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jan 05

Since when did $67 a day for a car rental become a deal?

Lately, a lot of the car rental specials don't seem all that special.

A limited-time offer from Thrifty, for example, lets you rent an SUV in Florida for $66.99 a day, and even that pricey rate has a bunch of restrictions: The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend is blacked out, for one thing.

The "Hot Deals" at Alamo, meanwhile, include last-minute specials (available only through the end of January) such as $55 a day for an economy car at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, though you'd save significantly by renting for the week (from $145) or on the weekend (from $30 daily).

One special from Dollar offers a minivan for $51.99 a day in January.

Travelers don't need to have good memories to recall the days when such rates were of the standard, non-discounted, not-special-at-all variety. These unimpressive promotions prove that not all deals are created alike. They're also the latest signs that car rental rates, which according to industry expert Abrams Consulting Group have more than doubled in the past year, aren't coming down anytime soon.

Are there alternatives to the usual rental picked up at the airport? Yes, though every option has some drawbacks. Check out our recent story "Wheel Deals," which details the pros and cons of using car-sharing services, Rent-A-Wreck, and more.

How do you feel about rental car rates, which have doubled in the past year? Do you have any tips and tricks for getting a good deal?

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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