The 4 Best Credit Cards That Include Car Rental Elite Status

Rental Car Status Credit Cards

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Compared to airline and hotel status, car rental status often takes the backseat when discussing travel elite status. But for those that rent cars frequently, having car rental status at one of the major car rental companies can be super beneficial. Depending on your status, you can score discounts, car upgrades, and bonus points on paid rentals.

Unfortunately, earning car rental status organically can be hard. You often need to rent cars super frequently, making it tough for casual travelers to earn status with a limited number of rentals. Thankfully though, there’s an easier way: earning rental car elite status with credit cards.

Nowadays, some premium travel credit cards offer rental car elite status, discounts, and even rental car insurance for cardholders. In this article, you’ll find detailed information on rental status and discounts.

Best Chase Credit Cards for Car Rental Status

Car on Road Unsplash
Image Credit: Alex Mares via Unsplash

Chase offers 2 cards with free rental car status: the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and the United Club℠ Card. Each of card has a different set of rental car partners and benefits.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve comes with National status and discounts at 2 other rental services: Avis and Silvercar. Here’s what you can expect from National, Avis, and Silvercar by having the Chase Sapphire Reserve card.

National Emerald Club Executive Status

National Emerald Club Executive status is super valuable because of the huge array of benefits:

  • Executive Area Access — choose any car (full-size and above) and only pay the mid-size rate
  • Guaranteed Upgrades — you’re guaranteed upgrades on mid-sized vehicle rentals in the U.S. and Canada
  • No Second Driver Fees — add a second driver for free
  • Upgrades in Europe — free one-class upgrades at participating National locations in U.K., Ireland, France, Spain, and Germany
  • Special Pricing on Premier Selection Cars — special pricing on upgrades to the Premier Selection cars at the rental lot
  • Faster Free Rentals — earn a free rental credit after 6 car rentals

The key benefit here is Executive area access. When you rent a midsize car, you can choose any car from the Enterprise Executive lot, all of which are full-sized or above vehicles. This will save you money on upgrades, and can be especially useful if you need to rent a minivan or SUV to haul equipment or transport others.

Further, no second driver fees can also save you money on trips where more than 1 person is driving the car. Just make sure to have the second driver’s name added when you pick up the car at the lot.

Lastly, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders get up to 25% off all National bookings by using the code 5030849. Note that you must book directly with National and use this promo code at the time of booking to be eligible for the discount.

Avis Preferred Discount

Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders are eligible for up to 30% off Avis rentals when using the code S107100 at booking. Note that you must also be an Avis Preferred member to take advantage of this discount—enrollment is free and can be done on Avis’ website.

Silvercar Discount

Person driving an Audi
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders get discounted Audi rentals through Silvercar. Image credit: Andraz Lazic via Unsplash

Silvercar is a startup rental car company owned by Audi. You can pick from a selection of Audi vehicles when renting from Silvercar—its fleet includes the Audi A4 sedan, Audi A5 convertible, and Audi Q5 and Q7 SUVs. Rentals can be a bit pricier than traditional rental car companies, but  your Chase Sapphire Reserve is here to help.

Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can use the promo code “VISAINF20” at checkout for 20% off any Silvercar rental. Just make sure to check out using your Chase Sapphire Reserve to get the discount.

Hot Tip:Not only does the Chase Sapphire Reserve also comes with these rental car benefits, the card also comes with rental car insurance and rental car benefits

United Club Card

The United Club card has 1 car rental partner: Hertz. All United Club cardholders get complimentary top-tier Hertz status, which comes with these benefits:

Hertz President’s Circle Status

  • Guaranteed Upgrades — you will get a one-class upgrade on car rentals at all participating locations
  • Choose Your Car in the Hertz President’s Circle Lot — you can pick your own car from the President’s Circle lot
  • 50% Points Earning Bonus — earn 1.5 points per dollar spent on Hertz car rentals
  • 4 months CLEAR Airport trial — try CLEAR expedited airport security free for 4 months (new CLEAR members only)
  • Hertz Valet — get picked up from or driven to the airport terminal free of charge (limited to 4 times per year)
  • Free Second Driver — add a second driver to your reservation for free

This status is similar to the National status outlined earlier, so likewise, our favorite perk is guaranteed upgrades and the ability to pick your own car from the Hertz President’s Circle Ultimate Choice lot. Pick the car that sticks out to you the most, and you’ll undoubtedly have a more fun and enjoyable trip.

Other important benefits include a 50% points earning bonus and access to Hertz Valet. The points earning bonus will get you closer to your next rental, and 4 free Hertz Valet pickups/drop-offs will make your next airport rental smoother and stress-free.

Hot Tip: United frequent flyers holding Premier Platinum and Premier 1K status, along with United℠ Presidential Plus℠ cardholders also receive complimentary Hertz President’s Circle status. Additionally, Delta frequent flyers holding Platinum or Diamond status, are also eligible for a free President’s Circle status.

Best American Express Credit Cards for Car Rental Status

Rental Car on Road
Image Credit: Thrifty

The Platinum Card® by American Express

There’s one American Express card that stands above the rest for rental car benefits: the Amex Platinum Card. American Express’ famous Platinum Card comes with benefits that include an array of awesome car rental status benefits and discounts. This card offers benefits at 3 different legacy car rental companies:

National Emerald Club Executive Status

Like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Amex Platinum Card includes National Emerald Club Executive status. The benefits are the same as outlined above, so please refer to the above section.

Avis Preferred American Express Benefits

  • Complimentary One-Car Class Upgrade —use coupon code #UUNA007 when making a reservation to receive a one-class upgrade when available. Unfortunately this is not a guaranteed benefit
  • 25% Off Base Rates — book directly with Avis and use Avis Worldwide Discount (AWD) code #756900 for the discount

While the Amex Platinum Card doesn’t come with full-fledged Avis status, the perks it does offer are nice to have when you need to rent from Avis. The complimentary class upgrade can make the difference between a normal car rental and an exceptional one, so definitely take advantage of it!

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Benefits

Hertz Car Rental
United Club cardholders get a variety of Hertz benefits with their credit cards. Image Credit: Shutterstock
  • 20% Off Standard Rates — make sure to use the code 633306 to take advantage of this discount and the following benefits
  • 25% Off Premier Rentals when a Saturday Night is Included — available for U.S., Canada, and European Hertz Premier rentals
  • 4-Hour Grace No-Charge Period — you can return a rental up to 4 hours late with no penalty in most countries, and 2 hours in select countries like China and UAE
  • One-Car Class Upgrade  – this benefit is based on availability, so it is not guaranteed and doesn’t apply to Premier rentals, but is helpful to have

So while you don’t get full Hertz status, you do get many of the perks like car class upgrades, a 4 hour grace period, and even a nice discount. Use the discount code 633306 when renting directly through Hertz to take advantage of these benefits.

Best Business Credit Cards for Car Rental Status

The only business travel credit card that currently offers rental car status is the Business Platinum® Card from American Express. It includes the same benefits as the personal Amex Platinum outlined above, making it a solid option for business owners that frequently rent cars at Avis, Hertz, and National.

Final Thoughts

Having rental car status can make a real difference when renting a car for fun or business. From being able to pick your own car to bonus points and discounts, status can make a real difference in both how you experience a car rental and how you pay for it.

When choosing a credit card for rental car status, exam your rental car habits and the other benefits included with the credit card. Pick a card that gives you rental car benefits you need while still offering other valuable travel benefits like airport lounge access and high points earning rates.

Thanks for reading, and drive safe!


FAQ

Do any credit cards offer Enterprise elite status?

At this time, no credit cards offer Enterprise elite status. Enterprise status is earned based on the number of rentals or days rented in a given calendar year—here’s how to qualify:

  • Silver: 6 rentals
  • Gold: 12 rentals or 40 rental days
  • Platinum: 24 rentals or 85 rental days

How can I earn Hertz status without a credit card?

Hertz elite status can be earned through the number of rentals or the total amount of money spent at Hertz in a given year. Here’s what it takes to qualify for each status tier:

  • Hertz Five Star: 7-19 rentals or $1,500 to $3,999 spent
  • Hertz President’s Circle: 20 or more rentals or $4,000+ spent

How can I earn Avis Preferred Plus status?

Avis Preferred Plus status is earned after 12 rentals or $5,000 spent at Avis in a given calendar year.

Customers with over 25 rentals or $7,000 spent qualify for an enhanced version of Preferred Plus that earns 1.5 points per dollar spent on rentals (versus 1.25 for standard Preferred Plus).

How can I earn National status without a credit card?

National status is earned through the number of rentals or rental days in a given calendar year. Here’s how to qualify:

  • Emerald Club Executive: 12 rentals or 40 rental days
  • Emerald Club Executive Elite: 25 rentals or 85 rental days
Andrew Kunesh

About Andrew Kunesh

Andrew was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs and now splits his time between Chicago and New York City. He’s a lifelong traveler and took his first solo trip to San Francisco at the age of 16. Fast forward a few years, and Andrew now travels just over 100,000 miles a year, with over 25 countries, 10 business class products, and 2 airline statuses (United and Alaska) under his belt.

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • No foreign transaction fees

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

2 comments

  1. Don’t all World Elite Mastercards come with Avis Preferred Plus as well? I have it from my Citi Premier, but I don’t know if it’s only valid the first year or if it’s ongoing.

    • Stephen Au · September 11, 2019 · Reply

      Hi George. You’re correct in saying that. The benefit is ongoing. Thanks for the participation!

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