Even if you only rent a car once in a blue moon, it makes sense to join the rental car loyalty programs for the benefits such as upgrades, free rentals, and other perks. Sixt has a fairly straightforward program when it comes to accruing benefits and an easy way to advance in status.
The German rental firm Sixt is unlike most other major rental companies. Drive past one of their locations, and you might see the usual vehicles such as Chevrolets, Fords, and Nissans. But you'll also likely to see luxury cars from Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Mercedes-Benz, since the goal of the company is to provide a differentiated experience for consumers.
While Hertz's idea of a premium car might be a Chevy Impala or Nissan Maxima, Sixt would consider a premium car to be a Mercedes-Benz CLA.. Having Sixt status can sometimes mean you can upgrade to a vehicle that would never be found at other rental car companies—and you could do it without paying a fee.
Sixt Rewards Cards: Express, Gold & Platinum
Express Sixt: The basic level of the Sixt loyalty program is Express Sixt, which allows you to store profile information so that you can speed the rental process and collect frequent flyer miles or hotels points.
It would be a lot better if Sixt stored your frequent flyer account information in your Express Sixt profile. Though membership delivers the ability to skip counter time, the Sixt profile doesn't store a frequent flyer number so you essentially have to stop at the counter if you want to colelct the points. Given the hassle, we suggest chasing the cars rather than the miles.
The company promises that Express Sixt members can escape "rental formalities" but that has not been our experience with our United States rentals, even at the higher status levels.
Gold Sixt: Gold Sixt is where the program starts to shine. To hit Gold Sixt status, you need three or more rentals within the United States each year (or five or more rentals for non-U.S. residents). Along with the minimal benefits of Sixt Express, perks include a free additional driver on United States rentals
Platinum Sixt: Americans get a shortcut to reaching Platinum status more easily than drivers in other parts of the world. Residents of the United States (and five other countries) can attain Platinum Sixt status after just 10 rentals per year rather than the standard of 20 rentals required in the rest of the world.
With Platinum Sixt, you get the benefits of the the lower status levels plus an additional benefit that can be both exciting and money-saving. In the United States, Platinum Sixt entitles you to a double-upgrade on what Sixt deems a "normal" car if there's availability at the time of pickup. In the rest of the world, Platinum Sixt members are 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—from, say, a VW Eos convertible to a Chevrolet Camaro RS convertible.
Platinum Sixt delivers on upgrades.
Tip: There's a shortcut to getting to Platinum status. At the very bottom of the Platinum Sixt page, there's a link to "Sign Up".While the program requires 10 or more rentals, Sixt also offers an instantaneous status match to people who enroll in the Sixt loyalty program and already hold status in another program. So, for example, your National Executive Elite status can be instantly matched by attaching a screen capture to your enrollment form. (Note that you can hit that National status through rentals or through a credit card member benefit if you have an American Express Platinum or MasterCard World Elite card.
The Biggest Drawback of Sixt Rent a Car
Many renters would quibble with Sixt's interpretation of "Unlimited Miles." Published in the reservation rules and in the contracts provided by Sixt, the company limits the geographic region where you are allowed to take its vehicles. There is a "4-hour mobility guarantee" which ensures that a customer will never take a vehicle more than four hours from one of the limited Sixt locations.
Depending on where you are heading, this rule may or may not impact your trip. If you rent a car from Sixt in Florida, you can take that vehicle anywhere in Florida, Alabama or Georgia—that's it. If Sixt finds out (through GPS, a traffic citation, mechanical breakdown, or accident) that you took the vehicle outside this tri-state area, you're on the hook for a fee of 50 cents for every mile driven. The only exception is if a reservation is explicitly made as a one-way rental. It goes without saying that you should not choose Sixt for a long, multi-state road trip or cross-country vacation.
There's a limit to where you can take a Sixt vehicle, based on where you pick up the car.
The upshot: If you're planning a vacation within a state or two, Sixt and its loyalty program are worth considering. Once you hit Gold Sixt level, the free additional driver is a nice perk, and at Platinum Sixt level, the multiple upgrade is a fun, cost-saving benefit.