Europcar is a major player on the car rental scene in Europe (the company is based in France) although it has a lower profile than the big boys, Hertz and Avis Budget.
Europcar joined Nectar 18 months ago as their car rental partner, replacing Hertz. The Nectar earning rate is 1 point per £1 in the UK which is hardly exciting – you are basically getting back 0.5% of your spending. Outside the UK you get a flat 200 points (£1-worth!) per rental in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Portugal, Australia, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria, Norway and New Zealand, and nothing elsewhere.
However, you can beat this return by taking miles or hotel points instead.
You can also collect miles and hotel points with Europcar
It was possible to earn Avios from Europcar until a few years ago. It was a partner with Iberia Plus but Iberia eventually followed British Airways into signing an exclusive deal with Avis.
You can still earn Avios indirectly via Accor as I explain later.
Whilst Avios and Virgin Flying Club are non-starters, Europcar DOES still have many airline partners:
Miles & More – earn at least 500 miles per rental
Emirates Skywards – earn up to 1,000 miles per rental
Delta SkyMiles – earn 60 miles per day
Qatar Privilege Club – earn up to 1,000 miles per rental
plus Air Europa, Finnair Plus, Flying Blue, Loganair and TAP Portugal.
It also has partnerships with two major hotel groups which can earn you hotel loyalty points (which you can turn into Avios).
Earning with Le Club AccorHotels
As you can see on the Accor website here, you can not only earn Accor points with Europcar but also redeem your points for vouchers to spend on Europcar bookings. This gets you the same value as redeeming for a hotel room, ie €40 per 2,000 points.
The earning rate for Accor is:
- 250 points for 1-4 day rentals
- 500 points for 5-7 day rentals
- 1,000 points for 8-days+ rentals
As each Accor point is worth 2 Eurocents or one Avios point (if you convert to Iberia Plus), you will receive at least €5 of value per rental.
Important: do not convert Accor points into Avios via British Airways Executive Club. For weird historical reasons, the rate into BA is 2:1 whilst the rate into Iberia is 1:1. There is a minimum transfer into Avios of 2,000 Accor points. Move to Iberia and then use ‘Combine My Avios’ to get them across to BA.
Earning with Radisson Rewards
Radisson Rewards has just launched a new partnership with Europcar. It is so new it is not yet reflected on the Europcar website.
You will earn 300 Radisson Rewards points per rental day if you credit a Europcar rental, up to a maximum of 1,800 Radisson Rewards points per rental.
We value a Radisson Rewards point at around 0.3p, so this is not exactly generous – although still more generous than Nectar! It is better than nothing if you are using Europcar anyway.
You can also double dip with Europcar’s Privilege programme
Europcar has its own loyalty scheme called Privilege. Full details can be found on the website here.
The perks are modest but, importantly, you can double dip with earning frequent flyer miles or hotel points so there is no reason not to join up.
The key benefits are:
free weekend rental after three rentals in a calendar year
£10 discount voucher after your second rental after joining
express pick-up service
Do 10 rentals over two years and you will be upgraded to Privilege Executive, triggering another free weekend voucher and an upgrade on every rental. 25 rentals over two years takes you to Privilege Elite, getting you a double upgrade.
The lack of any partnership with Avios or Virgin Flying Club might mean that you give Europcar a miss given a choice. I can’t argue with that, and the poor earning rate from the Nectar partnership doesn’t give you any extra incentive.
If the price works or they are the most convenient company in any given situation, however, you should at least find an airline or hotel partner on this list that will ensure you earn a little something for your trouble.