Alamo at PHX: Useful info & trip report

 
Old Jul 8, 06, 12:26 pm
  #1  
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Alamo at PHX: Useful info & trip report

My family and I rented a car for the extended July 4th weekend from Alamo in PHX for our drive to the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley. Here are a few interesting details about the Alamo location in PHX:

1. The location is in the consolidated car rental center, so the shuttle ride is the same for all car rental companies. Busses are frequent and the drivers were very kind and helpful.

2. When we arrived at 10:45pm, Alamo was the only car rental company with a line. Our wait was about 10min. To their credit, they did have 3-4 agents working (compared to 1-2 for other companies), but it was pretty evident that Alamo had a large chunk of the business there (presumably due to the lower rates).

3. Process: The location has implemented a new rental process, whereby you can pick-up any car from a row for your assigned car class. What is notable, however, is that there is no "economy" row, hence you get to pick from the compact cars. Also, some of the supposedly 'midsize' cars can be found in the compact row, so feel free to book economy if you don't need a really large car.

4. Cars: According to their sheet, here is what cars the location has in each category:
ECON- Chevy Aveo (saw 1 in "compact" row)
COMPACT- Chevy Cobalt (multiple in "compact" row) and Saturn Ion (none to be seen)
INTERM- Pontiac G6 (none to be seen), Toyota Corolla (saw 1 in "compact" row and snatched it up) and Nissan Sentra (several in both "compact" and "intermediate" rows)
FULL-SIZE(did not look at that row)- Altima, Camry, Grand Prix, Taurus (several seen in "intermediate" row) and Ford Fusion (a few seen in "intermediate" row)

5. Cars seen in each row:
ECON/COMPACT- 1 Chevy Aveo, many Chevy Cobalts, a few Nissan Sentras, 1 Corolla
INTERM- several Ford Taurus, a few Ford Fusion, many Nissan Sentras

6. We were not pressured into buying pre-paid fuel or additional insurance - it was offered, of course, but not pressured.

7. The return was quick and easy. Ride from the car rental center to the airport takes about 15min. Make sure you get on the bus to the right terminal, as there are different busses to each terminal.

Overall, I was very satisfied with my car rental experience. I could have done online check-in to bypass the counter, however with flight delays, etc I am a little reluctant to do it.

We did the right thing by renting the Corolla We may have sacrificed some room and amenities, possibly available on the Ford Fusion, however we saved a bunch on fuel! The Corolla was very economical and did fine climbing the 7000ft elev. change to Flagstaff - it was also very quiet and stable doing 80+mph on the way back down to PHX.
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Old Jul 10, 06, 10:57 am
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I rented from Alamo @ PHX several times this spring. I also noticed that the Alamo line there was often the longest, but I always used the online check-in, so I completely bypassed that.

I usually chose mid-size, since for my midweek rentals, the rate was only $1/day more than the compacts. And besides lots of G6's, there were usually some "interesting" vehicles to choose from in the midsize aisle, including Ford Mustangs, PT Cruisers, and some pickup trucks too.
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Old Jul 12, 06, 7:05 pm
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This sounds exactly the same as the Alamo setup in Denver, where I've been a few times recently. Had the same experience - there is no economy row, so economy reservations pick from "compact".

LAX was slightly different - there were 2 economy spots on the lot of several hundred cars, and both were empty, so I got the same result ^

Originally Posted by BackOfTheBus
there is no "economy" row, hence you get to pick from the compact cars. Also, some of the supposedly 'midsize' cars can be found in the compact row, so feel free to book economy if you don't need a really large car.

ECON- Chevy Aveo (saw 1 in "compact" row)
COMPACT- Chevy Cobalt (multiple in "compact" row) and Saturn Ion (none to be seen)
I was lucky enough to score the Ion both times in Denver. Really nice small car & got great gas mileage (35+ MPG!!)
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Old Jul 21, 06, 10:16 pm
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the taxes in PHX are horrible

any way to rent off airport for cheaper ?
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Old Jul 23, 06, 7:57 pm
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Thanks for the info! I hadn't even considered Alamo for our rental in PHX (we are also spending some time at the Grand Canyon during our stay in Sedona). However, using the Costco discounts....I was able to save over $100 compared to the reservation I had with National (Emerald Aisle). From your post, it sounds like the choice offered at PHX w/ Alamo is similar to EA. We booked an intermediate...since traveling with a family of 5.

I agree...the fees/taxes at PHX are excessive! Our 8 day rental w/ discounts came to about $85....but the extra $70 in fees drove it up to $155. Still a better deal than anything else, tho.

Thanks again!

DEB
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Old Jul 24, 06, 3:34 am
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Just wanted to chime in that I've been happy with Alamo in PHX, too. Although each time I rent midsize, I've had options for lots of other-class cars in the midsize section... from memory, I've seen the following (and rented quite a few of them): Altima (my current fave of the lot), Camry, HHR, F-150, Mustang, Fusion, Taurus, Corolla, Sentra, Grand Prix.

Also agree that the PHX taxes are horrendous, especially compared to LAX, which only charged regular ol' sales tax.

One time an agent was a little pushy, trying to get me to sign up for insurance and to upgrade to full-size (after I'd already seen what they put out at midsize for weeks), and another time the computers were down so things were reeeallly slow both at the desk and exiting the rental center (despite having twice the normal staff), but overall very satisfied with Alamo ^
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Old Jul 24, 06, 3:48 am
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You can always rent off airport to avoid the fees.

The taxes are bad everywhere, east coast is the worst in my opinion. However, I haven't rented at the new location yet, and they did just spend tens of millions on the new rental car facilities, so I'm sure they're trying to make their money on as quick as possible.

For Hertz, I try to rent off airport at a HLE location. I rented one going to Tucson a few weeks ago, and with a Hertz coupon, paid $22 all in for two weekend days. Booked a compact, got a premium of some sort.
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Old Jul 31, 06, 7:35 pm
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Originally Posted by Jaimito Cartero
The taxes are bad everywhere, east coast is the worst in my opinion. However, I haven't rented at the new location yet, and they did just spend tens of millions on the new rental car facilities, so I'm sure they're trying to make their money on as quick as possible.

For Hertz, I try to rent off airport at a HLE location. I rented one going to Tucson a few weeks ago, and with a Hertz coupon, paid $22 all in for two weekend days. Booked a compact, got a premium of some sort.
PHX taxes are some of the worst. The only mitigating factor is that the base rates are often relatively low compared to some of the other airports.
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