Frequent Renter Programs

AutoSlash Encounters an Unpublished Rule on a Nevada-to-California Rental

National Logo

If you read our blog, you know we're fans of the programs where we can reserve a car that meets minimum characteristics (such as mid-size or full-size) and then select any car available among a selection made available for members. Our team members rent a lot from Hertz and National due to these factors (Avis' selection tends to be underwhelming or non-existent) but we had never encountered an example where a vehicle in the allotted area was off-limits, theoretically due to a law. We have encountered a situation where a National Executive Aisle car wasn't available because National "gave" part of the Emerald Aisle to Enterprise for "convenience", but never have been presented with the idea that there's some form of legal restriction. I had selected my desired car from the Executive Aisle  -- the 305 HP 2018 Chevrolet Impala V6 Premier, the almost-official car of the AutoSlash team -- and got to the security gate. And the representative made me turn around to pick up a different car.

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Uber and AmEx Partnership Weakens a Bit, Continuing a Trend

Uber/Amex

Last fall, we wrote about how Uber's partnership with Starwood Preferred Guest was slated for termination on December 17, 2017. That partnership had already degraded, as the number of Starpoints riders earned for using Uber had previously been decreased before complete elimination. Now, there's an announcement stating Uber users holding American Express cards will also lose the ability to earn bonus Membership Rewards points for Uber fares charged to the card. And while the number of points earned is minimal, it does show that Uber's cutting back on many promotional tie-ins while inexplicably maintaining others.

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The Lowdown on the EZ Money Rewards Program. Hint: It's Hard.

EZ Money

Most of the major rental car companies have loyalty programs that provide credits or points toward free rentals days (Alamo, Budget, Payless, and Sixt are the glaring exceptions). Even some of the minor players in the rental car game have programs that allow renters to earn points and miles. EZ Rent a Car -- or is it E-Z (the company is inconsistent on its own webpage) -- is one of those minor players with a loyalty program but it's decidedly difficult to benefit from the EZ Money program.

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SilverCar adds a Second Model to the Fleet

Silvercar

Early last year, we tried out SilverCar in Las Vegas, a rental that involved a great car (Audi A4) but a frustrating pick-up and drop-off experience. Quite a bit has changed at SilverCar in the interim -- the company has been purchased by Audi and now offers more than just the Audi A4. The company has been on an expansion path and now also offers the Audi Q5 for rental. This may be Audi listening to the experience of previous rental car operators -- excessive reliance by a rental car company on a single vehicle make/model crushes prices on both new and used vehicles when those former rentals come up for resale! Or this may be Audi ignoring basic concepts of supply and demand, as they have been adding new sites (up to 18 today), each of which requires more cars in the rental fleet! In any case, renters in selected locations can guarantee an Audi A4 or choose to book a Q5

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Rental Certificates are Frequently Sold on eBay. The Problem is those Sales are Prohibited

Know the Rules

The AutoSlash team is fond of shortcuts in relationship to the rental car companies but only responsible shortcuts. We're strong advocates of taking advantage of the benefits offered by most rental car companies (including free days and expedited service) and we even post about the approved methods of getting advanced standing via airline status, premium credit cards, or even matching status from one program to another (as with Sixt). Yet there's an open black market for rental car status and "free days"; we recommend avoiding that black market.

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