Hawaii beach

Hawaii Car Rental | Finding The Best Deals

Finding Hawaii car rental deals, like airline Hawaii travel deals, is becoming more of a challenge. That is especially true given the recent consolidations in the industry. Here are our updated recommendations:

How I just saved $400 on my next Hawaii car rental

Car rentals for Christmas in Hawaii are the most challenging as you may already know. Rentals are either very costly or can be sold out. I needed a car for four days right before Christmas and faced the harsh reality of rentals averaging $150 per day plus tax. Unwilling to pay that price, and nearly ready to jump to Uber (which is now in Honolulu), I started scouring. I was able to immediately lower the price by 50% by going to Discount Hawaii Car Rental, the company we first learned about from Beat of Hawaii readers. Fantastic. But I decided to continue checking. Most discount codes I found across a plethora of sites yielded little or no financial results. The deal I then found was $220 all inclusive for four days using the Island Air affiliate code at National. Sold!

Make a Hawaii car rental reservation as soon as you know dates and times (especially during peak holidays)

  • Check again closer to arrival to see if rates have gone down.
  • Before changing a reservation, keep in mind the same deal you previously obtained may no longer be available.

Check websites that specialize in car rental discount codes and coupons

  • Discount Hawaii Car Rental most often has the best deal. Readers told us about them and we use them frequently ourselves.
  • You might try AAA, AARP, Costco, Rentalcarmomma, and Retailmenot.
  • Try booking cars via the Island Air website, as – sometimes a good deal as in this case (but not always).

If you book on a car rental company’s site, start without any codes

  • Using a discount code can sometimes increase your price rather than give you a better deal.
  • Compare the price with and without your frequent renter number if you should have one.
  • Don’t get locked in to a prepaid rental in case prices drop later.

Hotwire and Priceline

  • Check to see if you can change your reservation if need be.

How to avoid extra fees for addition driver and more

  • Fees for an extra driver are permitted in Hawaii. Determine if there will be a charge for this at the point of reservation, rather than getting stuck when picking up your car.
  • Some discount contracts, like Costco or Discount Hawaii Car Rental, include an extra driver.
  • Ask if the company waives the fee if the other driver is your spouse or domestic partner.
  • Frequent renter programs may also include an extra driver.
  • Getting airline miles usually incurs an additional charge.

Join the selected rental company’s frequent renter program

  • This is fast, it doesn’t cost you anything, and usually saves time when you pick up the car.

Avoid options you don’t want

  • Check with your insurance company and your credit card company to determine coverage you may already have. Don’t get caught unaware at the counter.
  • I don’t like the “return it empty” prepaid fuel option. Just fill the tank yourself and you won’t have to pay for fuel you don’t actually use.

Pay attention to grace periods and early return policies

  • Some companies still give you a 59 minute grace period to return your rental, before the next day’s charges begin to accrue.
  • Additional hourly charges after the grace period are usually very high.
  • Check to be sure that there are no early return fees which could invalidate your rate.

11 thoughts on “Hawaii Car Rental | Finding The Best Deals”

  1. Just booked Maui 10 day car rental with Costco because they were cheaper than Discount Hawaii Car Rentals. I wonder what has happened to DHCR’s great fares !? Their web site says they have grown drastically – maybe too much too fast ?

  2. Great post! I found the discount codes with Avis are giving me the best price usually. I used about half a dozen and it’s normally 50% (often
    80%). I never had trouble with the rentals and had some spectacular Mercedes upgrades in Europe.

  3. Ann I just looked up your res with us at DHCR. Your res is almost 4 weeks long. Avis extra driver charges max out at $65 no matter how long your reservation. We have no free extra drivers with Avis, just spouse.You booked Kihei pick up and currently Avis is our only supplier for this location. If you were picking up at the airport then your options would range from no free extra drivers, spouse free or one or two free extra drivers. The rate you have, even with adding the $65 for an extra driver could not have been improved on.
    See http://www.discounthawaiicarrental.com/fastbook/ and under all company rate totals we show how many extra drivers are included, if any. Thanks Ron

  4. Just to let you know, I just rented car for month on Maui from Avia via Discount Hawaii Car Rental & they do NOT include extra driver unless is a spouse. Must pay $13/day extra!! Needless to say, did not add my daughter!

  5. Will you please clarify how you found your “$220″ deal using code “Sold!”? I’m still not clear on where I need to go…National Rent a Car or Island Air? Thanks!

  6. I agree with all your tips. Discount Hawaii Car Rental is almost always the lowest that I find. Costco is when doing mainland rentals. But I must share the steal I got in October. Went to Kona for 18 days at Ironman time. This was ugly d/t Ironman and the extra days above 2 weeks. DHCR held the reservation, but a few days before we left, I ran it by Priceline. I was able to get a compact car for $16/day (+junk fees etc). It was over $100 cheaper than my current reservation. So always re-shop your rates before you leave AND run it by Priceline/hotwire.

  7. I have used Discount Hawaii Car Rental on several visits and have always gotten a good deal. During my recent trip, I booked well in advance…and good thing! Prices almost doubled later!

    I would also suggest taking your reservation and placing it on autoslash.com. This site monitors your reservation continuously and if it finds a lower rate, it immediately notifies you by email. You could also make your initial booking there but I found the initial prices on Discount Hawaii Car Rentals cheaper…though autoslash did alert me to a drop in price later.

  8. I just booked for arriving the day after Thanksgiving, and here are my tips…for a 2 week rental starting the day after thanksgiving it was $1200- at OGG- ridiculous for a compact!….however when I changed the pick up of the car 2 days later (monday), it went down to $400- …(after the holiday weekend.)- saved $800- by waiting 2 days…the cheapest I have found is hotwire…cause you prepay. I think around busy times and holidays hotwire is the way to go as prices just continue to go up, not down. Off season you can check often other sites. Another suggestion is check JHM if your staying on the West side of Maui…hotels will shuttle you there free….compare to OGG prices. I have booked at least 70 cars on Maui- and hotwire is almost always the best deal.

  9. Good tips. My advice is to book early with a place or site that doesn’t require a credit card to reserve the car, and check back frequently using different sites and discount codes you can search for online. For my last trip to Kauai, I re-booked about 6 times as better prices became available and saved almost $200 for just an 8 day rental.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top