Holiday Travel & Rental Cars – Making Sure You’re Ready

With summer now officially in the rearview mirror and holiday travel only a couple of months away, now is a good time to make sure you have all your ducks in a row before your holiday plans. Traveling around the holidays can be a bit hectic, whether you’re traveling for fun or for business. During peak travel times, travelers may face long rental car lines when reaching their destination. To help make things smoother, we recommend joining the rental car loyalty program of the company in which you’re renting from. In busy times of the year, like the holidays, non-loyalty members can face unexpected long lines at the counter at the airport. Being a rewards members can also net you some nice perks like vehicle upgrades and points toward free rentals.

Below is a breakdown of rewards programs for the major car rental companies:

Alamo Insiders: Alamo Insiders receive a 5% discount on rental rates in the US, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Members can choose to earn miles or points on qualifying car rentals from Alamo airline or hotel partners like American AAdvantage, Hilton Honors, and Southwest Raid Rewards.

Avis Preferred: Avis has four elite status tiers including Preferred and Preferred Plus which can be earned, while President’s Club and Chairman’s Club and offered only by invitation. Avis Preferred members can skip the line at the airport counter at most locations while Preferred Plus members earn points for how much they rent and how much they spend. Those in the President’s Club and Chairman’s club get perks like guaranteed reservations, more points, and higher-level upgrades.

Budget Fastbreak: Budget’s loyalty program is free and allows members to bypass the airport counter and choose their own vehicle. Like Alamo, Budget does not have elite tiers. Budget will sometimes offer promos such as $25 in Budget Bucks to put toward a future rental.

Dollar Express Rewards: Dollar’s program allows you to earn points toward free rentals as well as priority service and the ability to skip the counter. One difference maker is also the ability to add a spouse or partner as an additional driver for free. One thing to note is that while Dollar, Thrifty, and Hertz are technically one company, you cannot earn or redeem points with the other brands.

Enterprise Plus: Travelers can receive Enterprise Plus status just for signing up, however at the Plus level there are no actual perks. After six rentals, renters then reach Enterprise Silver status and receiver 10% bonus points for qualifying rental dollars and one free upgrade per year. After Silver is Enterprise Gold and Platinum with a certain number of rentals needed to reach each status. As the status levels go up, so do the bonus points and free upgrades each year.

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards: Hertz’s loyalty program is free to join and as a member you’ll be able to use designated parking stalls and earn at least one point per dollar sent. Points can be redeemed for free rentals. Higher tiers with Hertz include Hertz Five Star and Hertz President’s Club, which can be attained after a certain number of rentals or spending. Five Star and President’s Club perks include better points, upgrades, and more cars to chose from when renting.

National Emerald Club: Emerald Club members can skip the counter and choose any car from the Emerald Aisle when renting a midsize vehicle or above. Emerald Club members also receive expedited services, no second driver fees, and free rental days after seven rental credits. Members can also attain Emerald Club Executive status or Emerald Club Executive Elite status after a certain number of rentals or rental days. Benefits include free rentals, guaranteed upgrades, discounted rentals, and even private airport delivery.