These days, most rental car companies big and small have loyalty rewards programs that provide credits or points toward free rental days. Even the discount rental company E-Z Rent A Car has a rewards program—though, ironically, it's incredibly difficult to benefit from the E-Z Money program.
We have nothing against E-Z Rent A Car. In fact, we want more major companies to compete with the three major companies that effectively control the U.S. rental market: AvisBudget Group (Avis, Budget, and Payless), Enterprise Holdings (Alamo, Enterprise, and National) and Hertz Global Holdings (Dollar, Hertz, and Thrifty). The problem: Competing means offering an excellent loyalty program, and the E-Z Money reward program is just not very good.
The Benefits of E-Z Money
On the surface, the E-Z Money program sounds perfectly fine. The program is free an,d right away, you can start earning points that can later be redeemed for credits on future rentals. E-Z Money has no black out periods. You can redeem your points for add-ons like child car seats, GPS navigation systems, toll passes and other accessories.
The Drawbacks of E-Z Money
The points you earn with E-Z Money (10 points per dollar spent, so $1,000 spent is worth $10) can be converted to E-Z credit vouchers in fixed amounts. But there are substantial limitations, according to the Terms and Conditions.
For starters, taking advantage of the E-Z Money program requires full integration into the E-Z Rent a Car ecosystem. To earn E-Z Money points, you need to book your reservation from the E-Z website, while logged into the E-Z Money account. This is a drawback because it discourages comparison shopping to see if other rental car companies offer better deals. Most major rental car companies don't impose this restriction.
Next, the program awards 10 points per dollar. However, these points can only be redeemed in fixed increments (starting at $20) and only one credit can be applied to an award reservation (the award booking also must be made directly through E-Z's website.
Points expire after 18 months from date of issue. For example, if you earned 1000 points on January 15, 2020, then those points would expire on August 1, 2021. Expired points will be lost and cannot be reissued.
So let's do the math: It would take 2,000 points ($200 in base rate before taxes and fees) at the limited eligible locations in 18 months to earn a single $20 credit on a subsequent rental. If you don't redeem within that period, the points expire. Most major rental car companies let renters extend the validity of points as long as they have activity during a specified timeframe. In other words, as long as you rent again, your expiry date gets pushed back.
Worst of all, there's a pretty low limit to how much you can redeem. Members can only use one credit at a time. E-Z Money credits may not be combined with other E-Z Rent A Car promotional offers, and may not be used with promotions/specials/coupons from companies other than E-Z Rent A Car. The maximum you can redeem at once is 5,000 points for $50 credit.
In short, E-Z has a loyalty program but unless you're a long-term renter, any earned points would most likely expire before you amassed enough to earn an award. This program requires frequent renting and blind loyalty. And while some users might benefit by earning a $40 voucher on a $600-or-so airport rental (assuming approximately $400 pre-tax plus $200 in taxes and fees), most users are seeking a more flexible expiration policy.