Register Now for National's Fantastic One Two Free Promotion
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Look, I totally get it — rental car loyalty programs just don't have the cachet of their airline and hotel counterparts. After all, the best you can hope for is a free day or two, or an upgrade whenever you borrow what's effectively a used (and not especially well-cared-for) car — that obviously doesn't garner the same level of excitement as a flight in a first-class suite. But some rental car agency promotions can definitely be worth paying attention to, like National's annual One Two Free.
Each year, National offers an opportunity to earn a free day certificate for every two rentals you complete within a specified period — this year, it's Thursday, August 23, through February 28, 2019. You'll need to register for the promotion here before you reserve your rental in order to be eligible.
For every 600 points you accrue, you'll earn one free day redeemable by June 13, 2019. Redemptions must be booked at least 23 hours in advance, and you can only use up to three certificates per rental.
As for earning, you'll get 300 points for every paid rental of two days or more. There are also a handful of other opportunities to boost your account, though almost all need to be tied to specific rentals:
- 25 points: One-time bonus when you download the National Car Rental app.
- 75 points: When you reserve using the National Car Rental app and complete the rental.
- 50 points: When you complete a rental using the app's Emerald Checkout feature.
- 50 points: When you complete a brief Emerald Club survey.
- 50 points: One-time bonus when you opt in to receive Emerald Club emails.
- 300 points: One-time bonus when you complete a rental in three different countries during the promotion.
- 75 points: One-time bonus when you complete any five available bonus opportunities on your dashboard.
- 100 points: One-time bonus when you complete your third Qualifying Rental.
- 200 points: When you rent with Enterprise Rent-A-Car at neighborhood locations (i.e., all locations other than airport locations). Limit to three bonuses for up to 600 points.
- 100 points: One-time bonus when you rent for 2-4 days with a Saturday night keep.
- 200 points: One-time bonus when you rent for five days or more.
- 300 points: When you rent at participating locations in Latin America and the Caribbean.
- 300 points: When you rent at participating locations in Europe (through Enterprise Rent-A-Car).
- 300 points: One-time bonus when you add SiriusXM Satellite Radio to a Qualifying Rental.
- 100 points: One-time bonus when you click on the Mystery bonus opportunity on your dashboard when it’s available.
What makes this promotion especially lucrative is that you can earn a bunch of points from work rentals or cheap rentals at leisure destinations, then redeem your certificates for far pricier cars. For example, you could complete a pair of two-day rentals for $50 each, then turn around and use your One Two Free credit to offset the cost of a one-way rental in a major city that would normally run $100 or more.
In the past, my certificates have covered the full price of a one-way rental — I once used a certificate for a free ride back to Los Angeles after CES in Vegas, when airfares can be astronomically high. This year, the terms state that one-way rental fees may still apply, but I have a feeling they may be waived in practice. You do still need to pay some taxes and fees, such as those charged by an airport.
As always, be sure to book your rental with a card that provides primary coverage, such as two TPG favorites, the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. For more details on which cards to pick, check out Credit Cards That Offer Primary Car Rental Coverage.