Hertz Car Rental has been around for a long time. Recently, they launched a somewhat revamped rewards program that is actually quite useful! Months ago, Hertz used to charge a membership fee ($60) to join into their frequent renter program which was dubbed Hertz #1 Club Gold. Through Flyertalk and other channels, people found ways to get around this fee and subsequently join for free. Eventually, Hertz realized that charging for their lowest tier of status was a bad idea and got rid of the fee all together.
Hertz frequent renter program is one of the best around. When compared to national or other rental car agencies, Hertz outshines! 1 free day is 500 points, which isn’t that great but one week is only 2,500 points. The 500 points are based on availability and if there is no availability, Hertz offers to rent you a car for generally double the points. You still have to pay the airport taxes/fees associated with the rental. Hertz also has a double points promo going on right now and it has proved to be quite useful for me this month. One point equals to one base dollar, which means the cost before taxes. Often times, Hertz system gets very buggy and you have to call in to get the points credited. I have found that by calling in, the agents are willing to give you more points than you really earned. For example, for my last rental of $208, I was awarded 756 points by just calling in. I have no idea how they calculated it but I didn’t ask any questions either. This wasn’t just one case as this has happened to me at least 10 times. It should show up as an instant adjustment.
Today, Hertz has 4 Tiers of membership and each one provides a few more benefits than the latter. The list is as follows:
Gold Plus Rewards: Free
- No Fee
- Designated Gold Stall
- Earn Gold Points
Hertz Five Star: 10 Rentals Annually
- Everything Gold Plus gets
- One-car class upgrade
- 10% bonus points
- 600 points after 15 rentals
Hertz President’s Circle: 40 Rentals Annually
- Everything the last two get
- Guaranteed reservations
- Designated President’s Circle Stall
- Guaranteed Car Class Upgrade
- 25% points bonus
Hertz Platinum: Must buy into at $1350/Year
- Everything the last three get
- Private airport pickup and drop off to hertz location or have the car wait for you at the airport
- Guaranteed upgrades to premium or luxury cars
- Separate recognition for being platinum
- Managers personally help you choose the car you want
- Four hour grace period on returns
Read all the benefits HERE
I am currently a Platinum member with Hertz. This tier of membership might not make sense to a lot of readers but I do rent a lot of cars and have actually accumulated close to 26,000 points with the Gold Program since January. It might seem like a lot of points but I used to rent cars for cheap when I was on mileage runs that required no overnight stay but had close to 7+ hours of waiting! Regardless, the agents at the counter state that they are supposed to “bend over backwards” for their platinum members. I can only agree with that as my home airport of LAX has done nothing but that for me. In the 10 times I have rented since becoming platinum, I have been offered a prestige vehicle upgrade (E-Class) 6 times. In addition, I have always been taken care of by the manager and never left Hertz without the car I truly wanted. Occasionally, I will pay to upgrade to the car I want but that is very rare as the manager usually gives me whatever car I want on the lot. This obviously excludes crazy cars like the Mercedes SLS, Dodge Viper and other Dream collection vehicles. In addition, when I landed from my international flight, the Hertz representative was waiting for me outside the terminal with the car I pre-selected! There was no wait or need to go the rental facility.
Trick 1: Status Matching for Free
The first trick I would suggest to anyone is to Status match into Hertz Program. Often times, it is extremely simple. The easiest way to status match is through National. You can actually get National Executive membership instantly through American Express Platinum. One of the benefits of American Express Platinum is that they offer their card holders free Executive membership by signing up through their website. LINK
Once signed up, shoot an email to Hertzstatusmatch@hertz.com with your Hertz gold number and proof of your Executive status. In about 2 days, your account should register as Hertz 5 star. It’s not the best status but everything helps!
Trick 2: Upgrading at Counter
You can easily upgrade to a car at the counter. It is important to always book at least a Standard Full Size car. The code for this is FCAR. Once you book it, go to the counter and ask politely to upgrade to something bigger. Another huge tip is to go to the counter and ask to be upgraded to a car with Satellite Radio. This upgrade fee is $5/day and often times gets you into a bigger and better car than what you were initially offered. I put this theory to the test by booking a car without my information. I went to the counter and was offered a dodge Avenger. Once I asked to upgrade to a bigger car, I was told it would be an additional $20 for a Nissan Altima. I then asked to be upgraded to a car with XM radio and they offered me a Chevy Malibu for $5/day. That was a HUGE upgrade because contrary to what you may believe, the Lacrosse is a very well equipped and sturdy car.
Trick 3: Look at your phone!
If you are a gold member and sign up for carfirmation alerts, you will get a text with your car and what stall it is in as soon as you land. This is useful because it tells you what car you get and also allows you to change the car with the included link. Often times, you can get a free upgrade by going through the cars and sometimes, airports like Phoenix undersell their adrenaline collection vehicles. If you go to the counter, Hertz will not let you go under $50 for a Mustang GT. However, if a Mustang GT is offered on your phone as an upgrade, it usually wont be for more than $30. This is hugely beneficial for two reasons: it’s cheaper and because you’re not directly allowed to rent a Mustang GT if you’re under 25. By upgrading on your phone, you don’t run the risk of the counter agent denying you the car!
Trick 4: Underage Fee Waiver
181344. It is the single most important PC code for people under 25 who need to rent from Hertz. This will waive any underage fee on any car. Even though it states that it excludes adrenaline and prestige, it has always gone through for me. However, once you enter this code, you wont be able to directly book anything more than a luxury car. I have noticed from my own experience that no one cares about your age unless you land at the Burbank Airport. You should couple this PC code with a good CDP code. I usually use the AAA rate. (1805452) The fees that are waived normally run around $15-$25/Day. There are also some CDP’s out there that offer to waive the fee entirely. This works even better because you can not only get the underage fee waived but add another coupon code in to save more!
Trick 5: Local/Airport Pickup & Returns
Anytime you rent from the airport, there are ridiculous fees associated with the rental. It’s a horrible idea to rent from the airport but at the same time, there may not be any other choices and local editions tend to have a limited selection of vehicles. However, if you are in need for a weekend rental to get out of town, I highly recommend renting from a local edition and returning to the airport if absolutely necessary. The reason being is that local editions don’t have any absurd taxes and those taxes don’t carry over if you return to the airport.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post where I discuss:
- Different codes and how to find them
- Crazy deals and credit card portals with rental cars
- Cars i’ve gotten
- How to accumulate the most points with the best redemptions!