Thinking of signing up for Thrifty Blue Chip? Thrifty's loyalty program serves primarily as an express rental program that promises to get you on your way in under 60 seconds. In addition, you can earn points toward free award days, and joining the program means that your spouse or domestic partner can drive free.
Tips When Signing Up for Thrifty Blue Chip
Signing up for Blue Chip is free, fast and easy. You'll need your driver's license, a major credit card, and if you don't want to earn free rental days with Blue Chip Rewards, you'll need your airline frequent flyer account numbers. You'll be asked for your address, car preference, and what options you'd like to have on every rental.
If you prefer, you can opt out of Thrifty's email special offers.
You can also tick the box to purchase optional car rental insurance, including Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), Liability Insurance Supplement (LIS, sometimes known as Supplemental Liability Insurance or SLI) and Personal Accident Insurance (PAI). We recommend leaving all of these boxes unchecked. If you own your own car and have personal auto insurance, you likely do not need the LDW. In most states, the rental company must provide state minimum liability coverage by law, so you usually don't need to buy the LIS extra coverage to meet legal requirements. If you already have sufficient health and life insurance, you may find you do not need the extra coverage of a PAI. Always check with your personal policies to make sure you are sufficiently insured for rental cars.
There is also an option to sign up for Thrifty's Fuel Purchase Option, but you should also decline this. Prepaid fuel programs are one of the car rental industry's biggest rip-offs.
How to Earn and Redeem Thrifty Blue Chip Points
When you sign up for Blue Chip, you can designate and rank up to six travel rewards programs where you can automatically earn points from your Thrifty car rentals. If you want your points to count toward free rentals at Thrifty, make sure the first field says "Blue Chip Rewards."
Other options include airline frequent flyer programs (Alaska Air, American, Avianca, Delta, Emirates, Frontier, Gulf Airlines, Southwest and United) and the InterContinental Hotel Group's IHG Rewards.
Once signed up to the Blue Chip program, you earn one point per dollar spent on your base rental rate. Note that a qualifying rental is any rental in the U.S. or Canada that is not prepaid. That means you need to book the "Pay Later" rate.
You can redeem for free daily, weekly, or weekend rentals on cars ranging from compact to full-size. A free weekend rental day starts at 500 points.
Points my only be redeemed within the U.S. and Canada.
Why We're Lukewarm on Thrifty Blue Chip
In general, we're not fond of revenue-based programs like Thrifty Blue Chip, since it's comparatively hard to earn reward days. You're looking at a minimum spend of $500 in rental cars before earning enough points for a rental day worth $20 or less.
But there's no harm in signing up, since the program is free and primarily designed as an express service. Also, if the renter is a member of Blue Chip, spouses and domestic partners can be added to the contract without an additional driver's fee.
Most major airport locations have dedicated Blue Chip counters and smaller outlets have at least a priority Blue Chip line. Some locations post your name on a board with a pre-assigned car in a designated parking stall. With the keys and contract waiting on your dashboard, you just need to hop in and show your license at the exit gate. Most neighborhood locations still require you to stop at a counter to process your paperwork, which can cause delays if the office is busy.