A Detailed Review of Hertz Gold Plus Rewards: Part 1

Overview

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.

The Program

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.

The "adjustments" made to my account

The “adjustments” made to my account

Tiers/Benefits

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

Experience

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.

Tricks

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!

Link for Hertz Status Match

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!

Hertz Carfirmation (Taken from Web)

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!

Courtesy: TPG

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.

Renting from the airport vs. local edition

Renting from the airport vs. local edition

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!
The Blog Is Back!
Lessons from a Mileage Fire Drill

Tahsir Ahsan (Bengali Miles Guru) flies over 200,000 miles per year. He helps people redeem miles all over the world as co-founder and senior award expert at Award Magic. Be sure to #FlyWithBMG on Twitter

  • http://wihlb.org/ Lucas W.

    I recently rented a car in California for a 10-day roadtrip. When playing with the Hertz website, booking a car at SFO was nearly $1000 however a nearby HLE was only ~$200. Before I booked I called them to ask how to get to them from SFO and they told me to go call them when I arrived and head to the airport rental center where they’d pick me up. When I got to the airport rental center, it was PACKED with probably 300 people waiting around while I benefitted from lower rates and a no wait at an offsite location. On the return, they dropped me off right at the gate too!

    Sometimes exploring different options and calling them gets you great resutls.
    (I only rent very occasionally and hold no status with them)

    • tahsir21

      Lucas,

      You’re right! Not all locations will pick you up though. Your location must have been close by. This is why you should always research beforehand so that you can get the best deal! In your case, it was $800 and a heck of a lot less waiting around!

  • Golfingboy

    I don’t know how you do it, but if I rent from HLE and attempt to drop it off at a different location [i.e. airport] the rate balloons… At least in PIT, it went from $41 per day to over $150 per day.

    • tahsir21

      The trick to do that is to rent from an HLE and schedule it to return to the HLE. Once you have the car, call the 800 number and they should let you return it to the airport for no fee. They always say there’s a fee but my rate has stayed the same regardless. YMMV obviously as I can’t speak for PIT

  • asar

    My problem is with the insurance. Don’t I have to get the insurance coverage when I redeem Hertz points since my credit card no longer covers me?

    • tahsir21

      That is true. However, some insurance companies cover rental cars. I know mine does but then again I don’t know what everyone’s car insurance is like. From what i’ve heard, comprehensive covers it. Also, if I heard if you put the taxes on the credit card then they might give insurance.

      • Anh

        Usually your personal auto policy should cover it (call and ask is the best way). My insurance company explicitly mentions it on their website so I know I’m always covered.

        Putting the taxes on the credit card does not necessarily satisfy the credit card insurance company. Tahsir, I like this article and some or your articles, but I’d like to see that you put some more thoughts onto your replies. Thoughtful replies are the key to keep your readers but you should know this better than I do since you’re working for a blog that is a business

        Back on topics,
        Most of the time Amex will not cover a rental if it was even partially paid with points. Different agents will give you different answers, simply because they actually don’t have a clue, but the official policy is that the entire rental has to be paid with Amex.
        If you’re going to use points, the best is to use a Mastercard with MasterRental (most World MC or World Elite MC have this) and put at least one day on the card (say you’re going to rent a car for 5 days, you should use the points to cover 4 days and pay for 1 day with the MC). MasterRental’s official policy states that if the rental is paid with coupon/voucher, at least one full day has to be paid on the MC

        • tahsir21

          Anh,
          I consider myself to know enough about the Hertz Rewards program but when it comes to insurance related questions, I do not want to give an answer that i’m unsure about. I have a CDP that I use that gives me full LDW coverage on every rental. In addition, I believe that everyone’s case with insurance is different as we probably do not have the same insurance as the initial poster. In your MasterRental case, it most likely would not be valid only because there is no way to “split” the rental for points. Thank you for your additional knowledge of this matter!

          • Anh

            It is actually possible to split the rentals for points. When you place the reservation on Hertz’s website, you can choose how many days to redeem the points for. I’ve done it many times.

          • tahsir21

            Never tried to do that! If you can split, then that’s a great way to get insurance on the mastercard mastercare! Thanks for the tip

  • Gene

    Did you actually pay $1,350 for Platinum membership, or did you get in on some deal?

    • tahsir21

      I paid the $1,350. They were sending targeted emails to some members that offered platinum for $700-1200 but I never got it. I wish there was a deal though. I hear that the retention deals are good though! I would say that it was worth it for me because it helped me secure the Mercedes SLS at an amazing rate.

  • http://www.thesterlingtraveler.com/ TheSterlingTraveler

    Thanks for the heads up on the status match… I have National Executive status from the MilePoint Premium membership. I just emailed Hertz today – hope it goes through for my reservation on Friday.

    • tahsir21

      The best thing to do would be to call 888-999-4900. After calling, you should tell them that you emailed for a status match to Five Star. Usually, the agent will instantly upgrade your status. This happened to me when I first matched! You might have to try 2-3 times as it depends on an agent. The correct process is calling to tell them, then they put you on hold and talk to the billing dept. to upgrade your status. Then it takes 2 minutes to 2 days for it to reflect on your account when you log in. (It took me 2 days haha) Goodluck!

      • http://www.thesterlingtraveler.com/ TheSterlingTraveler

        So I called per your advice when I got home from work (around 5:00) and they said the department that handles that doesn’t have any phone reps but he will send them a reminder. He didn’t seem to be that knowledgable about status matches. Anyway, I got an email at 5:45A saying it was successful and my online profile is already updated with the Five Star status. Thank you!

        • tahsir21

          NICE!

  • LarryInNYC

    Recently joined Gold Club prior to an expensive rental in Iceland. I assume the fact that I was renting in Iceland still qualifies me for points?

    I returned the car five days ago. As of now, no points have posted. My question: how long should I wait before calling? If they’re going to give me _more_ points if I call than if it posts normally, obviously I’d like to call. How long do I need to wait until they’ll process the points as an adjustment (rather than just telling me to wait for the automatic posting)?

    • tahsir21

      If it doesn’t post within 48 hours of return, give them a call at 888-999-4900

      • LarryInNYC

        Actually, just checked the Hertz Gold Plus site and Iceland is conspicuously missing from the list of countries in which points are earned. I’ll still give a call tonight, but not too hopeful. . .

    • tahsir21

      You also might want to mention the double points promo going on right now ;)

  • Santastico

    I always try to rent from Hertz but their rates are always more expensive than National. Also notice they charge way more for US residents than for residents of other countries.

  • Heather

    How come you are posting here instead of Milevalue?

    I collect Hertz points through eRewards. They limit you to one redemption per quarter ($60=500 Hertz Gold points) and it takes from 5 days to 3 months to post. Usually my points have posted in 5-10 days, but once it took lots of follow up emails and about 10 weeks. So not terribly reliable, but there aren’t any other ways to get free car rentals from just doing surveys!

    • tahsir21

      Hi Heather,
      I actually write for both blogs as Scott (HackMyTrip) was getting a little busy with personal events. E-Rewards is a useful way to earn points but it’s not the best as in your case! I would hate to wait so long for those points to post!

  • Little Tea Blog

    I’m a little confused. I am a Hertz Gold member, and I know I’ve rented at least 10 times, but I don’t see anywhere where it says I am “Five Star” or higher. I know I’m earning points. is it possible I am on the old program? Where would I find out for sure?

    • tahsir21

      You should call 888-999-4900 and ask them to upgrade you. The system doesn’t auto upgrade you because it only sweeps through your account once a year. Some agents are hesitant and will tell you “you have to wait till next year” but that isn’t true. They will instantly upgrade you if you call and tell them you rented more than 10 times already!

  • tassojunior

    And that 2500 points for a week is up to a premium car.

    • tahsir21

      Yes! Great value with weekly rentals and one ways. Will be coming up in part 2!

  • SuperKirby

    @tahsir21:disqus, Sorry this is kind of off topic, but you may be the best person to ask: I have Avis First and National Executive Status through credit card perks. I never rented from them before. Which one would you choose if you were me? (btw, they are both the same price and directly at the airport, no shuttle required).

    • tahsir21

      haha I would go with Avis as they rent out some BMW’s sometimes. It depends on the airport but I would also use those memberships to match over to Hertz! National is great to rent from and you get to choose anything thats in the executive lane but at the same time, my experience has been that they stock the same cars in the exec lane all the time

  • tassojunior

    Another good trick with Hertz is to book for XM radio. With AAA it’s only $2.75/day. They have to put you in a nicer car since only those have XM.

  • http://www.airlandandsea.wordpress.com/ Jane

    So after reading this and your post on National, which rental would you recommend? We need to rent a car on Oahu for a week, then 2 days on Kauai and 3 days on the Big Island.

    • Scottrick

      Since National awards credits based on individual rentals and not spend, they might be a good choice. But because the cost of a rental car can be so variable on the islands, I would just go with whoever’s cheaper.

  • lakersfan39

    so i am a new presidential circle member what kind of upgrades can i be expecting with avis and national i am presidential and excutive elite and sometimes get convertibles and really nice upgrades

  • Elaine

    I found this post very helpful. Did you ever write Part 2 – can’t find it.

  • Dimitri

    If you join USAA (you dont need to have any ties to the military) the under 25 fee is waived and you get very steep discounts.

  • Rick

    Well this is a nice posting and offers some great value ideas. However I have always enjoyed Nationals Executive Status and Hertz simply doesn’t come close. I rent a Compact and drive off in a 4 x 4 Full size trcuk for 28 bucks a day….Hertz doesnt even have 4 x 4 vehicles that I have seen in Denver,Atlanta or Boston. Due to Coporate Policy I am now unsatisfactorily chained to Hertz. grumble grumble,sigh

  • shonuffharlem

    Where is Part 2?

  • MikeOWave

    Did Part 2 to this post ever show up?

  • Max

    181344 doesn’t work anymore :(

  • JohnnyNite

    I just joined the