We frequently remind AutoSlash users to join the membership programs of the companies they use. With the exception of Payless and their completely valueless Payless Perks program (their discounted rates are prepaid, while ours are not), these loyalty programs frequently provide benefits such as upgrades, free rentals, and other benefits.
Sixt has a fairly straightforward program when it comes to benefits and an easy way to advance in status with two downfalls (one small, one potentially very costly). Sixt is a very different type of company -- if you ever drive past one of their lots, you might see a few vehicles that are similar to your "standard" rental car company such as Chevrolets, Fords, and Nissans. You'll also see models like Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Mercedes-Benz; the goal of the company is to provide a differentiated experience for consumers. Hertz's idea of a premium car (Chevy Impala, Nissan Maxima or similar) is very different than Sixt's idea of a premium car (Mercedes-Benz CLA or similar). Sixt status can occasionally help a renter upgrade to a vehicle that wouldn't even be seen on the lots of other rental car companies — and without a fee.
Sixt Status Levels
The Sixt loyalty program has three published levels -- Express Sixt, Gold Sixt, and Platinum Sixt. The basic status level of Express Sixt effectively allows one to store profile information and earn frequent flyer miles or hotels points if one so chooses. However, the frequent flyer account cannot be entered into the profile itself. There's also a 4-hour mobility guarantee if the vehicle breaks down but that comes at a non-financial cost to the renter, which we'll address later. The published ability to escape "rental formalities" hasn't been experienced with our United States rentals (and we've always had an even higher level of status than Express).
Gold Sixt is where the program starts to become useful and ordinarily requires 3 or more rentals within the United States each year (5 or more rentals for non-U.S. residents). We would make a joke that the easier status attainment for U.S. residents was a rental car company's version of a participation trophy but there's a great add-on for those earning Gold Sixt status. The level has the minimal benefits of Express Sixt and the renter also receives an additional driver for free on United States rentals. The AutoSlash team only knows of a single way of getting an additional driver for free at Sixt, and that's by holding Gold Sixt or Platinum Sixt status on a U.S. rental*.
* The concept of a free additional driver is truly a Canada and United States phenomena.
Platinum Sixt status is where the AutoSlash team resides due to a shortcut when registering for the program. Residents of the United States (and five other countries) get a break when earning Platinum Sixt status via rentals, with a requirement of just 10 rentals rather than the standard of 20 rentals required in the rest of the world. Platinum Sixt inherits the benefits of the the lower status levels and throws in a benefit that can both be exciting for a driver and a cost-saver -- in the United States, a renter's entitled to a double-upgrade on a "normal" car (Sixt uses the term "normal" on their card without definition) if there's availability at the time of pickup. In the rest of the world, the renter's only entitled to a single upgrade if there's availability. Given the types of vehicles available at Sixt, a double-upgrade could create a fantastic rental experience! Our recent upgrade from a VW Eos convertible to a Chevrolet Camaro RS convertible was due to Platinum Sixt status.
Platinum Sixt is most valuable for the upgrades.
There's even a Diamond Sixt status but it's much like Fight Club. The first rule of Diamond Sixt is that one doesn't talk about Diamond Sixt. Many travel providers have an unpublished level for their highest value customers and Sixt is no exception. While a customer would know if they have enough rentals and influence to achieve Diamond Sixt status, "normal" renters like the AutoSlash team might notice a Diamond Lounge at two airports in the United States (one being the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport) and many more airports abroad.
What's the Status Shortcut?
The very bottom of the Platinum Sixt page has a link to "Sign Up". A reader may think "how can I sign up for a program that requires 10 or more rentals"? Well, Sixt is willing to offer an instantaneous status match to customers who enroll in the Sixt loyalty program and who already hold status in another program! My National Executive Elite status was instantly matched simply by attaching a screen capture to my enrollment form. While I accrue that status with National through rentals, it's also possible to attain National Executive status as a cardmember benefit if one has an American Express Platinum or MasterCard World Elite card.
What are the AutoSlash Quibbles with Sixt?
Aside from the often mispronounced name, we have two quibbles with the Sixt program as conceptualized. One is a major concern for AutoSlash users (but is often missed) and one is a negligible concern for the AutoSlash team but desirable by some of our users. The major concern is Sixt's interpretation of "Unlimited Miles", while the second relates to earning frequent flyer miles in the Sixt program.
Unlimited miles that are not so unlimited.
Published in the reservation rules renters have access to before confirmation and also listed in the contracts provided by Sixt, the company has very limited ranges where their vehicles can go. Remember that "4-hour mobility guarantee"? That means a customer in the United States is never going to be more than 4 hours from one of the limited Sixt locations! Rent a car from Sixt in Florida and the vehicle can travel among Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. No other states are allowed; these are very strict geographic limitations. If the company finds out the vehicle went outside the territorial range (through GPS, receiving a traffic citation, a mechanical breakdown, or accident), the resulting fee is 50 cents for every mile driven. The only exception for these state-by-state limitations is when a reservation is explicitly made as a one-way rental. Sixt should never be the first choice for a family's cross-country vacation!
Based upon State of rental, there is a limited range where a Sixt vehicle can be driven.
Frequent flyer miles that aren't part of the profile.
Some AutoSlash users are concerned with frequent flyer miles -- most of the AutoSlash team ignores the frequent flyer mile offers by the rental car companies (except for major promotions) because the federal excise tax charged by many of the rental car companies results in effectively "buying" miles. A Sixt user faces a quandary -- a promised benefit is the ability to skip counter time but the Sixt profile doesn't allow the user to store a frequent flyer number. However, given the hassle and cost of earning frequent flyer points, we suggest chasing the cars rather than the miles. Besides, Sixt doesn't partner at all with our preferred airlines for mileage accrual (British Airways or Iberia Avios). A miles chaser with Sixt has to submit a request to the company after the rental (within 6 months), with a hard-to-find "Check Bonus Points" link at the very bottom of the company's homepage.
"Check Bonus Points" is apparently the translation from German for "Request Frequent Flyer Credit"
Is the family headed off on a Florida vacation? Sixt has a loyalty program that's worth considering! We appreciate that two published status levels permit an additional driver for free and that Platinum Sixt status can lead to multiple upgrades if vehicles are available! Given our past experiences with Sixt, we've even taken to booking a car class below what we hope to drive -- if we weren't about saving money, there would be no AutoSlash -- and still tend to be impressed with the selection provided by Sixt.
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