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Earning miles and points from Hertz – a beginners guide

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I am not an expert on car rentals – I only tend to hire a car two or three times a year, almost always for a trip out of London.  I was therefore grateful when Head for Points reader Felix offered to write an introductory piece on Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and earning airline miles from Hertz. 

As usual with guest posts, blame me for any errors and not Felix, because I have edited the piece and added a few extra details here and there!  Over to you, Felix ….

When renting a car, like flying, there are nearly always a number of options at your chosen pick-up point, from the single branch operation to a multinational behemoth. Also, like flying, your loyalty preferences can pay an important part in choosing which one to pick.

This post is about Hertz – one of the biggest and in my opinion often one of the best, with offices from Albania to Yemen and a good, clean product.

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards

Rather like a hotel loyalty programme, Hertz gives you the option of taking points in its own programme (Gold Plus Rewards) OR receiving a one-off chunk of airline miles.

Unlike most hotel programmes, though, with Hertz you are usually better off taking the airline miles.

Hertz Gold Plus

Let’s look at the various tiers of Hertz Gold Plus Rewards:

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards – basic tier

This is free to join – click here – and confers a number of benefits such as storing your details in a profile for quicker rentals and points accrual.

In my opinion the most valuable benefit of the scheme is it removes the requirement of the counterpart licence, meaning I could just walk into any Hertz office and drive out within minutes using only a credit card and my plastic DVLA photocard.

While in city centre locations you may receive quicker service, staff permitting, at a Hertz Gold Plus counter, the airport pickup is infinitely faster with your name and bay number displayed on a board and keys in the ignition.  Showing the rental document and your licence allows you to leave the parking lot immediately.

(Raffles note:  too true.  I remember a woeful 50 minutes spent queuing in Hertz at Cape Town airport two years ago.  Had I bothered to sign up for the programme at that point, I could have saved at least 45 of those minutes.)

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards – Five Star

The next level up is available FREE if you have an Amex Platinum charge card.  As long as you put your Platinum card number into your Hertz Gold Plus Rewards profile, you should be automatically upgraded.  It can also be earned after 10 rentals a year.  Five Star gives two more valuable benefits :

  • A 4-hour grace period
  • A 1 car-class upgrade where available. This can also be leveraged when bargaining with the rental desk for a car you actually want rather than the one you have been assigned.

Hertz and Amex

Many HfP readers will have an American Express Platinum card and therefore will probably already have a Hertz Gold Plus Rewards – Five Star membership.  This relationship has true benefits as I mentioned above.

Hertz also offers the following discounts for Amex cardholders:

Platinum (CDP 211672 or 633306) – 15%

Centurion (CDP 591064) – 20%

Speak to an agent at Hertz and they can load the CDP into your profile permanently so it appears as a dropdown when you log in.

It is worth noting that the Platinum and Centurion discount codes above AUTOMATICALLY give you the additional 4-hour grace period.  This means that you can still access this benefit even if you take airline miles from your rental instead of Hertz points.  This can be surprisingly useful if going away at the weekend – a rental from 12 noon on Friday to 4pm on Monday is only priced as three days and not four.

Amex Platinum and Centurion cardholders also benefit from car rental insurance for primary and supplementary cardholders so you have the option of declining all offered packages where not mandatory. As a quirk, one cannot claim against oneself, so if you crash into a vehicle rented by a supplementary card holder your insurance is invalid!

You will also find a range of other discount codes online.  Some are theoretically restricted to members of certain frequent flyer programmes or employees of certain companies.  The Hertz website will also often give lower prices depending on which country website you book with.  It is up to you whether you are happy going down this route and claiming discounts to which you are not technically entitled.

Should you collect Hertz points or airline miles from your rental?

You have the option of taking Hertz Gold Plus Rewards points or airline miles from your rental.

I usually select airline miles as they offer better value.  With airlines, the earning rate varies.  The most generous is Virgin Atlantic Flying Club at 1,000 miles per rental.  I’m currently saving up American Airlines AAdvantage miles (1 per $1 spent, although there is a 400% bonus until June 2014) for a US transcontinental booking – American has much lower taxes than UK carriers and you can take advantage of a ‘free’ US leg after or before an international flight.

If you want to earn Avios from your booking, you will need to credit it to Iberia Plus.  You will earn 300 Avios per day, more for larger cars.  You cannot credit your rental to British Airways Executive Club due to the exclusive deal that BA has with Avis.

If you opt to earn Hertz Gold Plus Rewards points, you will earn 1 point per pound/dollar/euro spent excluding multipliers. These can be redeemed for free days on a sliding scale of expense, although the redemption amounts differ by country.

This is the UK points redemption chart:

Hertz UK reward chart

Points expire after no account activity within a two year period.  However, you can transfer them for free to your spouse or ‘domestic partner’ by calling.

In addition, Hertz points can be transferred to these airline programmes in 600 point blocks:

Hertz airline partners

600 Hertz points = 500 airline miles, 1,200 Southwest Points or 1,000 IHG Rewards Club Points.  This is generally a poor deal compared to using them for a free rental.

The intricacies of booking

Booking a car is where things start to get interesting. Below is a price comparison of a number of searches for a midsize car between Friday 6th and Monday 9th June. Totals in yellow are the marginally more expensive Pay at Location prices.

From London Marble Arch:

Hertz price 1

From Las Vegas McCarran:

Hertz price 2

You can see from this that there is huge variance in prices, so putting in the time to play around with location and discount variables can lead to some tangible rewards. This holds true for every location.

Booking in Europe is generally cheaper from the USA and vice versa, but try selecting a country with a (relatively) devalued currency, such as Russia and you may find some good deals if you don’t mind paying in Rubles.

Not happy?

Finally, as a seasoned traveller you will know there is always room for negotiating. You’ll also know that whingeing is the fastest way to shut down any progress you could be making, so put on your best ‘is there any chance of an upgrade’ face and wind up the charm.

Hertz counter staff are empowered to make any substitutions possible.  If you visit one location regularly it is worth striking up a conversation about how, while you ordered a VW Golf but you’ve been given a Volvo estate, you don’t really need all that space and would much rather an Audi A4.

Another tactic for those that visit the same location more than once is to enquire about the fleet.  You can save £10 per day by ordering a cheaper car you know they don’t carry at that branch.

If all else fails, offer a cookie (Benny at London Victoria is partial to chocolate chip) and a smile and they’ll remember you for next time …..

How to get FREE car rental status and other benefits via UK credit cards (April 2023)

If you hire a car in the UK, you can get special benefits (discounts, upgrades, free additional drivers etc) if you have elite status with a car rental programme. You can get elite status for free via certain American Express cards.

The Platinum Card and American Express Business Platinum

The Platinum Card from American Express and American Express Business Platinum come with two free car hire status cards. Your supplementary Platinum cardholder can also receive status in their own right.

From Avis, you receive President’s Club status in Avis Preferred. This gets you up to 25% off standard rates, a free additional driver and a guaranteed one class upgrade. For weekend rentals you will receive a two class upgrade, subject to availability.

From Hertz, you receive ‘Five Star’ status in Hertz Gold Plus Rewards. This gets you up to 15% off standard rates, a free additional driver and a one class upgrade, subject to availability.

Hertz also offers Platinum cardholders a 4 hour grace period on rentals. Your final day is treated as 28 hours, so a 1pm pick up with a 5pm return the following day is only charged as one day, not two days. We wrote about the Hertz / Platinum 4 hour grace period here.

The Platinum Card also comes with full car hire insurance with no obligation to pay for the rental via American Express. You can refuse any attempts to sell you additional insurance at pick up. This benefit has substantial value if you rent on a regular basis.

You can find more details on the two Platinum cards, and apply, in our full reviews:

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is an excellent card in its own right. You receive 20,000 Membership Rewards points for signing up (convert to 20,000 Avios amongst other things), four airport lounge passes and £120 of Deliveroo credit. Even better, your first year is free.

There are two car rental benefits:

  • you receive Preferred Plus status in Avis Preferred
  • you receive a special package with Hertz – 10% off best available rates at participating locations, a one class upgrade for rentals of 5 days or more, subject to availability, and no additional driver fees

Find out more about the benefits of American Express Preferred Rewards Gold, and apply, in our review:

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

Comments (45)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Frenske says:

    I had bad experience with Hertz in Mexico (Cancun).

    First to tried to make us pay extra for more bigger car and then we were forced to pay quiet a lot of money for the insurance which effectivily doubled the rental price. And worst was that the expensive insurance still had an excess of 20% of the value of the car.

    I know in Europe it is better arranged, but always double check what you will get.

  • aceman says:

    Having spent a lot of time jiggling around with Hertz prices etc in the past (though have often ignored the miles component so thanks Felix/Raffles!) here’s my tuppence worth…

    The UK rate always includes CDW and insurance, so if you’re changing countries, make sure you’re comparing like for like.

    You may think that your credit card including the insurance will get it for you cheaper by having it removed, however this is rarely the case:
    If you’re setting up your gold profile, you can set defaults for various countries, such as “dont take the insurance in the USA”. This can lead to it pricing up more expensive then if you had taken the insurance, so check the price before logging into your account, then again after.
    The only location where I’ve found that this actually works out well for me with is JER where it will price online without the insurance at a lower price. (However JER is one of those annoying locations that charges you upfront for a tank of fuel, so they get their own back!)

    If I want to ensure an upgrade, I’ll call up the gold line under the pretext of checking my reservation then ask them to write a note in the reservation to “please upgrade 5* customer”.

    If you’re intending to take advantage of a special upgrade price on the day, book the cheapest car you can, since they don’t take the car you’ve booked into consideration when offering you the specials.

    As gold you can take advantage of Hertz Gold Choice, which various Hertz locations have. Basically, you go check your car out, if you don’t like it, theres a Gold Choice Section where they have an assorted selection of cars and you can just hop in one of those and drive off instead. The cars IME usually top out at Full Size, so don’t expect to see the Hertz ferrari there any time soon.

    European locations:

    London LHR Heathrow Airport
    Stuttgart STR Stuttgart Airport
    Munich MUC Munich Airport
    Frankfurt FRA Frankfurt Airport
    Amsterdam AMS Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
    Edinburgh EDI Edinburgh Airport
    Birmingham BHX Birmingham Airport
    Rome FCO Rome Fiumicino Airport

    And load of US locations (LAS & LAX for sure, where I’ve ended up with midsize SUVS)

    Finally one way rentals can be tricky for most rental companies, price it up first, look for a few CDPs online, but if all else fails book through holiday autos, one way doesn’t seem to change the price there.

  • dave says:

    12 noon Friday to 4PM Monday is three days and 4 hours. So would be billed at 3 days. 4PM Sunday would be correct.

  • Jeremy Parsons says:


    Just a note of caution the 4 hour grace period is not support in all US states or locations , I could not get this in Florida and I have platinum and Presidents Circle.

    • Rob says:

      Thanks Jeremy. Luckily you can tell before you book if its working, because the price it quotes automatically charges for fewer days if the gap between the pick-up and drop-off time is less than 4 hours difference.

  • John Richards says:

    Hi Raffles, where does it say that Five Star members get an upgrade? I can’t see that anywhere in the benefits section of Gold Rewards?

  • Nick says:

    Noddy question: are those pictures in the article actual screen prints, or are they something that you’ve pulled together yourself? If they are screen prints, what comparison site do they come from?


    • Felix says:

      Something I pulled together after changing country/profile/discount input.

  • Lady London says:

    I have used Hertz for many years. While vigilance on pricing and state of the car at pickup is always necessary with any company, I rate Hertz as currently the best of a “baddish” lot.

    Thanks to other posters for the refresh on some of the points above. A couple of helpful things to add are :-

    – if you phone Hertz central reservations to book, often the agents will know of promotions like Mastercard that periodically offers free one ways if drop is within same country. This one in particular recurs. They may know of other promotions also that you might not find booking on the internet.

    – The Prepaid option can vary from only very slightly cheaper than paying when you bring back the car, to being very much cheaper than paying on drop-off (“Local” option). A key difference is that if you underrun the number of days you prepaid you get nothing back. Worse, if you overrun on a prepaid any extra days are usually charged at a very high rate that is on your documents when you pick up the car and should be avoided.

    If you are unsure how many days you need the car, Hertz agents advise that the best thing to do is to book the maximum number of days you are likely to need at the local (not prepaid) rate. On a non-prepaid rate if you bring the car back at less days than you booked you will not have to pay the extra days that you booked. You will only be charged pro rata on the rate you booked and only for the days you actually used. So if you book a local rate for 10 days and bring back at 7 days, you will only pay 7/10ths of the rate you prebooked at. If you had prepaid 7 days and then added 3, it is likely you would far exceed both your prepaid amount and perhaps even multiply the original prepaid amount by 2 (I am not kidding!) and also far more than the locally paid rate you would have been quoted upfront. This is particularly useful to remember if you are booking at peak periods when the rates per day are very inflated. Recently I saw in terms that they may have the option to make a small charge for early return, but it was around £6. If I book excess days to preserve the price in this way, as a courtesy I keep the branch advised of my true intentions as to when they will get their car back.

    Yes Hertz is worse than the airlines on ratcheting up prices quoted each time you ask for a quote on the internet. If you login they will often fail to quote cheaper cars or put them at the bottom of the list with “click to quote” rather than the price, etc. They are very naughty and keeping the cleanest system you can is useful. I personally would not plan to use a CDP or other code to which I am not entitled.

  • Lady London says:


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