Stacking rental car perks with Hertz and the Venture X
No one likes waiting in line — for anything. And some of the worst lines can be those at airport rental car counters. These (frustratingly) always seem to appear after a long flight with your family, when all you want is to get in the car and go.
Forget all of the other perks that come with rental car elite status. The upgrades, the “free second driver” — even the four-hour grace period on returns. None of that compares to the ability to skip the line when picking up your car. I’d argue that it’s the perk most of us care about.
Unfortunately, this typically isn’t available when booking cars through a third-party platform. And this includes popular credit card portals like Chase Travel and Capital One Travel — which is a bummer, since you can earn hefty bonuses for making travel reservations through these sites.
Fortunately, it’s now possible to do just that with one popular travel rewards card.
Read on for everything you need to know about booking Hertz rentals with the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card.
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Venture X rental car benefits
The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card touts two key benefits related to rental cars:
- 10 miles per dollar spent on car rentals booked with Capital One Travel.
- Top-tier Hertz President’s Circle status.
If you book a rental car — from any company — via the Capital One Travel portal and pay with your Venture X card, you will earn 10 miles per dollar spent on that rental. On the other hand, rentals booked elsewhere (including directly with the rental car company) will only earn 2 miles per dollar.
If you rent a car for a week and spend $500, that difference can really add up.
Booked with Capital One Travel, you would earn 5,000 miles from this rental. However, you would earn just 1,000 miles by booking anywhere else. Since TPG values Capital One miles at 1.85 cents each, the difference between the two amounts is $74. Even if you were to just use those miles for travel at a fixed value of 1 cent per mile, you’d earn $40 in additional rewards by going through Capital One.
In addition, Venture X cardholders can also enjoy automatic Hertz President’s Circle status, just for being a cardholder.
If you visit the information page or application page for the Venture X, you’ll see this benefited touted:
You’ll need to register with Hertz first, and President’s Circle status offers the following perks:
- Guaranteed upgrades.
- Free additional driver.
- The widest choice of cars when starting your rental.
And most importantly, you can skip the line and head straight to your car at most major airports — which can save you a ton of time, especially during busy travel periods.
When the Venture X first launched, you were not able to combine these two perks. You could book directly with Hertz to utilize your President’s Circle status, or you could book through Capital One travel to enjoy 10 miles per dollar. You couldn’t do both.
Thankfully, that has now changed.
Stacking rewards on rental cars with the Venture X
When booking a rental car in the Capital One Travel portal, start by searching for a car as you normally would, and select the option you want. However, you will have a different experience on the final page depending on the rental car company you select.
If you choose a car from Hertz, Thrifty or Dollar (the last two are owned by Hertz), you can enter your rewards number on the very last page before paying.
Here is a rental I selected for a Hertz car:
Since Hertz Corporation also owns Thrifty and Dollar, this option is present when renting with either of those companies as well.
However, you can’t do this with other rental car companies. If you choose to rent with Avis, Budget or others in the Capital One portal, you won’t have the option to put in your rewards number.
And TPG has confirmed that adding your Hertz number does (in fact) unlock the perks of Gold Plus Rewards while also earning 10 miles per dollar.
TPG director of content Nick Ewen recently rented a car from Hertz and booked via Capital One Travel. Since he has the Venture X card, the portal indicated that he would earn 10 miles per dollar on the purchase during the booking process. And sure enough, once it posted to his account, the initial payment of $58.09 earned him 581 miles.
However, if he had rented with any other platform, he would’ve earned just two miles per dollar on his rental — even on a Hertz car. You have to book through the Capital One Travel portal to get the extra rewards.
But one important question remained: Would adding his Hertz number during booking actually trigger the perks?
Simply put, yes.
When he arrived at the Hertz garage at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), his name was on the board directing him toward the Gold members area.
Interestingly, his Hertz user profile online (and his rental agreement) correctly indicated his President’s Circle status. It was also reflected on his return receipt.
However, the welcome board listed his status as Gold — two tiers below President’s Circle.
Nevertheless, he still was able to pick from over two-dozen cars and head straight to the exit. This was despite booking the cheapest car available — a Chevrolet Spark. His options including a range of intermediate cars and mid-sized SUVs, though he ultimately chose a Nissan Altima for his one-day rental.
He got a larger car, saved valuable time and earned 10 miles per dollar by using the Venture X card.
On top of this, he could even use his Hertz status to match to other rental programs, and using the Venture X card even gave him primary car rental coverage in case of damage or theft to the vehicle.
Comparing with rentals through OTAs
What makes this ability to stack points earning with status perks so unique is that it doesn’t apply to other situations. You can’t add your hotel rewards numbers to bookings with Capital One Travel. You typically won’t enjoy hotel perks with your favorite loyalty program if you book through a portal. (You can always try calling the hotel directly to ask about adding your number after booking, but there’s no guarantee it’ll work.)
The same applies to most rental cars booked through online travel agencies (OTAs). Most don’t even offer a space to add your rental car rewards number on the reservation, though Priceline is one exception.
However, even if you add your Hertz loyalty number, it likely won’t carry over into Hertz’s system. Thus, you won’t enjoy perks like upgrades or going straight to the car.
When I made a booking with Priceline and put in my Hertz number last year, the Hertz counter at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) said they couldn’t see my loyalty number on the reservation. And Hertz phone representatives also told me they don’t see this number when booking through a third-party service like Priceline. Thus, I needed to wait in line to pick up the car — and I didn’t get an upgrade.
While one TPG reader has reported success in doing this, it may not work for you.
If you have the Venture X and reserve a Hertz car through the Capital One Travel portal, you get a combination of perks that you can’t get elsewhere. You get extra points and status perks in this specific combination, though this isn’t possible with rental cars from other companies, rental cars booked via other portals or with hotels reserved in nearly any portal.
The new Capital One Travel portal launched last fall, and despite some nice features, many travelers continued to book directly with car rental companies and hotel loyalty programs to ensure they earned points and could utilize the perks of elite status.
In addition, when the portal first launched, it wasn’t showing any Hertz cars at all, and you couldn’t reserve a car with less than 24 hours’ notice.
These issues are no more, and there’s now a fantastic opportunity for Venture X cardholders to stack enhanced earning rates with elite status perks on Hertz rental cars. This is a unique way to make your rental experience as rewarding and stress-free as possible this summer.
Featured image by tupungato/Getty Images.
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