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

Dec 3, 2021

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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.

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Earn rental car elite status with a credit card

National rental counter
(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 select Hertz Gold Plus Rewards benefits (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 NationalHertz and Enterprise. Many times you can even request a status match if you have status with a hotel or airline loyalty program.

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

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.

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.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • 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
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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