How to maximise Hertz Gold Plus Rewards – a comprehensive review

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This is our review of Hertz Gold Plus Rewards.

We don’t cover Hertz Gold Plus Rewards much on Head for Points because it is usually easier to take airline miles instead.  I had a Hertz car in Scotland last week for eight days and decided that 1,000 Virgin Flying Club miles was the best reward option.

Regular renters may decide to take the points, however.  Regular HFP commentator Charlieface generously offered to write an overview for us, as he is a regular Hertz renter.  We are not going to cover how to earn miles or points from Hertz in this article as this has been covered here.

Over to Charlieface:

The car rental loyalty scene in the UK often fails to impress.  Avis, Europcar and Sixt offer no earning and redeeming of points in their schemes at all, and the numbers just don’t seem to stack up for Enterprise Plus.

But then we come to Hertz Gold Plus Rewards (that’s too long, so from hereon Hertz Gold). After the removal a while back of the joining fee, it has now developed into a rather impressive scheme. There have recently been changes to the benefits packages that are also worth going through, as well as some interesting opportunities for the miles collector.

Review of Hertz Gold Plus Rewards

How to join Hertz Gold Plus Rewards

Accor has a sign-up bonus for Hertz which offers 800 points with your first rental.  Join via the specific Accor page and ensure the relevant Accor CDP code is saved into the profile.  You can also add any other CDP applicable to you, more on that later.

You must have at least one credit card stored in the profile, even though in the UK there is no problem renting with debit cards.  For Europe, select Accept CDW and Theft Protection, but not Liability Insurance.  This way, it will price correctly while you are logged in, as explained below.  Select Mini as your preferred car, otherwise you only see cars at or above the selected class.

Review of Hertz Gold Plus Rewards

Earning points

The earning rate is 1 point / $1 or equivalent. This doesn’t include VAT and other taxes, as well as location surcharges (usually around £2/day), or any insurance or other add-ons (in the EU, basic insurance is always included in the rate).

You only earn on rentals in US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Finland and Benelux.  Franchised locations (not owned by Hertz corporate) are often NOT included for earning or redeeming; I think this is a particular issue in Northern Ireland and ROI.  Bookings made via online travel agents and consolidators are also non-qualifying.

Bonus promotions come by email quite a few times a year.  They offer a few hundred to over 1,000 bonus points.  A recent one I received by email, which is also is publicly showing on the hertz.it site, offers 100 points bonus per day on rentals 4-14 days long until 30th June 2019. You must use PC code 204964 but you can combine CDP codes as well. More on codes later.

Review of Hertz Gold Plus Rewards

Gold tier

You join, oddly, at Gold level. This jumps you straight in to a rather nice package considering it’s completely free:

• Free additional driver for spouse/partner (valuable, potentially £5/rental day)
• Skip the queue (valuable at busy locations, not so valuable elsewhere)
• Standard 5% member discount on rentals (useless, there are better discounts available, see below)
• Extra member discounts during sales (actually valuable, sounds funny but good sales happen a few times a year, say 20-25% off, and members always get an extra 5% off as well as early access)
• Rentals over $/€/£250 get Hertz Connect, a locked down smartphone with a 4G hotspot and maps and games (valuable if you need it)
• 25% discount on child seats (useless, buy your own, it’s always cheaper)
• I will also add unofficially: More likely to get an upgrade. My experience at this tier was positive about two-thirds of the time, although that was usually at my small city-centre branch.

Five Star tier

After renting 12 times or spending $2,400 or equivalent by 31st December, you will be upgraded to the Five Star tier. This gains the following benefits:

• One free additional driver for anybody (very valuable if you need it)
• One-class upgrade, subject to availability (not valuable at all as you’d probably get the same upgrade just as Gold or with various memberships and promotions, and either way there’s no guarantee)
• 25% bonus points (for some reason I never receive the bonus, but it is only genuinely valuable on expensive rentals)
• Exclusive offers and invites (non-existent apart from points promos that Gold gets anyway)
• Bypass the counter entirely at 50 airports (I think these are only in the USA)

President’s Circle tier

After 20 rentals or $4,000 spend, you get President’s Circle. This adds the following:

• Guaranteed upgrade (This is only available at airports.  It can be valuable, potentially £100s per rental. Do yourself a favour and call the branch beforehand to ask about their upgrade policy.)
• Guaranteed vehicle availability, a bit like Hilton’s Diamond Guarantee in that it is only useful if you’re prepared to spend the ludicrous amount of money they ask, which implicity includes the cost of compensation for another customer who now won’t be getting a car
• 50% bonus points (as above)

Review of Hertz Gold Plus Rewards

How to jump tiers

Amex Platinum offers Five Star for FREE as does Delta Gold, United Gold, Accor Gold, Marriott Titanium and IHG Spire.  Accor Platinum, Delta Platinum, United Platinum and Lufthansa Senator get President’s Circle.  To apply for these, usually you just add the relevant CDP to your profile and Hertz will check it and upgrade you within a couple weeks.

It is not worth pushing extra spend to Hertz just to make a higher tier, as Five Star has little measurable benefit apart from the extra driver.  Even President’s Circle upgrades struggle to show value to me.  If you really want Five Star you may as well go via one of the partners.

Using your points

Now we come to the meat of the program. Hertz Gold is based on fixed price rewards, which are different in each country, see here.  As we know, these types of rewards are best for maximising the arbitrage of any scheme.

Generally, across Europe, 7-seat (class J) and Green (class C6) are impossible to get.  The stand-out redemptions are for a Compact (class C) or Intermediate (class D) size, manual only:

  • 900 points for 1 weekday
  • 800 / 1200 points for 1 or 2 weekend days respectively
  • 2800 points for 1 week

There is never any point taking a Compact if an Intermediate is available, unless you are driving somewhere where a smaller vehicle could be useful.  These two sizes are generally the only available redemptions in Europe.

Bearing in mind that you make 2,800 points on about £2,700+ of rentals (excluding recurrent bonus promos), a week for class D at busy periods around holidays can easily be worth 10% of that, which is an excellent return.  The key here is to only redeem at busy times.  Personally I don’t rent often enough these days to justify a valuation that high, but it works well for anyone who is regularly renting and can hold back on using their points for a peak week.

There are no blackout dates at all, so if you can rent the specific class for cash, you’re good to go.

One real bugbear is the fact that on certain peak dates you must use the AnyDay award rate, which is double the normal rate. The dates for each location vary.  The trick to get around this is to start your rental on a normal date, as it always prices off the start date. Equally, the rewards offered are based on what day you start.

You can check the AnyDay peak redemption dates for 2019 in Europe on this page of the Hertz website and for the United States on this page.

Each booking can only use one reward, but you can add days for cash if needed. If you need more than one day or week, I find they’re usually OK with back-to-back rentals without returning the car, but do check first with the branch.

CDW/TP are included where they are normally included in the rate, but other add-ons must be paid for, including one-way charges and government taxes. CDP but not PC codes can be combined. Prepaid rentals are available with points, but there is just a little link for it at the top of the car selections. A weekend must have a Saturday night included; in practice, it seems to also require a Thursday – Saturday start and at least 2 days rental.

In the US, there is even further scope for arbitrage, as you can rent Specialty and Prestige cars for not much more than standard cars.  There are one-way awards available as well for all of you who like driving coast-to-coast.

Unfortunately, the Hertz website has many issues

Ignore the final cost calculation on redemptions as it screws up the VAT. The correct calculation is nearly always to take the fixed insurance and surcharges and add VAT on just those items. If you change dates on the final page, go back a page then forwards again, otherwise it screws up the redemption.

If your profile has the wrong selections, you only see CDW-excluded rates, or only above class D, or LI added in. If you select a car and then want go back and to change it to a lower category, go back to the homepage, and select Show All Cars.

Review of Hertz Gold Plus Rewards

Managing your points

If you don’t receive your points, you can retroclaim within six months.

Points now expire after 18 months of no activity (it used to be 24 months). I hope they have finally fixed the bug that meant points not earned from rentals would not extend the expiry.

You can transfer points between spouses/partners for free.  You can also transfer to airlines if you are Five Star, but the rates are poor.  You can now use points for auctions, as reported recently by HfP; again the rate is poor.

How to price Hertz cheaply on cash rentals

The big question here is how to get all the discounts to stack up.

The first thing to find out is the best CDP for you. Go through all your memberships and see what they offer. The Amex Platinum code 633306 (also try 211762) should offer 25% off, as well as an extra four hours grace period for free.  You should preferably add the extra hours at booking time, don’t just return the car late – a rental from 11am one day to 3pm the next is only charged as one day, not two days.

All Amex cards offer 10% with 705500, Flying Blue 629733 gives 15% off, as does Mastercard 795091 and Visa 618583.  The hotel codes offering 35% off usually only work well in the US.  Proof of eligibility is sometimes asked for so make sure to take it along.

Then add PC codes, these are generally points bonuses or fixed £’s off.  203888 is £/$25 off with Visa.  Redemptions use PC codes to activate so they do not combine.

To get weekend rates, start after Thursday 12 p.m., end before Tuesday 12 p.m. and quote for a maximum of 4 days. Try move the start date earlier (yes earlier!) at peak times because pricing always goes by start date. I saved someone over £300 this Easter and got him an extra week rental by doing just that.

Finally, and this is the big one: use another country site. You don’t need to be a resident in that country.  Australia is generally the cheapest, but Brazil and the US are sometimes worth trying. You can do this just by going to the top of the co.uk homepage and switching the country, or by going direct to the local site. Make sure you do it again after logging in, as it switches you back after logging in and at various random intervals of its choosing.

Generally, European codes don’t work very well or at all in the US and vice versa.  For the US, it can be really hard as there are so many codes available, most of which are useless, but a few are excellent.  A good one to try is CDP AAA (yes, that’s a real code) and if you have AA or RAC membership you should be fine to use it.

Hertz One offers a flat £1 for a one-day, one-way rental similar to the Europcar scheme.  This rentals are usually only valid to/from major airports and can be fantastic value compared to taking the train, coach or taxi.  These do not qualify for points, however.

How to get cheap excess insurance

Finally, a note on cheap excess insurance, which covers you for damage to the car up to the excess. There is no point buying from Hertz at £10+/day.

If you use your own CDW insurance as well, you may be asked for a very large deposit, possibly for more than the value of the car. The best deals I have found are carhireexcess.com for daily Europe coverage at less than £2/day and worldwide annual at £40, and Questor using code MSE2097 for around £30 annual Europe coverage.  Both let you add on family members for free, have a generous definition of Europe, high-ish limits, and I found a straightforward claims process with both.

insurance4carhire is another option.  You can compare more deals at MoneyMaxim, the only comparison site for excess insurance.

Remember that American Express Platinum cardholders get car rental excess insurance included for free with their card benefits.

Conclusion

If you only ever rent once a year or less, you may be better just taking the cheapest company and claiming some airline miles – although Avios can only be earned with Avis and Budget.

For everyone else, I find that Hertz Gold Plus Rewards is a great all round program.  The best approach is to allow email offers and grab the promos when they come around, then redeem at peak times. I personally found Hertz the best all-round company in terms of car trim levels, upgrade chances, price, and eager-to-please customer service, and who never minded even when I pulled hairy tricks with the codes apart from maybe a sly comment …..

You can find out more on the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards website here.

(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.)

My review of Delta One - see what you get from a £4 'US to Europe' Virgin redemption
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Comments

  1. This was an excellent article and just in time considering my upcoming trips. Thanks!

  2. It’s the dodgy Hertz website that ruins Hertz Gold for me. I had 900 points for quite a while (after some sign-up bonus mentioned on HfP I think!) but whenever I tried to redeem them it said that it wasn’t possible for that location. Tried that at a number of European locations (not UK), and in the end gave up and converted to a few hundred Avios before they expired.

    Also I’ve rarely managed to make Hertz prices competitive with the other options on Kayak. I’d be happy paying a bit of a premium (better cars, shorter queues, less rip-off customer service), but when Hertz is £100 more for a 2-day rental, it’s hard to justify…

    • Nathan says:

      +1

    • Charlieface says:

      The exact wording I used in that paragraph, which Rob edited out, is as follows and shows my opinion:

      If you select a car and then want go back and to change it to a lower category, Go back to Start, I mean the homepage, and select Show All Cars. If you have any other problem, like invalid credit cards or weird website errors, Go Directly to Jail Do Not Collect £200.

    • For redemptions I find the website often falls down, but call them and they can book it for you over the phone.

  3. Boobaholic says:

    Nice write up.

  4. Boobaholic says:

    Every single time I have used the Hertz website they have been more expensive than everybody else.

  5. nigel whitehouse says:

    I have had some bad experiences with the car rental consolidators, and would love to book directly via the Hertz website, but every time I look they are so much more expensive. not marginally more, but a lot more., would love to hear o some examples where they are cost effective.

  6. Hertz –

    1. If your profile has a U.K. address you cannot book on the other country sites and put your hertz gold number in. I tried this via phone and it reprises to UK rates. Either use a foreign address of just book without profile.

    2. Always have the original credit card with you, especially in the USA. My platinum card got damaged and I asked a amex to change it. I had not realised they also changed the number and a few days later tried to collect my pre paid rental in Philadelphia. They were having none of. The rental was cancelled and rebooked at 3 times the price. There then followed weeks of grief with customer relations who in the end honoured the original rates.

    3. Hertz web site is dire and I have never been able to book a reward on line. I always call. (NB this may be because my profile does not allow any additional insurance anywhere)

    4. Just rented in Israel and Jordan. The Israeli rental subject to complaint as it was booked last November. They insist on certificate of insurance from Amex who obliged. Day before collection got an odd email saying unconfirmed and on arrival told car cancelled as they don’t have the model. Pure scam as they were able to offer rates @ $450 for the period when rate I had was $149!

    • Charlieface says:

      Like I said, it switches to your country after login, but you just switch it back, done it loads.
      Israel branches are franchised and not as good.

  7. Louise says:

    I transferred my points out to Marriot about a year ago which was handy, although the website isn’t the greatest for doing it!

  8. Stephan says:

    This was a great and comprehensive review. Just amended a booking after reading this and saved myself £80!

  9. Lev441 says:

    Does anyone know if you get points even you book direct with Hertz on a small business account/corporate account for van hire?

    I rent a lot of vans with Sixt but don’t get any miles for the hires.., if they did with hertz I’d be tempted to move my spend over to them…

    • Yes. I get points with my van hire.

    • Lady London says:

      Yes vans are covered. They also have separate promos for vans. CDP codes work too.

      When hiring a van I also put a note requesting a nonbranded one in the notes and keep it flexible so i can cancel if they try to give me one. I don’t want to have a van broken into that’s got stuff precious enough to me that I hired a van to move it, because the big Hertz branding on the side says “this van was specially hired so probably contains some stuff that’s precious to someone”. So I ask for a plain van.

  10. I tried to use my points for a rental, but it always says either that it is not possible or that it is not available at this location. I searched quite extensively on various dates over 3 months. How do you actually transfer out points to miles? I don’t see the option anywhere on my account. Do you have to call?

    • Kayleigh says:

      I’ve never been able to book a redemption on the website, but it’s really quick and easy to do over the phone.

    • Charlieface says:

      Make sure it’s a destination which you can use points, not a franchise location, and check your profile has CDW/TP insurances included for EU and excluded for USA.

  11. Excellent write up

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