The complete guide to Dollar Express Rewards

Aug 4, 2020

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Most major car rental companies offer a loyalty program of sorts. However, some are more rewarding than others.

Today, we’re going to turn our attention to Dollar Rent A Car’s program, Dollar Express Rewards. We’re going to cover everything you need to know about earning and redeeming points, as well as how you can save on your rentals.

Although Dollar’s parent company, Hertz, entered bankruptcy protection earlier in the year, operations have continued as usual. So far, there haven’t been any changes to the Dollar Express Rewards program since the bankruptcy was announced.

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Program overview

Dollar Rent A Car is a global rental car company targeting value-oriented travelers. It operates more than 600 locations in approximately 65 countries around the world.

Dollar and its sister company, Thrifty Car Rental, were acquired by Hertz in 2012. The impact of COVID-19 forced the car rental giant to file bankruptcy in May 2020, but so far the rewards program has not been impacted.

The Dollar Express Rewards program allows you to earn points toward free rentals. In addition, you get access to perks like the ability to skip the counter,  priority service and adding a spouse or domestic partner as an additional driver free of charge. Like other rental car loyalty programs, membership is free but you can only earn points on direct bookings.

Unlike most other rental car rewards programs, Dollar Express Rewards does not offer any level of elite status. As a result, there’s no way to get free upgrades with the program. The exception is for U.S. military and federal government employees, who get upgrades when renting for business or leisure.

(Photo by Matushchak Anton/Shutterstock)

Dollar Express partners

If you don’t rent cars from Dollar regularly, you can opt to earn airline or hotel points instead of Dollar Rewards points. Here’s a list of Dollar’s partner programs:

  • Alaska Airlines: Earn 50 miles per qualifying rental day
  • All Nippon Airways: Earn 300 miles per qualifying rental
  • American Airlines: Earn 50 miles per qualifying rental day
  • Avianca Airlines: Earn 50 miles per qualifying rental day
  • Delta: Earn 500 miles per qualifying rental
  • Emirates: Earn 500 miles per qualifying rental of 29 days or less, 1000 miles per rental over 30 days
  • Frontier Airlines: Earn 50 miles per day on rentals up to 4 days in length, 500 miles on rentals of 5 days or more
  • IHG Rewards Club: Earn 125 points per qualifying rental day
  • Japan Airlines: Earn 300 miles per qualifying rental
  • Southwest Airlines: Earn 600 miles per qualifying rental
  • Spirit Airlines: Earn 50 miles per day on rentals up to 4 days in length and 500 miles on rentals of 5 days or more
  • United Airlines: Earn 50 miles per day on rentals up to 4 days in length and 500 miles on rentals of 5 days or more

Note that if you choose to earn frequent flyer miles instead of points, you will be charged $0.75-$1.50 per day, depending on the program. You’ll still be able to enjoy rewards programs perks like use of the express line and free authorized additional driver if you choose to earn miles instead of points.

Still life of a small airplane on laptop
You can earn airline miles with your car rental. (Photo by the_burtons/Getty Images)

How to earn rewards with Dollar Express

The earning scheme with Dollar Express is very straightforward and since there’s no elite status, there are no bonuses to keep track of.

You’ll earn a flat 1 point per dollar spent on qualifying rentals with Dollar. You can only earn points at participating locations in the United States and Canada. Although Dollar, Thrifty and Hertz are technically one company, you can’t earn or redeem points with the other brands.

How to redeem Dollar Express rewards

Points could be redeemed for free daily, weekly, or weekend rentals on compact, mid-size, standard or full-size cars.

Redemptions start at 500 points, but you’ll get the most value from your points with weekly rentals. Here are the redemption rates:

Reward Points required
1 free weekend rental day 500
2 free weekend rental days 1000
3 free weekend rental days 1500
4 free weekend rental days (max) 2000
1 free weekday rental day 625
2 free weekday rental days 1250
3 free weekday rental days 1875
4 free weekday rental days 2500
1 free weekly rental 2550
2 free weekly rentals (14 days max) 5000

The only major restrictions to be aware of is that points may only be redeemed within the U.S. and Canada and that there are blackout dates.

Points do not expire as long as you have activity in your account (either earning or redeeming points) at least once every 24 months.

Which credit card to use with Dollar Express

To maximize your Dollar rental, use a card that provides primary car rental insurance and earns bonus points on travel spending. Some of the best cards for car rentals include the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.

Both cards come with primary rental coverage so you can decline collision insurance and be covered in case anything goes wrong. Since car rentals code as travel, you’ll also earn bonus points — 3x points with the Sapphire Reserve (6% return based on TPG valuations) and 2x with the Preferred (4% return).

When filling your tank, use a card that earns extra points on gas spending. Some great options include the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, Citi Premier® Card or the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card

The information for the Amex EveryDay Preferred card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Renting a car? These are the cards you need to get now

The right credit card will protect you when things go wrong. (Photo by Peter Stark/Getty Images)

How to save on Dollar Express rentals

While you must book directly with Dollar to utilize the loyalty program, there are still ways to save on your rentals.

Deals and discount codes

Dollar Express publishes various deals and discount codes on the “Specials” page on its website. There’s a search bar on the left-hand side so you can find location-specific deals. You’ll also find various association discounts, such as for AAA and BJ’s Wholesale Club Members, at the bottom of the page.

Not all discount codes are always posted on this page, so you might also want to do a quick search online before booking.

AutoSlash

AutoSlash is a great tool for finding the lowest rates for rental cars. It will automatically find you the best discount based on your search, as well as track if your quoted price drops. It also has a coupons page with discount codes you could use when booking directly through Dollar.

Related: The complete guide to Enterprise Plus rewards

Dollar 4Business

If you’re a small business owner and rent cars for work, you’ll want to join the free Dollar 4Business program. Members enjoy a 7% discount on the base rate of all business car rentals, waived young renter fees, free additional drivers, unlimited mileage and waived change fees. Plus, business customers still get to earn points through the rewards program.

Bottom line

As the name suggests, Dollar car rental targets value-oriented travelers. The Dollar Express Rewards program allows casual travelers to make their rentals more rewarding and unlock some potentially time-saving benefits. However, with no elite status offerings, you’ll want to look elsewhere if you’re a frequent renter and want your loyalty recognized.

Featured image by Yu Chun Christopher Wong/S3studio/Getty Images

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