In previous AutoSlash blog posts, we've mentioned how many frequent travelers have shortcuts to status with rental car companies, such as options available with premium credit cards and even tie-ins directly with frequent flyer programs. Recently, Platinum status guests in the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program acquired a new-found ability to pick up status in Hertz's Gold Plus Program. The announcement initially came on Flyertalk last November and was implemented in late January.
As the announcement on Flyertalk promised:
- SPG Platinum members will be eligible for Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® Five Star ® status, which includes car upgrades and more.
- SPG Platinum members with ambassador service will be eligible to receive Hertz Gold Plus Rewards® President’s Circle® status and benefits.
Platinum Status with SPG is pretty hard to attain -- 25 stays or 50 nights each calendar year! And the Platinum Status with ambassador service requires 100 nights per year in a Starwood hotel. So this opportunity for elevated Hertz status is targeted toward heavy stayers in the Starwood program (still separate from Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards programs); it's considered a synergy for heavy hotel users to also acquire benefits with rental cars and airlines (SPG also partners with China Eastern, Delta, and Emirates).
An individual with SPG Platinum status and lacking status with the Hertz Gold Plus program should accept this offer. Hertz's Gold Plus program allows customers to bypass counters and earn points toward free days on their rentals; customers with Five Star and President's Circle status get additional vehicles to choose from at major airports. And while the vehicles available will vary by the location and time, we're ardent fans of having a choice in the car driven, skipping lines, and earning loyalty program points on our rentals!
Ability to Earn SPG Points for Hertz Rentals
The ability to pick up Hertz status simply by having Starwood Platinum status is the "big news" for frequent renters. However, all Hertz renters (whether possessing SPG Platinum or not) are also able to earn 200 SPG points as part of their Hertz rentals if booked through the SPG/Marriott website. The pre-existing Hertz partnership with Marriott offers 500 points per rental as an option in lieu of Gold Plus Points (which can be transferred into 166 SPG points at a 3:1 ratio). So the SPG connection is more rewarding than the Marriott side of the house unless Marriott's offering a promotion!
While we're easily able to quantify the value of saving time by skipping counters and also know the value we get out of earning Hertz Gold Plus Rewards points on our Hertz rentals, we prefer to focus on price as the primary factor; that's what AutoSlash does! After all, there are more lucrative offers than 200 SPG points available through other travel partners. A renter electing to earn SPG points would give up the possibility of earning free Hertz days; only one award program (Hertz points or partner points) can be selected per rental. So our recommendation is clear -- take the Hertz status (if one's eligible) but consider price and promotions -- both from Hertz and competitors -- before setting SPG points as one's earning preference.