Rental Car Companies Drop NRA Discounts: Basic Business Judgment

The NRA’s car rental discount page no longer shows any discounts at all, and instead displays the main discount page with various categories of savings. That’s because Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, Hertz, and National Car Rental have all stopped offering NRA discounts.

Is there a short-term marketing win with some customers for this, and a short-term marketing loss with others, because of this? Maybe, but it probably doesn’t move the needle on business when everyone eliminates the discount at the same time. Perhaps Uber and Lyft gain or lose business along some margin.

Discounts for large membership organizations are very common, and make sense or don’t depending on the perspective of the business offering them.

  • Hotels offer AAA discounts and rarely check credentials. The discounts are given to price sensitive customers who seek them out. They’re “private, members only” discounts so they don’t run afoul of rate parity rules. And it allows them to market to a large list. AAA drives a certain amount of business that justifies the volume discount as well.

  • The economics don’t always make sense. Amtrak decided that they don’t. Amtrak eliminated AAA and student discounts last month and reduced the senior discount. Amtrak is still a political organization, running routes to please members of Congress who support subsidies, and seniors vote.

Rental car companies may well have gained business on net from this discount, but large companies often try to avoid association with anything controversial — and no matter how you feel about guns and gun rights the topic right now is controversial. They worry about losing business as well as gaining business, whereas previously it was just a question of whether the discount offer generated more incremental business than it lost revenue.

And certainly when some rental companies cut ties, others don’t want to be left standing in the face of controversy alone. They’re cutting ties to eliminate a potential threat or media vulnerability.

Hat tip to One Mile at a Time who “commend[s] these car rental companies for taking a stand on this.” I disagree.

Car rental companies didn’t make this move before the school shooting incident in Florida. It wasn’t a stand taken outside of controversy, it was a reaction to controversy.

No matter how you feel about guns, rental car companies shouldn’t be your hero or villain here. They’re just making a business judgment not a social statement. So if you’re applauding or critiquing the decision made by Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, Hertz, and National Car Rental you’re mood affiliating rather than understanding what’s behind the action.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Currently PC status with Hertz and will increase my business with them especially with the awesome UA mileage offers and 40% discount.

    Thank you Hertz for making the wise decision – 2 thumbs up!

  2. The NRA had nothing to do with the multiple failures of multiple law enforce agencies. Will the car rental companies aeliminate discount for drug company employees? Opioids cause tens of thousands of deaths a year. How about cigarette companies? Entertainment firms? Makes the car rental firm look stupid.

  3. I didn’t realize National was giving an NRA discount I’m Exec with National and I love them, I would have stopped using them after this so good move to keep my business I suppose.

  4. Make no mistake: This was always a calculated campaign by the GOPigs to arm all their ignoramus dupes so they’d have an army to intimidate liberals. Almost all of their campaign literature in the red neck states is about liberals taking away their guns. The Most Hated Man on the Planet lied in a speech yesterday that Democrats would take away the 2nd amendment. And Democrats were cowed by this issue after Gore’s margin of electoral defeat (even with the Supreme Court’s action that ruined their reputation permanently in every law school on earth) was largely due to the gun vote. It was a perfect wedge issue and typical of the GOP cost the lives of countless young innocents who were in their monstrous view disposable.

    There are no more dirty and extreme people on earth today than America’s right wing which is taught in the schools of our allies to be the greatest threat to world peace and security. You have incomprehensive evil multiplied by the unfathomable stupidity of their duped Bufords.

  5. It is likely these companies separating themselves from the NRA has nothing to do with Second Amendment. It is because the NRA is a toxic organization. The LaPierre and Loesch speeches at CPAC were nothing less than vile and nasty. (Actually Loesch looks, talks and acts like a true spawn of Satan) Who could support an organization led by people like that?

  6. good for them! I shall throw them my business. RJB above, you may not care about the hate of the NRA and the deaths they cause, but most of us do. Are u heartless? I am thrilled that these companies are standing up against hate.

  7. Real smart business decision!

    What a bunch if idiots!

    I guess rental cars cause accidents and traffic violations???? Exact same reasoning..

    They just slammed 5,000,000 members plus millions of guns rights supporters who are not NRA members.

    Glad I don’t own stock in any of these companies. Its gonna fall like Hillary Clinton!

  8. Regardless of why the car rental companies drop NRA, I definitely support their efforts to hit NRA in in pocketbook.

  9. Amtrak does not run trains to please members of Congress. Amtrak runs trains to serve all the communities along the way between the big cities who have no other transportation options. These communities are in what some disdainfully call “flyover territory”. The airplanes fly right over them; the trains stop there. Many of these communities don’t even have intercity bus service.

  10. Neanderthal CNN Greg is correct about one thing. Guns are a wedge issue. 42% of households in the USA own a gun. In some states it is over 50%. The left wing, and increasingly the Democrat party, wants to confiscate guns in a manner similar to Australia, England, or Japan. If is really kind of funny, usually left wing commentators will say we are not trying to take guns and cite Australia in the same paragraph. Despite the prevarication, of course they want to outlaw guns. If gun ownership is the main issue in 2018, gun owners and anyone that supports the right to own a gun will be highly motivated to vote, will vote Republican, and the Republicans keep the House and Senate. If the Democrats want to win in 2018, they should move on to another issue.

    Greg said: “This was always a calculated campaign by the GOPigs to arm all their ignoramus dupes so they’d have an army to intimidate liberals.” Paranoia is a mental illness. Greg really should not pass background checks for owning a gun.

  11. Yes, deciding to oppose Americans’ civil rights can be a “business decision” (as it “it’s nothing personal, it’s just business”).

    But opposing the NRA is a BAD business decision, just like supporting the KKK, Nazis, or Antifa would be.

    I’m President’s Circle with Hertz. But the first Auto Rental company that reverses on this boycott will get all my business going forward.

    Also, going forward, when renting a car is an option, rather than a requirement, I will no longer chose to rent.

    Pandering to the Left is always a bad business decision. Because the activists see weakness, and therefore want more. And the normal decent human beings see evil, and no longer want to do business with you

  12. It was a social decision, and one they will regret. All they did is ask NRA members not to patronize them. I’m pretty sure they will get their wish.

  13. Airports should ban CNN. That would be fine. These rental companies are sending a dumb message to 150 million legal gun owners in the United States, not a good idea, because they have more spending power and protection of their wealth—their wallets will speak.

    Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, Hertz, and National Car Rental are flying the Confederate Flag, if you ask me.

  14. Boycotts go both ways. Time for all NRA members and those that care about the 2nd admendnent to avoid those that dropped the NRA.
    How about the suppliers of drugs to Planned Parenthood. They kill one baby every 38 seconds. Let’s boycot them as well

  15. Just another knee jerk reaction to a situation that will have no effect on anything relative to the subject…………..

  16. Nothing makes me prouder (even my combat medals) then to have 700-pound hick rednecks try to smear me just like they did those children all over the schools walls. Their blood is on your hands. And they are raising an Army now of an entire generation that the stupidest people on the planet, America’s Original Sin fat racist buford’s will never match.,

    How does it feel to be made a laughingstock on the most popular cultural TV show every week, laughed at by an entire generation of Youth who you have zero access to because they view you as pure evil, knowing that they teach in the schools of all modern Nations that you are the most loathsome people on earth. Ignorance is your name, only exceeded by the lard-bubbling evil

  17. I live in conservative Utah where nearly everyone owns a gun. I’m all for
    the right for Americans to own firearms. But why do so many feel
    they need to own any type of firearm? I don’t think automatic type
    weapons are used in hunting. Are they really needed to protect
    your home and family?

    Trmup’s proposal to train and arm teachers in schools is one of
    the more stupid things I’ve heard him say (and I voted for him).
    Think about it. Someone enters a school with an automatic
    weapon and, with lots of ammo, starts to shoot it up. Can
    you see a teacher with a pistol come into the hall and try
    to stop the shooter? Which weapon will win? Or does Trump
    plan to arm teachers with high powered automatic weapons?
    Also, how are people going to react when a “trained” teacher
    engages in a shooting contest with a suspect with much
    more fire power, and the teacher hits students instead of
    the bad guy. And what about when the cops come into
    the school looking for the bad guy and sees a person
    (later identified as a teacher) with a gun and they use
    deadly force to stop the wrong person?

    The NRA would have a lot more respect if they
    agreed that there needs to be limits on what types
    of weapons should be outlawed, require
    background checks for ALL gun purchases,
    and do more with mental health data bases.

    I fully support the airlines, car rental companies
    and other that tell the NRA to change their
    ways.

  18. If the pro-NRA sentiments here are sincere, I’ll vehemently disagree but nevertheless respect them. But given the NRA’s dishonest tactics on so many other fronts, I can’t help but wonder whether some of the push-back comes from trolls the organization encourages to weigh in on social media platforms so as to make it seem like their opinions outweigh the increasing and increasingly motivated majority in this country which objects to the NRA seeking to keep the guns in the hands of violent jerks and nuts.

    In other words, Gary, don’t let the tiny sample size here sway you from posting more useful information about this promising anti-NRA trend.

  19. Why is the NRA being singled out as the villain? What did they do wrong or illegal? Seems to me it is the FBI who dropped the ball.

  20. @DFWSteve

    Because the NRA has historically opposed background checks and other sensible gun control measures as much as possible, enabling disturbed people to buy mass killing machines easily. See their support of the plaintiffs in Printz v. United States

  21. To pro-gun folks here who claim they’ll boycott Hertz, United, et. al. :

    1) No, you won’t.

    2) There is a huge difference between the NRA and the 2nd Amendment.
    The NRA doesn’t work for you, nor the Constitution. It works for Gun and Ammo Manufacturers. It sees you as effective rubes they can easily manipulate. Sorry, but if you believe differently you’re either ignorant or stupid.

  22. Saul Alinskey’s rules for radicals # 12: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” That is what the left is trying to do to the NRA and Wayne LaPierre. They seem to think that the NRA are driving the support for the gun ownership. They have that backwards. The gun owners are the reason that the NRA has a voice. If the liberals could waive their magic wand, [like Ozma of OZ (who was transgender by the way {ie. Went through two sex changes, see The Marvelous Land of Oz})] and the make the NRA go away, support for guns would still be sky high and another identical organization would pop up in its place. In addition, CNN’s style anti-gun rally (they are nonpartisan news organization don’t you know), does more to rally the gun supporting base than anything Wayne LaPierre could possibly do.

    @Neanderthal Greg. Three comments: (1) My liberal friends have told me that combat veterans are on a per se basis suffering from PTSD, have trouble discerning the real world from fantasy, and therefore should not be allowed to have guns. By that liberal standard, if you are combat veteran with medals , you should not be allowed anywhere near a gun. (2) I am old enough to remember when every bum/beggar in New York was homeless/served in Nam/had medals. Of course, most were not homeless, they lived in the Bronx, they had never served in Nam or any military force, and few had medals. (3) Taqiyya: Liberals think it is “ok” to lie to convince conservatives. As a left winger, it would be perfectly ok for Neanderthal Greg to say, I am a combat veteran with many medals, believe in the constitution, therefore my opinion is unassailable. Now I am not saying you are lying about being a combat veteran with medals, but liberals lie all the time to increase their dignitas (ie prestige) so people will listen to them, especially about war and guns. For example: remember Hillary Clinton lying about be fired upon by snipers on a plane in 1996 in Bosnia, Robert Blumenthal lying about serving in Vietnam, Brian Williams NBC news reader lying about almost everything he experienced in Iraq, or John Kerry who lied about throwing his medals away to protest the Vietnam war. So Greg, just curious, how did you get your medals? LOL. You do not have to answer, this is not the Spanish Inquisition.

  23. “Don’t Get It” is a perfect example of Taqiyya. (1) “I’m all for the right for Americans to own firearms.” (2) “I voted for him [Trump]”. Those two statements are most likely total lies intended to help build qualifications to make the point.

  24. These companies have made a decision. Ultimately they will need to answer to their shareholders or owners.

    I personally do not much care one way or the other who they give discounts too (or don’t) but as a shareholder, I am going to be peeved if profit or share price is negatively impacted. On the other hand…if I can make a ton of coin..kudos.

  25. @docntx —> The part about my medals was just in jest. I bought them at a surplus store. Makes me feel like a man and helps in picking up girls.

  26. @Rjb: Stop being a dik. How dare you make intelligent, rational statements. Don’t you know the the only opinions that should be posted here are those in support of the drivel Greg and his retarded, extra chromosome crew spout? Shame on you.

  27. @Reed
    The real failure here is on part of the FBI, details of which have been documented repeatedly in recent days. Their inaction is in direct contradiction to objective of the well publicized DHS “if you see something, say something” policy. The NRA is merely a convenient villain for those seeking an emotional, superficial response while avoiding the real issues of mental health, school safety, family breakdown and a general lack of concern for human life. Dissolve the NRA, ban guns and the root cause still remains. Remember this: illegal pot gave rise to murderous drug cartels. So we legalize pot. Make guns illegal and the cartels have a new enterprise. Now that isn’t very smart.
    As for me, I’ll take Uber and taxis and avoid renting cars when possible.

  28. As far back as in the 1970s … until now, many school districts in Central NY State had policies that required all school entrances to remain locked after the first morning bell until end of the school day. Nobody could enter unless they were identified via Interco / video and a staff member went to open the door for them.

    It’s insane that schools remain accessible to anybody such as expelled former students. But focusing on that and other common sense causes of the tragedy doesn’t further the goals of some.

  29. Eye opening to me that your blog has so many NRA supporters. As a mom,
    I hope every American looks as who is doing business with the NRA and stops buying those products or using those services. Economic’s have allowed the NRA to continue to thrive when most Americans want assault weapons banned. If we all stand up and say NO to these businesses, they won’t have the capital to intimidate our elected officials. I am asking my husband to go to the library today and look at all publications and see who is advertising in them so I can post a list on Facebook.

  30. The NRA painted as the villain in another tragedy. But is the NRA and it’s 5 million members the reason behind the deaths of America’s youth? NO! What is really killing the youth of America is the HIPA laws Made by democrats and controlled by democrats. Not Republicans or the NRA.

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