Thrifty at HOU - Houston TX

 
Old Oct 15, 10, 11:37 am
  #1  
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Post Thrifty at HOU - Houston TX

Hello Folks.... after shopping around the large rental car companies, I found that only Thrifty gave me a competitive rate, not adjusting the costs for the fact that Im not a US resident.

Is Thrifty the only 'somewhat large' rental agency to offer this...? In my experience, companies like Hertz almost double the per day car cost when you tell them that you are not from the US and are renting from -say- Argentina (which is where Im from).

Also, I was surprised about the fact that Thrifty accepted my reservation and never asked me for my credit card details.... is this usual practice..? BTW, just to play it safe, after completing my booking, I called the (800) number and had the representative look up my reservation... it is in their system and they said they do not have any residency requirements to offer the rate I have confirmed.

So then... until now, my Thrifty experience has been flawless... so then, is there anything I dont know about Thifty that I need to be concerned about....? For the same car and with the same options (Navigation System), if all goes well with my booking I will end up saving almost $100 in rental costs when compared to what Hertz was quoting me.... Im happy about this but if there is something Im missing or I need to manage my expectations.... please let me know.

Any tips/advice would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers from EZE,
Gaucho100K
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Old Oct 16, 10, 8:41 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by Gaucho100K View Post
Hello Folks.... after shopping around the large rental car companies, I found that only Thrifty gave me a competitive rate, not adjusting the costs for the fact that Im not a US resident.

Is Thrifty the only 'somewhat large' rental agency to offer this...? In my experience, companies like Hertz almost double the per day car cost when you tell them that you are not from the US and are renting from -say- Argentina (which is where Im from).

Also, I was surprised about the fact that Thrifty accepted my reservation and never asked me for my credit card details.... is this usual practice..? BTW, just to play it safe, after completing my booking, I called the (800) number and had the representative look up my reservation... it is in their system and they said they do not have any residency requirements to offer the rate I have confirmed.

So then... until now, my Thrifty experience has been flawless... so then, is there anything I dont know about Thifty that I need to be concerned about....? For the same car and with the same options (Navigation System), if all goes well with my booking I will end up saving almost $100 in rental costs when compared to what Hertz was quoting me.... Im happy about this but if there is something Im missing or I need to manage my expectations.... please let me know.

Any tips/advice would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers from EZE,
Gaucho100K
Thrifty and its sister company, Dollar, are among the value-branded agencies. They, along with Budget and Alamo, target the leisure traveler with low rates. The others--Hertz, National, and Avis--target the business traveler with "full service" options (full membership clubs that waive the need to sign, elite levels with perks such as free upgrades, and stricter standards re: waiting time and car cleanliness levels) but are consequently more expensive--often double or more so. That said, in my experience, I've had no substantial difference in service levels between the premium brands and the value brands. Think of it as Southwest (or AirAsia or your other favorite LCC) versus American (or United or Delta or your other favorite legacy). Value doesn't mean bad any more than LCCs are bad (WN seems to get some of the highest customer satisfaction scores in the industry).

All of the above in consideration, though, there may be one real factor why Thrifty is displaying such a low price when you say you're from out of the country: Thrifty may not be bundling any coverage in the rate, while the other companies may be doing so. (As I said above, I often find Hertz et al. to be two or more times as expensive as Thrifty/Dollar/Budget/Alamo, but this is a possibility, too.)

Be aware that, unlike most other countries, in most states in the U.S., it is not mandatory for car rental firms to include any coverage within the rate. This means that if you don't purchase any additional coverage and do not have some product that covers you in the U.S. (such as a credit card with coverage or a personal policy that covers you while overseas), you are fully and completely responsible for all physical damage to your rental vehicle and all fees associated with such damage (collision) as well as all damages (both property and bodily injury) incurred by anyone that you harm in the course of an accident (third party liability). Some (a very few) states do include some form of third-party liability in the rate, but none includes collision coverage.

This means that unless you buy extra coverage, you are not covered at all.

There are three ways around this:

1) Purchase or procure a product that will cover you for both collision and third-party liability. Read any terms and conditions of any sort of travel insurance that you purchase carefully to ensure both of these items are covered (in the U.S., they are treated separately). If you carry auto insurance in your home country, check and see if they either cover you while in the U.S. or have an add-on product you can purchase (again, make sure both collision and liability are covered). See if any credit cards you can obtain in your home country include any form of coverage. In all cases, bring written proof with you that these products are covered.

2) Buy the coverage at the rental counter. The biggest downside of this approach is that it can be very expensive--often more than the base daily rate itself.

3) Buy a package deal that includes the necessary coverage. This is usually much cheaper than option 2 as well as being more convenient. This may be what Hertz and the others are doing when you tell them you are from outside of the U.S., which may be why they are significantly more expensive than Thrifty.

Option #3 works for Thrifty, too, but you need to specify that you want it. The easiest way is to book through Thrifty's UK-based international tour desk. (Don't be dissuaded by the fact it's in the U.K.--anyone can book through it.) Go here to choose your package: http://prepaid.thrifty.co.uk/. You can even price it out in Argentine pesos!

There are some phenomenal prices to be found this way (and via sister company Dollar's UK site, too, at http://www.dollar.co.uk/). Pricing out a sample rental in Dallas, Texas, for one week next month, I found a compact car for ARS 740. (That's the equivalent of about US$187.) Assuming collision were sold at the rental counter for $20 per day and liability were sold for $15 per day, a week of just the coverage sold at the counter would run $245! So, booking through the international prepaid tour desk gets you a whole rental, including the necessary coverages, for less than you would pay for just the coverages!

Option #3 would be the route I would recommend for your situation.

Also, it is normal practice (for now) in the U.S. to not require credit card details when booking a car reservation. Rental car reservations in the U.S. usually come with no penalties for cancellations or no-shows. Look for this to change in the next year or so, but for now, it should be of no surprise.

Safe travels!
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Old Oct 17, 10, 5:35 am
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Hello jackal-- Wow... amazing post. Thank you very much for taking the time to write in such detail... if you make it down to EZE sometime, please let me know !!

I have at least 3 credit cards that offer some sort of rental insurance, I will end up using either a MasterCard Black or an Amex Platinum that I carry to pay for the rental, so I guess Im at least partially covered... I will dig up the details and then speak to Thrifty about this, as you raise some excellent points.

Thanks for the tip of the UK websites.... I will price out a rental this way and then compare, maybe I will still cancel my existing reservation and go with that option.

Once again, thank you VERY much for your help...

Cheers from Buenos Aires,
Alex / Gaucho100K
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Old Oct 17, 10, 5:54 am
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Ive just gone on the UK website and the rates are indeed excellent !!! The only apparent difference I can see is that the reservations are pre-paid (which Im OK with).

BTW, all rates offered (as per the website´s info) include:

Unlimited Mileage, Loss/Collision Damage Waiver, Supplemental Liability Insurance, Uninsured Motorist Protection, All Taxes and Airport and Local Fees

So then, with the above plus what my credit card will cover... Im guessing Im good to go... or...? Im not worried about super comprehensive coverage to the car (things like contents, etc.) and I also dont need any personal accident coverage, I just want to be covered against mayor damage to the car and the third parties.

Last edited by Gaucho100K; Oct 17, 10 at 6:16 am
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Old Oct 17, 10, 8:35 am
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Originally Posted by Gaucho100K View Post
So then, with the above plus what my credit card will cover... Im guessing Im good to go... or...? Im not worried about super comprehensive coverage to the car (things like contents, etc.) and I also dont need any personal accident coverage, I just want to be covered against mayor damage to the car and the third parties.
Yep, you should be. The prepaid deal includes full collision coverage (almost always with a $0 deductible/excess) and full third-party liability up to $1 million per incident. Between those two products, you should be fully covered.

Safe travels! And I do intend on getting down to EZE one of these days and checking out your wine shop. You come highly recommended!
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Old Dec 5, 10, 9:35 am
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Hi there,

I just stumbled across this thread trying to work out whether a Thrifty rental I have for January 2011 in SFO includes LDW and/or SLI. I booked via the UK pre-paid site (I am a UK resident) but the rental voucher is somewhat confusing!

There is a table which lists "rate details" included in the rate, which sets out "airport tax" "other fees" (twice) and "tax" as being included in the rate. Below that, there is a section headed "Rental Conditions" which begins:

"Rates Include:

Unlimited Mileage, Loss/Collision Damage Waiver, Supplemental Liability Insurance, Uninsured Motorist Protection, All Taxes and Airport and Local Fees


And then goes on to say:

A.LOSS DAMAGE WAIVER (�LDW�).

Unless LDW is included in prepaid voucher, the person signing a Rental Agreement (�Renter�) shall be absolutely responsible and liable for any loss of or damage to the rental vehicle (�Vehicle�), even if an additional Authorized Driver (�Authorized Driver� being a defined term in the applicable Rental Agreement) or someone else caused it [...]


Reading what Jackal has posted above, can I assume that this rate does include LDW/SLI? Perhaps there are the two "other fees" listed in the rate details? It's just that reading the conditions again, they specify that "rates include" rather than "this rate includes"...

For what it is worth, I called the UK call centre and they seemed to think the LDW/SLI was included, while a call to the US call centre thought it wasn't (though they seemed less clear in general!)

Thanks for any and all advice!
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Old Dec 5, 10, 9:39 am
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Since the voucher specifies the following:

Originally Posted by cps26 View Post
"Rates Include:

Unlimited Mileage, Loss/Collision Damage Waiver,
I would bet money that LDW is included.
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Old Dec 5, 10, 12:13 pm
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Thanks very much! Would be excellent not to have to purchase extra cover either in advance or at the rental desk... Since my original post I've also had a look again at the booking page, and the rate is even called "inclusive no excess", so this does seem to confirm it. Thanks for your help!
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