New York City

JFK Airport Car Rental – The best companies

by Mark Rebindaine  |  Updated May 23, 2022

Named after the great John F Kennedy, New York’s largest airport still manages to have an impact on passengers despite it’s urgent need for a complete make-over (scheduled for 2022).

JFK International Airport (Photo: Kai Brinker via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0)

La Guardia may have the better views, but flying into John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) is still a special moment. Maybe it’s because of JFK airport’s long and illustrious history, or perhaps it’s just the name, but either way, it’s hard not to be impressed. JFK is the 22nd busiest airport in the world, the 6th busiest in the United States, and the main international gateway into North America.

At JFK. airport, you’ll find car rental counters on the arrivals level of each terminal building. To collect a car, you’ll firstly need to take the free AirTrain to the Federal Circle Station before boarding one of the car rental shuttles. Most of the rental depots are within a few miles of the airport, but between the shuttles and the infamous New York traffic, it’s likely to take at least half an hour to get yourself off and away in your chosen car.

To determine which rental car companies offer the best options across our three categories (Most Affordable, Best for Luxury, Best for Minivans) carefully conducted research on all of the agencies at JFK airport. Our findings are as follows:

Most affordable: Hertz

On our sample dates, Hertz was offering the best budget, compact and full-sized rental cars, with Alamo a close second. In a city as expensive as New York, a lot of people opt for Thrifty’s ‘Wild Car’, although, as the name suggests, the car you end up with will be determined by availability at the time of pick-up. In its cheap car rentals, Hertz has a Hyundai Veloster and a Nissan Versa, which were both being leased out at a reasonable $120 per day on our sample dates (mid-Summer). Hertz gets slightly better reviews than Thrifty, scoring 8.8 out of 10 from customer feedback.

It’s worth noting that all rental car companies listed at are trustworthy, so its quite safe to just pick the lowest rental for your dates. However, we would recommend that you stick with a company that is located at the airport terminal of JFK Airport.

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Best for luxury cars: Sixt

Often thought of as one of the best premium car rental companies in the world, German-owned Sixt, offers up a whole range of premium and luxury cars at JFK airport. At the lower end of the price range, Sixt has cars like the Toyota Camry and the Toyota Rav 4 while at the higher end they have the 7-seater, Mercedes-Benz GLS and Chevrolet Suburban. As previously mentioned, Sixt isn’t the cheapest rental car company in the market but if money isn’t issue, it scores extremely well in two of the most important aspects of car rental: namely, drop-off time and overall state of the car.

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Best for Minivans: National

On the whole, groups renting a minivan look for spacious, comfortable and fuel-efficient vehicles at the cheapest prices. At most American airports, Thrifty and Dollar’s Nissan Quest are the cheapest minivans, however, for something a little larger, the Dodge Grand Caravan offers more hip, leg and shoulder room than the Quest. Moreover, it has better ergonomics and more car boot space. Small details perhaps, but on a long trip to the Hamptons, that extra space can really count. On the dates we selected, National and Alamo (part of the group, as well as Enterprise) consistently had slightly cheaper car rental rates and both scored better on customer reviews than either Thrifty or Dollar.

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