Recently, I wrote about making a mistake while booking a rental car through Expedia.  I always book the flexible rates, but I accidentally booked into one of those prepaid rates — which is non-refundable AND non-changeable.

That wasn’t the only mistake I made in my haste.  I searched for a rental location using ATL, thinking I’m looking for the airport rental location.  I didn’t notice that the search defaulted to downtown Atlanta first.  That oversight meant that I’d need to get a ride from the airport to downtown, so I can pick up my rental car there just so I could stay…in downtown.

Since it’s a non-changeable reservation, my trip logistics was off to an unusual start.

Travel Insurance

Since I was on a road trip, I want to get a primary car rental insurance coverage.  Expedia offers a $10/day rate, which wasn’t cost effective for the number of days I was renting.

I looked into American Express Premium Car Rental Insurance Coverage.  Even after reading the fine print, it was still not abundantly clear if the insurance would cover car rentals paid through a 3rd party (in this case, Expedia).

Just to be safe, I searched for a travel insurance and found a plan with primary car coverage.  I ended up getting one at a price point around the same as Expedia, but with additional travel protections.  For example, if I need to cancel the trip for a covered reason, insurance would covered 80% of prepaid, non refundable rates up to the insured amount.

Usually, I’d say buying travel insurance is unnecessary for domestic trips.  With this non-flexible car reservation and with COVID in the backdrop, the travel protection made sense.

Thrifty Car Rental Renting Experience

This was my first car rental from Thrifty.  Since I’m not a Thrifty member, I didn’t expect a “fleet of cars” to choose from.  I reserved a vehicle class type of Toyota Corolla, and drove away with a new-ish Nissan Versa.

Before leaving the facility, I noticed a tiny nick at the back of the car.  Normally, you have the chance to flag issues before you leave.  In this case, the stance given by the rental company was more of a “It’s fine, not a big deal.”  While it might be fine to them, I also won’t be returning the car there. I took a few pictures just in case.

Returning the vehicle was easy as pie. The gas tank wasn’t filled up so that expense was tallied up. The vehicle also wasn’t equipped with any toll transponder either.  I figured Thrifty would just bill me after like other rental companies, which it did a couple of weeks later.

All in all, renting from Thrifty was straightforward despite the initial booking experience.

Overall thoughts

Would I rent from Thrifty again?  Sure. The rental car got me to Point A to Point B reliably, so I have no complaints. I’d still want to go through my preferred rental company first, but I wouldn’t turn down on renting from Thrifty if they offer a competitive rate.

I’d definitely make one change, though.  I would want book directly through the car rental company, instead of a third party.  Especially on a road trip, I’d prefer to get some primary rental car coverage.


Does anyone have experience on whether car rentals, if paid through a third party, is covered by Amex Premium Car Rental plan?  Did you have a good experience renting from Thrifty?