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Remember when … Avis and Budget offered 9,999 bonus Delta SkyMiles per rental? Instead of the default, paltry 50 SkyMiles on a single rental day, a customer could earn 10,049 SkyMiles miles on a one-day rental.

Some quick background -- Avis and Budget paid up to become Delta's Preferred Rental Car Partners in June of 2007.  Over a glorious four-week stretch the following summer, this preferred partnership offered a promotion where renters could earn 9,999 bonus miles on a rental!

The Terms and Conditions of the promotion were poorly written, ambiguous whether a participant could get three bonuses with Avis and three with Budget or three combined bonuses. Playing it safe, I switched the rental car on my July mini-vacation from a single 3-day rental to three separate 1-day rentals.

The change in personal plans did come with a bit of inconvenience - exchanging cars twice - but I earned enough Delta SkyMiles (30,147) for a planned trip to Alaska! The "quick win" on this promotion changed me from a casual collector of loyalty program points to a person who learned to leverage loyalty programs. While there would still be an AutoSlash, without this promotion there would be no Michael @ AutoSlash!

Avis tried harder on this promotion. Perhaps too harder …

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 more valuable than paying for miles. That's right - the rental car companies charge federal excise taxes on those who elect to earn miles; Avis at the time was charging a 50-cent daily excise tax (which itself is taxed) for the ability to earn what was ordinarily just 50 miles!

Can a promotion like this happen again? We were taught as children to "never say never". However, this promotion is never coming back. Not only did this promotion cost Avis and Budget a pretty penny, Avis and Budget changed their relationship status with Delta from "Preferred Rental Car Partners" to "Entirely Unaffiliated" in Summer 2014!

Delta won't be promoting any Avis or Budget offers soon!

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