The complete guide to Hertz Gold Rewards
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Hertz has long been my rental car company of choice. While not perfect, they have offered the best experience in New York City, with plenty of neighborhood locations, reasonable rates and a great partnership with AAA. Plus, they’ve never sacked me with unnecessary fees (except for tolls, of course).
Over the years, I’ve learned the ins and outs of the Hertz Gold Rewards program and found ways to maximize the program. Here, I’ll share all of the best ways to earn and redeem Hertz points as well as give an overview of earning and using Hertz Gold Rewards elite status.
One quick thing before we get started: Hertz is in the middle of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This means that the rental car company can continue to operate during its bankruptcy proceedings. However, if it were to liquidate, your points and elite status would be rendered worthless. So keep this in mind before you set out to earn them.
Let’s dive in!
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How to earn Hertz Gold Rewards points
The only way to earn Hertz Gold Rewards points is by renting cars. You’ll earn one Hertz point per dollar spent on rentals, so a $500 rental would earn 500 points. Those with Hertz elite status will earn bonus points based on their status level:
- Five Star: 25% bonus equaling 1.25 points per dollar
- President’s Circle: 50% bonus equaling 1.5 points per dollar
Hertz points expire every 18 months without rental activity.
As discussed earlier, I think earning bonus points is the most valuable perk for Hertz elite status members. These points are hard to earn and — as you’ll see later in the article — Hertz points can be extremely valuable.
There is another interesting way to boost your earning rate too. For example, you’ll earn 2x points on all rentals with the $99 annual Hertz Free-To-Go membership. This is on top of your elite status bonus, giving you a nice boost.
Hertz frequently runs double points promotions too, so keep an eye out for these the next time you rent a car.
How to redeem Hertz Gold Rewards points
Things get tricky when it comes to redeeming Hertz Gold Rewards points. Hertz has two redemption levels: Standard and AnyDay. Standard awards are significantly lower priced but are restricted to specific dates. On the other hand, AnyDay rewards can be redeemed without blackout dates but cost twice the number of points.
With that in mind, I recommend redeeming points for Standard rewards when you can. Unless your rental is extremely expensive, I wouldn’t recommend using AnyDay rentals as they’re generally a bad deal.
Here’s a quick overview of how the Hertz award chart and how you can maximize redemptions.
Maximizing Hertz Standard redemptions
Hertz Standard rentals are half the cost of AnyDay rentals and start at 750 points per day. These rentals are valid for round-trip rentals in the U.S. Here’s a look at pricing for round-trip compact through premium rentals:
Further, you can rent Specialty, Adrenaline and Prestige cars for more points. The Specialty tier includes higher-end vehicles and can be found at most Hertz locations. On the other hand, Adrenaline has performance vehicles like Corvettes and high-end Mustangs while Prestige has ultra-high-end luxury vehicles like Caddilac Escalades, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW.
Specialty vehicle rentals start at 1,500 points per day, Adrenaline starts at 2,200 points and Prestige starts at 2,500 points. You can view the award chart for these redemptions on Hertz’s website.
Hertz also offers discounts on one-week rentals booked with points. Weekly standard rentals start at 3,750 points for a round-trip seven-day rental. This is roughly 535 points per day, which is a solid discount over booking seven one-day rentals.
Finally, one-way rentals — where you return your vehicle to a different Hertz location — are twice the cost of a round-trip rental. This means a one-day, one-way Standard rental will cost 1,500 points.
How to book Standard awards with Hertz
So, when can you book Standard awards? Good question — and there’s no easy answer. Unfortunately, each Hertz location has a different set of Standard award dates and some offer more than others.
You can view the list of Standard award dates by heading to Hertz’s website and entering your pickup location. The website will show you the peak dates which can only be booked with AnyDay rewards. Any date period not listed here can be booked at the Standard rate.
In cities where Hertz has multiple locations, it’s in your best interest to check multiple Hertz locations to see which has off-peak dates that work with your travel schedule. Some locations only have on-peak dates during holidays while others block off entire seasons, so your mileage may vary on finding a location that works for you.
Maximizing your Hertz Gold Rewards points by renting high-end cars
Your Hertz Gold Rewards points can go a long way — in many cases, they can be worth more than two cents per point. The main thing I recommend doing to maximize your value is always book premium rentals when using your points for Standard awards. These awards can be used for anything from a compact car to a high-end premium rental, so you might as well rent a cool ride if you’re already using your points.
For example, the total cost of a one-day Large Luxury Sedan at Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) on Sept. 8, 2020, is $223.53 after tax. You can use 750 points to rent this car, giving you a solid 2.98 cents per point on your rental. This is significantly more value than booking a Medium SUV, which costs $128.31 after tax.
So if you can, rent a higher-end car with your points. You’ll have more fun and get more value from your hard-earned Hertz Gold Rewards points — not a bad combination if you ask me.
Hertz Gold Rewards elite status
Hertz offers two elite status tiers: Five Star and President’s Circle. You can earn status based on how often you rent cars with Hertz. In addition, two major U.S. airlines offer Hertz status to its elite members — we’ll discuss this in-depth in the next section.
Let’s take a closer look at the benefits offered by both of these status tiers and discuss qualification requirements.
Hertz Five Star elite status
Five Star status is the lower-end of the two status tiers and is earned after you complete 12 Hertz rentals or spend $2,400 on rental cars in a given calendar year. Hertz Five Star elite receive several benefits with limited usefulness for most renters. The most notable of these benefits include:
- Space available upgrades: You’re eligible for a one-class car upgrade if the Hertz location you’re renting from has cars in stock.
- Bonus points: You’ll earn 25% more points on all rentals, equal to 1.25 points per dollar spent.
- Wider Ultimate Choice availability: When renting from a Hertz location with an Ultimate Choice lot, Hertz Five Star members have access to a wider range of cars.
- President’s Circle for a day: Complete 15 Hertz rentals and enjoy top-tier President’s Circle benefits for a day.
Unfortunately, I don’t think these benefits are very useful — while a one-class upgrade is nice, it isn’t guaranteed. The most valuable benefit is the 25% point bonus, which is guaranteed.
Hertz President’s Circle elite status
Things start to get more interesting when it comes to President’s Circle status. This is Hertz’s top-tier status level and includes an upgraded set of perks. Here’s a look:
- Guaranteed upgrades: You’re eligible for a guaranteed one-class car upgrade — in practice though, this is still based on if the Hertz location you’re renting from has an upgraded car in stock.
- Bonus points: You’ll earn 50% more points on all rentals for 1.5 points per dollar spent.
- Widest Ultimate Choice availability: If renting from a Hertz location with an Ultimate Choice lot, you’ll have access to a wider range of cars than a standard or Five Star member.
- Dedicated Hertz Rewards phone line: You have access to a dedicated Hertz phone number for President’s Circle members.
You’ll earn Five Star status after completing 20 Hertz rentals or spending $4,000 on rental cars in a single calendar year. These benefits are significantly more valuable than Five Star, but I still wouldn’t go out of my way to rent with Hertz solely to earn status if there are cheaper options available.
A look at Hertz’s various partnerships
Hertz has partnerships with a handful of travel companies, with two of the most popular being status matches from Delta and United Airlines. Additionally, you can save on Hertz rentals and take advantage of other perks if you’re a AAA member or you have The Platinum Card from American Express.
Free Hertz status for Delta Medallion elites
If you have Delta elite status, you’re eligible for a free status match to Hertz Gold Rewards status. Medallion Gold members can match to Five Star status while Platinum and Diamond members can match to top-tier President’s Circle status.
To take advantage of this status match, just head to the Hertz page on Delta’s website and enter your SkyMiles and Hertz credentials. The match may take a few days to process, but you’ll be eligible for the full range of Hertz elite status benefits once its complete.
Through this partnership, you can also earn bonus SkyMiles by crediting your rentals to Delta instead of Hertz. As discussed earlier, I don’t recommend doing this — you’ll get more value by earning Hertz points to use for free rentals.
Free Hertz status for United Premier elites
Hertz has a similar partnership with United. United MileagePlus Premier members and those with select cobranded credit cards can match their status to Hertz for free. Here’s a breakdown of who is eligible for a Hertz status match:
- Hertz Five Star: United Premier Silver and Premier Gold members
- Hertz President’s Circle: Premier 1K and Premier Platinum elite members; United Club Card and United℠ Presidential Plus℠ Card primary cardmembers ((no longer available for new applicants).
You can enroll in this status match using this form on the United website. This is an excellent deal for those eligible, and I highly recommend that you take advantage of the promotion before your next Hertz rental.
United cardmembers and elite members are eligible for bonus miles when earning MileagePlus miles instead of Hertz Gold Rewards points too, but like Delta, I don’t recommend doing this. We’ve found that Hertz Gold Rewards points are harder to earn than United miles and that a small amount of miles can be used for a high value redemption.
The information for the United Club Card and the United Presidential Plus 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.
Hertz benefits for Amex Platinum cardholders
- One-class car upgrade: Participating locations will upgrade your rental by one car class, based on availability.
- Special rates: You’re eligible to take advantage of preferred pricing when available.
- Preferred rates on Prestige weekend rentals: You can score a discount when renting Prestige collection vehicles at participating locations; this is limited to weekend rentals.
- Bonus points: Earn a 10% bonus Hertz Gold Rewards points when using the Amex Platinum corporate code.
- Four-hour grace period: You can return your car up to four hours late without penalty.
These benefits can be extremely useful, depending on how competitive the special rates are when you rent. That said, you cannot use this corporate code in conjunction with another corporate code, so make sure to cross-compare pricing before you rent.
Take advantage of Hertz perks with a AAA membership
Despite not owning a car, I keep an annual AAA membership solely for the included Hertz perks. Members have access to a corporate code that gives up to 20% off rentals, waives the pesky under 25 fee and offers a discount on prepaid gas, amongst other minor benefits.
Being an under 25 renter, I mostly rent with the AAA code for the waived fee. That said, I’ve saved a considerable amount of money over the years with the included discount too, making the $4.50 per month AAA membership fee well worth it for me.
Save money on rental car insurance with credit cards
Like most rental car companies, Hertz offers a primary damage waiver for all of its rentals. These waivers protect you against theft and damage incurred to the vehicle, ranging from everything from a simple fender-bender to a total loss of the vehicle.
Primary damage waivers come at a cost, though. You’ll generally pay between $14 and $20 per day, which becomes a huge out of pocket cost if you rent cars frequently.
That said, we always recommend having one of these waivers when you rent a car. It can save you a ton of money if you do end up in a wreck and will protect your car insurance rates from going up, as you can claim the damage waiver coverage before your personal insurance.
Thankfully, you can get one of these damage waivers for free — just pay with your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve. These cards offer primary car rental coverage, which protects you from vehicle damage or loss, as long as you charge the rental to your Chase card. Sapphire Preferred cardholders are covered up to the cash value of the car, while the Reserve card offers up to $75,000 in reimbursement.
Plus, these cards earn bonus Ultimate Rewards points on travel purchases, so you’ll get a nice return on your rentals. You can transfer these points to major airline and hotel loyalty programs for business and first-class flights and awesome hotel suites.
Don’t have a Chase credit card? Here’s a look at the current offers:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening. Earns 2x Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining purchases.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening. Earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining purchases.
Hertz Gold Rewards isn’t perfect, but it’s one of the best rental car loyalty programs out there. Hertz points have the potential to be extremely valuable during off-peak rental dates, and elite status can be great too. So if you’re a United or Delta elite, be sure to enroll in your status match to take advantage of the benefits.
That said, you’re usually best off renting with whoever gives you the best price on your rental. Check out our full article on how to never pay full price for a rental car for more info — it includes some great money-saving tips.
Featured photo by EQRoy/Shutterstock
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