There have been many promotions in the past where rental car companies have incentivized renters via frequent flyer miles. Ordinarily, we recommend against collecting frequent flyer miles on rentals. In most situations, collecting points (or credits) in the rental car company's own loyalty program for future free rentals is much more valuable than paying to collect miles. The 9,999 Delta SkyMiles Avis/Budget bonus offer and the intermittent Hertz 3,000 mile Virgin Atlantic promotion for rentals of any length were recent examples of potential exceptions, where many renters were able to benefit by accruing miles rather than credits in the rental car company loyalty programs. Those promotions were designed to encourage customers to simply rent cars.
Hertz Global Holdings recently introduced a promotion that incentivizes a different behavior and would legitimately harm the company if customers fully took advantage of the promotion. Rather than awarding loyal rental, the promotion rewards customers who drive the cars excessive distances!
The More You Drive, the More You Earn
Hertz fell off the rails of the rental car crazy train, offering a promotion that's based on how far a customer drives. Aptly called "The More You Drive, the More You Earn", the promotion provides customers with 1 Cathay Pacific Asia Mile for each mile driven between 2,000 and 10,000 per rental on eligible rentals of three days or more. Renters with a three-day rental and drive comparatively few miles would earn a minimum of 2,000 Asia Miles; those customers remarkably make out best under the promotion.
Hertz wants customers to help depreciate their vehicles more quickly.
Seemingly a lucrative promotion, it's only really beneficial if a renter has a need for Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and already has a very long road trip planned. A renter who drives from the airport to the hotel and limited miles around a city would earn 2,000 miles under the promotion, while the opportunity cost of a driver's time -- plus the fuel cost of driving the 10,000 miles (143 hours of drive time at 70 mph) to maximize the promotion — means that a driver should only focus on maximizing the promotion if otherwise already scheduled to drive 10,000 miles. (Driving a 30-mile-per-gallon car 10,000 miles with fuel at $2.50 per gallon, a renter would expect to pay about $833 in fuel, only to earn about $140 worth of points.)
The Loyalty Program Staff Didn't Talk to the Vehicle Disposition Staff
There's truly no legitimate business case to encourage drivers to place excessive miles on a rental car.
- Hertz has to pay Cathay Pacific for each frequent flyer mile awarded.
- Each mile a rental vehicle travels increases depreciation expense (the rental car company buys new, sells used).
- Hertz's depreciation expense last quarter increased 19% to half a billion dollars.
- Hertz decided (yesterday, literally) to raise a billion dollars through a bond issue.
- Two renters fully taking advantage of this promotion on a single rental car would take a vehicle through its expected rental life.
The Program Exclusions
Hertz has many terms and conditions on this promotion; individual renters may object to one or more, lessening the value of the promotion:
Terms & Conditions
1. Offer is valid on Hertz Rent a Car brand only.
2. Offer is valid for self-drive rental bookings made on Affordable Rates (leisure retail rates) from 10 May to 31 July 2017, inclusive and vehicle pickups at participating locations from 10 May to 31 August 2017, inclusive (except for bookings and vehicle pickups in Europe are by 25 June 2017, inclusive). Rentals must also be completed by 15 September 2017, inclusive.
3. Offer is valid for bookings made with the applicable CDP# and PC#, and a valid Asia Miles or Marco Polo Club membership number.
4. Offer is valid on Compact and larger car groups (excluding Hertz Collections).
5. Offer is subject to a minimum rental of 3 days.
6. All Asia Miles stated include regular Asia Miles.
7. Actual distance driven per rental will be calculated in miles for awarding the total number of Asia Miles earned.
8. The discount applies to time and mileage charges only and does not apply to taxes, fees, surcharges and optional services.
9. Reservation must be made at least 24 hours prior to departure.
10. Present your Asia Miles or Marco Polo Club membership card at the rental counter when picking up your car.
11. Offer is not applicable to tour/pre-paid, travel industry, staff or any other special rates.
12. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers, discounts or promotions.
13. Standard blackout dates apply.
14. Total number of Asia Miles earned will be credited to the member's account by 31 October 2017.
15. All rentals are subject to Hertz standard rental terms and conditions.
16. Hertz reserves the right to change or remove this promotion at any time.
17. Other Asia Miles terms and conditions apply.
We're a bit wary of some of the terms of the promotion, namely the concept of the undisclosed blackout days (item 13), the crediting of miles no later than October 31 (item 14), and Hertz's right to alter the promotion at any time (item 16). There's simply no recourse for the renter if Hertz realizes how misguided this promotion may be and cancels the offer the day before a car's picked up. AutoSlash can help you book the rate but Hertz and Cathay Pacific can withdraw their offer at any time.
Considering a round-trip across the United States or greater and need Cathay Pacific miles? We can't enter the Asia Miles number at the time of booking (that would have to be done in the Hertz Gold Plus account) but we can help you book with CDP# 2116572 and PC# 203676. Request a quote below and then send a note to email@example.com to ask what the rate under this Asia Miles promotion might be. While the rate under the Asia Miles promotion is likely to be more expensive than the cheapest possible rate -- we frequently find discounts far greater than 15% -- a long-distance driver needing a few thousand miles for an award redemption may still benefit!
Ready to book your next rental car with Hertz or any other provider? Click below to request the best possible quotes for a rental car now!