With an overnight devaluation of up to 70%, you may be wondering whether there is still any value left in the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program. There’s no sugar-coating it: Hertz just did about the worst thing any loyalty program could possibly do, and they have been thoroughly unapologetic about it. No redemption was left untouched, and the best redemptions were the hardest hit. Is there still any value remaining in the program? Yes, but it’s limited.
How You Can Earn Points
You can earn points in the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program either by renting cars (and taking Hertz points instead of airline miles as a reward) or by purchasing points. Generally speaking, purchasing points in the program is not a good deal, although there can be occasional exceptions (such as Daily Getaways packages). You can redeem points for rentals, but points can be hard to use as there is limited availability. In addition, points only cover the base rental charge. You still have to pay all the taxes (and junk fees disguised as taxes such as “location surcharges”). Accordingly, expect your “free” rental to cost $20 or more per day in some locations. When it’s possible to use discount sites like AutoSlash and get rentals for around the same price, it’s definitely difficult to justify using points.
One advantage of earning Hertz Gold Plus Rewards instead of airline points for your rental is that you will avoid the daily “frequent flyer surcharge.” In many cases, this sneaky junk fee is more expensive than the value of the airline points you’ll earn.
New Sweet Spots
With any award program, the highest value is in the “sweet spots.” After a devaluation, these can (and often do) change. Previously, the best “sweet spot” was weekly rentals for specialty vehicles (such as vans and large SUVs). At only 4,400 points per week, you’d pay less than 650 points per day for vehicles that can rent for upwards of $100 per day. Overnight, this incredible deal has disappeared. These rentals now cost 7,500 points per week, sucking most of the value out of the redemption. Fortunately, not everything on the chart was hit as hard.
Daily “Dream Collection” rentals: Want to drive a Bentley, an Aston-Martin, or a Lamborghini? The price hasn’t changed. These are very expensive points rentals, at 5,000 and 6,000 points for Tier 1 and 2, respectively, and they’re only available in France, Italy, and the UK. However, these are also very expensive cash rentals. If Rolls-Royce is your style, your points are worth the same.
Daily and weekly “Adrenaline Collection” rentals: If you just can’t drive 55 and a Corvette, Mustang, or Challenger is your style, the daily price of these rentals actually went down by 100 points. They’re now 2,200 points per day. The weekly rental price also went down by 500 points, to 11,000 points per week. The downside is that Hertz split the category of the Prestige Collection and the Adrenaline Collection, and the prices went up on Prestige Collection vehicles.
One day, one-way premium rentals: Hertz charges the same for a compact through premium rental when booking with points. One-way rentals are often very expensive, so even at the new price of 1,500 points (up from 1,350), this can still be excellent value. The daily price is still high, so these rentals are most valuable in situations where you can load up on energy drinks and cover a lot of distance in a relatively short time—especially if cars are really expensive where you’re located. Heading from Phoenix to Seattle for the summer? You can do it in almost exactly 24 hours if you drive straight through, covering 1,400 miles for 1,500 points.
There are other creative “hacks” with one-way rentals. Want to take an epic road trip, but not have to drive both ways? Consider renting a Hertz vehicle one way and flying the other direction. A one-way rental from San Francisco to Yellowstone in July would cost $655.99 per day, but it’s just 1,500 points per day. Stretch your points even more by returning the car immediately when you reach your destination and doing a new contract (for local rental, at local rates) for the balance of your vacation.
Every time an award program changes, old sweet spots go away and new opportunities open up. Nobody likes a devaluation, but Hertz Gold Plus Rewards points can still deliver good value. This won’t be a program I’ll be going out of my way to accrue points in, but it is a program that can still—in specific circumstances and based on availability—delivers excellent value.
Do you have plans to use your Hertz points?
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