Last Updated on January 1, 2021 by Elizabeth
Want to achieve elite status in car rental rewards programs? It can instantly make you feel like a VIP by unlocking a bevy of perks. Overall, these range from free upgrades and skip-the-line service to discounts and extra points.
The traditional method of earning elite status comes through racking up a required number of paid car rentals. But there’s an easier and free way to zoom to elite status. And you might be entitled to it without even realizing it.
Car Rental Rewards Programs and Status Matching
Status matching lets you instantly leapfrog into elite status without having to rent your way there. For some, it means having the right credit card. Other times, it may mean having elite status in a hotel or airline reward program. Either way, you can often automatically gain elite status in a car rental rewards program. Elite status in one frequent renter program can entitle you to elite status in a competitor’s program. Overall, this is a fantastic strategy for occasional renters. It lets you get to the top of the mountain without making the climb.
Here’s the lowdown on status matching with major rental car rewards programs.
There’s no status matching program. But frequent renters can join Alamo Insiders, which lets you acquire points through a a handful of partner programs. The list includes American Airlines AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Hilton Honors, Best Western Hotels & Resorts and more.
The rewards program, called Avis Preferred, offers one of the most extensive status matching programs. Some premium credit cards offer free Avis Preferred Plus status as a travel benefit. These include Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, American Express Platinum and World Elite Mastercards.
You can also earn points through scores of partner programs. These include American Airlines AAdvantage, Southwest Rapid Rewards, World of Hyatt, Choice Privileges and more.
You can get status matching to Avis Preferred Plus if you have elite status with competitors Enterprise, Hertz, or National. You can email Avis at email@example.com along with proof of your current status. AARP members can also request an expedited match.
There is no formal status matching program for Budget Fastbreak. But you can accrue points through airline and hotel partners. These include American Airlines AAdvantage, JetBlue TrueBlue, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Choice Privileges, Wyndham Rewards and more.
There is no status matching program for Dollar Express. But your points can be counted toward airline and hotel programs. These include Alaska Air, American, Avianca, Delta, Emirates, Frontier, Gulf Airlines, Southwest and United. They also include InterContinental Hotel Group’s IHG Rewards program.
The rewards program, called Hertz Gold Plus Rewards, offers status matching through a variety of ways. Some credit cards deliver free Gold or President’s Circle status as a travel benefit. These include American Express Platinum and the United Club Card.
You can also earn Hertz points if you have elite status with Delta Skymiles, United MileagePlus, Marriott Bonvoy and more.
Finally, you can get status matching if you have elite status with competitors Avis, Enterprise or National.
Emerald Club offers the most robust matching program of all. To begin with, many premium credit cards offer Emerald Club executive status as a travel benefit. These include the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, American Express Platinum and World Elite Mastercards.
You can also get status matching through dozens of partners, including American Airlines AAdvantage, Delta SkyMiles, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Hilton Honors, Radisson Rewards and more.
The World Elite Mastercards offer matching to Platinum status in the Sixt Rewards program. Other partners offering status matching include Delta SkyMiles, Hilton Honors, World of Hyatt. You can even get matching status from competitors like Avis and Hertz.
There is no formal status matching program for Thrifty Blue Chip. But your points can be counted toward airline frequent flyer programs (Alaska Air, American, Avianca, Delta, Emirates, Frontier, Gulf Airlines, Southwest and United). In addition, there is matching through InterContinental’s IHG Rewards program.