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Get FREE membership of the Zipcar car sharing club – but avoid the Avios deal

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I like car share club Zipcar.  We have a membership in London and there are about 15 cars within a 15-minute walk of our house.  The nearest, which is available 80% of the time, is literally 30 seconds away.  £6-£7 per hour for the car, plus £59.50 annual fee, is a lot cheaper and easier than owning a car.

(Long-term HFP readers may remember that, slightly bizarrely, I was interviewed for Management Today a couple of years ago about my use of Zipcar, Uber and Gett.  Terrible photograph.)

The process is very simple.  You book your car via the Zipcar app or on their website.

You initially unlock the car using a credit card-sized membership card or via your smartphone.  The keys are in the glovebox.  At the end of the rental, you reverse the process.

The first 60 miles driven per day are free with a charge from 25p per mile thereafter.  You do not pay for petrol, for insurance or for the London congestion charge.  Minor damage (scratches etc) is also not charged as you just return the car to a street parking bay and it isn’t examined by anyone.

If the petrol tank drops below 25% full, there is a fuel charge card in the car to allow you to fill it up without using your own money.

If you live in South London, you can even use a Zipcar for one-way trips using the new Zipcar Flex feature I wrote about a few months ago.  Full details of the areas covered are here.

You can find the nearest Zipcars to your house by using the tool on this page of their website.


A couple of years ago Zipcar got even better.  They teamed up with Avios, and suddenly I was earning 50 Avios every time I took out a car.  There is also a 1,000 Avios bonus for signing up and paying the £59.50 annual fee.

Zipcar has overhauled its membership fees in a very positive way

At some point recently, Zipcar has totally overhauled its membership package.  You can now join for FREE for a limited period if you are in London.  See here for details.

You have nothing to lose by signing up.  You never know when access to a car at short notice will come in useful.

There are actually three price plans now available as you can see on this page of their website.  These are their London prices:

FREE (limited offer) membership – pay from £8 per hour for the car, or

£6 per month – get a £6 monthly driving credit (expires if not used) and pay from £6 per hour for the car, or

£15 per month – get a £15 monthly driving credit (expires if not used) and pay from £5 per hour for the car

The £6 per month package is better value if you are sure you will use a car at least once per month.

The free option, however, is worth having as an ’emergency’ back-up even if you don’t plan to use Zipcar on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, the free membership is not available in Bristol, Maidstone, Oxford, Cambridge, Glasgow or Edinburgh where Zipcar also operates.

But don’t sign up to the Avios offer

Unfortunately, the Avios offer via this British Airways / Zipcar sign-up page has not been adjusted to reflect the new Zipcar pricing scheme.

If you sign up via the BA link, you pay an annual fee of £60 but receive NO monthly driving credits.  This is a poor deal, to put it mildly, even though you will get 1,000 Avios for joining and 50 Avios per trip.

It is far better to take the £6 per month option via their new pricing scheme and receive £6 per month of driving credit.

I can only hope that the Avios offer is overhauled soon to match the current pricing plans offered to the general public.

The sign-up page is here if you want to give the free plan, or one of the other new plans, a go.  You never know when it might come in handy.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

Comments (37)

  • Chris says:

    To say they “operate” in Edinburgh is a little disingenuous. They have a car or two at the airport. Handy for members coming up from elsewhere I imagine, but rather useless if you live here. The main option here is Enterprise’s Car Club.

  • Nick M says:

    OT – What is the best way to get the Hertz “5 star” status that comes with Platinum Amex? – I already have an account set up, and the webpage just seems to take me round in circles

  • ADS says:

    i’m on a Streetcar Founder Member rate … which appears to be a combination of no annual fee, and prices form £6 per hour.

    But it’s fairly hard to find a £6 per hour car – not many Ford Fiestas out there, and that’s the weekday hourly rate. At weekends the cheapest rate is £8.50 per hour.

    On the upside, there are also a handful of Ford Fiestas where you only pay £3 per hour (£4 per hour at weekends), but you don’t get any free mileage – useful for short trips.

  • bill says:

    They have a couple of them on the top of my street but I still have my Provisional. Should past my test before October but then I think you need to have held a full license for a minimum of 12 months before you can use their cars

  • Andy says:

    Every time I have used them – in the US, haven’t used in UK – it worked out to be more than renting a car from hertz.
    I also would have had the hertz car for a full 28hrs (using the 4hr amex plat bonus).

    The zipcars I have used were also utterly filthy inside and out..

    Going to try car2go soon

  • Alex says:

    The photograph is not THAT terrible! At least you are holding a burgundy passport and not wearing a burgundy suit!

    • Rob says:

      But the guy took about 100 shots, they were not spoilt for choice!

      My track record on photo shoots is not good though. When I did the Daily Mail last year, they came to the office and took about 100 shots across four different locations, some of me, some of me and Anika. The only photo they used was one of me and my wife on holiday in Dubai which was the sole picture I had on my phone of both of us on holiday ….

      • Alex says:

        Oh 🙂 as someone who has been on both sides of this, I know, this could be annoying, but you should ask them to seek your approval before publishing – this is normal (unlike asking to see the article!)

  • will says:

    can’t get the website to work past the second page (after entering username and password for joining up), tried safari and chrome..

  • hotaeke says:

    Through AMEX Platinum, are you covered in the same way when using Zipcar as when using any of the legacy car rental companies (Hertz, Avis)?