Dollar Rental Vs Thrifty – Which is best?


You have travel plans, and you will require to hire a car. After thorough research, you have zeroed in on two car hire companies: Thrifty and Dollar Rental. The problem is you can’t make your mind on which is the best. That is understandable. Both are among the best car hire brands.

Dollar Rental and Thrifty are sister companies managed under the Hertz corporation. They have plenty of similarities in their mode of operations and the quality of their services. Thrifty Rental has a larger presence nationally and worldwide.

Dollar Rental and Thrifty have remarkable differences in their locations, vehicles, prices, policies, loyalty programs, and more. To help you pick the best option, we have made an in-depth analysis below. But first, you might want to find out what to consider when renting a car.

Hertz car

What Do I Need to Know?

Some things may sound mundane, but they may ruin your car renting experience if not handled correctly.

Insurance.

As you will find later, insurance cover is a standard for most companies. Such coverage protects you from liability against third-party damages. However, you might want to get extra insurance packages. A good example is no excess Collision Damage Waiver.

This will protect you in case of car damage in an accident or broken car parts such as mirrors. Knowing such extra costs are covered gives awesome peace of mind on your journey.

Familiarize yourself with the vehicle

It doesn’t matter how many times before you have driven this car model. Keep in mind to get versed with the specific car you are about to use. Even cars of the same model could have extra functions you might not be aware of. 

Other times some functions may be faulty, and you only discover that when already too far in your trip. Issues with seat belts, air conditioning, side mirrors, wipers, hand brake adjustment can be a source of stress. That is not something you would wish for. Plus, that can save you on unnecessary costs of repairing what you didn’t break. 

Where are you going?

This will help you understand what car you will need or even whether you may need a car at all. Some locations have robust transport systems. You may hire a car only to discover later, the place you travel to is well connected with a wide variety of transport such as affordable taxis and trains. It is in your best interest to get such information to avoid extra car hiring costs.

Types of cars available

Some companies have a wider selection of cars than others. You might want to consider the nature of your trip before you choose a company. If you are planning to travel, as a group, vans or buses may be the best type of vehicle. Find out if the company has these vehicles, their capacity, and their cost.

Booking or renting on the spot

Booking earlier is better than waiting to reserve at the company offices. When you book, you have the choice of picking your favorite car. That may not be the case if you hire at the rental car offices as you may have to pick what is available at the time.

Having dispensed with that guidance, let us look at the services in the two companies.

Comparing Dollar Rental vs. Thrifty

The comparisons at a glance.

ThriftyDollar Rental
Car hiring locations.Over 1000 locations worldwide, including the US and Canada.Over 1500 locations worldwide but excluding Africa, Mid East, and Asia
Type of cars available.Vans, SUVs, Sedan, Luxury vehicles, Buses, Utility vehicles, Specialized commercial vehiclesVans, SUVs,4WD, Elite cars, Utility vehicles
Type of insurance included.CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) & TP (Theft Protection. Both have an Excess.CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) & TP (Theft Protection. Both have an Excess.
Fueling agreement.Prepaid charge or full gas tank within a 10-mile radius of the return facility.Option of a prepaid charge or return the car with a full gas tank 
Can I smoke or carry a pet in the car?Smoking is not allowed in cars. A $400 fine applies in violation.
Yes, but cleaning fees apply in violation of the policy.
All cars are non-smoking zones. $400 charge in violation of the rule. Yes, carrying pets is allowed, but a cleaning fee of $50-$250 applies if the pet soils the car.
Can I drive out of state?Yes, but with conditions. Please check details with the relevant Thrifty offices.Yes, but only within the continental US and Canada.
Do I require a deposit?Yes, but deposits vary with the type of car.Yes, up to $200 for a credit card or $500 for a debit card
What are the car rental requirements? At least 20 years of age in the US and Canada, minimum 18 years old in Newyork and Michigan.Valid Driver’s license/credit card.At least 20 years of age in the US and Canada, minimum 18 years old in Newyork and Michigan.Valid Driver’s license/credit card.
Can I pay in cash?Yes, if with Cash Deposit ID up to 30 days in advance with a non-refundable $15 depositYes, if with Cash Deposit ID up to 30 days in advance with a non-refundable $15 deposit
Will they pick me up?With prior notice, you can arrange for a pick-up to be arranged. Most airports have courtesy phones, upon arrival at an airport.Yes, with pre-arrangement for a disability driver. 
Does it allow reservation cancellation?Yes, with a $50-$100 cancellation fee. Forfeiture of the entire prepaid amount if the reservation is not canceled before pick-up time.Yes, with a $50-$100 penalty.
Can I add an extra driver?Additional qualified drivers are accepted at no extra charge, but they must meet the requirements at the rental counter.Additional qualified drivers are accepted at no extra charge, but they must meet the requirements at the rental counter.

Locations

Car rental lot

With 560 locations Dollar Rental has less presence worldwide than Thrify’s 1000 offices and franchise locations. 260 of Dollar’s locations are within the US. Thrifty has more concentration within the US.

Pricing

Both companies have fairly good deals for their customers. For example, Dollar rental has a suite of competitive discounts for its customers. You can receive offers of up to 10% for the first online sign-up. Also, they can reduce the rates by up to 20% if you opt to prepay within 24 hours before pick time. 

Thrifty doesn’t offer such discounts yet. But you will get a  price match guarantee deal from them. That means, should you find a better offer from their competitors, they promise to lower that rate by 10%. If you sign up with your email address you will receive a 15% reduction on your next rental. 

Loyalty Programs

Both companies have superb loyalty programs for their customers. Dollar Rental offers their Dollar Express Rewards. As a member, you earn 1 point for every dollar spent. You can redeem these for free on any compact or midsize car.

Other benefits include quicker reservations, free additional authorized drivers, and skipping the counter. Registration in the program is free. Requirements are personal records, valid driver’s license, and credit card data. 

Thrifty also has theirs, which they have branded the Blue Chip Rewards and Benefits. It is almost similar to that of Dollar Car Rental. However, Thrifty touts itself as having more wide connections with airlines and hotels that their customers can benefit from. Such partners include Alaska Airlines and Southwest Rapids. Here you can win miles and points, respectively. 

Insurance

We didn’t find much difference in insurance coverage policies in either of the car rental companies. You can expect standard covers such as third parties, vehicle theft, and damage policies.  However, they can make arrangements for extra policy packages if you need them. 

Such packages include the following.

  • Loss and damage waiver. It excuses you from liability in case the rental car is stolen or damaged.
  • Personal accident cover. It covers medical costs in case of accidents for you and your passengers.
  • Personal belongings cover. Compensate for your stolen belongings from your rental car.

Rental Requirements

Car rental requirements don’t change much with both companies. For example, with Dollar Rental, you must be at least 20 years or older to hire their cars in most US states and Canada. That is except for New York and Michigan that have set the minimum age at 18 years. 

A driver’s license and a credit card in your name are a requirement. All licenses must be in English or accompanied by translation at the time of presentation. As an alternative, you can present an international driving license. 

Reservation Cancellations and Changes

You can cancel reservations with both companies. However, there is a slight difference in how both companies approach the process. For Dollar rental, you will be charged $50 if you cancel the reservation more than 24 hours before pick up. That amount goes up to $100 if the cancellation is made within 24 hours before pick up. 

Thrifty has a reservation cancellation policy on the duration and the fees charged. Also, keep in mind that you will lose the entire prepaid amount if you don’t pick the vehicle or cancel the reservation before pick-up time. Luckily, both companies have made it easy to do it online. That is a super-effective time and money saver.

Verdict

As you have correctly realized, the two-car rental companies share a lot of similarities in this comparison. That explains why the evaluation produces almost the same outcome. That would be expected in companies that are subsidiaries of another bigger company. Both companies were acquired by Hertz in 2010.

Most important is that they both offer excellent car rental services. But we recommend Thrifty Rental for its wider presence nationally and worldwide.

You may also find the following post useful:

National Car rental vs Enterprise

Avis vs Budget

Car rental – What you should and should not do

Why are Hertz cars so cheap?

Enterprise vs Budget

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. I've been a mechanic for over twenty-five years, and I've worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Landrover, and Jaguar dealerships. My passion is cars. I use my knowledge and experience to write articles that help fellow gear-heads with all aspects of car ownership, including buying advice, maintenance, and troubleshooting.

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