5 Best Portland Airport Car Rental Companies — Browse Tips on Renting a Car in Portland, Oregon (September 2023)
If you’re headed to Portland, Oregon (and there are many good reasons why you might be!), you’ll likely want to rent a car. While many parts of Portland are compact and easy to get around, you need a vehicle in order to explore all that the destination offers further afield. While ride shares and public transit can get you around the city, spots like Mount Hood and the Oregon Coast are far enough away that a rental car is a necessity.
Luckily, getting your rental car in Portland, Oregon, is easy, because there are plenty of rental car options right at the Portland airport. Portland International Airport (or PDX) boasts 11 rental car providers operating out of its new Rental Car Center, which opened in 2021.
Here’s everything you need to know to be sure you pick the right car rental provider for your needs, plus some extra tips for driving a rental car around Portland and beyond.
The Vacationer Tip
Check out RentalCars.com before booking your Portland car rental.
Table of Contents
Which Car Rental Companies are Best at Portland International Airport?
You’ll likely recognize all the car rental companies operating at Portland International Airport, as they’re all national brands. However, just because you might’ve rented from one of these providers in the past, don’t think that every Hertz or Alamo location is the same.
Depending on the airport and the city, a top provider in one locale can be a horrible choice in another. That’s exactly why we’ve broken down reviews for these location-specific car rental counters at PDX, so we can recommend only the best options, based on Google and Kayak reviews from travelers like you. Here are our resulting top five picks out of the 11 car rental providers located at PDX.
As a top-rated rental car company at PDX, it’s easy to see why customers rate Alamo positively, even if this location doesn’t offer all the perks you might find at other Alamo locations.
For example, Alamo is known for its amenities that make picking up your rental car faster than ever. However, some of those amenities are missing here, like the self-serve kiosks. That said, you can still use skip-the-counter service and sign up for accelerated check-in at your time of booking.
Even without the self-serve kiosks, though, reviewers report smooth, fast, problem-free check-in experiences. Some even say they were initially nervous about switching to Alamo from their standard rental car choice — but that now they’ll never go back. Add on the agreeable pricing and “outstanding” service, and why would you want to book with anyone else?
The only complaints logged included some minor requests for car updates.
Pros: Great level of service, pricing, and convenience.
Cons: There are no self-serve kiosks, and some of the cars may need upgrades or minor maintenance.
Phone: (844) 366-0497
Hours: Daily from 6:30 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Google Rating: 4.3 stars
Kayak Rating: 8.8 (Very Good)
When it comes to Kayak reviewers, there’s no better brand for booking a car rental at Portland International Airport than National. Kayak reviewers rave about their experiences, stating that the staff is super-friendly, informative, and professional; the cars are clean; and free upgrades are possible when the vehicle you book isn’t unavailable.
Another great thing about this particular provider?
Unlike other brands at the airport that close up shop at midnight, the National counter is open and operated until 2 a.m. — making it a no-brainer choice if your flight’s getting in later or even just has the chance of getting in later than you expect. (Because, let’s be honest, you don’t want to risk it by booking a car with a counter that closes at midnight if your flight is scheduled to get in at 11:30 p.m.)
The only complaints come from travelers who (honestly) may only have themselves to blame for their lackluster experiences. One mentioned not knowing how to use the brand’s app. Another bemoaned waiting 15 minutes for their rental after arriving an hour ahead of their scheduled pick-up time.
Pros: Great staff and clean cars, plus longer opening hours than what other brands at PDX offer.
Cons: You may not have flexibility if you arrive extra early to pick up your rental. The app may or may not be challenging to use, depending on your experience.
Phone: (844) 366-0499
Hours: Daily from 6:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Google Rating: 4.4 stars
Kayak Rating: 9.4 (Wonderful)
Enterprise Rent-A-Car is a traveler favorite nationwide, and there’s no exception at the Portland airport. As such, reviewers report that the customer service at this Enterprise outpost is speedy, efficient, and friendly. Even with issues (such as getting a car that’s not quite up to expectations), reviewers say the staff comes through, fixing any problems with a superior level of customer service and understanding. Some reviewers even called their recent experiences with this Enterprise counter “one of the best rental car experiences” they’ve ever had.
The only complaints? Some customers wished for a better price on their rental, and others noted long lines at pick-up — but those are hardly factors you can blame the individual Enterprise location for.
Pros: Excellent level of customer service that goes above and beyond.
Cons: Pricing could be better, and some reviewers reported occasional long lines.
Phone: (844) 366-0498
Hours: Daily from 6:30 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Google Rating: 4.4 stars
Kayak Rating: 8.9 (Very Good)
While on Kayak, it’s National that takes the top spot as the favorite car rental company at PDX, on Google, the clear winner is Sixt. This lesser-known car rental company (at least compared to others you’ll find at the airport) is praised for its wide variety of vehicles and agreeable pricing.
It’s worth noting that, at PDX, the Sixt counter does open later in the morning than some of the other car rental counters. Still, Sixt is also open later in the evening, until 1 a.m. While this doesn’t match National’s 2 a.m., it’s still perfectly suitable for most travelers.
Reviewers note the fast, easy service and easy upgrade experience. Additionally, others mention Sixt’s great selection of vehicles.
Pros: Great service and a great selection of vehicles.
Cons: The rental counter does open later than others at the airport, so it might not be a good fit for those on early flights.
Phone: (888) 749-8227
Hours: Daily from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Google Rating: 4.6 stars
Kayak Rating: 7.6 (Good)
Last up in our top five picks out of the 11 car rental companies at Portland International Airport, is Avis.
The reviews at Avis are a mixed bag.
Some report an easy return experience and an easy-to-use website that allows you to change your reservation as needed. Avis is also typically touted as a budget rental car provider, and it’s open earlier than any of the other PDX car rental counters on our list.
However, some report that your rental’s initial pricing doesn’t reflect what you’ll pay upon pick-up. Accordingly, you might see new charges on your receipt, which you weren’t expecting. Other complaints include long wait times at pick-up and cars that either aren’t as clean as preferred or that smell strongly of cleaner.
Pros: Early open time and budget-friendly pricing.
Cons: Hidden fees and long wait times.
Phone: (971) 254-1643
Hours: Daily from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Google Rating: 3.8 stars
Kayak Rating: 8.2 (Very Good)
The Vacationer Tip
Comparing the 5 Best Car Rental Companies at Portland International Airport
Get a quick glimpse of these five best car rental companies, so you know which is best for you.
|Brand/Rental Provider||Google/Kayak Rating||Types of available vehicles||Budget or Luxury?|
|Avis||3.8/8.2||Cars, SUVs, luxury vehicles, trucks, vans||Budget|
|Alamo||4.3/8.8||Cars, SUVs, luxury vehicles, trucks, vans||Mid-Range|
|Enterprise||4.4/8.9||Cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, luxury vehicles||Luxury|
|National||4.4/9.4||Cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, luxury vehicles||Mid-Range|
|Sixt||4.6/7.6||Cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, luxury vehicles||Mid-Range|
Tips for Renting a Car in Portland, Oregon
Once you’ve decided which of the above best car rental providers at PDX is the right choice for your rental car needs, it’s time to book … but after that, you’ll have the actual challenge of picking up your car at the airport, getting around Portland in a rental car, and then returning the car to Portland International Airport.
For all of the above and more, here’s what you need to know.
How to get to the rental car center at Portland International Airport
As mentioned, 11 different rental car companies are located at the dedicated rental car center at PDX. These include:
To reach the rental car center at PDX, go to the baggage claim from your terminal and then follow the signs for the rental car center. You’ll need to take the South Tunnel from baggage claim, past the short-term garage P1. There, you’ll find the rental car center, as well as the rental car return and long-term garage.
How to return a car to Portland airport
When returning your car, route your GPS to the airport following Northeast Airport Way. Once you’ve arrived at the airport, take the Lower Roadway past the Short-Term Garage P1 and to the Long-Term Garage P3, where the rental car renter is located.
Your other transportation options at Portland airport
In addition to rental cars, you’ll find other transportation options at Portland airport, to take you to the city or beyond.
App-based ride-share services available at the airport include Uber, Lyft, and Wingz. All ride-share pick-up points are located on Island 2, directly outside the baggage claim area.
Shuttle and bus services likewise can be found right outside the baggage claim area, as can limos, town cars, and traditional taxis (on Island 3).
If you want to take the Trimet Max/Light Rail service away from the airport, you’ll find the station entrance at the south end of the ticketing lobby (near Starbucks). Trains depart every 15 minutes.
Quick tips for getting around Portland in a rental car
If you’ve driven in any major city in the past, then you should have no problem driving around Portland. However, there are a few things to remember, no matter your experience level.
- Pay attention to signage and one-way streets.
- Watch out for the many cyclists on the road
- Look for ‘no parking’ signage before you park
All on-site rental car companies are housed in the consolidated rental car center. To reach the rental car center at PDX, go to the baggage claim from your terminal and then follow the signs for the rental car center. You’ll need to take the South Tunnel from baggage claim, past the short-term garage P1. There, you’ll find the rental car center, as well as the rental car return and long-term garage.
If you plan to stay in Portland, you do not necessarily need a rental car. Between ride-share apps and public transportation, you should be able to get around just fine. However, if you plan on traveling anywhere outside of the city, such as to Oregon’s wine country or many natural attractions, or to the coast, a car will be necessary.
No. You can rent a car off-site once you get into the city. Take a ride share or public transit to your hotel or the rental company’s office from the airport.
As of 2022, Oregon does not have state-tolled rolls. However, some bridges crossing the Columbia River do charge tolls.
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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