Why Denver Car Rentals Are So Expensive

By Auto Slash – published by rentalcars1.com on Jan 24, 2021

Flying into Denver? Whether you rent a car at the airport or at an off-airport location, you won’t be able to avoid paying the dreaded airport fees on rental cars. Anyone who has flown into Denver International Airport (DEN) within 24 hrs of picking up a rental vehicle is subject to all airport fees, regardless of where you pick up the car.

In Denver, the term “airport customer” is defined very broadly. If you fly into the airport and then rent a car within 20 miles of the airport and within 24 hours of landing, you are considered an airport customer.

No visitor who rents a car in Denver escapes airport fees.


Airport Fees Imposed on Denver Car Rentals

The Customer Facility Charge: This fee is explicitly required by the airport authority and thus is a more traditional tax. Anyone who flies into Denver International Airport and then rents a car within a day of arrival is charged $2.15 per day.

The Concession Recovery Fee:This fee is not mandated by airport authorities, but it ensures the rental car company gets a slice of revenue while putting the airport’s cut in its own bucket.

Denver International Airport is one of the few airports that is transparent in offering online access to its regulations. There’s no reference to an 11.1% Concession Recovery Fee but there is a requirement that the rental car company (whether on-airport or off-airport) provide 10 percent of its gross revenues to the City and County of Denver.

Here’s a quick lesson in rental car math: Let’s assume a rental car company wants to clear $100 for a rental. The rental car company adds a 11.1 percent Concession Recovery Fee. The total charge is $111.10, 10 percent of which goes to the airport. So the airport gets $11.10 and the rental car company clears $100.

“On-airport” rental car companies pay 10 percent of gross revenues to the airport.

But what if you did not fly into Denver International Airport? You might still get stuck paying for the airport-related taxes and fees with Avis, Budget, and Hertz. When we attempted to book at the shared Avis-Budget location at 15055 East Mississippi Avenue in Aurora, Colorado, the Customer Facility Charge and Airport Recovery Fee were automatically added.

Ditto at the Budget location in the Stapleton community at 3901 Quebec Street.

And the same at Hertz’s nearby Stapleton location.

Even if you select the option of “Not Flying” when renting from Avis, Budget, and Hertz, you selection still get the fees added to your bill. This is a money grab.

“Not flying” but stuck paying $23.45 in airport taxes and fees at a neighborhood location.

“Not arriving via airline or train” but still charged $19.10 for airport fees.

Let Us Track Your Car Rental for Price Drops

There is no legitimate reason for rental car companies to impose these charges for passengers not flying. If you are not flying into Denver, be sure to check your invoice and insist on the removal of the fees.


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