These days, most rental car companies big and small have loyalty rewards programs that provide credits or points toward free rental days. Even the now-bankrupt discount rental company E-Z Rent A Car had a rewards program. But, ironically, it was always incredibly difficult to benefit from the E-Z Money program.
We had nothing against E-Z Rent A Car. In fact, we always wanted more major companies to compete with the three major companies that effectively control the U.S. rental market: AvisBudget Group (Avis, Budget, and Payless), Enterprise Holdings (Alamo, Enterprise, and National) and Hertz Global Holdings (Dollar, Hertz, and Thrifty). The problem: Competing means offering an excellent loyalty program, and the E-Z Money reward program was just not very good.
The Benefits of E-Z Money
On the surface, the E-Z Money program sounded perfectly fine. The program was free and, right away, you could start earning points that could later be redeemed for credits on future rentals. E-Z Money had no black out periods. You could redeem your points for add-ons like child car seats, GPS navigation systems, toll passes and other accessories.
The Drawbacks of E-Z Money
The points you earned with E-Z Money (10 points per dollar spent, so $1,000 spent is worth $10) could be converted to E-Z credit vouchers in fixed amounts. But there were substantial limitations.
You need to book from E-Z’s website.
For starters, taking advantage of the E-Z Money program required full integration into the E-Z Rent a Car ecosystem. To earn E-Z Money points, you needed to book your reservation from the E-Z website, while logged into the E-Z Money account. This was a drawback because it discourages comparison shopping to see if other rental car companies offer better deals. Most major rental car companies don’t impose this restriction.
It’s not easy to redeem points.
Next, the program awarded 10 points per dollar. However, these points could only be redeemed in fixed increments (starting at $20) and only one credit could be applied to an award reservation (the award booking also had to be made directly through E-Z’s website.
There’s no way to extend points.
Points expired after 18 months from date of issue. For example, if you earned 1000 points on January 15, 2019, then those points would expire on August 1, 2020. Expired points were lost and could not be reissued.
So let’s do the math: It would have taken 2,000 points ($200 in base rate before taxes and fees) at the limited eligible locations in 18 months to earn a single $20 credit on a subsequent rental. If you didn’t redeem within that period, the points expired. Most major rental car companies let renters extend the validity of points as long as they have activity during a specified timeframe. In other words, as long as you rent again, your expiry date gets pushed back.
Worst of all, there was a pretty low limit to how much you could redeem. Members could only use one credit at a time. E-Z Money credits could not be combined with other E-Z Rent A Car promotional offers, and could not be used with promotions/specials/coupons from companies other than E-Z Rent A Car. The maximum you could redeem at once is 5,000 points for $50 credit.
In short, E-Z had a loyalty program but unless you were a long-term renter, any earned points would most likely expire before you amassed enough to earn an award. This program required frequent renting and blind loyalty. And while some users might benefit by earning a $40 voucher on a $600-or-so airport rental (assuming approximately $400 pre-tax plus $200 in taxes and fees), most users are seeking a more flexible expiration policy.