Start a road trip in Arizona and wind up in Colorado or California -- on the cheap. Spring is the time of year when car rental companies want to move vehicles from winter snowbird states like Arizona and Florida to other areas of the country. Hertz and Avis are offering one-way car rentals starting at a low $17.95 a day.
The deal: Hertz calls the deal Arizona Drive Out and allows drop-offs in California, Nevada, Colorado, Utah or Wyoming at no extra cost. The rental features unlimited mileage for up to two weeks for an economy car at $17.95 a day or a mid-size SUV for $20.95 a day (prices exclude tax and fees). Use the code "DRVAZ" when making a reservation.
Arizona One-Way Savings from Avis also features unlimited mileage and drop-offs in other parts of Arizona, Califiornia and Nevada. A subcompact car starts at $17.95 a day and a minivan or SUV goes for $39.95 a day. Use the code S826700 when making a reservation. Avis also offers a Florida One-Way Deal dropping off in eastern states starting at $19.95 a day for a subcompact car. (Prices exclude tax and fees.)
When: The one-way rental offers are good through May 31.
Tested: I found availability at Hertz from April 14 to 21 for a Kia Rio at the rock-bottom rate. In checking this deal, I opted to pick up the car at a Hertz outlet in Phoenix and drop it off in downtown Los Angeles. Total cost: $152 with tax and fees (without GPS or other options).
I also found a subcompact at Avis for April 15 to 22 picking up at a site in Phoenix and dropping off in downtown L.A. for $112 with tax and fees (without options).
One big caveat: If you pick up or drop off at major airports, you'll get socked with hefty fees. On the Avis deal above, a pick up at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and drop off at Los Angeles International Airport for the same dates incurs an added $102 in tax and fees to the $89 base rental rate.