questionsdo you have any experience with the thrifty…

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I've used Thrifty before but never heard of the "special".

But I had to copy your tags for prosperity! Good one!
tags: travel car-rental dude-they-gave-me-a-'71-pinto

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I went to Honolulu last month and did the same wild card option with thrifty, I got a Chevy Malibu. They said that you will usually get the car they have most in stock and in this case was the malibu. A week later my brother rented one with his friend using the same option and got a Ford focus, so really it depends on what kind of car they have a lot of in stock at the time you rent. Hope this helps :-)

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I used it at Manchester NH. By the time I got in, all they had was minivans. Since I had the whole family along, that was actually perfect! Got a minivan for the price of a compact. Sweet deal!

Seriously - I use that option whenever I book a car for personal use. It's rare that I'd specify something bigger than a compact anyway, and the gambler/bargain hunter in me loves the risk factor. Worst case is you get an uncomfortable Mitsubishi.

As others have said, if they have a lot of something, that's what you're likely to get. If they're out of everything, you'll get whatever's on the lot. Which is what they do if they oversell anyway - as long as it's bigger it's considered a "free upgrade." I've had it work out great (minivan -> full size van, economy car -> convertible), neutral (Crown Vic -> Explorer), and witnessed one that truly was lousy for the couple involved: they reserved a Mustang, and got a full-sized van.

So, if the guaranteed minimum meets your needs, go for it!

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@mrsbeny Besides, all of the Pintos exploded long ago.

They'll either give you a Vega, a Datsun B210 (atomic cockroach) or maybe a VW Bug with the common lower ventilation area (rusted out floor).

Renault Alliance and Yugos are also possibilities.

Maybe (my first car) a 1980 Dodge Colt with an 8-speed transmission!

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@75grandville: After thinking about Pintos, I Googled worst cars ever and this 1975 Bricklin SVI stood out as being one of the coolest things I've ever seen. In a not very cool kind of way.

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My first car was a '73 Pinto. My dad gave it to me for high school early graduation, when exploding Pintos were all over the news. He got it cheap because the owner was afraid of it. It was pretty much the only thing my dad ever gave me. Says a lot about my family. Anyway, I wouldn't want the gamble because I have always driven a small car and I am not comfortable at all in larger vehicles. I have had them try to "upgrade" me to vans and SUVs in the past and argued and waited till something no bigger than a mid-sized car was available. When traveling with friends we have benefited from upgrades to bigger vehicles though. But in that case it's not me doing the driving. I make all the travel arrangements, one of the others has to do the driving. I get the back seat all to myself.

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Last time I was in the Atlanta area, I had reserved a compact (all the company would pay for), but they were all out -- he ended up upgrading me to a fully-loaded F150 Quad Cab -- that truck was sweet! Made me want to re-consider what my next truck will be.
Also scored a Mustang Convertible out in Seattle last month -- that was fun too! Sometimes you get screwed though, don't get me wrong. Had a POS little thing when I was in NC a couple years back.
As the others have said, if it doesn't bother you to potentially have something not great, feel free to gamble a little bit.

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I have not tried this option but last time I rented a car I was price shopping. I looked at a couple different "click-thru" options and then I tried the direct link to the same site. It was cheaper to go to the rental site without the "discounts" from other places.

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No personal experience, but like others above I have heard more good stories than bad. BTW, I'm jealous of your friend...... :)