There are two travel loyalty programmes which have shown, time and time again, that they don’t deserve your trust. One in Radisson Rewards – no-one was surprised when they devalued their points by 50%+ overnight in 2022.
The other is Hertz Gold Plus Rewards. There is something rather poetic about their latest move. Instead of devaluing points, it has simply wiped them out altogether for many members via a retrospective change to their expiry rules.
Historically Hertz Gold Plus Rewards required you to have rental activity on your account – earning or redeeming – every 18 months to avoid your points expiring. It used to be two years not so long ago and no-one seems to know when it changed to 18 months.
On 30th September, Hertz made a new change. It shortened the validity period of its points to 12 months.
If you have a Hertz Gold Plus Rewards balance you probably don’t know that this occured. I can’t find trace of anyone receiving notification either before or after the event.
What happened to your points on 30th September?
What happened on 30th September? Anyone who had zero activity on their Hertz Gold Plus Rewards account for the last 12 months had their points balance wiped out.
Here is a response provided by Hertz to the Australian Frequent Flyer website when challenged:
Hertz Gold Plus Rewards is all about rewarding our loyal Hertz customers. The more frequently a loyal member rents a car, the more points they earn – and the faster they reach upgraded loyalty tier status and enjoy enhanced benefits. To ensure that our program remains focused on rewarding loyalty, we reduced the inactivity rental period from 18 months to 12 months, effective September 30, 2023. As long as a member rents a car once in a rolling 12-month period, they continue to grow their points balance. If a member did not complete a rental with Hertz in the 12-month period prior to September 30, 2023, their previously accumulated points have expired.
So there you have it …. in order to remain ‘focused on rewarding loyalty’ your points may have been wiped!
Can you get your points back?
Looking at Flyertalk, it seems that some people have been able to get their expired points reinstated. However, there are two snags:
- you need to provide Hertz with a screenshot of your previous balance (Award Wallet screenshots seem to work, or send an old e-statement)
- you will need to complete a Hertz rental by 31st December to avoid your points being permanently expired
If you had some Hertz Gold Plus Rewards points and haven’t checked your balance in the last month, make sure that your points are still there.
The bottom line, though, is that I recommend taking airline miles instead of Hertz Gold Plus Rewards points – most logically via Virgin Flying Club or Avios in Qatar Privilege Club – and giving the Hertz scheme a miss. This has always been HfP policy because of how Hertz has behaved in the past, and has always turned out to be good advice.
How to get FREE car rental status and other benefits via UK credit cards (December 2023)
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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
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.
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.
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.