Industry News

Have a Plenti Point Balance? The Program End Date of July 10, 2018, is Rapidly Approaching

Plenti

At one point in time, the Plenti program seemed so promising. Designed by American Express to be a single loyalty program among a large number of disparate businesses, there were many partners and even a credit card that earned Plenti points. Then all of the partners went away, until there were only four (ExxonMobil, Rite Aid, Chili's, and a grocery chain) plus the credit card. When Chili's and Rite Aid pulled out, AmEx threw in the towel. The Plenti program will completely cease and any residual points will expire on July 10, 2018. And while the AutoSlash team has already burned our points for fuel at various Exxon and Mobil stations, a small subset of users will find that their points won't expire but will be rolled over to a new program.

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Silvercar Adds a Third Model to Their Fleet, the Audi A5 Cabriolet

Audi A5 Cabriolet

Our team likes renting from Silvercar for a number of reasons. Now owned by Audi, the company has only rented Audis from the inception of the firm. The first vehicle in the fleet was the Audi A4, which we enjoyed in Las Vegas and tested out all of the included features such as on-board navigation and WiFi. Earlier this year, the company added a second reservable model to the fleet, the Audi Q5 SUV. Silvercar then partnered with Peg Perego to provide child safety seats for free in their Audis (subject to availability). Last month, the company introduced a summer contest where the grand prize was an Audi A5 Cabriolet and our blog noted that it didn't make much sense for Silvercar to give away a car the company did not rent unless the A5 Cabriolet was the third addition to the fleet. Silvercar just confirmed our intuition.

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EZ Rent-A-Car "Enhances" Their Program to Cater to Their Perception of Millenials

E-Z Money

EZ's loyalty program -- EZ Money -- is not exactly great. In our previous review, we noted the program truly has no easy components at all. Points expired after 18 months (no exceptions), rates have to be booked directly through EZ (to avoid competition), only 13 of the 56 locations participated, and one would have to spend $400 in base rate within the 18 months simply to redeem a $20 credit. Then EZ-Money introduced what they described as "mind-blowing benefits". We wouldn't go so far as to say mind-blowing in the sense intended by EZ's PR team; we would go with "perplexing".

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One Major Rental Car Company Makes a "Best Place to Work" List

Forbest 2018 Canada's Best Employers

Years ago, I worked at a government agency that made a "Best Places to Work" list. Reading the methodology, the process of making the list was rather simple -- the agency was one of many that paid an external group to survey the staff, and the survey provided evidence for a few different measures. An organization that made the top 20% on any single measure was awarded a "Best Places to Work" trophy. A full three-fourths of all agencies that paid into this "Best Places to Work" initiative thus received an award; my response wasn't to celebrate my employer being on the list -- it was to (rightfully) feel sorry for the employees of the agencies who didn't make the list. Life had to be really bad in those groups! And that brings us to rental cars, where one of the three major rental car companies was recently honored by Forbes.

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Tampa's New Rental Car Facility Checks Bags for Free

Bag Check

Earlier this year, we reported on the Valentine's Day "present" from the Tampa International Airport to the traveling public; a consolidated rental car center 1.5 miles from the terminal, paid for by rental car users (of course). The facility was deemed necessary as the airport planned for growth and reduced terminal traffic but also inconvenienced many of the airport's frequent travelers; attentive individuals knew that half of the rental car companies were previously directly across from baggage claim while the other half were off-airport and required shuttle buses. Tampa leveled the playing field by requiring all renters to take the SkyConnect to the new, consolidated facility. Yet for individuals returning a rental car -- especially those with too much luggage -- Tampa did incorporate one nice feature into the SkyConnect design. Instead of departing customers wrangling checked bags onto the train and then to the airline's ticketing counters, passengers on select airlines can print boarding passes and check bags in the rental car center, rather than hauling them onto the SkyConnect train and through the terminal to the airlines' ticketing counters. .

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