National Rental Car offers Reward Days for their loyal customers with free rentals with almost every car category available. Sometimes, however, downgrading your rental on arrival is the best way to ensure exactly what you want.
National Car Rental Reward Days
I rent a lot of cars, it’s part and parcel with my work travel schedule. For the last four years, I have made Executive Elite with National car rental which requires either 25 rentals or 85 rental days annually. With such status, I usually get just about any car except Exotics regardless of which category I select.
Standard members receive one free reward day for every seven rental days they incur, Executives, one for every six rental days, and Executive Elites one for every five rental days. During National’s One-Two-Free promotion, reward days are given to registrants for every two rental days, though I am not sure one of those certificates would work.
There are a few restrictions around the way you can use Reward Days if you hold any status other than Executive Elite. Among them, one-way rentals are not permitted on one-day rentals. Another restriction is the car type. Any member who is not an Executive Elite is limited to full-size cars and smaller. This excludes convertibles as well, though they may qualify for another vehicle type if they had a hardtop.
I recently reserved a car for a trip home to Omaha, NE. That rental was a one-way to Kansas City, MO but was not for one-day but in other instances, I have found that the multi-day rental requirement is not typically enforced online, over the phone or in-person. This could be a glitch, or it could be a limitation only loosely enforced.
During my rental period, almost every car category was wide open. Economy (never ever rent this), Standard, Full Size, but then even premium, luxury and all sorts of SUVs were available included in the reward days category. While I don’t necessarily want a luxury SUV (Infiniti QC80 is common), by reserving the very top of the line, I should be able to take my pick of just about any vehicle I want. The only excluded the small truck category for my rental period (similar results generated below.)
In the past, I have reserved premium cars but have never gotten anything better than a Nissan Maxima. When I rent luxury cars (sometimes the same rate or close to full-size car prices) I am limited to whatever Cadillac they have or the smallest possible BMW SUV (not my cup of tea).
By securing the very best rental car category possible, well above premium and luxury, I will be able to select just about anything besides a Maserati or Corvette including BMWs, Audis, Mercedes-Benz and that delivers incredible value for me. In this rental, I will get a value of $900+ in exchange from rentals earned from 15 days on the road.
I am a firm believer that you should always select the experience you want to have. While I get frustrated when my upgrade doesn’t clear like any other business traveler, having the privilege of downgrading yourself to get the exact experience you want is the epitome of demonstrating loyalty to customers.
What do you think? What’s the best rental car you have secured without spending money to upgrade? Does another car rental company offer something better?