With free upgrades for elite members and priority assistance desks for all, it makes sense to join the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program whether you rent but once a year or spend most of your days on the road.
What’s more, members can earn either Hertz Rewards points or frequent flyer points with airlines such as Virgin Australia: providing even greater choice for road warriors.
Here’s what you need to know about Hertz Gold Plus Rewards in our unofficial guide.
Hertz Gold Plus Rewards 101
Membership is free: just visit the Hertz website to join and begin earning points on your car rentals.
Entry-level members of the program can fast track their pick-up and drop-off experience at dedicated Hertz Gold Plus Rewards counters (where available) and by keeping their driver licence and credit card details on file for when they next rent.
And as you begin to rent more, you’ll move up to either Five Star or President’s Circle status to enjoy perks such as free car upgrades and extra points when you rent with Hertz.
Every US dollar spent with Hertz – or its equivalent in a country’s local currency – earns one Gold point, with members in the higher tiers enjoying a bonus on top.
Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Five Star status
With an impressive-sounding title, we’d liken Five Star status to the Silver tier of most other loyalty programs – yours after seven rentals in a calendar year or spending the equivalent of US$1,500+ in the same period.
It’s also available free for Virgin Australia Velocity Gold members, who can choose either Hertz Five Star status or Europcar Privilege Executive.
That gets you free upgrades to the next-highest type of rental car, subject to availability and not beyond a ‘Full Size’ vehicle: so if you had your eyes on the black Audi sitting in the lot, it wasn’t meant to be.
You’ll also collect 10% more points with Hertz than entry-level members, which in reality sees you earning 1.1 points per US$1 as opposed to 1.0 points.
In return for your loyalty, Hertz also pays out an extra 600 points after every 15th rental, while your status itself is valid for the remainder of the calendar year in which it’s earned, and the full year after that.
For example, reach Five Star status in July 2015 and you’ll keep your Five Star card until end December 2016.
Hertz Gold Plus Rewards President’s Circle status
After 20 rentals in a calendar year, an annual spend of US$4,000+ or with Virgin Australia Velocity Platinum status, you’ll net a Hertz President’s Circle card.
That delivers similar benefits as the lower tiers but comes with a 25% points bonus rather than the lower 10%: taking your earn to 1.25 points per US$1, along with access to designated President’s Circle desks and stalls for a faster getaway than lower-tier members.
One-class car upgrades change from space-available to ‘guaranteed’, but remain capped at ‘Full Size’ vehicles.
President’s Circle members can also reserve cars from participating Hertz locations that would otherwise appear sold out during peak periods, provided you make your booking at least 48 hours in advance – login to your Hertz Gold Plus Rewards account when searching for cars on the Hertz website to activate this perk.
Available only to US residents, Hertz Platinum cards aren’t earned, they’re bought – presenting much the same benefits as President’s Circle but with complimentary extras included such as ski racks and child car seats.
There’s also free delivery of your rental car to a private jet terminal, your home or office; a four-hour grace period on car returns and a complimentary Hertz Platinum card for your spouse or domestic partner.
President’s Circle members can upgrade for US$1,200 (A$1,509), Five Star members for US$1,275 (A$1,603), entry-level members for US$1,350 (A$1,697), and non-members for US$1,500 (A$1,886).
(As Hertz Gold Plus Rewards is free to join, make that your first step before investing in Hertz Platinum and you’ll save A$189 on your annual membership cost.)
Earning and redeeming points with Hertz
After earning 1-1.25 Hertz Gold Plus Rewards points per US$1 spent, 550 points can be swapped for a free weekend day rental in Australia, or 700 for the same on a weekday for a standard car.
Hiring for a week delivers the best bang for your rewards buck and essentially gives you seven days at the cost of five, being 3,500 rewards points for that same standard car.
But just because a car is available for hire doesn’t necessarily mean that points can be used to book it: if points bookings aren’t available to match your preferred location and dates, members can instead redeem twice the usual number of points to secure a car, with no blackout dates.
Also be aware that your points only waive Hertz’s usual time and mileage charges: all other fees and optional extras are still payable including taxes, governmental surcharges, tax reimbursement, vehicle license fees, airport and location fees, ‘Fuel Purchase Option’, refuelling, excess mileage, liability damage waivers and more.
Virgin Australia Velocity members also have the option of collecting three frequent flyer points per dollar on time and kilometre charges for rentals in Australia and New Zealand and a flat 800 Velocity points when hiring in other countries, but may not earn any points when hiring on corporate rates.
(This is determined by Hertz’s agreement with your employer, so check with your travel manager if you’re unsure.)
Where points are earned on rentals in Australia and NZ only, Silver Velocity members receive a 50% bonus atop the regular haul, Velocity Gold members grab 75% more points while Velocity Platinum members earn double points, or six points per dollar.
- Virgin Australia Velocity Gold: Europcar, Hertz car hire perks
- The Europcar Privilege loyalty program for Aussie business travellers
- Europcar, Hertz VIP status with Virgin Australia Velocity Platinum
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