My First Time Renting from Thrifty Car Rental

Recently, I wrote about making a mistake while booking a rental car through Expedia.  I always book the flexible rates, but I accidentally booked into one of those prepaid rates — which is non-refundable AND non-changeable.

That wasn’t the only mistake I made in my haste.  I searched for a rental location and used ATL, thinking like an airport code.  I didn’t notice that the search defaulted to downtown Atlanta first.  That oversight meant that I’d need to get a ride from the airport to downtown, so I can pick up my rental car for my stay…in downtown.  Since I can’t make any changes, my trip logistics was already off to an unusual start.

Travel Insurance

Because I know there would be a lot of driving, I want to get a primary car rental coverage.  Expedia offers a $10/day rate, which wasn’t cost effective for the number of days I was renting.

I looked into American Express Premium Car Rental Insurance Coverage.  Even after reading the fine print, it was still not abundantly clear if the premium rental coverage would cover car rentals paid through a 3rd party (in this case, Expedia).

Just to be safe, I searched for a travel insurance and found a plan with primary car coverage.  I ended up getting one with a price point around the same as Expedia, but with additional travel protections.  For example, if I need to cancel the trip for a covered reason, insurance would covered 80% of prepaid, non refundable rates ….up to insured amount.  Buying travel insurance is usually an unnecessary sunk cost down the drain for most trips.  With COVID in the backdrop, travel protection made sense.

Thrifty Car Rental Renting Experience

This was my first car rental from Thrifty.  Since I’m not a Thrifty member, I didn’t expect a “fleet of cars” to choose from.  I reserved a vehicle class type of Toyota Corolla, and drove away with a new-ish Nissan Versa.

Before leaving the facility, I noticed a tiny nick at the back of the car.  Normally, you have the chance to flag issues before you leave.  In this case, the stance given was more of a “It’s fine, not a big deal.”  While it might be fine at this location, I also won’t be returning the car there. I took a few pictures just in case.

When it came time to return the vehicle, it was easy as pie. The gas tank wasn’t filled up so that expense was tallied up. The vehicle also wasn’t equipped with any toll transponder either.  I figured Thrifty would just bill me after like other rental companies, which I did couple of weeks later.

All in all, renting from Thrifty is a straight-forward process.

Overall thoughts

Would I rent from Thrifty again?  Sure. The rental car got me to Point A to Point B reliably, so I have no complaints. I’d still want to go through my preferred rental company first, but I wouldn’t turn down on renting from Thrifty if they offer a competitive rate.

I would definitely make one change, though.  I would want book directly through the car rental company, instead of a third party.  Especially on a road trip, I’d prefer to get some primary rental car coverage.


Does anyone have experience on whether car rentals, if paid through a third party, is covered by Amex Premium Car Rental plan?  Did you have a good experience renting from Thrifty?

Source: Travel Gadget Reviews

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