I am a frequent car renter as I do not own a car myself. I use car rentals to earn airline miles to keep my frequent flyer accounts active as most have expiration rules. Car rental companies claim to be very flexible when it comes to earning points.
All car rental companies allow you to either:
- Earn Car Rental points which can be converted to free rental days or upgrades
- Earn Frequent Flyer miles
- Earn hotel points
Of the three choices, the only one that is worthwhile is #2 — Frequent Flyer miles. Here are the reasons why:
- Car rental points do not hold value. Most car rental companies (mainly Hertz) change their redemption policy on an annual basis and increases the number of points you need to get a free car rental or upgrade. All major car rental points expire after one year if you do not use them.
- Although all car rental companies list hotels as partners but you do not get hotel points from your rental unless you are staying at the hotel. You will also need to book the hotel during your car rental or book the car rental from the hotel’s website. This is a huge scam. Most car rental companies will not give you any points if you do not meet the requirements which appears as fine print.
In summary, always bank frequent flyer miles whenever you rent a car. Additionally, bank it on Northwest’s WorldPerks account as NWA is the only airline that doesn’t carry a surcharge at Hertz, Avis, and National. All rental car companies will charge you $0.50 per day for accumulating points on other airline programs aside from Northwest.