Thrifty Blue Chip Logo Thrifty's Blue Chip program serves primarily as an express rental program. You put all your information in your Blue Chip profile. An hour or two before your scheduled arrival, the Thrifty location processes your rental agreement. When you show up, all you have to do is sign the already-completed paperwork and go - Thrifty promises to get you on your way in under 60 seconds.

At least that's the goal. The experience varies, and it's not uncommon at some locations to find your rental contract not done or even to wait for a car. Fortunately, Blue Chip comes with a satisfaction guarantee: if you're not completely satisfied - for any reason, including delays when picking up, a dirty car, or rude staff - you'll get a free day, no questions asked. (It's not always advertised well, so you'll have to ask the staff for the "Satisfaction Guarantee" form.)

Most major airport locations have dedicated Blue Chip counters; the rest should have at least a priority Blue Chip line. (The Thrifty website has a list of which locations offer Blue Chip service.) Some locations have even started following in the Hertz #1 Club Gold style, posting 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 head to the exit gate and show your license. Most locations still require you to stop at a counter to process your paperwork, which can cause delays if the office is busy.

Blue Chip is primarily an express rental program, but it has a loyalty program component to it. If you sign up for Blue Chip, you're offered the option of choosing to earn "Blue Chip Rewards". With Blue Chip Rewards, each day you rent a car gives you one credit. After you earn 16 credits, you get a certificate in the mail good for a free day on a compact through full-size car or a minivan. (You'll still have to pay taxes on the rental, which can be a not-insignificant sum.) If you'd rather, you can choose to earn frequent flyer miles with Thrifty's numerous airline partners, but as we've shown you before, that's not always a great deal. Blue Chip doesn't come with any benefits for frequent renters beyond the basic program. Other than the express service, satisfaction guarantee, and opportunity to earn free days, there isn't much else - no free upgrades for ultra-frequent renters, bonus points, or curbside pickup and drop-off.

Our conclusion: Thrifty's target is the value market. And for the value-minded traveler who's picking Thrifty on price, it's a no-brainer to sign up for Blue Chip, since the program is free. Blue Chip isn't going to convince a high-powered businessman for whom time is money to switch from Hertz/National/Avis to Thrifty, but if you're going to rent from Thrifty on price, there's no reason you shouldn't sign up for Blue Chip and make your experience as smooth as possible.

The Rundown:

Company: Thrifty
Program: Blue Chip Program
Website: www.thrifty.com/bluechip
Time Savings: Faster checkout since they have your information on file, but you usually still have to stop at the counter
Cost: Free
Upgrades Available: No
Other Benefits: Satisfaction guarantee backed by a free rental day View upcoming
reservations and rental history online
Loyalty Reward: Choice between Thrifty Blue Chip Rewards credits or airline frequent flyer miles
Earn 1 credit for each rental day 16 credits = 1 free rental day certificate
Free day certificate can be used on any size car from compact to full-size or minivan
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