Every April, the U.S. Travel Association offers their Daily Getaways program, where selected travel partners make various awards available for purchase each day, Monday through Friday, for a series of weeks. The 2018 Daily Getaways series lasts five weeks, with the first three weeks' worth of offers already posted. Three rental car companies -- Avis, Hertz, and Alamo -- have offers available in the three weeks already published and the most desirable offers sell out within seconds. Should a renter consider sitting at their computers at 1 p.m. Eastern time to seek these offers? The answer, like many other situations in life, is "it depends".
Friday, April 13 -- Avis (Representing AvisBudget Group)
Avis has two offers, the first of which is $750 for a one-year President's Club membership. Which begs the question -- is any Avis service (including President's Club) worth a cash outlay of $750 for a year? The enumerated membership benefits are few: more points on rentals, double upgrades on traditional vehicle classes, a special phone line ... the one big benefit is the ability to show up without a reservation and still be guaranteed a car. The other benefits, including double upgrades, are available to members of free programs like Platinum Sixt and we don't envision ever paying that much cash for reservationless pickup for a single year!
The $30 for a one-day car rental is slightly more reasonable. However, that doesn't mean $30 for any one-day car rental. The Terms, Conditions, and Exclusions remind a user that New York City is off limits (and while not listed, the Alaska franchise is likely off limits as well). The Avis certificates are valid for economy through premium cars but: do not include any taxes, fees, or surcharges; cannot be used on one-way rentals; Avis can cancel the free day without recourse at any time, and the free days cannot be used during holidays or blackout periods. When one remembers that the taxes on a free day can exceed $20, the Avis coupons -- if usable -- can cost more than $50 per day to redeem for a car ($30 now, taxes and fees later) and will not be usable for trucks, minivans, or SUVs.
Forget to use the certificate by May 2019, lose the certificate, want to use during a blackout date, or Avis exercises their right to cancel the coupon? The $30 spent per certificate is gone, never to return. Plan ahead and it's very likely AutoSlash can help you locate a rental at less than $50 per day, whether at Avis or another rental company!
Thursday, April 19 -- Hertz (Representing Hertz Global Holdings)
Hertz has three different offers, all for Gold Plus Rewards points. Of the three listed rental car offers in the first three weeks, this is the most intriguing option among members of the AutoSlash team. And it's not because we all have status with Hertz (most of us are President's Circle). It's not because Hertz points can be redeemed for airline miles. It's because Hertz Gold Plus points can be redeemed for awards of a user's choice and help us minimize the taxes on rentals.
The offerings from Hertz are $280 for 5,500 Hertz Gold Plus Points (ostensibly for a one-week standard rental), $560 for 13,200 Hertz Gold Plus Points (ostensibly for a weekend Prestige Collection rental), and $698 for 16,500 Hertz Gold Plus Points (ostensibly for a one-week Prestige Collection rental). If we purchased one of those packs, we would not use the Gold Plus Points for any of the proposed redemptions. The points would simply be credited to our Gold Plus Rewards account and we could redeem for any of the awards on the chart.
We all know one-way rentals tend to be very expensive unless a rental car company has a need to relocate a large number of vehicles -- the most common examples are the annual Florida spring drive-out and fall Florida drive-in migrations. If we were to buy the $280 bundle of points, we could convert that into a weeklong one-way rental or a two-week round-trip rental on the standard chart (planning ahead to avoid the more costly AnyDay Award periods), still picking our own vehicles if we were at a major airport location with Gold service. We would be responsible for local taxes and fees but our knowledge of the Hertz award chart means we could save a lot of money if we were to suddenly have an influx of Hertz Gold Plus Rewards points!
Monday, April 23 -- Alamo (Representing Enterprise Holdings)
Alamo has one offer, $25 for a $50 certificate (limit 3). Rental car certificates always come with Terms, Conditions, and Exclusions. The Alamo certificates -- while valid on any type of vehicle -- are only usable for time and mileage (not taxes, fees or surcharges), have to be booked under a specific Contract ID (which may not be the cheapest), cannot be used with any other discount, and are only valid at participating locations in the United States.
The takeaway? Buying these certificates requires paying in advance and -- if not used or lost -- the cost of these certificates is lost. There would obviously be some rentals where $50 off Alamo's rate without discounts would be worth paying $25 now. However, renters who plan far in advance are more likely to find discounted "Free Cancellation" cash rates that are more palatable and only require paying at the time the rental's returned. And as these certificates don't help with taxes, fees, or additional/optional services, we would always recommend a traveler compare AutoSlash discounted and Alamo non-discounted "Pay Later" rates first.
We'll be passing on the Alamo and Avis offers but there's a really good chance our team members will be hitting "Refresh" just before 1 p.m. Eastern on the day the Hertz offers become available. Hertz Gold Plus points (and National Emerald Club award days) have saved us thousands of dollars over the years on one-way rentals! We really do practice what we preach when it comes to leveraging the loyalty programs of rental car companies!
Thinking of using one of these offers? We can't help when you redeem awards or certificates but we can help when you're going to pay cash! Click below to request quotes and we'll send you the cheapest available "Free Cancellation" rates within minutes!