New benefits from Hertz Gold Plus Rewards … including a useful one!

I published a long piece on Hertz Gold Plus Rewards back in January as part of a longer look at how to earn miles and points from Hertz.  I also wrote this post in October about Hertz Five Star, the ‘premium’ level which is given free to American Express Platinum cardholders.

Hertz has just announced some improvements to Hertz Gold Plus Rewards which are worth knowing about.

Hertz Gold Plus

The bulk of the new benefits are not desperately exciting, although I admit that they may prove useful in practice:

  • More Points: Earn points in more countries.
  • Quick Rewards: Claim rewards when you book and see your points balance in real time.
  • Locate and Go: Carfirmation tells you where your vehicle is parked.
  • Speedy Returns: Experience our fastest car rental drop-off with Instant Return.
  • Faster Status: Achieve Five Star status after 7 rentals (or get it free with Amex Platinum!)

This one, though, IS worth having:

  • Extra Driver: Pay no additional driver fees for a spouse or domestic partner.

One of the oddest things about car rental is the way that you are penalised, often quite dramatically, by having a second named driver.  Logically, especially on a long trip, it should be safer if two people share the driving and therefore beneficial to Hertz, which is presumably keen to get its cars and customers back in one piece.

Avis already offers a free additional driver to British Airways Executive Club members who book via the special Avis / BA website.  This new move puts Hertz on a similar footing – unless your passenger is a friend and not your partner, in which case Avis remains the better deal.

As Hertz Gold Plus Rewards is free to join, Hertz is effectively abolishing additional driver fees for most people.  There is now no excuse for being caught out signing up to pay an extra £12 or so per day for your partner.

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  1. Slightly off topic but two years ago I hired a car in Orlando and when I went to pick up the car I was given the choice of whatever I wanted in the car park in that particular category so I had a choice of what car I wanted out of ten different vehicles in that category rather than just being given the keys and making do with what vehicle I am allocated. In other readers’ experience is there a particular rental company that offers this or does it vary with location rather than the company. ?

    • Hertz definitely offer this (‘Gold aisle’), but only at a few locations – I think there’s a list on the website. I believe National offer something similar, again not at all locations though.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Avis sent out printable upgrade vouchers like candy whilst I was using them last year. This meant that I could present it at pickup and chat through what I’d been allocated and what they could give me as an upgrade (helped that the location wasn’t too busy). Best one was probably a 3 series, having booked lowest category (eg Peugeot 107) although I actually rather liked a brand new (<100 miles on it) Ford Focus that I once got to break in.

    • Hertz do a version of this at some airports for top tier customers.

    • This sounds a bit like Hertz Gold Choice. If you rent an intermediate or higher you can swap to any car in the Gold Choice aisle. So you could pay for an intermediate and then drive away a full size.

      Gold Choice is available to all Gold Plus Rewards members.

      Its available at most large Airport locations in the US and the following in Europe…

      London, UK
      Stuttgart, Germany
      Frankfurt, Germany
      Munich, Germany
      Amsterdam, Netherlands
      Birmingham, UK
      Edinburgh, UK

    • I can only speak for renting in the US, but I think a large majority of airport pickup locations let you just go to the associated category, and get in the car you want to – regardless of rental company.

      We have done so with Dollar, Alamo, National etc at LAS, MIA, DEN, SFO (and possibly others) and they have all worked like that.

      It only seems to be the smaller pickup locations (ie. hotels), where they pre-allocate you a car.

  2. Always nice to have an improvement, but annoying it’s only for partners and doesn’t include friends or family 🙁

    I’m not sure the return process is really any different, but in any case always double-check they have recorded the fuel correctly, I’ve been caught out with them on that before.

  3. How can they tell if someone is your “partner” and not another relative / housemate (especially if you have several driving licences, or one that doesn’t show your address)?

    • I guess it depends on how hard they question you but certainly when renting a car with my parents previously I don’t think I could have easily pretended my father was my partner! Probably a bit easier with a sibling.

    • It’s domestic partner so you need to reside at the same address. In the US you don’t even need to show your spouse/partners licence to Hertz as they are automatically covered but if it came to a claim then you would probably need to prove you live together.

  4. Just back from Florida, rented twice from Alamo – Tampa and Miami. At each location was given the choice of any car in the row for the category I had rented. Like this option, if only to choose the colour of the car!

  5. You should note this. I found out when trying to claim missing points from a long week in Iceland…

    “NOTE: Only qualifying rentals occurring in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas/ U.S. Virgin Islands, the United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Switzerland Australia, New Zealand,and Brazil are eligible.”

  6. Is it enough to be a gold star member and present the card at pickup or do you need to do anything special to activate this benefit (ie can you still accrue miles for an airline for instance)? I’m just heading to Australia and the extra driver benefit will come in very handy.

    • I think that is enough. It should not impact your airline miles as long as you tell the agent you want miles and not Hertz points.

  7. anyone know the best car rental company for different drop off locations in the UK ie pick up a car from a UK airport and drop the car off elsewhere and preferably one that doesn’t sting you with a one way “fee” of around £50 which I am getting quoted for ?

    • Hertz can do this. There is a rate code or a country code which lets you book one-way Hertz rentals for no extra cost, I have a friend who drives one to Heathrow when he flies anywhere! Not sure what it is at the moment ….

      • Damn, wish I’d know what that code was when I drove Route 66 – one-way fee was about half the rental cost (and Hertz actually priced out as one of the best!)

  8. I’m wondering if the free additional drive for spouse is not a disguised downgrade.

    At pretty much most Hertz locations I’ve used around the world, the additional driver fee has been waived for a spouse. My spouse is actually a civil partner, and, before that, just a domestic partner, and we’ve never had an issue getting this spousal benefit just by asking.

    This sounds very much like the free additional driver for spouse is being withdrawn, unless you sign up for Gold Plus Rewards.

    A problem we have had a few times is getting the free additional driver named on the rental agreement. Some outlets insist that there is no need to do this as the spouse is automatically covered, and have maintained that the only way to get the additional name to appear on the documentation is to pay the additional driver fee. It can however be done if the clerk knows how.

    This is important for Amex Platinum card holders, as the car rental insurance does not apply to the additional driver unless they are named on the rental agreement. I had an exchange of letters with Amex a few years ago pointing out that this was typically costing me about 30 minutes on each rental getting the paperwork changed, and that they should cover included drivers even if they weren’t named on the documentation, but Amex refused to budge.

  9. Be warned that the free additional driver does not apply at Hertz Franchise locations, as I found out recently after an additional charge appeared on my credit card. I hired at Belfast City Airport and added an extra driver, was not told about the charge. When it appeared I questioned it and was told that only Hertz corporate locations offered this benefit. No amount of discussion with them made them refund the fee.

  10. Jordan D says:

    Bizarrely, Hertz at Edinburgh Airport are saying that you still have to pay for an additional driver, as this benefit is “only available in the States”. Anyone else want to confirm?