Alamo Vs. Thrifty Car Rental: How Do They Compare?

When looking to rent a car, two big national brands you’re sure to encounter are Alamo and Thrifty. As major players in the rental car industry, Alamo and Thrifty compete for your business.

So how do you decide between Alamo vs Thrifty for your next rental?

We’ll compare Alamo and Thrifty across several key categories including pricing, vehicle selection, locations, customer service, rewards programs and more.

Read on to see how Alamo and Thrifty stack up so you can make an informed decision on your next rental car booking.

A Brief Comparison Table

Locations1,200+ worldwide, focus on North America1,000+ worldwide, larger global presence
Fleet OptionsMainstream brands, no luxury vehiclesVery similar standard fleet
PricingLower base rates, additional fees appliedDiscounts for members, base rates sometimes higher
Loyalty ProgramEarn credits equal to 10% of rental costDiscount pricing for members
Customer ServiceMixed reviews, depends on locationMany complaints about dirty, damaged vehicles
Best ForDomestic airport rentals, affordable pricesGlobal travelers, Marriott members

Overview of Alamo

Founded in 1974 in Florida, Alamo Rent a Car is one of the largest car rental companies in the United States. Headquartered in Missouri, Alamo operates over 1,200 locations worldwide.

Alamo is owned by Enterprise Holdings, which also owns Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental. Thanks to its size and scope as part of this conglomerate, Alamo offers affordable pricing along with widespread locations.


The Alamo fleet includes everything from economy cars to trucks, SUVs and vans. They aim to provide fast, convenient rental experiences aided by technology for streamlined reservations and check-in.

Key Pros

  • Large network of airport and neighborhood locations
  • Competitive pricing, especially when booked online
  • Wide selection of standard vehicle makes and models

Potential Cons

  • Vehicles may have higher mileage and wear
  • Additional fees can increase final pricing
  • Limited choice of luxury or specialty vehicles

Also Read: Comparison Between Penske Truck Leasing And Ryder System

Overview of Thrifty

Thrifty Car Rental was founded in 1958 in Oklahoma and is now one of the top ten largest car rental companies worldwide. Thrifty is owned by Hertz Global Holdings, which also owns the Hertz, Dollar and Firefly brands.

Like Alamo, Thrifty focuses primarily on airport locations across the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, Africa, Asia and more. The Thrifty fleet offers economy to full-size cars, minivans, SUVs and trucks.

Thrifty aims to provide value-driven rental options while delivering quality service. Their motto sums it up: “Wildly Affordable. Seriously Awesome.”


Key Pros

  • Hundreds of airport locations globally
  • Discount membership rates for Blue Chip members
  • Partnership with Marriott Bonvoy for points earning

Potential Cons

  • Vehicles reported to have wear, tear and cleanliness issues
  • High-pressure tactics to purchase insurance, toll pass, etc.
  • Website and app need improvement compared to competitors

Comparison Between Alamo And Thrifty


Having rental locations where and when you need them is crucial for any car rental company. Here’s how Alamo and Thrifty stack up when it comes to their location networks.

With over 1,200 branches globally, Alamo has a strong presence across North America, the Caribbean, Latin America and parts of Europe. However, Thrifty has an even larger international presence operating in over 80 countries across six continents.

For U.S. and Canada coverage, Alamo maintains more direct branches while Thrifty partners with franchisees in some markets. Both have widespread availability at major airports.

Overall, Thrifty wins when it comes to global reach while Alamo is stronger for North American-focused travel.

Fleet Options and Selection

The types of rental vehicles available is another important consideration when choosing a rental car company.

Alamo and Thrifty have similar standard fleets focused on mainstream makes from companies like Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Chevrolet, Hyundai and Jeep. You’ll find compact cars, midsize sedans, SUVs, trucks and vans. Neither company specializes in premium or luxury vehicles.

Thrifty offers slightly more variety in their standard fleet with options Alamo doesn’t have like the Subaru Outback. But overall selection is comparable.

For exotic or specialty vehicles, other agencies have better variety. It’s a tie between Alamo and Thrifty for fleet offerings.

Also Read: Differences Between Europcar And Sixt.

Best Rental Rates and Discounts

Pricing is sure to be top of mind when comparing rental car brands. Here is an overview of how Alamo and Thrifty rental rates compare:

Alamo is known for affordable rental pricing that competes with leading budget companies. Their website enables easy rate comparisons and often offers some of the lowest prices.

However, Alamo’s base rates don’t include taxes and fees which can add a considerable amount to the total.

Thrifty also advertises discounted deals, especially for their Blue Chip membership. But recent reviews suggest Alamo has an advantage when it comes to web rates and total cost with tax factored in.

For routine rentals, Alamo appears to come out ahead on overall pricing more often than not.

Both companies provide ways to save through partnerships and promo codes. But Alamo has a slight edge for having the lowest base rates upfront before additional charges.

Loyalty Programs Review

Road warriors who rent frequently can benefit from rewards programs. Here is what Alamo and Thrifty offer loyalty members:

  • Alamo Insiders – Earn 10% of rental cost back in credits to redeem on future rentals. Higher status tiers add bonus point accelerators and free upgrades.
  • Thrifty Blue Chip – Blue Chip is free to join and provides member-only daily rental rates. Higher tiers add more benefits like priority service, free additional driver, and more.

Alamo Insiders follows the classic rental car model of earning points based on your rental activity. Thrifty Blue Chip focuses more on access to discounted member pricing.

Overall, Alamo Insiders provides more valuable rewards opportunities for frequent renters. The ability to earn 10% back in rental credits makes Alamo the winner for loyalty perks.

Customer Service and Satisfaction

Providing quality customer service is vital for any rental car brand. Unfortunately, neither Alamo nor Thrifty score very well when it comes to customer satisfaction and reviews.

Alamo gets mixed marks for service – some praise the speed and convenience of their airport locations, while others feel pressured to purchase unnecessary add-ons. Thrifty garners lots of complaints about dirty vehicles and poor condition upon pickup.

When it comes to pleasing customers, both Alamo and Thrifty need improvement. However, Alamo seems to edge out Thrifty slightly for service based on third-party reviews. For customer satisfaction, Alamo rates a bit higher.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is Alamo a good car rental?

Yes, Alamo is one of the best nationwide car rental companies thanks to their affordable pricing, extensive locations, and ease of reservations. They provide a solid overall value for budget-minded travelers.

What is the best company to rent my car?

For most renters, industry leaders like Alamo, Enterprise, and National provide the best overall experience based on convenient locations, competitive pricing, and good customer service. Budget and Dollar are other affordable options.

Is Thrifty as good as Hertz?

Since Thrifty and Hertz are both owned by Hertz Global, they offer similar fleets and pricing. However, reviews indicate Hertz maintains their vehicles better while Thrifty garners more complaints about car condition and cleanliness.

Is Alamo better than Hertz?

Alamo and Hertz are comparable for pricing on standard rentals. However, Alamo tends to have more widespread U.S. locations, cheaper online reservation rates, and faster airport pickup processes which makes them rate higher than Hertz for most domestic renters.

Also Read: Differences Between Thrifty And Hertz.

The Verdict

Analyzing the key factors for renting a car, Alamo comes out ahead of Thrifty in several areas:

Alamo Pros

  • Competitive base rental rates, especially when booked online
  • More North American airport locations
  • Better rewards program with rental credits

Thrifty Pros

  • Worldwide international location network
  • Discount membership pricing as a Blue Chip member
  • Partnership with Marriott Bonvoy for points

For most renters focused on affordable pricing and convenient airport rentals in the U.S. or Canada, Alamo offers advantages over Thrifty.

Alamo’s combination of lower rates, more loyalty perks, and a technology-driven rental process make it the winner over Thrifty for the typical renter profile.

Thrifty can be a good option for global travelers needing worldwide locations and for Marriott Bonvoy members wanting to earn hotel points.

But for core value and service, Alamo usually comes out on top in a direct comparison.

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