Rent a car at a major airport or train station in Europe and you're almost guaranteed to see a Europcar location. What's probably more of a surprise is that Europcar is a global company, with sites on six continents.
Europcar offers a free loyalty program called Europcar Privilege. While there are benefits to membership, unfortunately, there's a significant limitation: the program's benefits only kick in if you book directly through Europcar's website or by phone.
The Four Tiers of Europcar Privilege
The loyalty program has four tiers, each of which stacks benefits on the previous level:
- Privilege Club, the base level, which gives a free weekend after three rentals each year and a 10 euro voucher after two rentals.
- Privilege Executive, achieved at 10 rentals (or 40 days) in two years, which adds a 20 euro voucher after the fifth rental and a one-class upgrade (subject to availability).
- Privilege Elite, achieved at 25 rentals (or 85 days) in two years, which adds a 30 euro voucher after the fifth rental, two-class upgrade (subject to availability) and an additional driver.
- Privilege Elite VIP, achieved at 40 rentals in two years, adds a 30 euro voucher after the fourth rental and includes a PriorityPass membership.
Each of those tiers promises benefits with a lot of footnotes:
On the surface, the program sounds great. You are eligible for a free weekend of up to three days after three rentals in each status tier and a free weekend each time your status tier is upgraded. But according to the Europcar's Terms and Conditions, only "public rates" count toward the free weekends, dollar-off vouchers, additional drivers, and that PriorityPass membership.
Europcar has its own definition of "public":
- any non-discounted rate obtained via a booking made directly through Europcar’s website or call center
- any rates obtained via bookings made on a partner microsite (dedicated website accessible via the Europcar website,enabling customers to book and manage their rentals).
- temporary promotions published via banners on Europcar sites
Public rates do not include:
- rates obtained via any indirect website or indirect booking source
- corporate negotiated flat rates
- promotional rates
The Pros and Cons of Europcar Privilege
Europcar offers expedited counter service, a key for a stress-free rental experience. You can elect to earn frequent flyer miles on rentals, and there's a 15 percent discount available for Accor hotels.
On the downside, only reservations booked through the Europcar website or by phone are eligible to accrue the primary benefits. We see this requirement of "direct booking" with many smaller discount rental car company programs, such as ACE Rental Genius, Advantage Awards, and EZ Money.
The free upgrades for those with executive or higher status are based on availability (like other major firms) and can't be combined with the "Free Three-Day Weekends". And those free weekends are booked into ACRISS code class CDMR, which translates to a compact, 4-door car with manual transmission and air conditioning.
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