToll account, which allows you to bypass the rental car agency and pay for your tolls in the rental car directly.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that while you do not need a transponder for your tolls to be charged to you in a rental car, some rental car agencies install the transponders in the cars regardless. If this is the case with your particular rental agency, then you’ll be charged a flat toll fee. This eliminates the need for the rental company to charge you at a later date. The flat toll fee differs according to the provider.
It entirely depends on what you plan to do while in the city. If you plan on going straight to downtown Denver and then exploring the surrounding area, you may not get much use out of your rental car. Instead, you can simply take the commuter train from the airport to downtown and then use ride-share services or public transit from there. If, though, you plan to expand your explorations further, a rental car may be necessary to get out of the city.
No, you do not need rental car insurance when renting a car in Denver, Colorado. The rental provider will include your bare-minimum coverage as part of your contract. You can upgrade the insurance from there.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
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