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Cheap Car Rentals: Part 10 – Why Everyone Should Sign-Up For Frequent Car Rental Programs

Cheap Car Rentals: Part 10 – Why Everyone Should Sign-Up For Frequent Car Rental Programs

Million Mile SecretsCheap Car Rentals: Part 10 – Why Everyone Should Sign-Up For Frequent Car Rental ProgramsMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Enrolling in car rental frequent renter programs (such as Avis Preferred or Budget FastBreak) is quick, free, and easy.

The biggest benefit of these free programs is skipping the long line at the rental counter at the airport and going straight to your car.

You can also earn free rental credits and/or miles.  Award Wallet is a great tool which will store your rental car program information!

Frequent Rental Programs-003
Skip The Lines For Free At Airports When You Enroll In Frequent Car Rental Programs


Cheap Car Rentals Series:

Rental Car Frequent Renter Programs

There is no cost to enroll in the different frequent car rental programs so it makes sense to sign-up even if you rarely rent cars.  Award Wallet is a great tool to store your frequent rental car program numbers.

1.   Saves Time.   Signing up will save you time because you bypass the line at the rental counter and either go to a shorter line for members of the frequent rental program or straight to your rental car!

You usually get to skip the lines if your car rental program number is attached to your reservation.  This usually happens when you book directly at the rental car companies website or if you include the number while making the reservation in *some* but not all third-party sites such as Costco Travel.

However, you can skip the crowded lines at the rental counter even if you haven’t booked your rental car directly through them.

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You Can Go Straight To The Cars in The Garage If You Are a Frequent Car Rental Program Member!

I’ve had luck just going to the special booth or line for frequent renter program members and getting them to process my rental even if I haven’t booked directly through the rental car company, but through the Ultimate Rewards portal or Hotwire.  I just show them my car rental program card and a copy of my reservation.

Most major airports in the US have separate lines for members of frequent rental car programs, but the smaller airports may not have these separate lines.

Most rental car programs require you to add your driver’s license and credit card information in your profile when you sign-up so you don’t waste time at the counter.

2.  No Salespersons Selling You Things You Don’t Need.   Rental car staff at the counter earn a commission for selling you insurance and other products.  And sometimes it is annoying when it is late at night, you’re tired, and the staff tries to sell you products you’re not interested in.

No Hardsell
No Hard Selling If You Enroll In a Frequent Rental Program

But when you sign-up for rental car programs, you can indicate that you don’t want to purchase the optional insurance and that you will bring the car back filled with gas etc.  So you save time at the counter even if someone has to manually process your reservation.

Of course, you can always buy these extras at the rental car counter if you need them

3.   Earn Extra Miles/Points.   You can  also earn miles or points or credits towards free rentals once you enroll in a frequent rental program.  However, some rental car companies do charge a small fee if you choose to earn airline miles for your rental.

Sign-Up For Rental Car Programs

1.    Alamo

Link:   Alamo Insiders Sign-Up

Alamo Insider Benefits:

CarRentalLoyaltyProgram
Click Image For Free Sign-Up To Alamo Insiders

2.    avis

Link:   Avis Preferred Sign-Up

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Look For Your Name on the Monitor & Go Straight to Your Car!

Avis Preferred Benefits:

  • Skip lines and go straight to your car
CarRentalLoyaltyProgram
Click Image For Free Sign-Up For Avis Preferred

3.    Budget

Link:   Budget Fast Break Sign-Up

Budget Fast Break Benefits:

  • Skip lines and go straight to your car
CarRentalLoyaltyProgram
Click Image For Free Sign-Up With Budget FastBreak

4.    Dollar

Link:   Dollar Express Sign-Up

Dollar Express Benefits:

  • Save time because your information is stored in your profile
  • Separate line for Dollar Express members
CarRentalLoyaltyProgram
Click Image For Free Sign-Up With Dollar Express

5.    Enterprise

Link:   Enterprise Plus Sign-Up

Enterprise Plus Benefits:

  • Save time because your information is stored in your profile
CarRentalLoyaltyProgram
Free Sign-Up With Enterprise Plus

6.    Hertz

Link:   Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Sign-Up

Benefits of Hertz Gold Plus Rewards:

  • Skip the counter and go directly to your car
  • Save time because your information is stored in your profile
CarRentalLoyaltyProgram
Click Image For Free Sign-Up With Hertz Gold Plus Rewards

7.    National

Link:   National Emerald Club Sign-Up

National Emerald Club Benefits:

  • Choose any available car from the lot when you book a midsize car
  • Bypass the counter
  • Save time because your information is stored in your profile
CarRentalLoyaltyProgram
Click Image For Free Sign-Up With National Emerald Club

8.    Thrifty

Link:   Thrifty Blue Chip Sign-Up

Thrifty Blue Chip Benefits:

  • Separate line for Thrifty Blue Chip members
  • Save time because your information is stored in your profile
CarRentalLoyaltyProgram
Click Image For Free Sign-Up With Thrifty Blue Chip

Bottom Line

Sign-up for frequent car rental programs.  It is free and will save you lots of time at the airport and also let you earn extra miles and points!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Thanks D. It can either be from Singapore or India. With all the other short travels in that region, I think it is probably gonna be from India (BOM or HYD) to ORD – Chicago. I see how the miles are devalued for UA but surcharges are low. But with AA, no devaluation with miles, but fuel surcharges are high (BA flights). I can potentially earn 10k miles either from UA or AA. So should I earn UA miles when renting car? Thanks!

Author
Million Mile Secrets

@Frugal-sara – I’d prefer United miles for those routes, but American Air miles are pretty good as well. You can fly on Etihad and Qatar to India and Malaysia, JAL, and Cathay Pacific to Singapore with American Air miles (just avoid having a BA segment). If you’re going to travel in coach, I’d pick United miles based on those destinations since they have more partners which fly to those countries. Note that United no longer shows Singapore Air flights on the United website.

Thanks for the quick reply!!

The question at this point would be which FF (UA or AA) miles should I earn to book tickets from central Asia to Chicago in June or December? I know that AA miles worth more now, but UA site also have rental offers for 300 miles per day. What do you think?

Author
Million Mile Secrets

@Frugal-sara – United miles are usually better to Asia (in coach), but which country specifically are you visiting?

I am renting car for 2 months for upcoming trip. I see a Dollar and Thrifty offer of earning 200 AA miles per day. Is this really true? What’s the catch to get this offer?

http://www.aa.com/viewPromotionDetails.do?fN=AAd_Thrifty2013.xml&_locale=en_US

Also, Hertz is 4x per dollar

Which one makes sense to earn most miles for the entire rental period?

Author
Million Mile Secrets

@Frugal-sara – 200 a day for a 2 month rental could be a great deal. But I’d check to make sure it is valid for 2 months. I’d estimate your total cost over 2 months and then see if you earn more miles with Hertz or Dollar or Thrifty.

Back on June 19, (above) Rob made a critically important point, one that also recently bit me with National at CHO. (Charlottesville) Yes, I got the National “emerald” club status, (which essentially made no difference at a small rental location) and returned the car late at night. I had carefully looked the car over at a well lit gas station before returning the car. All was well at return.

But 16 hours later, I get a call informing me there was a nasty dent underneath passenger side door, and they insist it happened on my watch. For all I know, somebody could have been driving it around the following morning and ran over a curb. (When I first picked up the car, I noted that two other vehicles in the National parking spots had significant “dents.”)

Alas, the way the rental agencies (and insurance companies seem to work) I have no way to prove the damage didn’t happen on my watch. Yes, I have insurance, but what hassle.

I complained there locally, and wondered what I could do in the future to make SURE this never happens again. I was lamely told that because they’re a small operation, they won’t have anyone to go out with me to inspect the car upon my return.

If you get THAT kind of LAZY response, as I told National Emerald customer care, I will never, ever rent from National again.

(oh, and by the way, National and Southwest never did honor the triple point promotion for that rental….. adding insult to injury)

The last 2 times I booked a rental with Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. the computer did not allow a rental on strictly Cash. I had to use at least one point. Does my Chase Sapphire Preferred card cover me for insurance under these circumstances?

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