Meet The Man Who’s Earned 1.2 Million United Miles by Renting Cars
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know many of the top award travelers in the US and around the world over the last three years. There are plenty of amazing people who have learned to maximize both earning and redeeming points, but every now and then an individual truly stands out. JJ Todd, a 6’10” UNLV-trained general counsel and founder of the award travel concierge service Easy Go Traveler, is one such person. After just a few minutes of conversation with his coworkers, friends or wife, you’ll probably be told to ask him about renting cars — specifically the 227 rentals he’s completed since April of this year, netting him 1,191,750 United miles (and still counting).
JJ has been renting cars full-time since 2012. His car at the time broke down, and after completing a few calculations, he realized renting cars and earning airline miles with each rental would make more financial sense than owning a car. He began visiting the Las Vegas McCarren Airport rental car center and quickly educated himself on the ins and outs of renting cars and finding the best prices. Since then, he’s completed 979 rentals at the center, and he equates the 10- to 15-minute morning routine of returning yesterday’s rental and picking up a new one to stopping for a cup of coffee on the way to work. Because you earn bonus miles with every rental, it makes sense to do one-day rentals and maximize your returns.
The introduction of a targeted United mileage offer from Hertz this year was a great opportunity for JJ to further hone his skills. Back in April, Hertz began offering select MileagePlus members 5,250 miles per rental. That’s a substantial sum for a single rental — equal to $78.75 based on TPG’s valuations — so JJ decided to put his daily rentals toward the promo.
At the time of writing, JJ’s completed 227 rentals with the promo, typically for between $22-$30 each time. He’s rented as many as 24 cars in a single day — one per hour — and, as JJ lovingly says, he’s picked up a second family through his daily interactions with the rental car center staff.
On November 4, JJ went to his usual spot in the Hertz Gold Booth to pick up the day’s rental when a few staff members came out from the back and congratulated him on earning his millionth United mile from the promo. JJ is a humble man, and after speaking with him, it’s obvious the success he’s had with the promo is entirely due to the relationship he’s invested in with the local Hertz employees. JJ contacted the Hertz manager before beginning to let him know what he wanted to do, and he always ensures that he is kind and polite to staff. If the desk is busy, he’ll step to the side and let the staff push through a few customers, and he tries to time his pickups at off-peak hours.
“It’s a win-win for everyone,” he told me. JJ always reads the fine print of every promo and rental car agreement to ensure his actions are in compliance with stated rules. “I provide the location a daily revenue stream, as I’ve spent significant money on car rentals, don’t carry the costs of car ownership, and I get my investment back in the form of United miles.”
The promo ended for the first time on September 30, and returned just a week later. It’s still offering some United members as many as 5,750 miles per rental. The promo is currently scheduled to run until January 31, 2018, and JJ shows no signs of slowing down on his rentals. Sadly, my own United account is only targeted for 2,750 miles per rental, and my local Hertz centers don’t have anywhere close to the low rates JJ is able to book in Vegas.
To date, JJ has spent $6,100 on the promo and earned just under 1.2 million United miles. That’s equivalent to buying miles at ~0.5 cents each — a great price considering that JJ values United miles at a minimum of 2 cents apiece. He also gets the value of having a rental car, typically a luxury car due to his rightfully earned Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle status. As for how he’ll use those miles, JJ already has business-class flights booked to South Africa, Brazil and Argentina.
If you want to take part in the promo, make sure to use discount code (CDP) 62455, PC#305023 and input your MileagePlus number at the time of reservation. If you’re ever in the Las Vegas rental car center, keep an eye out for JJ at the Hertz counter; there’s a very good chance he’ll be there earning his next award flight.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees