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Rental Car Express Service and Loyalty Programs

As promised in a previous edition of Transit Authority, I have developed a handy guide to the express service and loyalty programs offered by rental car companies.

Not surprisingly, the premium brands such as Avis and Hertz offer a greater breadth and depth of services. But you may be surprised about what some companies do — and do not — offer. For example, Enterprise has no loyalty program. If the idea of standing in line at a rental car counter — even the expedited express service line — causes your eyes to cross, express pick up is a must have. You’ll want to avoid Alamo, Dollar, Enterprise, Fox, Payless, and Thrifty.

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Rental Car Company Express Service and Loyalty Programs

Advantage

The Advantage Easy ID card registers you for the FREE-quent Rental and the Easy Rental and Return programs. You receive 125 points per paid rental; when you’ve earned 500 points, you’re eligible for a free rental day. Advantage also offers express pick up with an Easy ID card. If you reserve your rental with the Easy ID, you can pick up your contract from the self-serve Easy Rental Contract Holder — and go.

Alamo

Alamo’s express service program is called Quicksilver. To become a Quicksilver member, you must have a corporate or business benefits account with Alamo or have rented five times within the last 12-month period. Renters must have a master rental agreement on file, and the Quicksilver ID number must be given when the reservation is booked. The membership enables renters to rent at an expedited counter.

Avis

Avis’ Wizard program is free and allows you to keep your profile and preferences on file. It also offers automatic enrollment in the My Avis! online service. Avis’ express pick up is available when you enroll in Avis Preferred Service, a free program. Once enrolled, Avis maintains your profile and preferences and provides express pick up service, allowing you to skip counter check in and go directly to your car. This service is available at most locations. Frequent renters are eligible for free rental days and other promotional benefits. Avis also participates in most major airline and hotel frequent flier and loyalty programs.

Budget

Budget’s express pick up service, Fastbreak, is available at 135 U.S. airport locations. Just go to the Fastbreak counter location and present your driver’s license, and you will receive the keys to your car. Fastbreak Choice, Budget’s express pick up service, is also available at about 30 airport locations. (A list of locations is available.) Perfect Drive, Budget’s customer awards program, enables you to earn points for dollars spent with Budget and its partner companies — most major airlines and a spattering of hotel and other companies.

Dollar

Fastlane, Dollar’s express service program, offers free expedited counter check in and return service. Dollar is a frequent flier partner with most major airlines.

Enterprise

Most airport locations have handheld express return service; local locations have after-hours drop boxes. Enterprise does not offer any loyalty programs at this time.

Fox

Fox offers no express service programs. Frequent renters can participate in Fox’s rewards program and redeem points for car rentals, frequent flier miles, and gift certificates for a number of popular retail stores and restaurants.

Hertz

Hertz has three loyalty programs. The Hertz #1 Club is free and allows you to keep personal data and rental preferences on file, enables you to participate in the Hertz #1 Awards Points program, and provides access to Hertz #1 Express Check-In counters. The Hertz #1 Club Gold costs $50 annually. Members can use the Express Pick-Up service at 44 airport locations; this service allows you to bypass counter check in and go directly to your car. Your name and car location are listed at Club Gold boards located at the Hertz center. Hertz #1 Awards Points program members earn one point per $1 in car rental charges; points can be redeemed for free car rentals or exchanged for points with airline and hotel partners. Hertz also has elite loyalty programs — Five Star and President’s Circle — for frequent renters, which offer premium services and benefits. Hertz participates in most major airline and hotel company loyalty and frequent flier programs. Express return services are also offered.

National

Emerald Club membership, which requires a $50 annual membership fee, includes:

  • Emerald Reserve express pick up service.
  • Emerald Aisle service, where you can go directly to the Emerald Aisle and choose from any available intermediate vehicle.
  • Emerald Club counter service, an express check in counter.
  • No authorized driver fee for a member’s spouse, business partner, employer, or fellow associate who has an assigned corporate contract with National.
  • Frequent traveler miles with most major airlines and Hilton hotels.

All customers can participate in the Quick-Rent express check in service.

Payless

Passport Club benefits include automatic discounts, no fees for additional drivers, a competitive surcharge for drivers aged 21-24, and an online personal profile. Payless has a frequent flier partnership with Frontier Airlines.

Thrifty

The Blue Chip Express rental program offers expedited check in service. You can also earn awards miles and awards points with partners that include most major airlines, Holiday Inn and Hilton hotels, Gold Points, American Express, and Visa. Apply online.


What’s your favorite rental car company? Most rewarding — or frustrating — car rental experience? Tell us, and we’ll share some of the more interesting — and instructional — submissions online.