You wait for three hours in the car rental line, only to be told when you arrive at the counter that there are no cars left.
Car rental reward programs offer a solution to the aforementioned scenario. In the next five minutes, learn how to jump long car rental lines with car rental reward programs.
Note: The information is correct as of the time of writing, July 2021. These offers continue to evolve, so check details on the car service’s official website before you plan.
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Avis Preferred and Preferred Plus
Avis allows its customers to skip the car rental line with the Avis Preferred and Avis Preferred Plus programs. The company offers this service in major and midsize airports, including San Francisco International Airport and Tucson International Airport in Arizona.
At the airport, search for your name on the board. You’ll find the location of your car beside your name. Head over to the assigned parking spot, and at the exit gate, an Avis representative will check your driving license. The representative will also share a printout of the rental document, and they will scan your vehicle.
At smaller airports, you’ll need to show your driving license at a rental counter to collect the car keys. However, Avis offers dedicated counters and priority lines for preferred members, so you will never have to wait for hours.
You can join the Avis Preferred program for free once you are at least 25 years old. You need to be a resident of the U.S., the U.S. Virgin Islands, or Canada. Furthermore, if Avis terminated you from any programs in the past, you cannot be an Avis Preferred member in the future.
If you rent 12 times from Avis in a calendar year, you reach the Avis Preferred Plus status. You can spend $5,000 in a calendar year to get this status as well. With the status, you can skip the counter. Furthermore, you receive complimentary car upgrades whenever available as well.
Credit cards including the Citi Premier Card and Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard offer free access to the Avis Preferred Plus program.
Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program
Prefer Hertz rental? Sign up for the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program for free.
Sign in on the website and enter your details including date of birth, driver’s license number, and contact information. You won’t need to wait a day prior to arrival for online check-in. You can check in anytime, be it six days, or six hours before landing.
Hertz sends you a notification message called carfirmation. The message includes the brand and model of the car you’ll drive and where it is parked. After you land, go to the parking stall. Check the assigned aisles which are Five Star, President’s Circle, and Gold. Then, you can drive away.
Furthermore, Hertz offers a Gold Choice service as well. If you reserve a compact or larger car, you can switch to any other car in the Gold Choice area, and you never pay for the upgrade.
Credit cards including the Amex Platinum card and Chase Sapphire Reserve card offer free access to the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program.
Alamo Skip the Counter
Go to the Alamo website to check in. Add personal details including date of birth, driver’s license number, and credit card information. Alamo never charges you before you return the car.
At the airport, head to the parking lot, then enter your car and drive away. At the exit gate, an Alamo agent will scan the car and provide a printout of the rental document.
If you don’t want to check in online, Alamo offers self-serve rental kiosks. Scan your driver’s license and credit card, then you’ll receive a booking ticket. Head over to the designated section of the parking lot and choose your car.
You must book a reservation online up to 30 days prior. You cannot include add-ons to the car like navigation and mobility devices, and you can never choose a prepaid option.
Use a credit card including Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. Alamo doesn’t accept debit cards. The name on the credit card must match the name of the reservation as well.
Budget Fastbreak program
How can you skip a car rental line with Budget? Enroll in the Budget Fastbreak program.
Go to the dedicated Budget Fastbreak line and show your driver’s license to the agent. The agent will hand you the car keys and then you can go to the parking lot and drive away with the rental car.
When returning, leave the car in the designated area and drop the key in the specified drop box. The car rental company will send you the bill through email.
Fastbreak members receive $25 in Budget Bucks when they register. If you rent twice in a calendar year, you receive an additional $25. You can receive up to 52 coupons a year which translates to over $1,000.
Enterprise Plus program
The Enterprise Plus program offers an expedited check-in process at participating airports. Furthermore, Enterprise online check-in allows you to complete the paperwork and skip the line.
The car rental agency has 7,600 locations in over 85 countries.
National Emerald Club Rewards program
National Car Rental offers Emerald Club Rewards program. You’ll find over 60 Emerald Isle locations in the U.S. and Canada. Locations include Kansas City International Airport and Vancouver International Airport.
Share your rental preferences and reservation information when you check-in online. At the airport, head over to the Emerald isle and choose any car. If you booked a midsize car, you’ll pay the midsize car rate even if you choose a higher-class car.
When you return the car, drop it off in the designated area and leave. However, if the car has been damaged during your rental period, they will require you to stay so that you can sort out the paperwork.
National sends you the bill through email.
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Thrifty Blue Chip Rewards program
Thrifty offers the Blue Chip Rewards program to skip the car rental lines.
To sign up on the Thrifty website, enter personal details including your driver’s license number and credit card details.
At the airport, go to the designated parking lot. You’ll see your name on a board and the name of the assigned car. You’ll find the keys and rental contract on the dashboard. At the exit gate, an agent will check your driver’s license.
Most airports have dedicated counters for Blue Chip members as well.
Car rental reward programs are free to join. So, there is no reason to avoid them. You wouldn’t want to stand on a three-hour-long line, right? All that’s left to do is purchase your travel insurance, choose your car rental rewards program, and hit the gas.
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