Thrifty Review

Thrifty's streamlined approach to car rental and excellent loyalty rewards make them a good choice for frequent travelers. However, they don't have rental locations in all 50 states.

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The Good

Several ways to save time

Thrifty offers a number of Timesaver® tools designed to speed up the process of checking in, getting your rental car, and getting on the road. You can save yourself a long wait in line by checking in online before you arrive. Just enter in your name and confirmation number on the website and follow the steps. Then, you can head straight to your rental car when you get there. Another easy way to save time is by prepaying for your fuel, so you don’t have to stop on your way back to the rental car facility to fill up the tank. If you’re driving through an area with several tolls, it might also be worth it to invest in PlatePass®. This service enables you to use the toll’s express lanes rather than waiting in line to pay each one.

Wide selection of vehicles

Thrifty offers everything from compact cars and minivans to luxury cars and SUVs. The available models vary from location to location, but with so many vehicles to choose from you shouldn’t have much trouble finding one that has what you’re looking for. Even pickup trucks are an option in a few locations. In addition, Thrifty car rental is one of the few companies that also rents moving vans, so they’re one to consider if you need a way to haul large quantities of items.

Wild Card program

If you’re feeling a little adventurous, you may want to check out Thrifty’s Wild Card program, where you let Thrifty pick your car for you. All you have to do is book your reservation, pay the rate for a compact car, and show up. Worst-case scenario, you get what you pay for and end up with a compact car that can hold five people and two pieces of luggage. Best-case scenario, you end up with even more than you paid for. You could get a mid-size car, an SUV, or something else. You won’t know until you get there, but you pay the same low rate no matter what Thrifty rental car you end up with.

Generous loyalty rewards

Thrifty’s Blue Chip loyalty program is free to join and helps you earn some free rental days. In order to sign up, go to the company’s website and fill out the registration form with all the necessary details. By putting in your payment information and rental preferences, you save yourself quite a bit of time when booking and checking in. All of your preferences are automatically stored so you don’t need to enter them again the next time you rent a car. Also, Blue Chip members also get to bypass the long lines at check-in and head straight for the counter. Frequent renters are sure to appreciate Blue Chip’s rewards program. With this, you earn a free day after every 16 days you rent a car from Thrifty.

The Bad

Not available in all states

While Thrifty has several locations in airports and major cities throughout the country, people traveling around North Dakota and West Virginia won’t be able to find any Thrifty rental car facilities in their area at all. If you’re looking to purchase a rental car in one of these states, explore some different options like Hertz, which has thousands of car rental facilities in all 50 states and internationally.

Returning early will cost you

Like the majority of the car rental industry, Thrifty charges you for returning your vehicle late but, unlike the rest of the industry, dropping the rental car off early results in a penalty from Thrifty as well. This is something to keep in mind when selecting a car rental company. If you think there’s a chance you may not need the car for the entire duration of your reservation, it may be smarter to select a company who isn’t going to charge you for bringing your car back early. Otherwise, you’re looking at a $25 fee.

No pickup service

Thrifty won’t drive to your location and bring you back to the rental car facility, which means you need to arrange your own form of transportation if you’re not nearby. There are several companies that do offer pickup as a complimentary service to their customers. In the majority of cases, though, this shouldn’t be a problem because so many Thrifty locations are based in airports where you can walk or take a shuttle to the check-in counter.

The Details

General Info

  • Age Requirement: 21 (18 in NY and MI)
  • States Available: 48


  • Additional Driver Fee: $11/day
  • Early Return Fee: $25
  • Late Return Fee: 15.99/day ($79.95 max)
  • No Show Fee: None
  • Underage Driver Fee: $25/day

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