Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

dollar-rent-a-car-dca-logoI thought I’d share a quick post about my experiences with Dollar Rent-a-Car in Washington DC this past weekend, which were…. not so good 🙂  Some of my experiences may be just due to overall business (the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington was also the same weekend), so I can’t tell if this is a systemic issue at the Dollar Rent-a-Car DCA location or not, but there are still a few things that, if I had known about it sooner, I might have chosen to rent somewhere other than Dollar Rent-a-Car DCA.

Dollar Rent-a-Car DCA location

The biggest problem I had with Dollar Rent-a-Car DCA was its location – unlike most of the other rental car companies at DCA, Dollar Rent-a-Car DCA is off-site.  See the below map for an idea


I did not realize Dollar Rent-a-Car DCA was off-airport, so I walked from Terminal A through the underground walkway over to the rental car terminal (where Avis, Hertz, etc. are), only to find out that Dollar Rent-a-Car DCA was NOT there, so I had to take a shuttle back to Terminal A, and then the Dollar shuttle off-airport over to the actual location.

Once I finally got over to Dollar Rent-a-Car DCA, there was about a 20 minute line to process my application, and then I went outside and waited another 20 minutes or so for a car to be ready.

I had actually signed up for Dollar Express, which in theory is supposed to let you skip the line, though I only signed up the night before and for whatever reason, it takes 1-3 days to process?!?  I’m not sure it would have made a difference anyways, since there weren’t any cars available?

Dollar Rent-a-Car DCA car

I rented a Compact Car, which was what most of us in line had, and there weren’t any Compact cars.  Some were being returned, some were being processed, and there were Dollar Rent-a-Car DCA employees just driving in cars (I don’t know where they were coming from!?).  After my 20 minute wait and I was at the front of the line, a car drove up, the Dollar Rent-a-Car DCA employee checked it over for like 30 seconds and then gave me the keys and said I was all set.

I know I say to never rent a “standard” car, but I was underwhelmed by my Chevy Spark.  It was definitely a “cheap” car, and the one feature I really missed was a CD player.  I had brought along a book on CD to listen to but there was no way to do so.  I know you kids with your fancy iPods and such, but that was definitely a bummer.

Dollar Rent-a-Car DCA cost

One thing I can’t personally complain about was the cost.  I had used Autoslash (my review), one of my Top 10 miles and points tools, and they had found me a deal for only $32 for a 2 day (technically 1.5 day) rental.  While in the aforementioned LOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGG line, I heard that the guy in front of me was renting for the exact same length of time (pick up Friday afternoon, drop off Saturday evening) and was quoted $65 (love the vagaries of rental car pricing!)

This was actually my 2nd time renting a car at DCA, and the experiences could NOT have been more different.  Last time, I rented at Avis (which is on-airport), and because of my Avis Preferred status (which I got for free), I was in and out of the car rental place in about 5 minutes.

(SEE ALSO: Avis changing the car rental price when I add my Wizard number)

This time, even though I landed a few minutes early at about 11:20 a.m., it was nearly 1pm before I was actually on the road

Looking at the 91 reviews on the Google location for Dollar Rent-a-Car DCA (average rating, 1.7 out of 5 stars), I can see that I am not alone!  Next time I’m at DCA, I’ll pay a few bucks extra and go for one of the other chains!


Points With a Crew has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Points With a Crew and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers and that compensation may impact on how and where card products appear on the site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners and I do not include all card companies, or all available card offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers and other offers and benefits listed on this page. Other links on this page may also pay me a commission - as always, thanks for your support if you use them