Houston Airport Car Rental: The Best Companies

by Michael Franco  |  Published September 28, 2014

There are ten car rental companies at the George Bush Houston International Airport (IAH). TravelMag.com evaluated them all and chose those that are tops in three different categories.

Bush Intercontinental Airport (Photo: J. Hallet via Flickr)

To get to IAH’s rental car center upon arrival, simply follow the rental car signs to the shuttle buses. The airport has one shuttle bus that takes you to all of the rental car agencies. They are white and maroon and marked “Rental Car Shuttle.” Buses operate 24 hours a day and take about 10 minutes to reach the Consolidated Rental Car Facility.

Comparison Engines: Find the best car rental deals

Although we’ve done most of the homework for you regarding rental cars at George Bush Houston International Airport, it’s always best to do your own comparison shopping to find the best deals. For that, we recommend two reliable, easy-to-use online booking services: CheapCarRental.net and BookingBuddy.com.

The results of our review

To determine which rental car companies offer you the best options across our three categories, TravelMag.com carefully evaluated the services, fleet availability, reviews and polices of the agencies at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. Our findings are as follows.

Most affordable: Hertz


Far and away, Hertz offered the most reasonable prices for a sample week’s booking that we used to compare prices across all of the agencies at this airport. Their economy, compact and intermediate cars all came in cheaper than even the base model cars at the nearest competitors. Furhtermore, it was possible to get a premium car at Hertz, which they indicate as a “Chevrolet Malibu or similar” for less than an economy-class car at Alamo and Firefly. Your second best bet for an affordable car at this airport appears to be Advantage.

Best for business travelers: Hertz


Once again Hertz wins out. In Zagat’s annual rating of car rental companies, Hertz emerged at the top of the list as the best agency for business travelers, so if you’re traveling to Houston for work, consider getting your car from them. Hertz offers their Gold customers the “Carfirmation” service, which confirms reservations through text and emails and alerts travelers to the locations of their cars so that they can skip the check-in counter. It also shows other cars available and lets customers choose the one they want right from their mobile device. Additionally, the company provides “Zap Technology” which is a quick check-in process when the cars are returned. They also offer a service called “Acceler-Rental,” which allows drivers to rent a car from an automated kiosk even if they don’t have a reservation, which again, eliminates the need to stand in a lengthy line at the check-in counter.

Best for luxury cars: Thrifty


It might seem strange that a car rental company called “Thrifty” would lead in the luxury market segment, but based on our research, they provide the most affordable rental cars in this class at the George Bush Houston International Airport. However, it should be noted that they define their luxury car as a “Buick Lacrosse or similar.” If that’s not quite your idea of luxury, then your next best bet is to go with Budget that offers a car they classify as a “Lincoln MKS or similar” for just a little bit more money. If you’re more of a Cadillac person, check out Avis which offers a “Cadillac CTS or similar” in the same price arena.

Getting to the city
Houston airport is located just 23 miles north of downtown, so it’s a relatively close commute that can take as little as a half hour without extensive traffic. To get to the center of Houston, you can take either I45 south or I69 south. I45 will put you in town slightly to the west of I69 so you might want to make your decision based on your final destination in the city.