Hertz Becomes First Non-Airline to Join the SkyTeam Alliance

Hertz has just announced that they’ve become the first ‘non-air affiliate’ of the SkyTeam airline alliance that includes Delta, Air France KLM, Korean Air and others.

Members of SkyTeam airline frequent flyer programs “will receive a special code for their Hertz car rental bookings.” George Clooney loved mileage-earning with Hertz, although I’ve generally found Avis to offer more miles and National to offer greater convenience.

Hertz as a ‘member’ of SkyTeam does not excite me at all.

  • Airlines already partner with rental car companies, in fact more than half of SkyTeam airlines already partnered with Hertz.
  • Airline-specific codes often generate higher rates, especially higher than other discount offerings.
  • Alitalia and Aerolineas Argentinas, two SkyTeam member airlines, still won’t offer mileage accrual for Hertz rentals. This is presumably due to exclusivity arrangements each already has such as Alitalia’s relationship with Avis.

It’s not clear whether SkyTeam elite members will receive elite recognition from Hertz the way that Delta’s Diamond and Platinum members get Hertz President’s Circle status already and SkyMiles Gold members get Hertz Five Star status. Hertz elites will not receive better SkyTeam treatment. So what is this other than a marketing tie-in?

There’s also no mention of exclusivity, which would put United’s Hertz relationship in jeopardy. In fact exclusivity is hard to imagine since Hertz currently lists 64 airline partners. In fall 2014 United went exclusive with Hertz, providing Hertz status to United elites (as well as increased mileage-earning) before Delta jumped on that bandwagon.

A couple of years ago Hertz informed me that reservations for their cars are never guaranteed. Car rental status usually helps, though. So if status was included across the alliance there would be some benefit.

While more marketing tie-ins can be better than fewer, a car rental company is a somewhat strange brand to launch with. Renting cars is so nine years ago. Presumably this is just Hertz marketing dollars which account for the move.

Hertz was once the rental company for business travelers. In this extended montage from Up in the Air when George Clooney is grounded in Omaha he wants to buy a Chrysler Sebring from Hertz.

Unfortunately we do not know whether SkyTeam programs will be offering big bonuses to George Clooney for doing so (though Clooney’s co-star in the film now pitches the movie’s preferred hotel chain, Hilton).

(HT: Point Me to the Plane)

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. If I get free access to a SkyTeam member lounge after dropping off the car I might be interested. No? Oh well.

  2. GAry sayz, “I’ve generally found Avis to offer more miles”

    Unfortunately this is generally no longer the case since Hertz and United slashed the lucrative One-Day Rental Car Promo in half.

    So, are we earning SkyTeam members’ miles now with Hertz rentals?

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