Hi all! I'm Avis First and considering switching to National. A bit of background: I rent probably 12-15x a year, 90% of which is at PDX. National used to be off airport there, but is now on-airport, and I've just about had it with Avis. The final straw came on Christmas day, when they didn't have my name on the preferred board. I went downstairs to stand in line while the man in front of me asked the price of literally ever car, then negotiated the price down by waving Enterprise and Thrifty prices at the agent for at least 20 minutes. He then was given a brand new <500 miles car, while I was given a filthy car not in the class I reserved with tons of miles. Yeesh.
Here's the rub - although I am often abused by Avis, I do have status, which provides some very minimal benefits, namely free weekend coupons. Is it worth making the switch to National? My rentals are primarily weekends - how is the Emerald Aisle at PDX on the weekends? The PDX thread seems to have some fairly mixed reviews on car availability, and as a non-Exec member, I'm wondering if it's worth switching...
Avis Preferred First will match you into the Executive tier at National...maybe try and achieve that status with Avis before making the jump? https://statusmatch.emeraldclub.com/ Just an idea. I don't know the Avis Preferred terms, but maybe try and reach the minimum number of rentals to get the status using points/free coupons/cheap weekend rates before jumping ship completely.
Short answer, absolutely worth it. If you like getting to choose your own car (my favorite part of the program) and driving mildly interesting vehicles for a mid-size price, switch. I think most of the National regulars would agree.
Is it worth making the switch to National? My rentals are primarily weekends - how is the Emerald Aisle at PDX on the weekends? The PDX thread seems to have some fairly mixed reviews on car availability, and as a non-Exec member, I'm wondering if it's worth switching...
With 12+ rentals a year you will make Emerald Exec and be entitled to Executive Selection at the ~60 US/Canadian airport Emerald Aisle locations for full-sized cars at a midsize rate. Plus, many locations stock a better ES variety than just the regular full size Impala/Camry/Malibu.
Thanks everyone - status match form is already completed. I just got the "tell us about your recent rental" survey from Avis and am once again steaming mad about Avis, so I'm looking forward to trying out National.
You should make the jump to National. Selecting your own vehicle every time is great! I rent about 100 days/year mostly at ATL. I'm Avis First and National matched to Exec. Avis cars are never clean and there are no real perks. I still can't figure out how to get to Exec VIP though.
I still can't figure out how to get to Exec VIP though.
Exec VIP is an invitation only unpublished level (think AA Concierge Key or UA GS). Exec Elite (EE) is the level above Exec with additional benefits of one rental credit less to get 1 free banked day (free day can be reserved in any car class) and free pickup at FBO (private/corporate aircraft locations). For most people, it's not a significant improvement over the "basic" Executive level.
BTW, welcome to Flyertalk and our National forum, Wf9150!!!
Thanks everyone - I got status matched and have my first rental scheduled for next weekend! Looking forward to trying something new. Quick question - with Avis Preferred, my husband can drive the car w/o us having to go to the counter. It seems like from the National site that this is the same with them - is that right?
Yes, spouse can drive the car - although you do have to be there to pick it up. I'm pretty sure all of the "free spouse" rules at all agencies are country-specific, so if you're renting outside the U.S. confirm the rules first. But at PDX, yes, no problem, spouse can drive.
I think you will like Exec Select.
I believe the other perk of Exec Elite (25 rentals) is being able to reserve any type of car on your free days. But...since ES selection is pretty good, that's not a *huge* perk unless you really need a van or something. I have redeemed a couple of recent free days for one-way luxury cars. But if I'd been forced into a one-way Exec Select car, that wouldn't have been too awful either.
The thing I like about National is that, so far for me, their free days are truly "no bull." One-way is no problem and I've never had one not be available when regular cars are available.
Programs: UA 1K MM, HH Diamond, IHG Gold, Marriott Gold, National Exec Elite, Avis Presidents Club
I think you will like the switch very much. I moved over from being an Avis guy for years and was First at the end. I just wasn't excited about the cars they assigned me, and I almost never made use of the weekend rental days. The time I tried to use a reward cert they gave me (good only on weekend rentals within california or nevada - never able to use those) on a local rental, the franchise owner begged me to please use them only at the big airport locations because they didn't pay her anything for them.
I love getting to choose my own car, I find the selection of vehicles more to my liking, the free days are very powerful (use any time, and great for one-way rentals), and the exec asile is a real upgrade as opposed to being assigned a 20,000 mile G6 all the time. After you get used to how the system works, I'd be very surprised if you went back to Avis. Let us know how it goes!
Once you get into the habit of selecting your own car at National, you get really frustrated when you have a client who requires that you use their Hertz or Avis CDP for their trips.
I drove a freaking beat-up Corolla from Hertz IAD three weeks ago. They consider it a midsize car.
My only (minor) complaint about National is that they don't renew XM in any of their cars. Once the trial subscription expires, it's gone. So later in a model year, when National has a lot of 6-9 month old cars sitting around, I'd have to try a few to find working XM. Somewhere on this board is a thread about it and which carmakers tend to have the longest trial subscriptions in their cars. (Seems like Chrysler is longer than GM...)