8 Best rental car rewards programs

26 May 2023 · 10
Renting a car while on a business trip
is a convenient and cost-effective way for businesses to keep employee travel costs down. However, car rental fees can quickly add up, and if travel managers aren’t clued in on a program’s rewards scheme, they could be throwing perks and offers down the drain.
The best car rental rewards programs allow you to earn points and/or miles every time you rent a car which can be redeemed for free rentals, upgrades, and other perks in the future.
So, if you’re wondering which rental car company has the best rewards program and which rewards program is best for your business, keep reading -- we’ve got the lowdown on the features you should look out for when choosing a car rental membership and a deep dive into the top eight car rental loyalty programs.

What is the ideal car rewards program for my business?

Which is the best car rental loyalty program? The answer depends entirely on your business needs. However, here are a few factors you should take into consideration before making a final decision on a car rental membership.

Rental frequency

Consider how often employees rent cars and how much the business typically spends on car rentals per year. Many programs offer better reward terms for frequent renters or for those who spend a certain amount.

Earning potential

When deciding whether membership would be beneficial, consider how many points or rewards you can earn per rental, whether there are rules regarding the rental period length, as well as any bonus opportunities for frequent rentals or high spending.
Make sure that you check which programs offer extra points or rewards for using specific card issuers such as American Express.

Coverage area

Choosing a car rental company that has a wide coverage area that covers the locations your employees typically travel to is essential --  especially if they travel across different states or countries.

Point redemption options

Deciding what redemption options are most favorable for your business is important. Many programs offer options for redeeming points or miles, including free rentals, upgrades, and cash back.

Membership levels

The best rental car membership programs offer tiered levels with varying rewards. Consider whether it makes sense to aim for a higher membership level based on your rental needs and budget. You’ll also need to consider whether business travelers need to pay an annual fee or enrollment fees— be sure to check disclaimers and waivers carefully.

Airline and hotel partnerships

Check if the different car hire loyalty schemes partner with your preferred airlines and/or hotels to benefit from
airline miles
and
hotel points
.

Flexibility

Check if the rental rewards programs allow for
flexible booking and cancellation policies
to accommodate last-minute changes to travel plans.

The 8 best car rental loyalty programs

1. Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Program

With over 1,600 Hertz rental locations in the U.S. alone, the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program is a good car rental membership option that allows you to earn points on rentals and extra charges such as insurance options, additional mileage charges, and gas.
Members can redeem Standard rewards, which are the cheapest option, and AnyDay rewards, which are more expensive but do not have blackout dates. Reward redemption begins at 950 points.

Key features

  • Membership fee: Free to join.
  • Airline and hotel partners: Hertz partners with most major airlines, and with IHG One Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy, and Accor Live Limitless.
  • Counter-free pick-up option: Yes.
  • Point redemption options: Free rental cars, free airline rewards, and free hotel stays.
There are three Hertz Gold Plus reward tiers:
  • Hertz Gold: Members earn one point per dollar spent plus a free additional driver.
  • Hertz Five Star: This level is achieved after spending $2,000 or 10 rentals. Members receive 1.25 points per dollar spent plus a 25% bonus. Capital One Venture Rewards credit card cardholders qualify for complimentary Five Star status.
  • Hertz President’s Circle: This level is achieved after spending $3,000 or 15 rentals. Members earn 1.5 points per dollar spent plus a 50% bonus.

2. Avis Preferred

Preferred members benefit from earning points or miles for every dollar spent on car rentals, and can choose from over 1,500 Avis rental locations across the U.S..
Reward days begin at 700 points with no blackout dates, and cardholders of certain credit cards (including the Capital One Venture X card and Capital One Venture Rewards credit card) earn twice the number of points or miles per dollar spent.
Key features
  • Membership fee: Free to join.
  • Airline and hotel partners: Avis partners with the majority of major airlines. It also partners with Accor Live Limitless, Best Western Rewards, Choice Privileges, Fiesta Rewards, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Nordic Choice Club, Radisson Rewards, The Ascott Limited, and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts.
  • Counter-free pick-up option: Yes.
  • Point redemption options: Car rentals, upgrades, and accessories like ski racks and booster seats. Members also have the option to earn miles and points with airline and hotel loyalty programs instead of earning Avis Preferred Points.
There are three Avis Preferred reward tiers:
  • Avis Preferred: Members earn one point per dollar spent and two points per dollar spent on accessories (GPS, satellite radio, etc).
  • Avis Preferred Plus: This level is achieved after spending $4,000 or 10 rentals. Members earn 1.25 points per dollar spent and two and a half points per dollar spent on accessories.
  • Avis President’s Club: This level is achieved after spending $6,000 or 20 rentals. Club members earn 1.5 points per dollar spent and three points per dollar spent on accessories.

3. Alamo Insiders

Alamo Insiders operates differently, in that the program does not offer elite status tiers nor does it enable members to earn points towards future rentals. In lieu of points, the program offers a 5% discount on all Alamo rentals, with no limit on how much money members can save.
There are over 1000 Alamo worldwide locations, and members can choose to earn miles or points when renting a car or when using Alamo airline or hotel partners.

Key features

  • Membership fee: Free to join.
  • Airline and hotel partners: Alamo Insider partners with Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airways (ANA), American Airlines AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles, Eva Air, Frontier Miles, Korean Air, Southwest Rapid Rewards, and Sun County Airlines. It also partners with Best Western Rewards and Hilton Honors.
  • Counter-free pick-up option: Yes.
  • Point redemption options: N/A.

4. Enterprise Plus

Boasting more than 9,500 worldwide locations and the opportunity to earn points towards free car rental days, the Enterprise Plus program is a great option for frequent travelers.
Reward days begin at 600 points, and cardholders of certain credit cards (including the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Citi Premier Card can earn three times the points per dollar spent.
Key features
  • Membership fee: Free to join.
  • Airline and hotel partners: Enterprise Plus partners with AirFrance-KLM, CAA Rewards, and Hilton Honors.
  • Counter-free pick-up option: Yes.
  • Point redemption options: Free car rentals with no blackout days.
There are four Enterprise Plus reward tiers:
  • Plus: Members need to complete 0-5 rentals before they can start earning points.
  • Silver: Silver: Members need to complete 6-11 rentals for this level, and will earn 10% bonus points on points earned and one free car upgrade per year.
  • Gold: Members need to complete 12 rentals or 40 paid rental days for this tier, and will earn 15% bonus points on points earned and two free car upgrades per year.
  • Platinum: Members need to complete 24 rentals or 85 paid rental days for this level, and will earn 20% bonus points on points earned and four free car upgrades per year.

5. National Emerald Club

National Emerald Club is the loyalty program of National Car Rental that offers over 1,500 worldwide rental locations. Instead of earning points, members earn credits to use for free rental days when they join the club. Members can choose any car from the Emerald Aisle when renting a midsize car or above.
Members can also opt to earn frequent flyer miles or hotel points instead of rental credits, receive expedited services (when renting in Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean), and access free class upgrades at certain locations across the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Spain, and Germany.

Key features

  • Membership fee: Free to join.
  • Airline and hotel partners: National Emerald Club partners with 14 airlines, including Southwest Rapid Rewards and Delta SkyMiles, and also partners with Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Honors, and Radisson Rewards Americas.
  • Counter-free pick-up option: Yes.
  • Point redemption options: Members have the option to earn miles and points with airline and hotel loyalty programs instead of earning car rental credits.
There are three National Emerald Club reward tiers:
  • Emerald Club: Members earn one rental credit for every qualified car rental, with one free rental day costing seven credits.
  • Executive: This level is achieved after 12 paid rentals or 40 paid rental days in a calendar year. Members earn one rental credit for every qualified car rental, with one free rental day costing six credits.
  • Executive Elite: This level is achieved after 25 paid rentals or 85 paid rental days in a calendar year. Members earn one rental credit for every qualified car rental, with one free rental day costing five credits with no blackout days.

6. Budget Fastbreak Program

The Budget Fastbreak car rental membership program does not offer elite status tiers or points for rentals. Members receive exclusive deals and special offers and can earn frequent flyer miles.
However, members can earn $25 in Budget Bucks which can be redeemed against future rentals when they sign up for the program and complete two qualifying rentals.

Key features

  • Membership fee: N/A
  • Airline and hotel partners: Budget Fastbreak partners with several airlines, including Emirates Skywards and Asia Miles, and also partners with Wyndham Rewards and Radisson Rewards Americas.
  • Counter-free pick-up option: Yes.
  • Point redemption options: Members also have the option to earn miles and points with airline and hotel loyalty programs instead of earning Budget Bucks.

7. Thrifty Blue Chip Rewards

The Thrifty Blue Chip car rental membership program does not offer elite status tiers or points for rentals. Instead, members earn a 10% discount on the base rate on all rentals. Members can also add their spouses as additional drivers for free and skip rental counter check-in.
Thrifty’s parent company is Hertz, and its sister company is Dollar, which means that members have access to over 4,000 rental locations worldwide.

Key features

  • Membership fee: N/A
  • Airline and hotel partners: Thrifty Blue Chip partners with several airlines including American Airlines AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles, and Emirates Skywards, and also partners with IHG Rewards Club Program.
  • Counter-free pick-up option: Yes.
  • Point redemption options: N/A.

8. Dollar Express Rewards

The Dollar Express Rewards program does not offer elite status tiers, but does allow members to earn one Dollars Rewards point per dollar spent to spend on future rentals, and gives them access to perks such as priority service.
Point redemption begins at 500 points, and members can also earn airline or hotel points instead of Dollar Rewards points with associated partners.
  • Membership fee: N/A
  • Airline and hotel partners: Dollar Express partners with several airlines, including Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Airlines, and also partners with IHG Rewards and
  • Counter-free pick-up option: Yes.
  • Point redemption options: Free car rentals. Members also have the option of earning frequent flyer miles or hotel points.

Use TravelPerk for optimized corporate car rental management

A comprehensive
travel management platform
is a travel manager’s best friend when it comes to booking and hiring rental cars. With TravelPerk as your corporate travel management platform, you have access to
an industry-leading inventory for renting cars for business travel
, including leading providers such as Avis, Enterprise, Europcar, Hertz, National, and Sixt.
You can compare each provider within TravelPerk’s platform to access the best car rental rates and deals, reducing the time you spend platform-hopping. And, if you’re looking for customized options tailored to your needs, we also offer additional features such as the ability to rent a car for up to a year and add a second driver to a policy.
Plus, TravelPerk also offers a
VAT recovery service
that can help you save up to 25% of your annual travel budget with a VAT calculator that provides an accurate VAT refund estimate.
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