The Ultimate Guide to Thrifty Car Rental [Blue Chip Rewards Loyalty Program]

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Thrifty has been around since 1958. Today, it operates over 1,000 locations throughout the world in over 70 countries and territories.

Along with its parent company, Hertz, and sister company, Dollar, Thrifty is part of one of the largest car rental companies in the world, with over 4,000 locations worldwide combined.

We’ll go over how to rent a car with Thrifty and we’ll explore the Blue Chip Rewards loyalty program. Plus, we’ll do some price comparisons to see if you can save money renting with Thrifty.

How to Rent a Car Through Thrifty

Renting a car through Thrifty only requires a few simple steps.

  1. Enter your pick-up location as well as pick-up and drop-off dates in the search box on the home page of the Thrifty website. You can also add a different drop-off location, type of car, and any loyalty or discount codes here.

    How to rent a car through Thrifty
    Image Credit: Thrifty
  2. Next, you’ll see a list of search results. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to filter or sort the list. You’ll see 2 prices — one that’s a Pay Now price and one that’s a Pay Later price. The Pay Now price will be cheaper but it usually comes with cancellation fees.

    Thrifty car rental search results
    Image Credit: Thrifty
  3. After you select your car, you’ll be able to add extras like insurance, prepaid fuel, car seats, or tolls. Use the Click Here to Display More button to see all of your options.

    Renting a car with Thrifty add ons
    Image Credit: Thrifty
  4. Next, you’ll fill in your payment information. This is also where you can select a loyalty program to designate what type of points you want to earn — either Blue Chip Rewards, hotel points, or airline miles (scroll down for more information).

    How to choose a loyaltry program when renting a car with Thrify
    When renting a car through Thrifty, you can choose what type of points you want to earn. Image Credit: Thrifty

Do You Need to Add Extra Insurance?

Whether or not you need to add insurance offered by a car rental company largely depends on what credit cards you have in your wallet.

Many credit cards these days come with CDWs, or Collision Damage Waivers. And some coverage, like the kind that comes with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card, is primary rental insurance which means you don’t have to make a claim with your other insurance first.

For more options, check out the best credit cards for car rental insurance.

Pay Now vs. Pay Later

When you’re looking at your search results, you’ll notice that each car has 2 prices — a Pay Now price and a Pay Later price.

The Pay Now price will always be cheaper. However, it comes with a stricter cancellation policy. If you need to cancel a Pay Now rental, you’ll most likely have to pay a fee.

Time of CancellationCancellation Fee
Same calendar day as booking$0
More than 24 hours before the scheduled pickup$50
Less than 24 hours before the scheduled pickup$100

Thrifty Wild Card

When you’re searching for a rental through Thrifty and are looking for the cheapest option available, look for Wild Card rates.

These types of rates are opaque bookings that means that you won’t know the specific type of car until after your booking is complete. So while you won’t be able to select the exact car type you want, these types of bookings can often save money.

Thrifty Wild Card rates equal the rate you’d pay for a compact car. You’ll either receive a compact car or a free upgrade, but you won’t know until you pick up your car at the lot.

Thrifty Specialty Pricing Opaque Booking
Thrifty Specialty Rates are opaque bookings that can save you money. Image Credit: Thrifty

Blue Chip Rewards

Blue Chip Rewards is Thrifty’s loyalty program. This program is free and as a member, you’ll enjoy benefits and perks when renting from Thrifty.

  • Skip the counter and go directly to the lot at pick-up
  • Add your spouse or domestic partner as an additional driver for free
  • Earn free rental days
  • Priority counter service
  • Drop your keys and go with E-Return

The Blue Chip Rewards program is a little different than other car rental loyalty programs because there aren’t any elite tiers of membership.

Each member earns 10% off the base rate on all rentals, regardless of the rental price.

Bottom Line: Blue Chip Rewards is Thrifty’s loyalty program. This program is free to join and allows you to earn 10% off all bookings. 

Thrifty Partners

Thrifty has select airline, hotel, and specialty partners. Most of these offer a specific number of bonus points for a car rental, plus you’ll sometimes find bonus deals to earn even more.

Thrifty Airline Partners

Bonus miles are awarded on qualifying rentals at participating locations.

When you choose to earn miles with select airlines, you’ll be charged a daily fee by Thrifty.

  • $0.75 per day: Frontier, Spirit, United
  • $0.95 per day: Alaska Airlines
  • $1.50 per day ($8 maximum): Southwest

Thrifty Hotel Partners

Thrifty has 1 hotel partner — IHG. You’ll earn 125 IGH Rewards Club Points for each qualifying rental day.

AAA Partnership

Thrifty AAA discount
As a AAA member, you’ll receive discounts and perks when you rent a car with Thrifty. Image Credit: Thrifty

Thrifty is a partner with AAA. As an AAA member, you’re eligible for discounts and perks when you use your AAA Club Discount Code in the CDP# field when scheduling your rental.

You’ll also need to show your AAA membership card at the rental counter.

Thrifty Benefits for AAA Members:

  • 8% discount off the base rate of Pay Later base rates at select locations in the U.S. and Canada
  • No charge for an additional driver who is also an AAA member
  • Free use of a child safety seat with advance reservations, subject to availability
  • 10% discount on GPS rental

Specialty Partners

Thrifty has some other partners, but the benefits are not specified.

  • Orlando Makes Me Smile
  • Park N’ Fly Network
  • PlatePass
  • Veterans Advantage

Bottom Line: Thrifty has multiple airline, hotel, and specialty partners. You can choose to earn hotel points or airline miles in lieu of Blue Chip Rewards when you rent a car with Thrifty.

Thrifty Connect+

Thrifty Connect Plus
Thrifty Connect+ is a mobile device that offers travel benefits. Image Credit: Thrifty

Thrifty Connect+ is a mobile device that you can rent along with your car at select U.S. locations. This device is available in 11 languages and comes with travel benefits including:

  • Unlimited Wi-Fi
  • Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 5 devices
  • Free calls worldwide
  • GPS navigation (online and offline)
  • Tickets and discounts
  • City guides
  • Language translator
  • Currency converter
  • Games
  • Thrifty location guide
  • Free calls to roadside assistance

Price Comparisons

Let’s see how Thrifty prices compare to other popular car rental agencies like Alamo, Budget, Enterprise, National, and Sixt.

For this comparison, we priced out a few different types of cars at popular car rental agencies. Here’s what we found.

Type of CarAlamoBudgetEnterpriseNationalSixtThrifty
Cheapest available$387.98$350.30$382.59$590.22$279.50$401.92
Standard SUV$466.82$501.89$487.64$726.94$282.76$428.23

Prices are for a full week rental and include all taxes and fees.

In both of these examples, Thrifty was in the middle of the pack. Sixt offered the lowest price by far and National had the highest prices.

Final Thoughts

There are many car rental companies out there and it can be hard to know which one to choose. While Thrifty may not always have the lowest prices, it’s a widely recognized brand with over 1,000 locations throughout the world.

Plus, with the Blue Chip Rewards program, you’ll earn points that can be redeemed for free rental days.

Before you rent a car, it’s always a good idea to check prices on a few different websites to make sure you’re getting the best deal.


Frequently asked questions

Does Hertz own Thrifty Car Rental?

Yes, both Thrifty and Dollar are subsidiaries of the Hertz Corporation.

Does Thrifty give AAA discounts?

Yes, AAA members are eligible for discounts and perks with Thrifty. As a member, you’ll receive an 8% discount of your car rental base rate, a free additional driver (who is also an AAA member), free use of a child safety seat, and a 10% discount on a GPS rental.

How many Thrifty car rental locations are there?

Thrifty has over 1,000 locations throughout the world including over 300 locations in the U.S.

Katie Seemann

About Katie Seemann

Katie is an Ohio native who caught the travel bug after spending a semester in college in Nottingham, England. In addition to exploring England, she visited Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands during that time and loved every minute of it (everything except the hostel in Scotland – that’s an experience she doesn’t intend on repeating!) In 2015, Katie discovered the world of points and miles, and since then she’s earned countless points and has an embarrassingly large number of credit cards in her wallet (which she needs a spreadsheet to keep track of!)

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