Hawaii is not a cheap place to visit, and one of your biggest expenses apart from finding a resort and booking flights is often your car rental. Discount Hawaii Car Rental is an online portal that helps you compare and book the cars offered by major car rental companies like Avis, Enterprise, Budget, Dollar, and more.
Through the deals they have established with these companies, they guarantee you the cheapest rates you can find on these cars when you book on their website. We recently spent a month-long vacation in Hawaii, visiting the Big Island, Kauai, and Oahu.
Although the islands are small compared to the states, not all attractions and beaches are close to each other, so you really do need a car to get around the islands of Hawaii. When we first heard about Discount Hawaii Car Rental, we were initially confused and a bit hesitant about booking with them, but we did it anyway.
In the end, we booked a mystery car on the Big Island, a Nissan Sentra in Kauai, and a minivan in Oahu. This is a complete and honest review of Discount Hawaii Car Rental based on our experience and an explanation of how this company works.
Is Discount Hawaii Car Rental Legit?
The short and long answer is yes. Discount Hawaii Car Rental is a legitimate and popular company that many travelers and even residents use to book cheap car rentals in Hawaii. When you book on their website, they make a direct reservation with the car rental company you choose through them.
You don’t need to pay or provide them with any payment information since that’s all done at the counter for the company you select. After you reserve the chosen car, you get an email confirming everything from the car you choose to the quoted price and dates along with a confirmation number.
For all three of the islands, the price was always matched for us with no issues. Since you don’t need to pay anything upfront, you can cancel the reservation at any time without paying any fees. We had to cancel an initial reservation for the Big Island to change the dates, and the process took less than a minute, with another confirmation email being sent confirming the cancelation.
When I arrived at the counter for Budget on the Big Island, I just provided the customer service agent with my name, and they pulled up the reservation on their system. There was no need to provide the email or confirmation number from Discount Hawaii Car Rental in Kauai or Oahu either.
How Does It Work?
The process for booking a car and reserving is quite straightforward. To book a vehicle with Discount Hawaii Car Rental, go to their website and select the island and airport you’re arriving at. You can book a car with them for 6 Hawaiian islands, including Lanai, Big Island, Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and Molokai.
After choosing the island and airport, choose the dates you need it for and then select the “Find A Car” option. You will be taken to another page with a list of all the cars you can book. For each listing that shows up, it will have the car and the brand next to it, as well as the price. It’s automatically filtered from the cheapest option to the most expensive.
Each listing gives you a good amount of information ranging from how many seats are in the car, any benefits like “Spouse drive for Free” or more additional free drivers and other things. One thing to note that applies to most companies is that you will still need to request that your spouse can drive by adding them to the reservation in person. This doesn’t seem to be automatically added and can only be done in person at the counter.
You will also sometimes come across a mystery car option listing. This basically means that the car you’re given will be decided at the rental counter on the day of your arrival based on what the company has available. This is what we chose for our first vehicle on the Big Island with Budget, and we ended up being given a 2018 Chevy Camaro by Budget. The mystery car was the cheapest option at the time, so we were pretty pleased with what we were given.
You can filter the results on the left-hand side by choosing the brand and type of car from small cars (often the cheapest), standards, convertibles (expensive), and all the way up to Jeeps and Vans.
After you choose the car you want, you fill out your information and simply complete the reservation. It’s that easy.
How To Pick Up Your Rental Car
Picking up a car rental through Hawaii Discount is all based on the car rental company you reserve it with. However, picking it up from an airport in Hawaii might be slightly different than what you’re accustomed to depending on which island you visit.
When picking up at the Kona Airport and Lihue Airport, collect your luggage and head towards the exit. Both airports are open-air, so simply cross the street to go to the shuttle stop. At the shuttle stop, you will routinely see car shuttles from different companies stopping and picking up travelers.
You will want to be on the lookout for a shuttle with your car’s company name. For the Kona Airport, since we booked with Budget through the Discount Hawaii portal, we had to get on the Budget shuttle which took us to their counter. They share the shuttle with Avis, so you might sometimes see two names on them. For our rental car in the Lihue Airport, we booked with Dollar, so we got on the Dollar shuttle, which they share with Thrifty.
A shuttle passes every 5 to 10 minutes, so you don’t need to wait long. Both rides were only a short 3 to 5-minute trip to the corresponding buildings. Once you get to the counter, simply tell them your name, and provide them with your license. No communication needs to be done with Discount Hawaii Car Rental at this point or going forward since you’re now just directly dealing with the companies themselves.
Getting to your car rental in Oahu works the same way, except that the Honolulu Airport is much bigger and more like your average airport back in mainland United States. Chances are you might not even need to take a shuttle, depending on the gate your airplane arrives in. The difference is the car rental companies are inside the airport as opposed to a couple of blocks away like in the other islands.
Returning the cars works the same way, where you can easily drop off the vehicle in their designated space and simply catch the same shuttle back to the airport.
Overall, using Discount Hawaii Car Rental was the best way to find a cheap car rental and made planning our Hawaii vacation much easier and less expensive.