THRIFTY vs DOLLAR rental car; why am I hesitating?

Old Jun 3rd, 2009, 05:02 PM
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THRIFTY vs DOLLAR rental car; why am I hesitating?

Have any of you had good, bad, or indifferent experiences with either Thrifty or Dollar rental cars? I've always done National, Avis, or Hertz, but I am shocked at how much lower the Thrifty & Dollar cars are vs the rest of the field.

For 4 days in Colorado this summer, (not including a Sat night or Sunday, so I can't get a weekend rate), I can get a Compact from either Thrifty or Dollar for approx $195, a weekly rate--including taxes and charges--not a discount; that's the regular rate. A far distant third is Hertz, with $358 for the same car and weekly rate--including a small AAA discount. (I couldn't find a way to enter a AAA discount for Thrifty or Dollar.)

My concerns are: Am I overlooking something here? Can there be THAT much difference in price? Are Dollar and Thrifty as reputable as the other services. Any clue as to why Hertz is almost twice as much and National, Avis, and even Budget are OVER twice as expensive?

Thank you. I'll be checking and hoping for replies.

Logan
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Old Jun 3rd, 2009, 06:09 PM
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The pricier companies, tend to have people who use business accounts, so they don't care about the costs.

I haven't used Dollar or Thrifty lately, but I used Budget last month for San Francisco. Budget was substantially cheaper ($50 vs >$200 for Hertz), and it was totally fine. Of course, where are you picking up and dropping off the car? From the airport? Is there a difference in the car rental locations at the airport? At some airports, the more prestige rental companies may be right on site, and the cheaper ones may be a mile away, so you should double check that. Also, the cheaper companies have worse customer service (I hear lots of complaints about Alamo, mainly with long lines at airport counters.)

Here's a recent thread over on the US Forum about Dollar (plus some complaints about other companies as well):
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...car-rental.cfm
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Old Jun 3rd, 2009, 06:19 PM
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I pretty much always use Thrifty or Dollar because of the price. I've never had a problem with them.

I've never had any problem with them. You do want to read the fine print when you make the reservation as some locations have different rules than the general rules stated at the beginning of the process.

For example, when I went to book with Dollar one time, the general rule said they put a 20% hold on your credit card when you pick it up. When I made the reservation, it was changed to a $400 hold for the first day plus $50 every additional day you have the car. That ended up to be more than the rental costs. I cancelled that reservation and went with Thrifty that was a $200 hold. The actual rental rates were within pennies of each other.
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Old Jun 4th, 2009, 08:57 PM
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Thanks for the replies. No rental car companies are onsite at Denver International any longer, but all are just 5 minutes away on "rental car row," and there's frequent shuttle bus service to all of them.
I guess I'll try Thrifty, and if there's some catch, I'll have finally learned that you really do get what you pay for.
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 09:50 AM
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<<I guess I'll try Thrifty, and if there's some catch, I'll have finally learned that you really do get what you pay for.>>

And if there isn't a catch, you'll have finally learned that a high price doesn't always equal better.

(Just thought I'd give you a positive option for the outcome.)
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Old Jun 5th, 2009, 06:10 PM
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Thank you, toedtoes. I needed that.
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Old Jun 11th, 2009, 04:54 AM
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I wanted to rent a Prius for a week in NM... finally found it thru Hertz at a cost of $406. I was chating with my insurance company- USAA- and mentioned the upcoming trip. They asked if I had rented thru them..
They changed my reservation to go thru them and my cost became $196.32!! So check with you insu. co- they may have a better offer!
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Old Jun 3rd, 2010, 02:53 PM
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Thank you mpt33905!! I completely forgot USAA gave amazing discounts on car rentals. I'll be 25 in 5 months and the "underage" rates were going to be $15/day for 9 days = $135, for a grand total of about $450 with Thrifty - the cheapest deal I found. After reading the post and looking at my insurance company, USAA, I got a deal for $235 with Avis, a whole $200+ cheaper.
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Old Jun 4th, 2010, 03:25 PM
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We've used Dollar and Thrifty and have not had any problems. We've had new low mile cars from both. Thrifty is usually off site but many airports now have all car rentals off site. A lot of the time, we have received a free upgrade, from Thrifty.

Sign up for the frequent renters club from whoever you rent from. Many times they have a special line for club members. The regular line in San Diego was so long but we walked right up to the other line.
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Old Jun 7th, 2010, 08:31 AM
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This is my latest problem with Dollar car rental.
On collecting the car from Sanford Airport FL I had the usual "upgrade hard sell" and declined these. Then the saleswoman offered me an additional breakdown package which I adamantly refused. I stated to her that "all I wanted was a car full of gas without ANY extras". She stated OK I won't put on the roadside assistance. She also stated "IT MAY GO ON YOUR RENTAL AGREEMENT BUT YOU WON'T BE CHARGED FOR IT". Naturally, having just got off a 9 hour flight and wanting to start my vacation, I DID NOT check the agreement, but expected to be charged just for a full tank of gas.
Having returned to the UK from my vacation, I have received a credit card bill for $152.45. Having checked my agreement, I now find that the assistance "ROADSAFE" has been charged at $5.99 per day.(a total of $83.86 plus tax). Clearly this is unacceptable and the saleswoman should be challenged about the matter. I have opened up a dispute with DOLLAR but do not think it will do any good.

I had a similar experience with DOLLAR last year when the salesman said, "Hey let me give you an upgrade" (The magic word being GIVE).Suprise,suprise, they charged me for it!!!!!
Remember all these upgrades/extras are based on commission sales.Don't fall for them!!!!!
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Old Jun 10th, 2010, 02:20 PM
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I have used Dollar almost exclusively for the last three years. Used at various airports (Ft Myers, Dallas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Washington DC. among others). Their prices have been the best and their counter personnel exceptionally pleasant. I have been offered upgrades, add-ons and had my refusals accepted kindly. On occasion, the same upgrade has been given and there has been no additional charge. I am a member of their loyalty program (which is decent). I don't know if that has impacted how I have been treated but overall Dollar has been worth being loyal to. The cars provided have all been low mileage and well maintained. One time I was given a car with no windshield washing fluid. When I told them at the time of return, they apologized and reimbursed me for my expense because it was their oversight.

Hertz and Dollar have recently joined forces. All publicity so far says that Dollar policies/pricing will remain the same - I hope that's true.
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Old Jun 10th, 2010, 03:29 PM
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I'm a USAA member, so I just phoned them to get a quote and unfortunately the price difference was only $25.00. Earlier today I found a Hotwire deal that was nearly half the cost of going through a car rental company directly. Does anyone have experience with this? I'm very tempted but it's not worth it if it's a big headache. They said that the rental car company would be revealed after you book and they promised that the rental company would be a major rental company and located at the airport in Charleston, SC. Does anyone have any experience with this?
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Old Jun 15th, 2010, 12:28 PM
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No problems with either Dollar or Thrifty. Used Dollar more frequently, though. It also doesn't hurt to check rates again when you're closer to your trip, about 4 days out. You can oftentimes find even better deals, so you can cancel your old reservation and get a new one.

Don't forget to try Enterprise. On a May trip to Kona, I snagged a most awesome deal -- a "premium" car for $8.53/day! Yeah, less than 9 dollars a day! When we got there, they were out of premiums so they gave us a luxury (Cadillac CTS) and the price was as quoted. All said and done, with fuel, we spent less than we would've if we'd have rented an economy car.
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Old Jun 16th, 2010, 08:15 PM
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Stewmash - I'm confused about your post. You indicate that the credit card bill was for $152.45 and the roadside assistance was 5.99/day for a total of $83.86. That would mean you had the car for 14 days and that the rental charge per day was 4.90 ($152.45 - 83.86 = 68.59 then divided by 14 days).

If the roadside assistance wasn't actually charged, then the daily rental charge was $10.89 ($152.45/14 days).

Did you really get a $4.90/day rental rate? Or could it possibly be like the woman said and the roadside assistance showed on the bill, but you weren't charged for it, you were charged a $10.89/day rental rate?

Or was your rental rate charged separately and this charge was just for the gas and roadside assistance?
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Old Apr 9th, 2012, 07:59 PM
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We've had good luck using Priceline (including in Denver last month)--lower prices and they only use the big five car rental companies.
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