Rental cars for graduation and Parents Weekend

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Mikeandcris, Mar 30, 2014.

  1. Mikeandcris

    Mikeandcris Parents of 2014 Grad and F-15 Pilot

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    My annual bit of advice for parents traveling to graduation and/or Parents Weekend. Rental car rates from Denver Int'l Airport are exorbitant if you book early (like 6-4 months ahead.) Prices drop as you get closer to the event. I've been watching rental cars for May's graduation. As of last month, a full size car from DEN from May 23-29 was over $500. Today, Alamo is $254. Enterprise is $270. The same thing happens before Parents Weekend....prices drop around end of July and early August. Happy travels!
     
  2. Alaskan Mom

    Alaskan Mom Member

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    If we wait until end of July, will there still be cars available to rent? Also, I'm planning on flying into Colorado Springs. Does the information you just gave us change in any way?
     
  3. Dad

    Dad Member

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    Check priceline or travelocity for prices from COS. Also, if you're staying near the Academy, flying into DIA might be better (cheaper fare, shorter drive, etc.).
    I have never heard of a lack of rental cars in Denver of Colorado Springs at any time. There will be about 1000 grads. Not all of their families will be renting a car. Should not be a problem. Rental companies plan for this type of thing (they make more $$$). Best wishes!
     
  4. Alaskan Mom

    Alaskan Mom Member

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    Oops! i guess I didn't communicate well. i was referring to parents weekend. Anyone have thoughts about that weekend and rentals? I"m guessing it to be busier than graduation week.
     
  5. ElSib

    ElSib Member

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    I've never seen a problem with anyone being sold out in the four Parent's weekends we've been to (other than maybe a particular size/category). Similar to what Mikeandcris originally posted, for the last couple of years, I made an early (Feb/Mar) reservation at over $400, changed around July to +/- $300 and then finally got the same full size car for @$95.00/week in mid-August.

    Again, like Mikeandcris, I'm just watching prices fall for graduation week.
     
  6. Alaskan Mom

    Alaskan Mom Member

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    This has been so helpful! Where I live in Alaska, there is a finite number of rental cars, so booking early is important. I NEVER would have felt brave enough to wait for mid-August to rent a vehicle because they would be gone. I'm going to restrain myself and wait.

    Thank you for this valuable information.
     
  7. PJ Allen

    PJ Allen Member

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    As ElSib mentioned, if you are concerned about availability, you can always reserve one now to be sure you have one, and look for a better deal closer to Labor day weekend.

    There are many hundreds (probably thousands) of cars at the rental lots at DIA. I lived in Denver for many years and traveled extensively. I've never seen any of the lots even close to empty. You might not get the convertible Mustang, but I don't believe you'll have a problem getting something suitable.
     
  8. nebdad

    nebdad New Member

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    Last year booking through USAA saved us money on parents week. It was less expensive than the websites, etc. Its just another option for those that have that available.
     
  9. the tone

    the tone Member

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    Just an FYI for those new parents...flying into COS is always more that Denver. And if you're renting a car, you can fly into Denver and rent your car there and save lots on airfare compared to flying into the costly COS and having to rent a car anyway. It's an easy drive from Denver to The Springs.
     
  10. Jayceguy

    Jayceguy Jayceguy

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    So you're saying cadets should fly in and out of Denver rather than COS as well? Is it worth it to lose the convenience of COS?

    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  11. skt

    skt Member

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    Flying in to Denver vs Colorado Springs

    You'll want to evaluate both options from your location. We've done both. Denver is generally cheaper for us but not always. Also we generally prefer to fly Southwest when possible due to the ease of last minute changes. And Southwest means Denver.
     
  12. Jayceguy

    Jayceguy Jayceguy

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    Got it. Thanks!

    Sent using the Service Academy Forums® mobile app
     
  13. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    +1 :thumb:

    I make the travel arrangements for DS to come home. We always use Southwest because his travel dates often change. I book ahead and then check back for cheaper fares. Southwest allows me to reschedule, cancel, or just get a lower fare and they credit us back the fare difference which can be used for his travel later. Denver is also a direct from our place so it faster to fly to DEN and then drive the 75 miles to USAFA than to fly with a connection into COS and then drive 30 miles to USAFA.
     
  14. aggie83

    aggie83 Member

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    We used American miles for trips home from COS to DFW while our son was at the Academy. It was nice that AA flies direct from COS to DFW. Also, miles tickets can be changed (and used within a year) if the origination and destination cities don't change. Made it very flexible as to dates and times (if he was able to get to airport earlier then he could get on an earlier flight with no charge).
     
  15. the tone

    the tone Member

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    I agree with most. I fly my cadet out of COS because it's closer and also because I can't count on Colorado weather cooperating for a driver to Denver. With the price of the shuttle, may as well fly COS and not worry about the weather at all. He usually can get a ride back and forth from there. For us, we fly into Denver because we need a car anyways so why not go for the much cheaper flights into Denver. American does fly into COS from DFW and will probably do more with their merger with US Airways, and ours sometimes goes thru DFW. Guess it's all about where you're coming from that makes it a good deal or not.
     
  16. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    +2 for Southwest Airlines. I'm a SWA bigot.:thumb: For AFA students, multiple rescheduling for free has proved to be a lifesaver. Another tip. Parents sign-up for their SWA credit card. A recent and ongoing promo gave 50,000 free miles. That's normally about 3-4 round trips from MN when we do a good job of getting some deals. The annual fee is around $100. But they give you 6,000 miles every year which converts to over $100 in miles.
     
  17. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    Yet another tip. Sign up for 2 SWA cards. As was said, there is an ongoing promo that if you spend $2,000 in the first 3 months you will get 50,000 points toward free tickets. However those points also count toward a Companion Pass. If you get 2 different SWA cards on the same SWA account then you will receive 100,000 points for free tickets as well as counting towards a Companion Pass. Once you earn 110,000 points in a calendar year, you will receive a Companion Pass allowing a designated companion to fly free with you as many times as you wish during the remainder of this year and all of next year. Once you have the Pass feel free to cancel one or both SWA cards at any time.
     
  18. Rocko

    Rocko Member

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    I wonder if the 50,000 points program has ended. I just looked into it and all I can find is the promotion offering 25,000 points.
     
  19. Blackbird

    Blackbird Parent

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    Well, apparently the most recent 50k promo has ended. I would wait. Chase and SWA typically have the 50k promo a couple times a year. I suspect it will be offered again this year.
     
  20. MN-Dad-2016

    MN-Dad-2016 Member

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    I was in the airport yesterday and the folks working the SWA booth were promoting the 50K mile deal. They said they were the only people currently offering it.

    A quick google proved otherwise.:wink: See https://creditcards.chase.com/a1/southwest/offer . Chase is the CC company for SWA and the offer is currently available.

    Even better, ff you have a business and can run though $$'s on your card totaling an additional 50K miles (making it 100K) in one year, then you get a free companion ticket for a year or more. We have done that last year and we saved even more on airfare. As I said, I am a SWA bigot!!
     

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