UPDATE: This post refers to the 2017-2018 version of National's "One Two Free" promotion. This offer ended on February 28, 2018 and free days earned during the eligibility period must be used by June 15, 2018
National One-Two-Free

Among frequent travelers, National’s One Two Free Promotion is viewed as a gift that can be consistently expected in the fall and winter, supplementing the rewards from the National Emerald Club program reviewed here. This year’s promotion (like last year's offer) extends to February 28, 2018. That means that a frequent (or semi-frequent) customer of National Car Rental has more than a half year to take advantage of this promotion! Like with all of the frequent renter programs, we’re ardent fans of saving time and money, while also potentially earning car upgrades and free rental days. National’s Emerald Club program can be exceptionally lucrative, as customers can work towards earning free days in three (yes three) different ways!

Background on National’s Emerald Club

Membership in National’s Emerald Club program is free and a precursor to earning credits in the One Two Free promotion. We speak about the benefits of National's Emerald Club here but the annual One Two Free promotion makes the program even more valuable. What does a National Emerald Club member get by joining the program and registering for One Two Free?

  • The ability to earn credits toward free days by renting through the default National Emerald Club program,
  • The ability to earn more points toward free days by renting through the One Two Free promotion, and
  • The ability to earn even more points toward free days by meeting other bonus opportunities in the One Two Free promotion. 

Play this promotion right and renters frequently become much more loyal to National. The default Emerald Club program is based on the number of rentals (and lengths of those rentals) to earn credits toward free days. The supplementary One Two Free promotion works a little differently. In One Two Free, every 600 points results in a promotional free rental day. For instance, a two-day rental of a midsize or larger in One Two Free grants 300 points, so two cheap weekends could add a free promotional day that could be redeemed for a pricey future rental (like a one-way)!

How to Benefit from the Promotion

Once registered for the promotion, all a customer must do is provide the National Emerald Club number at the time of booking. When making an AutoSlash booking, the Frequent Renter Number can be entered along with name, e-mail address, and telephone number at the time of reservation. All qualifying, completed reservations would then count for both "normal" Emerald Club and the promotional One Two Free award days. In addition to the rentals themselves, there are also bonus opportunities to earn points -- again, every 600 points is another free rental day in the bank!

A renter's bonus opportunities would be available after registering and logging in to the promotion page.

Not every customer will see every bonus opportunity offered by National. For instance, I'm missing many of the options because I had already opted into emails and virtual credentials when this promotion was offered in previous years. The bonus options that may (or may not) be available to a participant are:

Preregistered Rollover Points (U.S. Residents only): Points earned during the 2016 Promotion are rolled over when you register for the 2017 Promotion.
Redeem a Free Rental Day (U.S. Residents only): One-Time bonus of 300 points when you redeem a Free Rental Day earned during the 2016 ONE TWO FREE® Promotion.
Mobile App Download: One-time bonus of 25 points when you download the National Car Rental App.
Mobile App Rental: 75 points when you reserve using the National Car Rental App and complete the rental.
Refer A Friend (U.S. Residents only): 300 points for each Refer a Friend who enrolls in Emerald Club and completes a Qualifying Rental. Limited to 10 Refer A Friend bonuses for up to 3,000 points.
Email Opt In: One-time bonus of 50 points when you opt in to receive Emerald Club emails, which provide useful information, special offers and savings opportunities.
Opt In: Virtual Credentials: One-time bonus of 50 points when you opt in to your next membership kit electronically.
Weekend Rental: One-time bonus of 100 points when you rent 2-4 days with a Saturday night keep (in addition to the points you earn for completing a Qualifying Rental).
Weeklong Rental: One-time bonus of 200 points when you rent for 5 days or more (in addition to the points you earn for completing a Qualifying Rental).
Neighborhood Rental: 200 points when you rent with Enterprise Rent-A-Car at neighborhood locations (i.e., all locations other than airport locations). Limit to 3 bonuses for up to 600 points.
Emerald Reserve Service (U.S. Residents only): One-time bonus of 25 points when you access the Emerald Reserve Service to receive a specific car class – Convertible, Minivan, SUV or any other vehicle. Available only at major airports throughout US and Canada.
Latin American or Caribbean Rental (U.S. Residents only): 300 points when you rent at participating locations in Latin America and the Caribbean. To find participating locations, visit our site.
Rent in Europe: 300 points when you rent at participating locations in Europe (through Enterprise Rent-A-Car). To find participating locations, visit our site.
Take Our Survey: 50 points when you complete a brief Emerald Club survey.
Add SiriusXM (U.S. Residents only): One-time bonus of 300 points when you add Sirius XM Satellite Radio to a Qualifying Rental at participating locations in the Continental US (Additional fees apply).
Earn 5 Bonus Opportunities: One-time bonus of 75 points when you complete any 5 available bonus opportunities on your dashboard.
Make 3 Rentals: One-time bonus of 100 points when you complete your third Qualifying Rental.

These bonuses can also be stacked to get to the 600 points needed for a free day. A weeklong qualifying National rental (300 points + 200 points), with email opt-in (50 points) and survey completion (50 points) immediately puts one at 600 points after a single rental. That’s a free day in the One Two Free promotion alone, while the rental also still counts as credit toward a free day in the default Emerald Club program!

Proviso on Expiration

The free days earned through One Two Free don’t show up in the Emerald Club account; the promotional awards only appear under the One Two Free promotion login. And while the free days earned in Emerald Club expire on December 31 of the year after earning (December 31, 2018, for any free day earned in 2017 or December 31, 2019, for any free day earned in 2018), the promotional One Two Free days strictly expire at 11:59 p.m. Central on June 15, 2018. As these promotional days always expire mid-year, our team always makes a point of redeeming those first.

Our Take

If a rental company is presenting the opportunity to get free rental days without any additional financial cost, the response is to accept the offer! National does make this promotion a little difficult for first-timers to understand; a company that is only concerned about the number of rental "credits" earned during most of the calendar year suddenly keeps track of those credits but also adds a point-based scheme for extra free days. With a little effort given to National's Terms and Conditions, a renter really can accrue free days through a minimal number of rentals.   

Given the entire AutoSlash team consists of frequent travelers, we have a lot of weekend rentals and often need rental cars at the last minute for one-way travel. On our rentals of that type (cheap weekends and using awards for expensive one-ways), the value of our awards often exceeds the cost of our paid reservations! The National promotional offer is compelling and has been recurring; whether a long-term National loyalist or simply focused on saving the most money possible, this promotion is always worth a peek.

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