National car rental not being flexible about expiring certificates

Nov 27, 2020

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This story has been updated to provide more context about National’s One Two Free promotion and include a statement from National.

During the coronavirus pandemic, most airlines and hotels have stepped up by extending elite status, mileage expiration dates and travel vouchers. With travel at a standstill for much of the year, most people couldn’t redeem their travel rewards like they normally did.

National Rental Car has left some customers wondering what will happen to some of their rewards beyond Dec. 31, 2020. That question has now been answered. National extended expiring Free Days through Dec. 31, 2021, but unfortunately, awards earned during the One Two Free promotion – which the company announced in May would be extended through the end of the year – are set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020. National told TPG that it doesn’t plan to extend the expiration date a second time.

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(Screenshot courtesy Michael and Eizabeth Kiefer)

Related:  National loyalty guide

Reader Michael K. recently reached out to us with a dilemma he and his wife Elizabeth are facing involving these free rental certificates. Michael is an Emerald Plus Executive member who frequently travels for business and has earned two free rental day certificates through National’s One Two Free promotion that expire on Dec. 31. When his wife reached out to National Car Rental about a possible extension, she received a confounding answer: 

“This representative let her know that, ‘It is not, at this time, National’s intention to extend the expiration dates of these OneTwoFree certificates, regardless of what’s happening in the world due to Covid-19.’

He recommended I call back in AFTER December 15 so see if the company has “changed their mind” and will extend the expiration dates of these OneTwoFree certificates.’

That means that, if I call them on December 16 and they tell me they have not changed their mind about the 12.31.20 expiration, I’d have to scramble to go somewhere (which I AM NOT going to do due to Covid-19) with only 2 weeks left before expiration (and over the Christmas holiday) or lose these certificates.”

It’s understandably frustrating for readers like Michael and Elizabeth to earn these free rental days and have them expire due to their inability to travel during the pandemic. We’d like to see National extend the One Two Free promotion and have asked whether it’ll be extended before. Unfortunately, if you do have expiring free rental days, you may want to use them soon, as National told us that they would, in fact, expire at the end of 2020.

While the expiring One Two Free days are discouraging, it’s not all bad news.

Related: National extends Free Day benefits through 2021

“There are several other loyalty flexibilities/extensions we have announced since March 2020 to support our loyal customers during this very challenging time,” National told TPG in a statement on Nov. 30.

Earlier this year, National extended elite status and other loyalty benefits for an additional year. For instance, Emerald Club Program Free Days that previously expired Dec. 31, 2020, will now not expire until Dec. 31, 2021. Also, Emerald Club members can now redeem their earned free days at participating Enterprise Rent-A-Car locations in the U.S or Canada, in addition to National locations, if they make their reservations by Dec. 31, 2020, for pick up by Jan. 31, 2021.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted travel plans, and both National Car Rental and Enterprise Rent-A-Car have monitored this from day one and worked very hard to support our loyal customers with point rollovers and tier extensions,” National told TPG.

Featured photo by Becker Bredel/ullstein bild via Getty Images

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