How to maximise Hertz Gold Plus Rewards – a comprehensive review

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

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
How to earn Flying Club miles with the Virgin Atlantic 1 year Flying Club Savings Account

Head for Points is sponsored by:

Magazine montage

Up to 30% off in Hilton's Winter Sale

Click here to find out more and book

Click here to join the 14,500 people on our email list and receive the latest Avios, miles and points news by 6am.

Amazon ad
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.

Comments

  1. Charlieface says:

    Rob, just noticed you left out the links to the AnyDay charts, which it’s worth including as they can be hard to find.

  2. Every time that i go to rent a car, I always find significantly cheaper deals on rentalcars.com when compared to the rental companies direct website.

    @Rob – Do you price these comparison sites at the time or just go direct?

    I can’t justify renting directly or joining a membership program when it’s cheaper as a non-member to rent via the comparison sites.

    • Never used a consolidator for a car – I want to know exactly which location I am getting and whether it is convenient or not. I’m not dragging the family and our luggage on a shuttle bus if there is another operator directly outside the terminal door, as you get at EDI. And what sort of savings am I meant to get? We paid £90 for 8 days for a midsize in Edinburgh the other week from Hertz, mixing Amex Plat with Hertz Australia. I will get 1000 Virgin Flying Club miles on top, worth £10. This means I paid £10 per day for the car. I doubt anyone is beating that in a hurry.

    • Charlieface says:

      Having booked for myself and others many times, I can tell you the best rates will be found using codes directly on the rental websites. But without a code the comparison sites will usually be cheaper.

  3. Tim Owen says:

    Good overview of Hertz. The service at the collection/drop off is generally good, but the head office service poor. You may have to chase more than once if you have an issue. Also do not rely on upgrades – I hardly ever get them despite renting for over 25 years

    I rent mainly in the US and Australia/New Zealand. Agree there are regular offers so if you can time it right always good.Some extra tips:

    1. You often have the choice to pay upfront (prepaid) or at the time of collection. If your plans may change then collection is always good as generally no cancellation fee. However, if your plans are unlikely to change then pay upfront. Extra discounts can be up to 25% which on longer or more expensive rentals can be significant.
    2. Hertz has had a bug in the system for a while on prepaid rentals. Although the rental will show, no points usually show as if there are no extra charges the final invoice will be nil. You have to apply for the missing points – and be prepared to apply more than once.
    3. Use more than one web site to check prices and availability eg for rentals in Australia, I have found using the US web site (Hertz.com) gives me lower rates than using the Australian site (Hertz.co.au). Its not always the case but worth checking. So long as you enter your Hertz number not an issue.
    4. In Sydney Australia (and I believe elsewhere in Australia) they are phasing out saloon cars in favour of all SUVs (per the Hertz manager at the airport). Just be warned. Seems less the case with Avis and Budget where there were plenty of cars still available last week.
    5. If you have a small company and rent enough, Hertz also run a corporate scheme like BA’s OnBusiness – called Hertz Business Rewards. In addition to the personal points, you get points which count towards further free days. Last time I checked you get 1 free day for every 15 rental days. There used to be vouchers but now its online. The vouchers used to have a life of 6 months, but are useful if you have odd days to rent which are generally higher cost per day.
    6. If you are renting for a few weeks, generally more cost effective to rent off an airport if you can and works logistically. As travellers into a city – especially in the US – are not voters, they add lots of extra costs which can add up to 50% onto the cost of a rental to pay for airport concesssions, airport improvements etc. I find in the US it cheaper to rent for 1 day at the airport and then swop at a local Hertz office. Then when I return the car I take it to the airport. There is sometimes an extra charge for returning to a different location but if you are renting for more than 2 weeks you are usually ahead.
    7. If you have a lot of bags or don’t want to take the shuttle, in the US they will take you in your car from the drop off point straight to your terminal. Much easier. They do not advertise this but we find this much easier than taking bags across a car park, waiting for a shuttle and then on and off the shuttle. No extra charge for this service.

    • Bagoly says:

      7. Thank you very much for that – is it actually official policy, or just many locations are helpful.
      I’d be very happy to pay USD10 for such a service!

      • Lady London says:

        I always give a decent tip. But depending on how busy it is when you drop the car off, they might not have anyone free to take you. I’d not assume it’s avalable on, say, middle of Sunday afternoon at a major US airport, for instance.

  4. Really useful article, and well timed too, as I’ll be booking 3 weeks hire in the USA soon (although will more likely to 2 weeks hire if I split it into 2 chunks as having the car in LA and San Fran is likely to be more hassle I think). I would automatically have avoided Hertz, as like others have posted, have always found them to be significantly more expensive that other operators, but hopefully the tips here will help me get a decent price.

    Does anyone have a view on how far in advance of travel the best prices are likely to be available? Travelling end July, so obviously don’t want to leave it too close to departure, but if any regular Hertz sales are due I might wait for that….

    • Doug M says:

      Def true in San Fran. But a car in LA makes it much easier, unless you’re staying in a limited area. Driving there is a pain with all the traffic, but getting around without a car is expensive and/or difficult.

      • Thanks Doug. Only got 3 full days in LA, so aren’t going to be travelling in a particularly wide area. Got a tour booked the first day (pick-up from the hotel), and planned on using uber for the next couple of days – it might end up being a bit pricier, but I hopefully the convenience factor will compensate for that.

    • I’ll be renting in Atlanta mid august and have been tracking the prices monthly since the beginning of the year with minimal change on most of the companies – the exception being Hertz who seem to have been going up about $100 per month. I’ve tried most of the tips on here this morning but still Hertz are more expensive than the rest. Virgin travel plus and Alamo are currently wining for my 2.5 week hire although there is not much in the price for most of the companies – except hertz who are about 35% more costly.
      Like Chas – I’m wondering if it’s going to go up or down now that we are getting closer to the date – has anyone got any thoughts on this ?

      • Lady London says:

        Autoslash? August is going to be peak period in USA as well as here, surely. So taking Charlieface’s advice in one of his posts on here, better to book sooner than later as it’s peak period so the direction will be up. He thought a couple of months ahead. Rob also advised in another comment, if it’s peak period book something on a flexible basis just so that you have something, as soon as possible, and be ready to cancel and rebook if a better deal does appear.

  5. Lady London says:

    On blackout dates, pretty sure SEA was operating them last Christmas. From early in the year through the year not bookable. All hires over Christmas period seemed to be either 365 or later 495 dollars or so whether 1-2 days or one week. Managers special was the best deal. I moved my flights to land at another airport due of this when I saw it wasn’t changing.

    • Charlieface says:

      It was probably AnyDay and you didn’t have enough points for that. It won’t display if you don’t have enough.

      • Lady London says:

        I wish that were the case. I had loads and it wasn;t displaying all year from around April when I started checking..

  6. James67 says:

    Is it possible for me to use a foreign site to book, i.e Brazil, USA, Australia like it says above, and use my Five Star or Gold account, so that I can skip the queue when I pick the car up?

    I’ve used foreign sites many times to make Hertz bookings, but have never worked out how to add my membership on, it then always resets it to hertz.co.uk and massively increases the rate.

    • Daniel says:

      If the country change workaround doesn’t work for you (it’s never worked for me) then just call the Hertz call centre and they can add your HGP number onto it (it’ll reissue the booking with a new reference).

  7. Bagoly says:

    Excellent article answering various questions I had wondered about.

    Here are a few additions:
    On redemption bookings “you can add days for cash if needed” – I find it easier to book as if a cash booking and then click yes to “Would you like to use points to reduce cost?”
    For a booking straddling weekend and weekday the system offers one the choice to use the (lower) number of points.

    I regard the Priority Queue, bypassing the (often horribly slow) main queue as the big advantage.
    Avis, Enterprise, and I think Sixt (free) memberships also allow this – I guess the point for them is that they have your driving licence and credit card already checked.
    Budget does not offer this – I used them once to get some M&Ms but it was horrible – like flying LEVEL.

    For Hertz locations where one can bypass the desk completely and go straight to the car with key in it I can vouch for EDI, so not just USA, even as lowly Gold.
    At both Edgware Road and MAN one can bypass the main area (even the Priority Desk) and go direct to Dispatch Desk.
    For my first time at an airport, I have learnt to look for the screen listing Priority members – a line at the bottom or plaque to the side often tells one where to go.

    Pay Now cancellation terms – seems to vary by country.
    I have certainly done a cancellation last year in UK and received a full refund without any deduction (deadline is the midnight >48 hours before).
    https://www.hertz.co.uk/rentacar/reservation/reviewmodifycancel/templates/rentalTerms.jsp?KEYWORD=CANCELLATION&EOAG=BCN suggests they removed the cancellation fee from May 2018.
    But I see that US terms say a fee of USD5 if more than 24 hours beforehand, USD10 if less than that.
    (Whereas for Avis there is no refund on Paid in Advance)
    So if couple’s plans are flexible one can have a booking in both names and get the Pay Now discount still with the ability to cancel the one one does not end up needing.

    I agree that the website is horrible, but at least unlike the Avis one it actually processed the change of my driving licence when I entered to both last month.

  8. Good write-up.

    Overall Hertz is my go-to car rental company unless they’re wanting silly money, then I’m willing to go with someone else (e.g. went with Budget on a one-way/two-week Charleston to Atlanta rental and it was half the price Hertz wanted!).

    Points earning reasonable, President’s Circle treated well. Had a rental in upstate NYC where flight was delayed and they’d shut the rental counter when I arrived. They’d emailed me car details but couldn’t find it anywhere. Had to get Uber to hotel (thankfully only 20 min away) and return next morning. They were extremely apologetic and comped all the cash elements (incl one-way rental fee) for my reward reservation and gave me a massive upgrade!

    For making redemptions I’d have a low threshold for phoning as website often falls over. Value can be immense though – booked a redemption for between Xmas/Hogmanay in Melbourne to drive Great Ocean Road. Nice car, zero wait (upstairs was queued out the door, I went straight downstairs to pick up car and drive off) and cash prices were astronomical.

    • Oh that’s a decent cash back. But how might that work with Amex Plat? I was intending to use that CPD, but don’t yet have a Platinum card – was going to take the dollar variant out in a couple of months to put all my holiday spend on. Presumably these are mutually exclusive…?

    • Just been looking at Hertz, and the car I might be interested in isn’t available as a pre-paid hire, which presumably scuppers the cash back.

      If I decide to go for a different car, is anyone aware of any issues with paying on a pre-paid card (Revolut), to avoid the FX fees? Presumably it will be fine, so long as I give them a different card to swipe when I pick-it up so I don’t have my balance blocked / held?

    • Are there any similar hints and tricks with Enterprise? Just seen that there is one next door to my hotel in LA, whereas I’d have to get an uber to the nearest Hertz location….

  9. Adrian says:

    Rob/guys what is the best time to book car hire, 30 days prior to departure, 60? I’m looking at prices for October and they are good so I’m happy to book now, but for dec/jan they are really high so I’ll wait, I just wondered if there was a sweatspot.

    • I would lock something in directly (via pay on the day, or pay in advance if refundable) and then see what else comes up nearer the time. No downside that way.

      • Charlieface says:

        That’s what I do. But normally peak it’s better a couple months before and off peak it often comes down in the last few days.

        • Lady London says:

          IME 3 weeks ahead has not generally been bad. If you really must have a car, though, Rob’s advice above first.

    • Alex W says:

      Book a refundable rate now. Use autoslash.com to track the reservation and they email you if and when a cheaper price is found.

  10. Jovanna says:

    If you have status with Hertz and one of those £450 PA cards from John Street then keep the details in your profile – even if you’ve cancelled it or never used it to pay for a rental.

    Quincy Jones and the closing theme from the Italian Job. Get your skates on, mate!

  11. Just had an email from Amex with a Spend £200, Receive £40 offer with Hertz.

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment.