The 12 Best Websites for Finding Cheap Car Rentals
Renting a car is rarely a fun activity. For many of us, it means we’ll devote time to finding the right price, deciding which features to add, and debating the cost and need for extra car rental insurance.
There are lots of benefits to booking directly through your car rental agency’s website. Many rental agencies have loyalty programs, and you can often choose to earn airline miles instead of car rental agency points.
So, let’s get to it — here are 12 of the best websites to use to book your next rental car.
Expedia is a tried and true OTA that has been around since the 1990s. It’s a popular place to book flights, hotels, rental cars, and cruises.
The site is easy to use with lots of filtering and sorting options so you can quickly find exactly what you’re looking for. You can quickly see the lowest price option for each category by using the Great Deal filtering option.
Plus, you can earn points in the Expedia Rewards program when you book an eligible car. This is a great way to participate in a loyalty program even when you’re not booking directly through a car rental agency.
Expedia also lets you bundle your car rental with a flight and/or hotel in a package, which will generally save you money.
- Expedia Rewards
- Great filtering options
- You can book your rental car as part of a travel package
Momondo is a metasearch engine, similar to Kayak, that shows prices from lots of different online travel agencies. You’ll never actually book your trip on Momondo — instead, you can use the site to search for the best prices, then you’ll get transferred to that rental agency or online travel agency to book.
While not necessarily a problem, Momondo will often transfer you to an obscure booking agency. Of course, that’s not a negative in and of itself, but you’ll need to understand that things like customer service, fees, or policies may differ from a company you’re more familiar with.
- Searches lots of other sites at one time
Like Momondo, Kayak is a metasearch engine that shows you prices on other websites in 1 spot. It’s a great way to quickly search for cheap car rentals, flights, and hotels.
Kayak has lots of ways to filter and sort your results, including a map so you can find a rental car by location and a policy filter so you can focus solely on cars that offer things like free cancellation or unlimited mileage.
If you end up choosing to book through Kayak, be sure to create an account and log in to see Private Deals which can save up to 35%.
The featured price you see on Kayak is often the “pay now” price. If you click on the dropdown arrow next to View Deal you’ll be able to see other options, including which websites offer a “pay later” price.
- Great sorting and filtering options, including a map
- “Pay now” vs “pay later” pricing is easy to see
Orbitz is another huge website that’s been around awhile and is used quite a bit to book flights, hotels, and rental cars.
It’s got great filtering and sorting options and you can see only the lowest-priced options in each category by selecting Great Deal. That feature may sound familiar as it’s also available on Expedia. Many of these online travel agencies are run by the same companies and can appear almost identical. However, prices can vary among the sites, so it’s always good to check a few different ones to get the best price.
If you decide to book a rental car through Orbitz, be sure to create an account and sign in so you can see Insider Pricing that can save 10% or more on car rentals.
- Great Deal filtering option
- Insider Pricing
Priceline gained fame from the “Priceline Negotiator” and the “Name Your Own Price” tool. While those tools brought opaque bookings to the forefront, both have since been eliminated.
You can, however, still get good deals on opaque bookings (one in which certain details are hidden until after the transaction is complete). If you don’t have a car rental agency preference, check out one of Priceline’s Express Deals. With these rentals, you won’t know the exact agency until after your booking is complete, but they can be a good way to save money.Another type of opaque booking you’ll find on Priceline is called Supplier’s Choice. With this type of booking, you’ll know the exact car rental agency you’ll be renting from, but you won’t know what kind of vehicle you’ll get until you pick it up.
Regardless of what type of car you choose on Priceline, be sure to create an account and log in so you can see VIP pricing. This is an easy way to save up to 20% (depending on your membership level) on your car rental.
- Opaque bookings: Express Deals and Supplier’s Choice
- Priceline VIP
Skyscanner, like Kayak, is a search engine, so when you find your car rental you’ll be transferred to another site to complete your booking.
While Skyscanner can offer good pricing, it’s hard to get much information about the rental, other than the price, at first glance of the search results. You have to click through on each result to find out basic information like the car rental agency.
- Searches lots of websites at one time
Travelocity is a popular website used to search for cheap hotels, flights, and rental cars. While it’s powered by Expedia, pricing can be different on each site.
Like some other sites (Expedia and Orbitz), you can filter your search results to only show the lowest-priced option in each category, called Great Deals.
When scrolling the search results you can quickly see which options offer free cancellation and which ones are non-refundable. That information can be very handy since travel plans can change so much these days.
- “Great Deal” filtering option
- Easily visible cancellation policies
9. Costco Travel
The first thing you’ll notice when searching for a rental car on Costco Travel is it includes only 4 major rental agencies — Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise.
The search results are displayed in an easy-to-read chart that highlights the cheapest price for each car type in red.
The downside is that you have to be a Costco member to book a car through Costco Travel. However, if you’re renting a car as part of a vacation package, a Costco Shop card is often included in the deal, which can cover the cost of a membership. Plus, if you’ve got an Executive membership, you can earn 2% back on all of your Costco Travel purchases.
- Easy-to-use table that shows which rental agency has the lowest prices
- Earn 2% back as a Cosco Executive member
10. American Express Travel
While American Express is known more for offering great credit cards, it also offers a travel booking service. You don’t need to hold an American Express credit card to use Amex Travel, but it can sometimes get you more benefits.
Renting a car through Amex Travel is very similar to other sites. It even offers a type of opaque booking where you won’t know the type of vehicle you’re getting until you pick it up.
If you select a “pay now” price you’ll be able to use Membership Rewards to pay for your rental car. While it’s great to have the flexibility to pay with points, you’ll only get 0.7 cents per point in value, which is terrible. We value Amex Membership Rewards at about 2.2 cents each, so you’re getting less than a third of the typical value you could get by instead transferring your points to travel partners.
- Opaque bookings
- Ability to book a rental car with Membership Rewards points
Rentalcars.com is a search engine that’s owned by the same company that also owns sites like Booking.com. Priceline, and Kayak, and as you can imagine, it specializes in rental cars.
What we liked about this site is the easy-to-read search results that quickly showed things like free cancellation and whether the deal was a “pay now” or “pay later” price.
Rentalcars.com also offered opaque deals that are often a good way to save money if you’re not particular about the type of car or car rental agency you’re getting.
- Price match guarantee
- Easy to read search results
AutoSlash is a bit different than other sites. To get a rate quote on a rental car you need to submit all of your rental criteria plus your contact information. Then you’ll receive an email with your price quote.
It only takes a minute or 2 to request a quote from AutoSlash. One of the unique things about this site is that it will ask you about what types of credit cards and loyalty programs you have in order to get the best price.
- AutoSlash takes into account your rental car memberships and credit cards for any additional benefits
- A list of available coupons is available in the Coupons section
Hotwire is another site that offers opaque bookings, called Hotwire Hot Rate deals. You won’t know the rental agency until after the booking is complete.
Finding the best price on your next car rental doesn’t have to be hard if you know where to look. These 12 websites can help you easily search through the options to find the best price for your next car rental. Which site you ultimately use is up to you — some offer a better search function, some offer a rewards program, and some are just easier to use.
Try out a couple of these sites when you’re searching for your next rental to find which one works best for you.