Among the AutoSlash team, it's no secret that I'm the most loyal to National, while other members of our team lean toward Hertz. When writing the overview of National's Emerald Club, I even fondly noted of an upgrade to a BMW X3 on a 2015 rental at Charlotte-Douglas Airport -- the Executive Aisle was empty, the staff was emptying the lot of specialty cars, and I didn't want the Escalade suggested as an alternative.
From March 2017 and running through May 2017, many more renters are going to have the choice of the BMW X3 without any additional cost, as National is rolling out the BMW X3 as an offering at multiple (undisclosed) locations. Any Executive or Executive Elite status holder who finds a BMW X3 available in the Executive Aisle (one step up from the "regular" Emerald Aisle) can take the vehicle for no upcharge during this trial period. That's right -- reserve a midsize and potentially drive a BMW X3. National's not declaring which airports will have this new vehicle, or even how many X3's will be available. The upcharge for the BMW X3 will be $25 per day above the midsize rate starting on June 1, 2017.
We think this is a nice move by National. While it's not a BMW M-Series (which would exceed our insurance coverage limits on rentals), the cost of an X3 (starting under $40k) is actually in line with the cost of many other vehicles in the rental fleet. In fact, it's cheaper than some of the more expensive vehicles (such as the Impala Premier and larger SUVs) often found on the Executive Aisle. National gets great marketing and PR points while potentially attracting new customers and perhaps even saving money. The $25 per day upcharge starting on June 1 is effectively gravy for National; we're surprised other rental car companies (other than Silvercar and their Audi A4s) haven't come up with a model of adding "prestige" to the fleet while not actually spending more on vehicles!
Think you might miss out because you don't have Executive or Executive Elite status? If you have an American Express Platinum or MasterCard World Elite credit card, National Emerald Club Executive is one of your published benefits. While there's no promise that a BMW would be waiting when your flight lands -- in fact, we would put the probability as "highly improbable" -- it's nice to have the chance to drive a BMW while paying for a Hyundai Elantra!
Looking to make your next AutoSlash rental and chase the BMW X3? Click here to request a quote now!