Car Rental Loyalty Programs (2020)

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Everyone should become a member of the car rental company’s loyalty program before renting a car—it saves you a bunch of time when you need to pick up your car, earns free car rentals, and provides some other benefits.

Registering Your Account to Earn Points

After you join a car rental program, you’ll typically need to take an additional step to register your account to earn points or credits. That’s because most car rental programs give you the choice of earning their own reward points, or earning rewards with partners, such as frequent flyer programs. You normally can’t do both. If you don’t take the extra step, you might not get any credit for your rentals.


Avis Preferred

Avis Preferred.

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Discounts and fast checkout

Skip the rental counter at many locations. Avis Preferred Select & Go let’s you choose your own car at 50+ large airport locations. At these locations, you can upgrade your car, by taking any car on the lot, and paying the upgrade fee at the gate.

You can use the Avis Now Smartphone App, to select your car using your phone, on your way over to the lot. You’ll also receive member-only offers each month.

Elite benefits

Avis Plus usually takes 12 rentals, or $5,000 in spending, in a calendar year, to earn.

  • One-class upgrade (when available)
  • 25% more points for each dollar you spend.

Reward points

You earn 1 point for each dollar spent. But, you'l earn a minimum of 100 points on even the shortest and least expensive rental. Elite members earn 25% more. After 25 rentals, or $7,000 spend, you’ll start earning a 50% bonus.

You can earn double the points when you pay for optional accessories, but you generally shouldn’t be buying any of those. Points expire 5 years after they are earned, or if there is no activity during a 12-month period.

You can use your points for free car rental days in the United States and Canada. Avis has a revenue-based redemption system, meaning that the point cost to get an award rental depends on the going rate for the rental, and awards are not available at all locations. You’ll have to check the Avis website to see how many points they want for any given rental, but a base rate below $50 usually costs 700 points.

Earning frequent flyer miles from your rentals

Normally, earning frequent flyer miles, or frequent guest points, from your car rental isn’t that great of an option, because car rental companies tack on surcharges if you do. However American Airlines members can earn 500 points per Avis rental, making it a more interesting option.

Hertz Gold Circle

Hertz Gold Plus.

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Discounts and fast checkout

Special Gold counters at 4,000+ locations. Go direct to your car at 50+ large airport locations, or use Gold Choice to switch to another car.

You’ll receive members-only offers each month. Hertz also waives the additional driver fee for spouses and domestic partners within the United States.

Elite benefits

Five Star. It normally takes 12 rentals in a year to qualify for 'Hertz Five Star status; Delta and United elite members get automatic Five Star status, as do Marriott Platinum members. Instant Car Rental Elite Status

  • Complimentary one-class upgrade (when available). Plus a wider choice when Ultimate Choice is available.
  • 25% bonus on points earned.

President’s Circle status requires 20 or more rentals, or $4,000 in spending. It gives you guaranteed reservations with a 48-hour advanced notice, a guaranteed one class upgrade, and increases the award bonus to 50%.  

When you get to 8 rentals, you can a "taste" of Five Star status for one day, and when you get to 16 rentals, you can get a "taste" of President's Circle status.

Reward points

You earn 1 point for each dollar spent. Elite members earn 25% more. After 25 rentals, or $7,000 spend, the bonus will increase to 50%. Points don’t expire, unless there has been no rental activity in the last 18 months.

A single day award in the United States costs 750 points, except during rental-location specific black-out dates. AnyDay awards are twice as expensive (1,500 points), but don’t have any black-out days. Unfortunately, you are still responsible for the taxes and fees. You pay the same amount of points for anything between a compact and a premium car. However, you’ll need to pay a premium for one-way rentals, or specialty vehicles.

Weekly rentals are cheaper at 3,750 points (540 points per day) for standard awards, and 7,500 points for AnyDay rewards.  

National Emerald Club

National Emerald Club.

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Discounts and fast checkout

Pick your own car from the Emerald Aisle at 60+ locations. There are special checkout counters at another 30 or so locations. You can also choose your car, at many locations, using their phone app.

National waives the second driver fees, even for multiple non-relatives.

Elite benefits

Executive membership normally takes 12 rentals or 40 rental days in a year; however, you get it for free with the American Express Platinum Card, any World Elite Mastercard, or any Visa Infinite card. Instant Car Rental Elite Status

  • Access to the Executive Aisle, where you can choose any car (full-size and above) and only pay the mid-size rate.
  • A guaranteed upgrade in the US and Canada when you reserve a mid-size car.
  • Earn free rental day after every 6 rentals, rather than 7.

Executive Elite status takes 25 rentals, or 85 days, and offers a guaranteed car with 24-hour advanced notice, free delivery to most private airports, and a free rental day for every 5 rentals.

Reward points

You’ll get a free rental day for every 7 rentals.  If the rental is more than a week, you’ll earn a credit for every 4 days. Unlike most other "free rental day" certificates, National's can be used for one-way rentals (and have no blackout dates).

You’ll get rental credit for National and most Enterprise rentals. As an alternative, you can credit your National car rentals to your Enterprise Plus account. Credits don’t expire, but free days expire at the end-of-the-year, following when they are earned,

Credits are normally redeemable for mid-sized rentals, but elite members can get full-size rentals instead. You’ll still be responsible for fees and taxes.

One-Two-Free Promotion

Every year in the Fall and Winter, National has historically run a promotion where you get a free night after every two rentals (of at least two nights each). This is on top of the credits you’ll earn as part of the normal loyalty program. Obviously, this is a tremendous deal, especially if you are booking shorter rentals. Easy Ways to Earn Free Car Rentals

Enterprise Plus

Enterprise Plus.

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Discounts and fast checkout

Members only check-in at many locations.

Elite benefits

Each elite status level offers bonus points, and free upgrade certificates.

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Reward points

You earn 1 point for each dollar spent at Enterprise. You can also earn points for most National car rentals in the United States. As an alternative, you can credit most Enterprise rentals to your National Emerald Club account. We usually recommend crediting to National, as they have a more generous rewards program, for less expensive rentals. Points don’t expire, as long as you’ve earned any points in the last three years.

This is another program where there is no fixed redemption rate. You’ll need to check the rates for any rental and see how many points they want, with the cheapest awards starting at 400 points per day.

Dollar Express

Dollar Express Program.

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Discounts and fast checkout

VIP checkout lines in many locations.

Reward points

You earn 1 point for each dollar spent.

You can redeem your points for free rental days in the United States and Canada. It is the same price for compact through full-size cars, and you’ll need to pay any taxes, fees, one-way rental charges, etc. A weekend day costs 500 points, a weekday costs 625 points, and a weekly rental is 2,550 points.  

Points expire if you don't earn points on a rental (or redeem a free rental) over a two year period. Earning or redeeming points in other ways, doesn't count.

Alamo Insiders

Alamo Insiders.

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Alamo offers the simplest program. They offer an additional 5% discount on their rates. That’s it.

While they don’t have any special check-in for members, everyone can go online to check-in, and “skip the counter”, at 40+ large airport locations

Budget Fastbreak

Budget Fastbreak.

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Quick checkout lines at dozens of locations. Fastbreak Choice at about 25 major airports. lets you choose any car in your class ,and drive off the lot. You’ll also receive member deals each month.

Thrifty Blue Chip Rewards

Thrifty Blue Chip Program

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Discounts and fast checkout

Members only lines in many locations.

Reward points

You earn 1 point for each dollar spent. Points expire if you don't earn points on a rental (or redeem a free rental) over a two year period. Earning or redeeming points in other ways doesn't count.

You can redeem your points for free rental days in the United States and Canada. It is the same price for compact through full-size cars, and you’ll need to pay any taxes, fees, one-way rental charges, etc. A weekend day costs 500 points, a weekday costs 625 points, and a weekly rental is 2,550 points.

Sixt Elite Card

Sixt Cards Loyalty Program.

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Discounts and fast checkout

Express counters in many locations, but you'll often spend as much time checking-out as non-members.

Elite Status

Gold Card. If you rent more than 3 times a year, you get upgraded to their gold card

  • 10% discount
  • Free additional drives on all US rentals.

Platinum Card status kicks in after 10 rentals, increases the discount to 15%, and provides a free upgrade (double-upgrade in the US).

Everyone who has a World Elite Mastercard (such as the Citi Prestige, AAdvantage Platinum, or Barclay Arrival card), can get automatic Platinum status. In addition, Sixt has a generous status match policy, and will match elite status you have with other car rental services, including those you received from other types of credit cards.




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