Full Disclosure: Million Mile Secrets worked with National to create this post. National offered me compensation to write about this promotion. But I’d rather give them away as prizes! These are my personal opinions and do not reflect the views of National Car Rental. This disclosure supersedes any other notations on this page.
Last month, I wrote about how we had the opportunity to interview a National Car Rental Road Warrior and you submitted your questions. National Car Rental has a great rewards program that allows you to skip the line and choose your own car.
So I was looking forward to getting answers to some of your questions and asking a few of my own!
Vicki travels a lot on business and regularly uses National. She was happy to answer your questions about rental cars and National Car Rental’s Emerald Club loyalty program!
Interview With a Road Warrior
How far in advance is the best time to book a car?
I usually make my rental car reservation about 2 to 3 weeks before I need it.
I base this mostly on when I make my airline reservation, since I need to know what time my flight arrives in order to make my rental car reservation.
What’s the best way to find the lowest rates?
Since I am reimbursed for my rental car, I don’t shop for rates.
I always rent from National because they offer the best service by far. The only time I ever rent from any other company is if National doesn’t have a car available, which is rare.
What are your best & worst car rental experiences? And what did you learn from them?
I almost always have great rental car experiences.
But one time I dropped my rental car off in St. Louis the night before I was taking an early morning flight. In order to get back to the hotel after returning the car, I was going to have to ride the rental car shuttle to the airport and then take the hotel shuttle from the airport to the hotel, which was going to take quite a while.
I mentioned this to the National Car Rental employee who was checking in my car and he told his manager who offered to give me a ride from the rental car facility to the hotel. I can’t say I learned anything other than I love National!
The worst car rental experience I have ever had was when I rented a car in San Francisco and drove down to San Jose. The power steering went out on the car.
I called National and they said I could turn the car in at San Jose, but I decided to drive the car back to San Francisco because I wanted to return it to the same location where I rented it.
However, it was quite the experience trying to get the car back up there without power steering. Next time, I will definitely take any car with a problem to the nearest National facility.
How has National’s Emerald Club saved you money?
I have earned so many free rental days with National’s Emerald Club and that has saved a lot of money on vacation days where I needed a rental car.
As an Emerald Club member, you earn benefits based on the number of days you rent and how many times you rent. You can also earn additional free days with special promotions such as National’s annual One Two Free promotion.
One of the great benefits of free days is that you can use them for 1-way rentals which can be very expensive.
Note: One-way charges or fees are not covered by the Emerald Club free day. Only the rental day is included.
If you have a connecting flight from a major hub to a smaller airport near your home and your connecting flight is cancelled, you may want to use a free day and drive home instead of having to wait for another flight.
How has National’s Emerald Club saved you time or added convenience to your traveling experience?
The best parts about the Emerald Club are being able to choose your own car and not having to wait at the counter.
When you’re a busy traveler and have to fly in, get a rental car, and get to the hotel or where you are working, every minute counts – the Emerald Club saves so much time by allowing me to skip the rental counter.
Plus, you get to choose what car you want to drive instead of someone else deciding. It just makes the whole travel experience so much more pleasant.
Why did you choose National’s Emerald Club over other rental car programs?
I picked it because my very seasoned traveling co-workers told me that over the years they had tried all of the rental car companies and National’s Emerald Club was by far the best.
I thought that with all of their years of travel they must know what they are talking about – and they did.
I have been in the Emerald Club for 8 years and have loved every minute of it.
I really enjoyed driving in the muddy and rough roads to Polihale State Park in Kauai. What was your most fun experience in a rental car?
I think the most fun experience I have had is driving up Highway 1 in California. It is beautiful.
Do you have any tips for people who are new to renting cars?
When you rent a car, walk around it to make sure that it doesn’t have any damage. If it does, make sure that you point that out to the person at the booth before you leave so that you aren’t charged when you return the car.
Any other handy rental car tips? (For instance, when I’m in an unfamiliar car I sometimes forget which side of the car has the gas tank. But there’s actually a little triangular arrow on the fuel gauge that points to it.)
When you are leaving the rental car facility, try to familiarize yourself with a gas station that is nearby because you are going to need to fill up the car when you come back.
It is best to try and find one close to the rental car facility so you don’t have to spend time searching for one before you return your card and perhaps miss your plane.
How to Win:
1. Leave a Comment
Please leave ONE comment telling me about your favorite rental car trip.
I’ll pick 1 commenter who will win National Emerald Club Executive Status and a $200 AMEX gift card after the drawing closes at 9:00 pm Central Time on Saturday, January 10, 2015 (today).
Don’t forget to include the hashtag “MMSNationalRental”
I’ll pick 1 tweeter who will win National Emerald Club Executive Status and a $200 AMEX gift card after the drawing closes at 9:00 pm Central Time on January 10, 2015 (today).
Fine Print: I make the final determinations for the giveaway and there’s no appeal in the Million Mile Court. I’m giving away National Emerald Club Executive status and $200 AMEX gift cards, so please don’t make this hard for me!