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.
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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 National Car Rental 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 so long as I am renting a luxury vehicle (nearly the highest category.) 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?
You get a free day for 7 rentals, not 7 retail days.
I guess I’m confused on how this works. You use a free rental day on a Luxury SUV category and then pick another car when you get there, even if it’s a lower category? I know the whole “pick any car from the Executive Aisle when booking a Midsize” thing, but they let you take a car from a lower category you didn’t reserve if you book a Luxury SUV?
They will always let you downgrade, but if you book something in a specialty category like Premium, it will always be the minimum from that category. Those vehicles are sometimes on the aisle but not always. So if I want a Luxury vehicle like a Mercedes-Benz and I rent over that category, there’s no reason I shouldn’t have access to the top of that category. But in my experience, the bottom of the reserved category is usually what’s guaranteed and when it is free to go bigger, it guarantees a better experience.
Where does it say anywhere in the T&C’s that you can’t use free days for single day one-ways unless you are Executive Elite? I have never heard of such a thing, either for regular free days or the One Two Free kind.
I have been renting from Nationals for the Past 12 months in a row. Being an Executive elite member, i say it is based on the location employees. I have rented Audi Q3, Suburban, Infiniti Q70, Cadilliac XT5 and XTS, and all the 3 major usa sports cars(camaro, mustang and challneger) all of these only for a full size prize.
Also, i can get any variant cars on free days , i have to pay only the taxes.
The National membership has been the best thing happened to me being a car lover !
National is the best I have found, I love them.
Yes they do.
I always switch vehicle from one location to the other.
If you contract says luxury vehicle, then you are allowed to switch with any vehicle between luxury and economy provides they have the fleet.
Being a elite member, you can just walk in drop and pickup whatever you wanna exchange with.
I have exchanged caddy xt5 with dodge challenger and range rover evoque with a chrysler 300 being a premium without any reservation.
It depends in the area you live at. Plus don’t forget you have to pay an extra $100. Deposit on top of the charge depends we’re you live even though you are an executive elite member, you will get it back within 2-5 days. Also need to check into the policy new rules in our area they are combined with Enterprise and let me tell you all new rules and it really sucks!! I had to deal with a bunch of new policy rules and since I have been with them for more than 9 years these policies are getting worse. Sorry I am being truthful, but if you go to the other car rentals their prices are higher and the deposits are doubled. Make sure you have a Master Card or VISA card, they do not accept any Bank like debit cards anymore at all. Many people get upset about this but that is National and Enterprise rules. You also do not accumulate days until you have rented by rentals not days, that has changed if you rent for the weekend you will get one point so you have to rent almost 5 different weekends to get one free day. like I said rules changed same goes for 1-2 free day, now you cannot use those 2 together. Those are 2 different offers so you are not allowed to combine those days together at all. The only thing that you can use is look up for the specials then use them to rent sometimes you either get a free day of rental or $20. Off a day your choice look for the specials first.
Since Enterprise has moved into the airport in my town it has been very crappy on the policies. You almost have to schedule months in advance because you can’t rent a car for one day to go see the doctor out of town when you need to see the specialist
It’s true there is a deposit on rentals with debit cards, maybe that’s a future post. It makes sense if you think about those with nefarious purposes. Consider that cars do get stolen and if you have a debit card with nothing in the bank and they give you the keys to $30,000 it can be impossible to recover. Credit cards help deter some of this and assist in recovery if the vehicle doesn’t return as expected.
You sound like a tool in all honesty. Lol
I have been a loyal executive elite member for more than 5 years and my experiences are totally different and vary from State to state and airport to airport. There are clear racial bias I have experienced (so have others I have come to discover) at the Indianapolis International airport location. It should be noted reaching the highest “reward” level requires some significant spending. I am also a HertzPlus member and since having multiple horrible experiences at IND with complaints filed and no one ever getting back to resolve or explain. My new loyal dollars have moved to Hertz.
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