How To Rent a Car and Save 25% Or More

Upon arrival at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and in need of a rental van or SUV, many people assume the rental car facility is physically IN the airport.  It is not. One must use the Car Rental Center shuttle bus to get there.

Where The Rental Cars Live

Recently, after arriving in Phoenix for a business meeting, I took the shuttle to the rental facility, which took approximately 17 minutes from the terminal 4 baggage claim area.  And when I got there, all I could think was: “Dang! This is really beautiful.”  It even has a little café for snacks and drinks.

It would be understandable to think this is the only way to rent a vehicle when traveling to Phoenix by plane.  And really, what could be wrong with it?  Well, for starters, that beautiful facility with the lovely café was very expensive to build.  What does that have to do with you, you ask?  Let me put it this way:  someone has to pay the rent.

What Are You Paying For

Once you’ve rented your car from one of the companies in this Center, your rental agreement may refer to “Concession Recovery Fees” and “Customer Facility Charges” as illustrated above.  These are additional charges rental car companies impose on the renter to help cover the costs of participating in the Rental Car Center at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Depending on the length of the rental, these can add an additional 25% or more to the rental charges.

One of the fees, the “Customer Facility Charge” is a daily charge, so if you are renting a car for a day, as I did, it doesn’t hurt too bad.  But rent a car for a week, and that $6 turns into $42.  Ouch! In the above illustration, the base rate of the car for one week was approximately $280.  With these fees and taxes, the total for a week rental of a car in Phoenix came to just over $432.

As you can see, a little over $62 of that cost was for the fancy facility.  You didn’t get to spend the night.  You didn’t get any free soap or shampoo, and you certainly didn’t get a mint on your pillow.  For $62 you got the privilege of riding a bus, standing in line, signing some papers, and exiting a garage with your rental car.

Fees & Facility Charges

While all car rental companies must collect taxes, concession fees and facility charges are easily avoidable by renting at a facility that does not charge them and is not located in the Rental Car Center.  And while it may seem that doing so sacrifices a certain level of convenience, the remarkable truth is that because the Rental Car Center is not IN the Phoenix Airport either, it is no more convenient than an off-site facility.  Whether renting “at the airport” or at an “off airport” facility, all renters must be shuttled away from the actual airport.

In order to reach the Rental Car Center, once the traveler has collected his or her luggage from baggage claim, he or she must walk out to where shuttle buses regularly pick up renters.  From there, the bus travels to the Center, a little over two miles away.  The passengers depart the bus, and proceed to one of the rental car counters.

After waiting in line and filling out the paperwork, every renter must then gather up his or her luggage and take the escalator to the rental car level, meet with an attendant, get their car and then check out at the gate where they go over the paperwork again and enter even more information into a computer there.

On one of the least busy travel days in Phoenix, a day when almost all of the rental car companies had cars to rent and there were no lines, I gathered by bags from baggage claim, and just for fun, I set the timer on my phone.  It took me four minutes to walk from terminal 4 baggage claim to the waiting Car Rental Shuttle.  I waited on the bus for just under three minutes for other customers to join us.  The ride, from the time we departed terminal 4 until we reached the Rental Car Center, was 9 minutes.  From the time I got my bags until I was in the rental car, with no wait for the shuttle or at the rental counter, was just over 32 minutes.

Do I Have A Choice?

When renting a van or SUV in Phoenix, save time and money.  Take a cab, Uber or Lyft to Phoenix Car Rental, just under 4 miles away.  We’ll pay for the ride, and we won’t charge you a “Concession Recovery Fee” or a “Customer Facility Charge.”  Pay to rent a vehicle, not a car rental center.

Costs Are Passed To The Renter

Completed in 2005, the 200,000 square foot, 6000-vehicle, Rental Car Center at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport cost more than $175 million to build.  And as with anything that is expensive to build, the cost to rent space in that facility must be high enough to pay for that expense.  Somebody has to pay it, but that somebody doesn’t have to be you.

The Rental Facility

Such a large facility could not be built inside or even on the same property as the airport.  It had to be built some two miles to the west.  As one of the 10 busiest airports in the U.S, more than one million rental car transactions are processed each year at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, and getting renters from the airport to the facility requires that all one million renters, their passengers, and their luggage be transported, or shuttled away from the airport.

The Car Rental Shuttle travels from the terminals to the Center, sometimes waiting 5 to 10 minutes for other passengers to join in the fun.  Instead of commuting with the 5, 10, or 15 other hot, sweaty passengers and their luggage, grab your bag, don’t walk all the way to the shuttle, stop short, hop in a taxi and be at our off-airport rental facility in less than half the time.

We Have Cost Saving Solution

While all renters arriving at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport must travel away from the airport, those who travel directly north a little under 4 miles to Phoenix Car Rental will save not only time, but also money. Call us at 602-904-3490 for a quote on a car, van, truck or SUV rental.