Book Two Car Rentals via United and Earn 10,500 United Miles

A quick post as I’m running out the door but United sent an offer for Chase United MileagePlus credit cardholders who can earn 10,500 United miles after just two car rentals with Hertz. I value the 10,500 miles at around ~$150 dollars so this is a pretty substantial offer for a car rental promotion. 

unitedoffer2

To book this offer, you must book on United.com and use discount code (CDP) 62455 and promotion code (PC) 305023. Here is the breakdown of earning miles:

– 750 miles per rental 

-1,500 bonus miles per rental for mid-size vehicle or larger 

-3,000 bonus miles per rental for Chase UnitedMileagePlus cardholders

unitedoffer1

I don’t have time right now to look up rental rates but if they are in the ballpark of what they normally are or comparable to other sites (Kayak, Costco Travel, Autoslash..) this could be a very good deal.

My Favorite Daily Getaways Deal – It’s Not What You Expect

It is fair to say this year’s Daily Getaways offering have been pretty weak – in fact I’ve yet to write a word about them until now as I am finally in sight of my favorite Daily Getaway deal. For those who know about the Daily Getaway deals, you could (and probably would) argue that Hyatt points deal on 4/29 is the best deal for most people. It is certainly isn’t a bad deal for most but those packages will be gone in literally .05 seconds so it is a true lottery to get them. Instead my preferred deal, which I’ve purchased for the past two years, is for the Hertz Points which will be available this Friday starting at 1pm ET.

Here is a summary of the packages available:

5,500 Hertz Gold Plus Rewards for $250 (~4.54 cents per point, 45 available)
13,200 Hertz Gold Plus Rewards for $560 (~4.24 cents per point, 35 available)
16,500 Hertz Gold Plus Rewards for $698 (~4.23 cents per point, 50 available)

For comparison, this was last year prices – it looks like they unfortunately raised the price on the middle package to be more in line with the others.

5,500 Hertz Gold Plus Rewards for $252 (~4.58 cents per point, 45 available)
13,200 Hertz Gold Plus Rewards for $428 (~3.24 cents per point, 35 available)
16,500 Hertz Gold Plus Rewards for $698 (~4.23 cents per point, 50 available)

And to understand what these points get you, here is their reward chart with the main rewards shown below.

Hertz Reward Chart 2 Hertz Reward Chart

Let’s assume you get one of the packages that sells the points at 4.24 cents – that means a rental day cost around $28.62 while a weekly rental costs only $116.60 by buying points today. A specialty vehicle weekly rental (which is defined as minivans, convertibles and certain SUVs) costs $186.56. A three day weekend rental would cost only $69.96. 

Obviously rental prices vary greatly based on the market, but those weekly rates are great deals in most major markets, especially for the specialty vehicles which is great for large families (or for couples looking at the convertible option). For my last few trips to Hawaii I’ve been able to get a convertible rental for just $142.56 (using the cost of the points I purchased last year). That’s a fantastic deal for a weekly convertible rental in Maui as usually convertibles rates are nuts. Even the free rental day isn’t terrible as in the last week of the Daily Getaways Avis is offering a one day rental for $30 – this Hertz deal is better than that for even the basic one day rentals.

Hertz Rental

My cost – $142

The reason I like Hertz points and this deal in particular is that it is a guaranteed way to get a discounted car rental without the hassle of finding discount codes, searching multiple sites, or renting from discounted car rental car agencies (Fox, Payless etc.). The last two years I’ve rented almost exclusively with Hertz and I have had nothing but great experiences. I never have to wait in line to get my car as I am Gold Rewards Plus member (which anyone can become) as I always get a text with the car’s location when I land and I drive right out of the lot. I’ve been upgraded several times over the past two years including a brand new Camaro (when I only reserved a base convertible) on our trip to the Big Island last year and a Pathfinder on my last trip when I only reserved a mid-size SUV.

Camaro

New Camaro Last Year on the Big Island, HI

Now trust me I understand there are ways to get cheap rentals including using tools like AutoSlash but when I’m on vacation I want a quick and easy rental car experience. The ability to avoid lines and not having to deal with discounted car rental agencies with the endless upsells and crappier cars is worth it to me to lock in my price as shown above for my future rentals. I’m sure several of you will disagree with my approach on car rentals but this works for me and my style of travel, especially since I tend to rent premium vehicles (convertibles, large SUVs) on my trips. 

Depending on your rental car habits, this deal is not for everyone. If you are an infrequent renter, I wouldn’t want to tie up cash in Hertz points that have already devalued once in 2013 and might again soon. The infrequent renter will be better off using Priceline, Costco Travel or the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal most of the time. Paying over 4 cents a point sounds like a lot but if you know how to redeem Hertz for high value rewards in the right markets, then this is an excellent way to get a discounted car rental.

If You Are Buying Hertz Points Today Here is One Helpful Hint on Actually Using Those Points

Today’s Daily Getaway deal is for Hertz points with several different packages available for sale ranging from $252 to $698. Here are the options:

5,500 Hertz Gold Plus Rewards for $252 (~4.58 cents per point, 45 available)
13,200 Hertz Gold Plus Rewards for $428 (~3.24 cents per point, 35 available)
16,500 Hertz Gold Plus Rewards for $698 (~4.23 cents per point, 50 available)

To get an idea of how many Hertz points you need for a rental, their full award chart is here but here are some highlights:

HertzAwards

If we assume you can buy the middle package today and get the lowest cost per point for Hertz points at ~3.24 cents each, then a free rental day cost around $21.87 while a free weekly rental costs only $89.16 by buying points today. A specialty vehicle weekly rental (which is defined as minivans, convertibles and certain SUVs) costs $142.56. Obviously rental prices vary greatly based on the market, but those weekly rates are great deals in most major markets.

For example, I am going to Hawaii next week and will be in Maui for a week. I decided to rent a convertible because why not. The listed rate was almost $600 but since I had Hertz points it costs me 4400 points which as pointed out above is a cost of $142.56 if you buy points today. That’s a fantastic deal for a weekly convertible rental in Maui! 

Hertz Rental

While the points can be quite valuable, I do want to point out one drawback which is the Hertz website sucks. It constantly does not let me redeem my points for cars by telling me I don’t have enough points (I do) or giving me the option to use points for just one day out of a weekly rental instead of using points for the full week. Better yet, calling customer service is a nightmare and they are generally unhelpful in my experience (I got into a screaming match with a supervisor the other night booking the convertible above but that’s another long story).

In short, she refused to book it so let me share my one BIG tip to solve this problem – Use the Hertz Twitter team. The Hertz Twitter team is fantastic – they are knowledge, responsive and I’ve never had an issue. For this rental with the convertible above, the rep on the phone claimed no standard convertibles were available which wasn’t true since I could book it paying cash. So I ended up booking it with cash and asking the Twitter team to convert the paid rental to a free weekly rental on points. This is my second big tip – if you are told a car is unavailable but you see it being available by paying cash, book it with cash and then change it to points. It took all of 3 minutes for them to adjust it and my confirmation was updated to pay just the mandatory fees.

Depending on your rental car habits, this deal is not for everyone. If you are an infrequent renter, I wouldn’t want to tie up cash in Hertz points that have already devalued once in 2013 and might again soon. The infrequent renter will be better off using Priceline, Costco Travel or the Chase Ultimate Rewards Portal most of the time. Even for relatively frequent renters, I find Hertz points are the most valuable for weekly rentals, one way rentals and specialty vehicle rentals. I would not use my points on multi-day rentals as 3/4 days is almost the same price as taking the car for the week. There are a limited number of packages available today so good luck!