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This year has put a real damper on both domestic and international air travel. With many people avoiding airports and flights, hitting the open road (aka road trips) are becoming a lot more common.
Interestingly, many people are using their own vehicles instead of renting which has been disastrous for the rental car agencies. But if you plan to rent a car, I have a secret that will make your road trip experience so much better.
I want to be clear…it’s rare that I rent cars. When I do, it’s usually a “dad swagger wagon” (aka a minivan) where everyone has their own cup holder, their own individual space, enough space for overpacked luggage, and no one is arguing. <–Dad life is dope!! 😉
If you’ve ever rented a car bigger than the economy size, you may have noticed that the rental experience can get expensive really fast. However, in the past year, I’ve rented an Audi, a Dodge minivan (pictured above), a Ford Edge, and a Cadillac Escalade and the most expensive rental was the Escalade at $18/day.
HOLD UP…$18/day? How Sway?
Generally, if I have to rent a car, I go for the lowest-cost and/or most convenient option that fits my situation, which often results in the smallest of small cars. Good thing I only travel with hand luggage huh!?
Understanding that I rarely rent cars, I’m also unlikely to ever have enough rentals with one rental company to reach elite status. But what if you could receive top-tier elite benefits with a rental car company without having to rent a bunch of cars to get that top-tier status?
TRICKS ARE FOR
There are often opportunities to status match between car companies. In other words, if you have top-tier status with Avis, you could contact Enterprise and say “match me” and you’ll get Enterprise top-tier status. But if you don’t have status with any car company, that doesn’t really help does it?
Earlier this year, I traveled to Muscat, Oman and I needed to rent a car to get around town fast and efficiently. Remember that Escalade for $18/day? Here’s how that happened…
THE ANSWER: Use National Emerald Club Executive Elite status (top tier) to obtain the Hertz President’s Circle (top tier) via the “status match request” email address.
STATUS MATCHER is a website dedicated to providing data points for various status matches including hotel, airlines and car rentals. You may be able to obtain status by a different method than I am about to describe below but it’s worth the effort if you ever have to rent a car.
STEP 1: Obtain National Emerald Club Executive Elite status (and there are A LOT of status match opportunities)
I’ve never rented a car from National a day in my life so there is no reason for me to have status with them, but National is very generous with their status match policy – including matching to hotel and airline elite status. In fact, they even have a website page dedicated to status matches.
All you have to do is go to the National Status Match web page, enter your name, Emerald Club number, email address, and submit proof of your elite status with your chosen program.
There are data points on STATUS MATCHER of people successfully being matched to National Elite Status using their airline status or hotel status. Some of these data points include:
- American Airlines Platinum
- Hertz President’s Circle
- Hilton Gold & Diamond
- IHG Platinum & Spire
- Le Club Accor Platinum
- Marriott Gold, Platinum & Titanium
- Qantas Platinum
- Sixt Gold & Platinum
If you’re thinking outside the box, you may remember that some credit cards give you elite status for simply having the card. The IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, The Platinum Card from American Express [READ MORE] and The Business Platinum Card from American Express [READ MORE] are just a few examples. Thus, just by getting a card, you could easily have elite status with both IHG and National. Crazy, right!?
National has some good benefits (e.g. upgrades (if available), no fees for 2nd drivers, etc.) if you’re interested in renting from them.
However, you may want to take it a step further.
STEP 2: Use National Executive Elite status to match to Hertz President’s Circle status
Hertz has a dedicated email address (email@example.com) for status match requests. Simply, send an email to the address above and request Hertz President’s Circle status with the following information:
- Your full name on your Hertz Gold Plus Rewards account
- Your Hertz Gold Plus Rewards account number (Sign Up HERE…IT’S FREE!)
- Your address, phone number, and email address as they appear on your Hertz Gold Plus Rewards account and;
- Proof of your National Emerald Club Executive Elite status
Pro Tip: I took screenshots of my National Emerald Club profile while I was logged in and attached them to the email.
If you need a template, use mine…
My name is [first name, last name]. My Hertz Gold Plus Rewards member is [#XXX]. My contact information is:
Can you please match my National Emerald Club Executive Elite status to Hertz President’s Circle status? I have attached screenshots from my National Emerald Club account confirming my Executive Elite status.
Please let me know if you need additional information or have any questions.
Less than 24 hours later, I received an email confirming I had been matched to Hertz President’s Circle.
I checked my Hertz profile on the app and sure enough…
STEP 3: Enjoy The Perks
So now that I’ve done all this work, what are the benefits? I’ll let the chart speak for itself:
Let me rephrase the red circle…”Thank you for your loyalty. As a top-tier member, you can rent the cheapest and smallest car on the lot, but pick any available car on the lot when you arrive.”
Let’s talk about my trip to Muscat, Oman. I needed to rent a car. The cheapest rental car (via Hertz) was $18/day on the specific dates that I needed and the rates were comparable with other companies. I rented an economy car for 4 days and my total was 28 Omani Rial (~$72USD):
When I arrived at the rental counter at the Muscat International Airport, the representative retrieved my reservations, thanked me for my “loyalty” and immediately explained that I could go to the lot and select any car that I wanted. A few minutes later, I drove away in a Cadillac Escalade which would have cost me about $100/day if I rented originally selected it as my rental.
Just in case you’re wondering, I have Platinum status with Marriott Hotels which is how I matched to National.
Although it’s rare that I stay at IHG properties, I do own the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card which provides Platinum elite status for as long as you have the card so I could’ve matched to National that way too.
For context, if you joined Hertz’ loyalty program and were interested in achieving President’s Circle, it would only require 20 rentals or $4,000 spent in a year. 😳 Don’t get ripped off, use the trick above.
Again, I don’t rent cars often but when I do, I certainly look forward to the guaranteed upgrades.
If you’re ever in the market for rental cars, I hope you enjoy your top-tier status with National and Hertz and are able to see even more of your destination.
CAVEAT: You have to rent from the car companies directly to receive the upgrade. You can’t rent from a third party (orbitz, expedia, etc.) which will probably save you a few dollars and then try to stack it with your status.
Were you aware of rental car status matches? When renting an Escalade, are you going to tell your friends that you paid the same price as they did for the KIA Spectra?