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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
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.
|Credit Card||Benefits & Info|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card|
(at Chase's secure site)
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 03/31/22.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850)
- Annual Fee: $95
Must Reads: For more info on the Chase Sapphire Preferred, see our thoughts on its benefits and travel insurance coverage, which includes primary car rental insurance. Take a look at our full review to see why it’s one of our favorite cards.
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 Cancellation||Cancellation 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.
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 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.
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
Thrifty has some other partners, but the benefits are not specified.
- Orlando Makes Me Smile
- Park N’ Fly Network
- 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+ 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
- Thrifty location guide
- Free calls to roadside assistance
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 Car||Alamo||Budget||Enterprise||National||Sixt||Thrifty|
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.
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.
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