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Car rental prices... are spring rates usually this high?

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Ann Arbor, Michigan
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for Grand Canyon National Park
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Car rental prices... are spring rates usually this high?

Yup. ANOTHER post about rental cars. I apologize!

I have a Grand Canyon trip planned for mid-April. I usually use Las Vegas but though I might come through Phoenix this time, mostly to be able to stop in Sedona. I'm about ready to pull the trigger on plane tickets but, WOW, the car rental prices are giving me serious heartburn.

So, I'm wondering. Are these prices "normal" for April? I'm seeing $300-400 a week from the big guys for a small car. Even with discounts, I'm still looking at $250+. I paid $80 for the same period in Las Vegas last spring. LV prices are up this year as well but they're still below $200.

Do the prices normally "dip" closer to the date? Or is the demand high enough and the fleets small enough that they may even go up? (LV prices seem to be at their lowest about a month prior.)

I'm travelling solo, with gear, under time constraints, so I'm really not interested in renting away from the airport. I do understand that the airport rentals come with premium fees.

I don't belong to Cosco but I'm generally successful in finding promo codes. But even so, my experience is that finding anything above 20-25% off of the rental fee is rare and that's still pretty expensive.

I'd appreciate any feedback before abandoning my idea to use Phoenix. Thanks!

Fairhaven...
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for New Bedford
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1. Re: Car rental prices... are spring rates usually this high?

I am in the same boat DetTigerfan. I am looking to rent for 9 days the third week of June and prices for me are $500 - 650.00 for that time. I only want to rent a Camry. If you belong to AAA, Hertz has a pay now price through them that was about $130 cheaper. Also, BJ's Wholesale Club has good rates on their site. I am not a BJ's member but was able to get the price. I want the convenience of renting right from the airport but I have to agree with you, the prices are crazy! If anyone out there has any ideas, it would be much appreciated. I'm just waiting to find a good price. I haven't booked anything yet.

tucson az
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for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
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2. Re: Car rental prices... are spring rates usually this high?

The Phoenix market is high compared to other cities year round. The $80 for a week in Las Vegas is below anything I have ever seen. In most cities you should expect to be able to find $35/day for mid-size vehicle plus taxes and other charges. The Phoenix market is "hit" by fees for the airport and the rental car center as well as taxes. Prices fluctuate but not during prime season for tourists and business conventions. April is a prime time in Phoenix for the latter.

How to "beat" this in Phoenix? If you are a Costco member, check Costco. If you have the time to get to an off-airport location by taxi, airport shuttle or light rail, check prices at off-airport locations; usually substantial savings. Check Hotwire and Priceline; both use the majors and no off-brands but they are dependent on there being a surplus so often no difference in price.

Phoenix, Arizona
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3. Re: Car rental prices... are spring rates usually this high?

Yeah, those are pretty normal prices for Phx airport during our high season. Sorry! Are you a member of AAA? Sometimes they have good deals. Or try the Entertainment book coupons, if you have access to one.

Otherwise, the only other advice I can give is to rent off-airport. There are a number of rental places not far from the airport, and if you take a taxi and pre-register, it might not waste too much time. That's a thought, anyway.

Oh, and Bob is right - the prices don't normally fluctuate as you get closer. In fact, they often increase during high season. Las Vegas seems to have really cheap rental prices compared to other cities; I don't think you'll find those kinds of low rates here.

Good luck, though - hope you find something! :)

Edited: 17 January 2012, 18:15
Fairhaven...
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4. Re: Car rental prices... are spring rates usually this high?

Are the off airport locations open at 10:00pm? What is the closest company to the airport? Thanks

tucson az
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for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
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5. Re: Car rental prices... are spring rates usually this high?

Off airport locations are not generally open at 10 PM. Their hours are roughly 8 or 9 AM to 5 or 6 PM week days, fewer hours on Saturdays, and many closed on Sundays.

If you are arriving at 10 PM, you choices are likely to take a rental car at the airport or find a hotel nearby with an airport shuttle and a rental car office (Hilton Phoenix Airport is one) that will be open the next morning.

Edited: 17 January 2012, 18:49
Harleysville...
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6. Re: Car rental prices... are spring rates usually this high?

We are always at our place in AZ in April and it's always high. We are Costco members and only once have we gotten a good deal with them. We will try this time but haven't firmed up our dates yet as our grandson is graduating college and we have to stop in Ohio on way back.

Lately we've been using hotwire and they usually give us Alamo or National. Not had any success with AAA. Will try BJ's too as we joined them this year.

I think the Vegas prices are so low to attract European customers.

Sedona, AZ
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7. Re: Car rental prices... are spring rates usually this high?

It's all about supply and demand. This is why even third party agencies offer little in the way of discounts. there is no excess inventory.

Different off site offices have different hours. But most will be closed evenings and weekends. You'll need to call each one that you might be considering to verify hours of operation.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Car rental prices... are spring rates usually this high?

I did a lot of checking for the end of March as I thought prices seemed high. I found the best deal through Costco travel online. They book Alamo and were $50-$75 cheaper than anything else I found, for a 4 day rental.

NoCal
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9. Re: Car rental prices... are spring rates usually this high?

Even if you are getting in at 10pm, unless you are driving out that night or before 9am the next day, off sites still work. You have to change the type of hotels you stay at, because you need a airport shuttle service late night and a hotel relatively close for drop off to the off airport location by the hotel or close enough by the rental office for pickup the next morning. I have done this before.

Arizona
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for Scottsdale
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10. Re: Car rental prices... are spring rates usually this high?

Agreed that most rates will only increase as our high season begins, it is about supply and demand and when the supply decreases, the price will increase.

I have had some luck with the AARP website. You have to be a member and you have to go through the www.aarp.org site, click on Travel tab, then Travel Benefits. I have found the rates to change sometimes on a daily basis. Pre-payment is not required so canceling is not a problem if a better rate gets offered.

Edited: 21 January 2012, 19:53