This is one of those odd little deals which has been running for a while – for at least five years – but which you won’t know about if you are a new reader, and may well have forgotten about otherwise.
Europcar offers one-way UK car rentals for a flat fee of £1, including basic insurance. Most are for trips to Heathrow or Gatwick.
This is not a marketing ploy. The company is trying to save itself money by using you as free labour to get cars back to their original location or to re-allocate vehicles across sites. Why pay a truck to haul a vehicle across the country when you can find someone willing to pay you £1 for the privilege?!
How do you book a £1 Europcar car rental?
The Europcar £1 rental page is here (this may not work on mobile).
Availability is obviously not guaranteed but you might be lucky. A lot of readers have taken advantage of this offer.
Your best chance of finding a deal is if you want to travel TO London, usually to Heathrow. If I look at Liverpool, for example, there are cars this week to Heathrow, Stansted, Luton and Birmingham.
You need to pay for petrol, of course, so this is not necessarily cheaper than taking the train. You also need to complete the journey within 24 hours of when you collect the car, and of course you need to get yourself to your nearest Europcar depot in the first place.
That said, I’m sure there are occasions when this could work out nicely.
How to get FREE car rental status and other benefits via UK credit cards (February 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.
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.