In a previous blog post, we noted how Starwood Hotels had implemented a partnership with Hertz that allowed SPG Platinum members (and those with Ambassador service) to automatically qualify for Hertz Five Star or President's Circle status (if not already possessed). This was a transition from SPG's previous affiliation with Avis; SPG and Marriott have slowly been moving toward commonality since their corporate merger in 2016. In fact, their loyalty programs are expected to be merged later this year but those who have linked SPG and Marriott accounts have the status from one program roll over to the other. So it stands to reason that the highest-tier elites of each program would have access to the same benefits at Hertz. Platinum members of either program can register for elevated Hertz status from a single webpage.
Earning Platinum status in either hotel program is a challenge -- 75 nights per year -- but those who spend more than a fifth of their year on the road is precisely the type of customer Marriott and Starwood want to attract; road warriors who have shown consistent loyalty to another travel provider (in this case, hotels). And we always suggest using loyalty programs, acquiring status if it's a feature of one's credit cards, and taking advantage of those loyalty program benefits.
Much of our team is President's Circle with Hertz and/or Executive / Executive Elite with National; skipping lines, upgraded vehicles, earning award days faster, and having access to wider selections of vehicles makes our travels much more enjoyable. And when major events like snowstorms, hurricanes, or major IT errors arise at airports, a customer with these elite status levels gets served before a customer who doesn't participate in these loyalty programs. We've written about the ability to book cars -- even redeem award days -- when a city is otherwise "completely sold out". And for Marriott and Starwood Platinum members who don't already have Hertz status, those opportunities could be available by filling in a simple form.
Yet that's just Step 1 for Platinum members in the Marriott / Starwood programs.
While there's a direct formal partnership between those loyalty programs and Hertz, other rental car companies -- specifically National -- also want to attract the rental car business of those same individuals who travel more than 20% of the year and intentionally stick to a single hotel company. As we wrote in February, National has an open status match program for elite members of other travel programs (including hotels and rental car companies). Those who rest easily (and frequently) at Marriott or Starwood hotels can find themselves with top-tier status in at least two major rental car programs with limited effort. And for those who will rent frequently but have yet to accrue elite status with rental car companies, that's clearly a major win!