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Quick Points: Get automatic rental car elite status through your credit card

Dec. 03, 2021
4 min read
Hertz Corvette in the Ultimate Choice lot in Miami
Quick Points: Get automatic rental car elite status through your credit card
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Editor's Note

This post has been updated with new information. 

Although we cover loyalty programs and credit cards in-depth on TPG every day, sometimes you just want a snippet of useful information that you can put into action on the fly. That’s why we launched the series Quick Points. Every week, we’ll highlight a new or easily forgotten tip that can help you travel more for less.



Car rental elite status is often overlooked in the travel space, in large part because the benefits are limited. That said, it can still make a huge difference when you're on the road frequently. Generally, rental car status includes space-available upgrades and bonus points earning, which can go a long way depending on when and where you rent a car.

You don't need to rent cars a lot to earn rental car elite status either. Nowadays, many premium credit cards offer cardholders rental car elite status with companies like Hertz and National. Let's take a closer look at cards that offer this perk.

Earn rental car elite status with a credit card

(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

Nearly all of the premium travel cards include rental car elite status — here's a look:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: National Emerald Club Executive, Avis Preferred Plus and Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President's Circle (enrollment required)
  • Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Hertz President's Circle
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: National Emerald Club Executive and select Avis Preferred benefits
  • United Club Infinite Card: Avis President's Club status
  • U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card: Avis Preferred Plus, National Emerald Club Executive and select Hertz Gold Plus Rewards benefits
  • United℠ Presidential Plus℠ Card: Avis President's Club status
  • AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®: National Emerald Club Executive and select Avis Preferred benefits
  • AAdvantage® Aviator Silver World Elite Mastercard®: National Emerald Club Executive and select Avis Preferred benefits
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®: National Emerald Club Executive and select Avis Preferred benefits
  • Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®: National Emerald Club Executive and select Avis Preferred benefits
  • Virgin Atlantic World Elite Mastercard®: National Emerald Club Executive and select Avis Preferred benefits
  • Citi Premier® Card: National Emerald Club Executive and select Avis Preferred benefits

Enrollment is required for select American Express benefits.

Then, once you have status in one car rental program, you can many times match your status to another car rental program — such as with National, Hertz and Enterprise. Many times you can even request a status match if you have status with a hotel or airline loyalty program.

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Related: The complete guide to car rental elite status matches

Bottom line

While credit cards provide a ton of perks, this lesser-known benefit can come in quite handy on your next vacation. Car rental status not only provides discounted rates but can also allow you to earn complimentary rentals quicker, earn more points and receive upgraded cars.

If you have a credit card that provides car rental status, now is the time to quickly link up your accounts to ensure you are receiving all of the benefits you are eligible for.

Additional reporting by Andrew Kunesh.

Feature photo by EQRoy/Shutterstock.com

Featured image by (Photo by EQRoy/Shutterstock.com)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees