After reading several equally bad reviews for other rental agencies for this airport I was prepared to be unhappy with Budget car rental. . However in spite of the over crowded Budget bus to the rental lot I was pleasantly surprised. Yes the line was long but half of those in the line were groups and not everyone in the group was renting a car but with someone who was.I waited about 20 minutes and there were 4 agents working and most were smiling and pleasant to the customers. I was not bullied or pressured to buy anything. The agent I dealt with admitted they did have bad reviews when I told her I was apprehensive about renting from them. Without further delay our group of three got into our car and off we went. Car was new and clean and only had 4,000 miles on it. Upon returning the car after a week the agent did a quick walk around inspection and there were no complaints and off we went again. Also the scare of tolls roads is really over blown. I did not use a toll road, there seems to be only one toll road around the outskirts of the city, I did pay a huge toll one time last year while driving a section of the the turn pike in Miami that uses a cash less toll,so I know what a rip off that is. You do not need to use this toll road in Denver to get to the airport in fact I did not even see signs for it. I was not charged an additional fee for anything, even a month later, So all in all I had a pleasant experience. Budget car rental does have several off airport offices, one in the city center... hard to get to and one on Quebec St. but it closes at 2 pm on Saturday. They are several hundred dollars less expensive per week... but through a special deal with Southwest airlines I was able to find the same lower rental fee.
Renting from National is always an easy and pleasant experience. I am an Emerald Club member, so all I had to do was make a reservation, pick a car off of the Emerald Aisle, and show my ID and the car's hangtag before I left. As a member of Emerald Club, you are able to take any car off of the Emerald Aisle as long as you booked a medium sized car, which we did. So we managed to get a 2016 Jeep Latitude with 4 wheel drive instead of the one we reserved, which worked out much better for the snowy drive from Denver to Vail. Because National is an Enterprise company, we were able to drop it off at an Enterprise drop-off location, which was more convenient for us because of where we were staying. This is also made easy - we just had to park the car in the designated location and put the keys in the drop box. That's it! The fact that I consistently have good experiences like this and have my company's contract code (to give me a discount for National) ensure that I will keep renting through National in the future.
Three days into our rental, we noticed a large dent in the front bumper. We had rented the car from the back side, been parking at our hotel so that we walked up from the back, so we did not know how long the dent had been there - possibly even from the beginning. We were in Boulder where parking is crazy and many of the cars wear bumper dents. The return agent at National noticed the dent right away and asked if we had been in a fender bender. I said no and that we had just noticed the dent on day 3 of the 5-day rental. He gave us the benefit of the doubt and accepted that our story might be true [which it is/was]. In contrast, the hotel agent at the Doubletree that morning tried to tell me exactly what "I had done," as if she was there or as if she knew - which she did not. She was so overtrained that her answers were robotic - she could explain away any thing I said or asked - without really listening.