It's always a good idea to belong to rental car companies' loyalty programs, since it's always free to sign up. But not all programs are created equal. Some programs offer expedited service, while others provide expedited service plus the opportunity to earn awards such as free rental days.
These programs aren't called frequent renter programs for nothing. If your account remains inactive for long enough time, eventually your points or credits will expire.
Of the nine major rental car companies, there are three where loyalty program members do not earn points:
- Alamo: Alamo Insiders is strictly an expedition program. Members do not earn points.
- Budget: Budget Fastbreak is strictly an expedition program. Members do not earn points.
- Payless: Payless Perks is a discount program. Members have access to special promotions but do not earn points.
Point Expiration by Rental Car Company
With the remaining six major rental car companies, renting at least once per year will keep your award points from expiring, but rental companies have different time limits for inactive accounts before triggering point expiration.
Avis: After 12 months of inactivity (no points earned or redeemed), your Avis Preferred points disappear. Worse yet, there's a subtle nuance with Avis that doesn't exist with the other firms: even if you rent from Avis once a year, points will still expire if not redeemed within five years of being earned. In other words, saving up over the long-term for an expensive Avis redemption could backfire, as points might begin disappearing right as the needed number of points are accrued.
Dollar: Dollar Express points expire after 24 months of inactivity. Activity means a reward point was either earned or redeemed on a rental.
Enterprise: Enterprise Plus points never expire as long as you remain an active member with at least one qualifying rental every three years. You can redeem points for free rental days on any available car on any day—with no blackout dates.
Hertz: Hertz Gold Plus Rewards points do not expire if you have any rental activity in the prior 18 months. Activity means a point was either earned or redeemed on a rental.
National: National Emerald Club credits do not expire, but once you earn enough credits for a free day, the free day is valid through December 31st of the following year.
Thrifty: Thrifty Blue Chip points expire after 24 months of inactivity. Activity means a reward point was either earned or redeemed on a rental.
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