When we participate in travel rewards programs, there's a focus on earning (and using) points or credits within the travel program. Whether the perceived "currency" is frequent flyer miles, hotel points, or rental car points/credits, the customer needs to understand the rules of the game. The first rule is that the points in question aren't actually currency -- they only exist in the travel company's program and otherwise cannot be exchanged for products and services. The second rule is that the travel company sets the rules and can change those rules at any time -- Air Berlin eliminated their frequent flyer program while still flying planes and all frequent travelers have seen one or more programs "devaluated" or experienced rule changes over time. The third rule is that these points can only be used by the person accruing the points (the frequent renter or traveler) unless transfers are allowed by the rental car company.
A person who rents from a rental car company a few times a month should be awarded! And some renters might want to book awards in the name of a family member or close friend. Yet a common theme becomes apparent when trying to redeem my points or awards in the name of a family member. For instance, when I attempted to make an Enterprise Plus booking, some of the information was pre-populated but there was a single field I couldn't edit -- my name as the driver.
Enterprise allows changing e-mail and phone number but the driver name is locked in.
That's right -- it's not possible for me to redeem "my" Enterprise Plus points for a driver other than myself. Same with Hertz, where I can change the credit card number or e-mail address but the driver name is locked.
Hertz doesn't even show the driver name (but allows changing e-mail or credit card).
Ditto with National.
National locks in the name and loyalty account number.
After a few weeks (or months) on the road, we sometimes get a bit of "travel fatigue" and have little interest in booking an award on our own behalf. Yet only a few rental car companies provide renters with the flexibility of sharing awards with others. The process of sharing awards requires transferring points/credits/awards from one renter to another.
Of the twelve most frequently encountered rental car companies in the United States:
- Only two companies (Advantage and Enterprise) allow transfers to any party with an eligible account.
- One company (National) limits transfers to family members (including child or parent) only.
- One company (Hertz) limits transfers to a spouse or domestic partner only.
- Four companies (Avis, Dollar, E-Z, and Thrifty) block transfers.
- Four companies (Alamo, Budget, Payless, and Sixt) don't issue awards.
Companies That Allow Transfer of Awards or Points
Advantage Car Rental -- the sister company of E-Z -- allows awards to be shared directly, with the only requirement being that each party has to hold an Advantage Awards account.
Advantage Awards can be transferred to another Advantage Awards account holder after March 1, 2015.
Enterprise allows an individual to transfer and receive points one time each calendar year with a nuance we noticed in their terms. If a renter's nearing the expiration date on their points, the points can be transferred and would be valid for another three months. Those points hypothetically could then be transferred back ...
Members may transfer between 500 and 7,500 points, in increments of 500, to another Enterprise Plus Member. A maximum of one transfer per calendar year from an Enterprise Plus account and a maximum of one transfer per calendar year into an Enterprise Plus account are allowed. To be eligible to receive a points transfer, the recipient Member's account must be activated prior to the transfer. Points transferred will assume the expiration date associated with any points balance in the recipient's Enterprise Plus account or three (3) months from date of transfer, whichever is greater. This date may be extended 36 months as long as the Member earns one (1) or more points for a Qualifying Rental prior to the expiration date occurring. Once points have been transferred to another Member’s account the transfer cannot be reversed.
National allows a customer to transfer free award days (but not credits toward award days) to an immediate family member. Like parent company Enterprise, National throws in some nuances -- the family member receiving the free day award doesn't even need an Emerald Club account and a free day near expiration suddenly is good for another full year if transferred to a family member (promotional days earned under One Two Free cannot be transferred)..
Rental credits are non-transferable. Free Days are transferable to immediate family members of Member (e.g., spouse or domestic partner, child over the age of 21, parent) irrespective of their membership in the Program. Members may transfer up to three (3) Free Days per calendar year. Once transferred, Free Days cannot be returned to Member's account. Free Days may be redeemed electronically when submitting a reservation request for a vehicle on nationalcar.com, or customer may call 1-800CARRENT (1-800-227-7368). (Depending on your country of residence, this call may be an international call and may be subject to the relevant charges depending on your operator.) No paper certificates will be issued for Free Days. Free Days can only be used on National Car Rental brand reservation requests at participating National Car Rental brand locations in the United States, Canada, Australia and Latin American Caribbean countries (and, in Europe, for National Car Rental brand reservations serviced by Enterprise). Free Days are combinable up to three (3) consecutive days maximum on one rental. Customers may redeem Free Days for periods of no longer than three (3) Free Days per rental transaction. These Free Days do not include charges that are not included in the base rates of the particular applicable jurisdiction, such as (i) taxes, assessments, use fees or other governmentally imposed, authorized or permitted surcharges or pass-throughs; (ii) license recoupment fees, airport fees and concession recoupment fees; (iii) service charges and fees; (iv) vehicle license recovery fees; (v) damage waiver, the cost of optional insurance products, fuel charges, optional upgrades, underage driver's fees, infant seats or other optional items; (vi) charges or drop-off charges for one way rentals; or (vii) tolls or parking violations. Free Days are redeemable for passenger vehicles only. Transferred Free Days are valid for one (1) year from the original month of transfer
Hertz allows transfers of points to a spouse or domestic partner only. Hertz also holds the unique distinction of being the only program that lists points for sale. If a renter is within a few points of a major redemption after transferring points, buying points for 20 cents each (minimum purchase of 50 points) could result in an outsized benefit for a family that transfers.
Can Members Purchase Points?
Members will be allowed to purchase up to 10,000 additional Points per calendar year for 20 cents (US $) per Point by charging to a major credit card if they have a minimum balance of 500 Points. Minimum purchase is 50 Points.
Are Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Transferable?
Gold Plus Rewards Points are only transferable to a member's spouse or domestic partner. Prior to any Gold Plus Rewards Points transfers, the Member’s spouse or domestic partner must have his/her own Hertz Gold Plus Rewards number.
Companies That Don't Allow Transfers
Avis doesn't allow any transfer (or sale or barter) of Avis Preferred Points.
No Sale or Transfer: Avis Preferred Points may not be exchanged or redeemed by an Avis Preferred Member for cash value or credit. Avis Preferred Points believed to have been bartered, sold, exchanged, or issued to someone other than the eligible Avis Preferred Member will be deemed void and will not be honored.
Transferring Avis Benefits. Avis Preferred Points and other Avis Preferred Member benefits may not be sold, bartered or transferred (other than by Avis or its agents). Any attempted transfer, sale or barter will be deemed void. Avis and its partners may refuse to honor or recognize any Avis Preferred Points or Avis Preferred Member benefits which Avis believes may have been transferred, sold or bartered.
Can I share my Renter Rewards with family or friends?
No, they are account holder specific.
And although Advantage allows transferring awards, sister company E-Z does not.
E-Z Money Points or Credits cannot be transferred to another E-Z Money account holder.
Companies Without Points (No Transfer Possibilities)
As frequent travelers ourselves, we tend to rent from the companies that save us the most time at rental counters; the ability to transfer points and awards is a secondary consideration. However, there are some interesting nuances among these programs, such as the ability to extend the expiration date of soon-to-expire points by a strategic transfer. And Enterprise's policy on Enterprise Plus point transfers does elevate that program a bit in our minds, as all of our team members help out our extended families (immediate families plus families of the heart) when we can.
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