Hertz to give elite status benefits to all new loyalty members

Jul 1, 2021

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Today, Hertz announced that it will give Five Star elite status to all new Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members, effective immediately. Elite status will automatically apply to all new Hertz accounts created on or after July 1.

Additionally, the company announced that existing Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members will earn double points on all rentals through the end of the year.

This promotion is great for new members but could have some unforeseen fallout for existing Hertz elites. Let’s take a closer look at the promotion and discuss what it means for existing Hertz elite members.

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Hertz giving Five Star elite status to all new members

Hertz in NYC
New Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members are eligible for promotional elite status. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

As discussed in the intro, all new Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members are eligible for mid-tier Five Star elite status when signing up for a new account.

This promotional status delivers all the standard Five Star benefits, including:

  • 25% bonus points on all rentals, for 1.25 points per $1 spent on rentals.
  • Space-available car upgrades.
  • A wider selection of cars at Ultimate Choice lots.

This free elite status is good through the end of the year. Members can extend this promotional elite status for another year by completing three Hertz rentals before the end of 2021.

Normally, Five Star requires 12 rentals in a single calendar year, but this has been reduced to 10 rentals in 2021. This promotion gives new members a taste of elite status without committing to spending a set amount of money.

New Hertz members can take advantage of this promotion by creating a Hertz Gold Plus Rewards account online. Status will be automatically added to their account after it’s created.

Related: How to never pay full price for a rental car

Existing members earn double points on rentals through September

Existing members aren’t eligible for complimentary elite status but will earn double points on all rentals through Sept. 30. This means that members without status will earn 2 points per dollar, while top-tier President’s Circle elites earn 3 points per dollar spent.

Members can earn double points for rentals at any corporate-owned neighborhood or airport location. To earn, book directly on Hertz.com and enter promotion code “210520” at checkout.

This is a nice benefit for existing members — especially if they already have elite status and can stack with an elite bonus. This effectively makes free rentals half as hard to earn, which is great if you’re renting cars frequently through the end of the summer.

Unfortunately, existing Hertz members without elite status aren’t eligible for this promotion. They will have to earn status the old-fashioned way: by renting cars with Hertz.

Related: Everything you need to know about the Hertz My Car subscription

What does this mean for existing elites?

Existing Hertz elites may find it harder to get an upgrade this year. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

While it’s great to see Hertz announce new promotions to incentivize car rentals, I think Hertz’s existing elites are getting the short end of the stick here.

It will soon be harder for elites to clear a car upgrade with a sudden influx of new elites. This is especially unfortunate given we’re in the middle of a rental car shortage where getting any car at a reasonable price is difficult.

Five Star members are eligible for space-available upgrades and a better selection of cars at airports and rental locations with an Ultimate Choice lot. At these lots, members can pick any car they’d like and drive off the lot.

Generally, Ultimate Choice has a general member lot, Five Star lot and President’s Circle lot. I worry that a sudden flow of new renters will leave Ultimate Choice lots empty of premium cars, leaving existing members without the upgrade they earned.

I also worry that top-tier President’s Circle elite members will see less car selection due to this promotion. Some of these cars could be shifted to the Five Star lot to accommodate an influx of demand.

Of course, this is all just speculation, but it will be interesting to see how this large number of new elites affects long-term Hertz renters. But as a President’s Circle elite myself, I’m concerned given how hard it’s been to get a decent car upgrade over the past year.

Related: How to skip the long rental car line — and increase the odds you actually get a vehicle

Bottom line

Today, Hertz announced that new Gold Plus Rewards members will receive complimentary Five Star elite status through the end of the year, with an option to extend with three rentals. Existing members are eligible for double points on rentals.

These promotions seem great on paper, but I think they will be detrimental for existing members. It will likely make upgrades harder to clear and Ultimate Choice lots bare of nicer cars.

Regardless, it may help Hertz drum up demand and generate more revenue as travel recovers. This is extremely important given Hertz filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year, but has since exited.

Featured photo by antonnot/Shutterstock.com.

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