Rental car companies don’t have nearly the fully developed loyalty programs that airlines and hotels do.
I keep expecting Avis to re-launch their program, but that keeps not happening.
Both Avis and Hertz have really good top status tiers, but you cannot earn those just based on rentals. Hertz sells theirs. Avis actually does too each year as part of the US Travel Associatoin/American Express Daily Getaways.
Hertz will status match. The top tier they offer based on rentals is Presidents Club and that only gets you a guaranteed one car class upgrade.
National status matches too, usually though only in conjunection with their annual “1-2-Free” promotion. But their top tier — Executive Elite — only lets you earn a free rental day marginally faster, and lets you pick most cars rather than just up to full size when redeeming free rental days.
For most business travelers I think that the sweet spot is National’s Executive status. You get that free with American Express Platinum, and it’s been a part of the Milepoint.com Premium membership package the last two years.
National’s program has for years let you pick any car from their Emerald Aisle as a basic member, and Executive members get to pick from the “Executive Aisle” which means incrementally better cars. I usually wind up with a Nissan, which I do prefer over say a Ford Taurus.
But I have Executive Elite status. My last two rentals have been free.
- A 3-day rental using 1-2-Free rental days before they expired at the end of June. That was capped at full size.
- A 3-day rental using free rental days. That was in Hawaii, and I picked a convertible.
I don’t think Executive Elite status is worth stretching for. But if you’re going to rent, then National makes sense for many. And if you’re going to wind up renting enough for that status, it’s nice to grab a convertible on Maui instead of just another sedan.
- You can join the 40,000+ people who see these deals and analysis every day — sign up to receive posts by email (just one e-mail per day) or subscribe to the RSS feed. It’s free. You can also follow me on Twitter for the latest deals. Don’t miss out!