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Zipcar Flex opens at Heathrow Terminal 5 – drive yourself home for £17

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Most readers, at least London-based ones, will know Zipcar as a ‘pound per hour’ car hire group.  They have a few hundred cars scattered across Central London and you can book them by the half-hour via their app.

If you live in the right area – there are about 10 cars within 10 minutes walk of us, the nearest around 30 seconds away – it is a fantastic service.  You are virtually guaranteed a car when you need one and the cost is a fraction of buying and running one yourself.

Zipcar Flex Heathrow Terminal 5

Zipcar Flex, which is currently being rolled out, takes the service one step further.  You can take the car and leave it wherever you want, within a designated zone.  Park and walk away.  You don’t need to drive it back to where it came from.  To be honest I struggle to see why I would ever want to do this, but Zipcar clearly has other ideas.

Zipcar Flex has now launched at Heathrow Terminal 5 for a 90 day trial period.  You can jump in a Zipcar Flex car anywhere in London and drive yourself to Terminal 5, where you must park in the Avis Budget area on Level 4 of the car park.  You can also do it in reverse – walk up to Level 4 of the car park, jump in a Zipcar Flex car, drive yourself home and leave it outside your door for the next user to pick up.

Zipcar estimates, to or from Central London, that you will pay £17.  This is far, far cheaper than even an UberX.

Full details are on the Zipcar website here.

If you are not already a member, my referral link – https://zipcar.mention-me.com/m/ol/ef8rk-robert-burgess-28 – gets you £25 of driving credit.


How to get FREE car rental status and other benefits via UK credit cards

How to get FREE car rental status and other benefits via UK credit cards (June 2024)

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 linked below. You can apply here for the personal card and here for the business card.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and an annual £200 Amex Travel credit 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 in our review. You can apply here.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points (TO 16TH JULY), FREE for a year & four airport ….. Read our full review

Comments (101)

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

  • Boris says:

    Bloomin’ BA. Kids go Free. Again. WHY? WHY WHY BA? Is it not punishment enough a ) putting so many extra rows in your planes b) taking away my complimentary G and T and now c) filling those extra rows with bloomin’ children? Please, at least, bring back the complimentary drink to make the flights less punishing. Madness.

  • Boris says:

    And it is not just ‘fly free’. But ‘kids travel free on the Heathrow Express’. Kids ‘eat free at T5’. I’m sorry but it is not free. I, and the hundreds of thousands of other single adult passengers are subsidising these shenanigans with our overpriced tickets. What about the days when adults pay full fare and kids pay half fare? Is that reasonable enough?

    • Anna says:

      When it gets to the school holidays you’ll find kids get charged 3 times the price of tickets in term time, as do their parents, so it’s we who are subsidising the cheaper fares!

      • Sussex Bantam says:

        +1 – it is significantly more expensive to travel with kids than without on a per head basis – even after these family offers.

        • Boris says:

          If I sound flippant towards children, I’m not. Well, apart from the obnoxious fat ones that kick the back of my seat….. (JOKE!) Flying is public transport. Why should children get a free seat when they take up nearly just as much room as an adult? Why don’t they get free seats the whole year round if that is the case? ANSWER: It is just a marketing gimmick – and this would be fine – if BA hadn’t insisted on ramming an extra 10 rows or so of seats on their short haul planes.

      • Boris says:

        No it is not. Think about it: the ticket price on BA’s flights during this offer is the same regardless. If the ticket price is £100 per person, and four adults buy those tickets, that is £400. If two parents take their children ‘free’ that is £200. Now, if BA was increasing the price of their flights during this period to all, (let’s say £100 ticket to £200 per ticket) then individual travellers – paying full fare – are still subsidising all of the free ‘children tickets’. Which are only there because BA are having problems filling their planes on a certain subset of routes.

  • the_real_a says:

    Its threads like this that make me glad i moved back to Yorkshire! Free parking and a drive.

  • Tony says:

    OT: Interesting article from WSJ re Airlines serving cheap wine in premium cabins. BA is on the list. https://www.wsj.com/articles/which-airlines-go-cheap-on-wine-1524059947

    • Jovanna says:

      BA were serving a £7 bottle of Chardonnay on my trip in Club World, week before last. I was given an unopened bottle as I left the aircraft. Too polite to decline but gave it to the taxi driver as he dropped us home.

  • Annih says:

    So I used the zipcar flex this morning and loved it. Normally it’s either a 1.25hour tube journey or a £50 taxi ride. Today it was £11. Parked right by the airport and just went on my merry way. There are 5 cars there currently including the one I dropped off.

    I really found this useful and I hope they continue to innovate.

    • Rod says:

      There’s also a £5 pick up/drop off fee at LHR T5 which is added to the cost.

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

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