Frequently asked questions
Yes, you will be charged for each hour or part of an hour in excess of the time you were required to return the vehicle. A Return Change Fee of $20 will apply if you return 24 hours or more prior to your reserved return date and time. If you return 24 hours or more after your scheduled return date and time, a Return Change Fee of $12.99 per day will apply ($64.95 max.), in addition to any other rental charges.
The rates are based on a 24 hour rental day starting with the hour you pick up the vehicle.
Base rate is the total cost of rental not including the taxes, fees, surcharges, mandatory coverages, mileage (if applicable) and optional items (child seats, navigational systems, additional driver, coverages, etc.).
The renter must be at least 21 years of age, though there are a few areas in which those under 21 have the opportunity to rent. Renters under the age of 25 will be subject to a daily surcharge. Thrifty Car Rental will rent to government renters under the age of 21 who are on official business. Outside the U.S., Thrifty Car Rental operators impose a maximum rental age that varies by country. Thrifty Car Rental recommends that renters check with their travel agent or car rental company prior to traveling.
Thrifty guarantees that you will get our best rate online. You can book directly from our home page, or browse through our deals
to see special offers. See our Best Rate Guarantee
to learn more.
While it may cost less to rent a smaller car, be sure to rent a car adequate for your space and luggage requirements.See our listing of Thrifty vehicles to find the best vehicle for your needs. Your passengers will thank you for it!
Keep in mind, just like airlines, availability at promotional rates may be limited, so the sooner you call, the better your chances of receiving one of these rates.
Effective January 1, 2011, Thrifty features a non-smoking fleet at all corporate stores and participating licensees nationwide. Vehicles that indicate previous smoking activity should be brought to the attention of the rental location immediately.
- Why is Thrifty establishing a non-smoking policy?
Tobacco smoke permeates the interior of a vehicle and leaves behind an objectionable and sometimes irritating odor. The purpose behind this change in fleet vehicle policy is to make certain that the comfort of all our customers is taken into account. We want every aspect of the rental process to be pleasant for you.
- How does Thrifty inspect vehicles for evidence of smoking?
Agents inspect the vehicles upon return for a number of items, including looking for evidence of smoking activity such as: smoke, ashes, cigarette or cigar butts, burns, etc. We will make an assessment and charge a cleaning fee if we find physical evidence or the presence of tobacco odor.
- When and how will Thrifty alert customers of a smoking policy violation?
In most circumstances, the return agent will inspect the vehicle and notify the customer at the conclusion of the return process. If we find any evidence of smoking, we will inform the customer of our discovery and of any cleaning fee assessments up to $250.00. We may not charge until after we clean the vehicle so we can charge the appropriate cost to return the vehicle to smoke free status for the next customer.
If a customer leaves before an agent is able to inspect the vehicle, returns the vehicle after hours, or the agent cannot conduct a thorough inspection at the time of vehicle return, we will notify the customer of any cleaning-related fees charged to their credit card via mail.
- What steps can I take to make certain I am not charged a cleaning fee?
The easiest way to prevent a smoking-related cleaning fee is to avoid smoking while in the vehicle. The customer should thoroughly inspect the vehicle both upon renting and returning the vehicle and inform an agent of any questions or concerns before leaving the rental facility.
The best policy is to know the answer before you leave home. Check with your insurance representatives or credit card company to see if your auto policy or credit card agreement covers any damage done to the rental vehicle, damage or injury to other people caused by you, injuries to passengers in your rental vehicle, and theft of personal belongings left in your rental car. Once you know these answers, you can make an informed decision about the options at the time of rental. The options you may choose from are:
Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) - If you accept LDW at the beginning of the rental (for an additional daily fee), your responsibility for loss of or damage to the vehicle is waived in full or in part (depending on the LDW plan accepted), provided the rental agreement is not violated. If declined, you will be fully responsible for all loss or damage to the vehicle, regardless of fault. Your personal automobile policy and some credit cards may provide coverage for these losses. LDW is not insurance or an insurance product.Some locations outside the U.S. require renters to purchase Theft coverage.
Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI) - This optional coverage is available at many Thrifty locations. If available and accepted at the beginning of the rental, for an additional daily charge, the renter and any additional renter will be protected against third party auto liability at-fault claims for up to $1,000,000 if you are involved in an accident with other people. Unlike LDW, there are no credit card waivers for liability for a third party's injury or property damage. You should make sure you are adequately covered for claims by third parties either by your own personal or business automobile policy or by the car rental company.
Personal Passenger Protection (PPP) and Personal Effects Insurance (PEI) - PPP is optional coverage available at most Thrifty offices and covers accidental death and accidental medical expenses for the renter who signs electing to be covered under the policy. PEI is an optional coverage that will protect the personal effects of the renter while in the rental car. Both coverages have specific limits. Full details can be found at the rental counter. Check with your insurance agent regarding your own insurance policies on accidental death or medical expenses, or refer to your homeowner's policy regarding theft of your property.
Protection Plus (PP) - In Canada, where available, if you purchase PP, it will provide limited benefits to the authorized driver and passengers of the vehicle during the rental for accidental medical expenses, ambulance expenses and accidental death, repatriation, legal defense, emergency road service and mechanical breakdown towing benefits, and loss to personal belongings if certain conditions are met.
If the car is stolen or has been involved in an accident, first call the local police or appropriate law enforcement agency. Next, call the nearest office of the rental car company, give them your rental agreement or confirmation number and explain what has happened. If it's after hours, Thrifty customers always can call toll free to 1-800-THRIFTY (1-800-847-4389). You'll be led through the procedure to get you going again. Finally, call your own auto insurance company with information on the incident. Be sure to check with the rental company on their breakdown policy before you drive away.
Accidents and vehicle theft aren't something we like to think about, especially on a trip, but they can happen even to the most careful driver. Optional waivers (as outlined above) can be purchased to reduce or eliminate your financial exposure which could include the full value of the vehicle and lost rental revenue during its replacement period.
Be careful not to violate your car rental agreement by driving while intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance, allowing an unauthorized personal to drive the vehicle, leaving the windows, doors or trunk unlocked, or leaving the keys in the ignition when parked. If the agreement if violated, it makes the waiver void. Be sure to familiarize yourself with all of the terms and conditions of the rental agreement.
Remember that, as the renter, you are liable for all parking and moving traffic violations, both domestic and international, so please drive safely and observe all ordinances.
In the U.S., before we will rent a vehicle to you and when you arrive at our location, you and any additional authorized drivers may be subject to a driving record and license check with the DMV. In the rare instance the driving record and license check fails to meet our criteria, we reserve the right to deny the rental based on the DMV report. A list of our criteria can be found in our General Policies
Additional charges to your daily rental rate may include company imposed surcharges or city and state imposed taxes that are in addition to sales tax. Increasingly, city and state governments are taxing car rental customers so they can pay for sports stadiums in their cities without having to tax local residents for the money. The number of people you anticipate driving the car can also impact your cost. Only authorized drivers are allowed to drive the car. At most Thrifty locations, there is an additional daily charge for additional authorized drivers including spouses. If you are under the age of 25 you may also be charged an underage driver fee in addition to the rate that will increase your cost as well.
When the renter chooses to receive frequent flyer miles or credits, a frequent flyer surcharge will be collected at the time of rental to offset a portion of Thrifty's annual cost of participation in these frequent flyer
programs. The surcharge varies per airline.
The decision is yours. All states and several countries require children under a certain age to be secured in child seats. You can save time at check-in by placing a request for your child seat when you make an advance reservation. A few new vehicles, like the Chrysler minivan available through Thrifty, have child seats built in. You should know that we cannot guarantee the availability of child seats, so please make your decision accordingly.
No, Thrifty does not accept the small credit cards issued by credit card companies that fit on a key ring. If you should present a key ring credit card at the time of rental, the rental location may ask you to present the standard size credit card or another form of payment.
As a general rule, a major credit card is required at the time of rental. However, when renting from many US locations, you may be allowed to use a debit or check card to rent. Debit cards may not be accepted in Canada except for payment at the end of rent. Some locations will perform a debit card check and credit inquiry screening on debit card holders. Please check our General Policies and the local policy of the location where you intend to rent for more specific information. A debit/check card is considered to be any non-credit card bearing the Visa or MasterCard logo. Any other non-credit card without the Visa or MasterCard logo is not accepted. Prepaid credit cards, gift cards and debit/check cards are accepted for payment at the end of the rental.
When making reservations, check on policies regarding crossing foreign borders in a rental car. Find out if your insurance company either limits the coverage amount or refuses coverage on international rentals. If you're planning on using the damage waiver coverage provided by your credit card company, confirm with them it will be available to you on an international rental. Many won't. Another tip for foreign travelers is to confirm which country's currency your rate is being guaranteed in and what credit cards will generally be accepted locally for gasoline and other purchases.
Sometimes the daily rate on a rental car with a mileage cap will be cheaper. If you are going to be driving fewer miles than the mileage cap allows (a typical cap is 150 miles per day), you may save from $3 to $7 per day on a rental car if you opt for a rental rate with a mileage cap.
On the other hand, unlimited mileage rates offer freedom from watching the odometer. Whatever your choice, it's best to calculate your costs ahead of time so you can take the least expensive approach that meets your needs.
Safety on the road, particularly in a city other than where you call home, is important. Thrifty has some traveling recommendations for you as well as some tips from other veteran travelers.
If you are new to the city, the Thrifty staff will be happy to assist you and provide directions or maps of the area.
Traveling in a new city or area can sometimes create anxiety because of the unfamiliarity with the locale. The following tips, obtained from the American Automobile Association and the American Car Rental Association, are meant as guidelines and Thrifty Car Rental urges you to use your best judgment in any particular situation.
- Before leaving the rental center, be sure you know the route to your destination. If you must ask directions, ask a police officer or find a well-lighted public place. Stay out of high crime areas even if it means going out of your way.
- Do not stop on the roadway or shoulder and do not get out of your car, if any of the following situations occur:
- Your vehicle is bumped from behind;
- Another motorist advises you of problems with your vehicle;
- Your car is malfunctioning, or
- Someone on the roadside needs assistance.
- If any of these situations occur, drive to the nearest well-lighted public place to notify the proper authorities and to request assistance. In most areas, dial 911 for the police.
- Do not stop for flashing white lights. Lights on emergency vehicles in the U.S. are red and blue.
- If you are threatened with a gun or knife, give up your car immediately and report the incident to police and the rental car company.
- Keep doors and windows locked and keep your valuables locked in the trunk or glove compartment. Do not carry large amounts of cash. Do not pick up hitchhikers.
- Always park in well-lighted areas. If stopping to buy gas, use a pay phone or use an automatic teller machine (ATM), choose well-lighted, busy locations.
- If possible, avoid using an ATM at night.
- Never leave your car unattended with the engine running.
- When walking toward a parked car, be aware of your surroundings and check the interior of the vehicle before unlocking doors. Have your keys in hand and ready when approaching your vehicle.
- Don't be your own worst enemy... buckle up!
Yes, some locations do offer one way rentals. Rates and vehicle availability for one-way rentals can be obtained via our website, through our Reservations Center by calling 1-800-THRIFTY (847-4389) within the U.S. and Canada, or 1-918-669-2168 outside the U.S. and Canada, or by contacting your local Travel Agent.
Convertibles, SUVs, trucks, and passenger vans are considered "call-back" vehicles. Rates and vehicle availability for call-back vehicles can be obtained via our website, through our Reservations Center by calling 1-800-THRIFTY (847-4389) within the U.S. and Canada, or 1-918-669-2168 outside the U.S. and Canada, or by contacting your local Travel Agent. Confirmation of call-back vehicles requires special handling by Thrifty.
If you are not in the U.S. or Canada, please contact us
and we will try to answer your questions regarding your rentals. Or call +1 (918) 669-2168. (Use Worldwide Locations
link to find local numbers for International locations.)
The 1-800-THRIFTY (1-800-847-4389) toll free reservations number is available 24 hours a day. E-mail will be answered on a first come basis during regular business hours, Monday through Friday 8:00 to 5:00 central time.
Toll violations and vehicle citations at times do occur, and by contract, the renter is responsible for the payment of these charges, plus administrative costs per violation.
In some states, there are cashless roads where there is no option to pay cash in a traditional tollbooth. The license plate of vehicles without a registered toll pass is captured by camera and the rental company is billed for the toll. As per the terms of the rental contract, these toll charges, plus an administrative fee per event, is billed to the credit card on file.
The PlatePass® service is an electronic prepaid toll pass purchased at the rental counter. It offers worry-free, convenient 24-hour unlimited access to tollways, including express lanes and those converting to a cashless operation. Click here
to learn more about the PlatePass® option.
Only the PlatePass® toll service, when accepted at the counter, will allow for the prepayment of tolls where available. Otherwise, it is the responsibility of the renter to pay for toll and citation events during the rental; when the rental company, as vehicle owner, is notified of an unpaid event, the amount of the charge, plus penalties and administrative costs are applied to the card on record.
Some municipalities have adopted video radar services, allowing for moving violations to be captured by camera. The owner is identified by the license plate and notified by mail and billed for the infraction. As per the terms of the rental contract, these charges, plus an administrative fee per event, is billed to the credit card on file.
- Hand Controls and Spinner Knobs
Thrifty will provide and install hand controls upon the request of any renter with a disability who can operate a motor vehicle with the aid of hand controls, subject to availability of hand controls, vehicles and trained installers. When a reservation is booked at least 24 hours in advance of the rental, confirmation of the availability of hand controls will be made at the time of the rental. Reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate any request for hand controls for a reservation with less than twenty-four (24) hours' notice. There is no additional charge for hand controls, including one-way rentals. Customers who request hand controls must present a valid driver's license and satisfy Thrifty’s minimum age requirements and other driver qualification requirements at the time of rental.
Steering wheel spinner knobs are also available at the request of a renter with a disability, subject to the same restrictions and criteria as are set forth above as to hand controls.
- Split Rentals/Authorized Drivers
Some individuals with disabilities cannot drive vehicles due to the nature of the individual's disability. A customer with a disability may rent a vehicle from Thrifty when accompanied by another individual designated to drive the rented vehicle.
The individual with the disability shall be considered as the Renter and must present a qualified method of payment and otherwise meet credit qualification requirements at the time of rental, along with photo identification. The driver must appear at the time of rental, present a valid driver's license and satisfy Thrifty's minimum age requirements and other driver qualification requirements. The driver will be treated as an additional Authorized Driver. There is no additional driver fee or charge assessed for such rental.
- Removal of Center and Rear Van Seats
Customers with disabilities who use service animals or personal aids such as wheel chairs or motorized scooters may require additional space for storage. To provide space for the service animal or to facilitate the storage of personal aids in rented vans and minivans, Thrifty will remove the center and/or rear van seat at no charge if the vehicle is returned to the renting location or a different rental location. If the vehicle is returned to a different rental location, the removed seat will be shipped to the rental location where the van is returned and a shipping fee for the actual cost of shipping the seat will be assessed.
- To Make a Reservation
For more information or to make a reservation, please call our Thrifty Reservation Center at 1-800-847-4389. For speech and hearing-impaired customers, please contact us at InternetHelpDesk@thrifty.com.