My First Hertz Award Redemption
While planning our recent weekend trip to Boston, I knew from the start we weren’t going to make it very far without a car. I had taken advantage of the most recent IHG PointBreaks list and booked a room for 3 nights at $35/night, which put us in the Crowne Plaza Newton–about 7 miles from the center of Boston. To top it off, we were booked on Spirit Air and scheduled to arrive at 12:30am Saturday and had a flight out at 5:30am on Monday–not the best hours to rely on public transit or cabs. So, a car rental was in our future, like it or not.
A quick check on Kayak.com revealed only very expensive options, close to $200 for my 48-hour rental. Either the Boston area is a very popular summer destination or these Northerners haven’t quite grasped the weekend car rental discounts. Taking this into account, I started digging into redeeming some of my Hertz points that I had been hoarding without really realizing it: in fact, until now, it hadn’t really even dawned on me that those things had much value at all.
A quick glance at the Hertz award redemption chart (link), and it looks like I should be able to use 1,200 points, the Standard Rewards rate, to get my 2 free rental days.
Now, to make sure it doesn’t fall under one of their “blackout” dates (which would fall under “AnyDay Rewards” and double the rate to 2,400 points). You can find their 2013 Blackout Dates here and will quickly notice that it’s not things like “Christmas” or “July 4th weekend,” it’s a list of nearly 200 very specific locations/dates/events. Things like:
|City||Event||Start date||End date|
|Jackson Hole, WY||MLK Day||17-Jan||23-Jan|
|Martha’s Vineyard||Summer Peak||3-Jul||31-Aug|
|Pullman, WA||Mom’s Weekend||4-Apr||6-Apr|
|Pullman, WA||Career Expo||4-Feb||5-Feb|
Ugh…can we explain why Boise, Idaho and Jackson Hole, Wyoming with their 0.6% and 0.8% African American populations, respectively are the only 2 markets IN AMERICA that consider MLK Day to be a high demand period? And why does Jackson Hole get one more day than Boise?! Is it the additional 0.2% they’re sporting? But, you’ll also find that they do things like block out award rentals from the entire summer in Martha’s Vineyard’s case, but also have more random ones like “Mom’s Weekend” in Pullman, WA….I digress.
The moral of the story is that the best way to check and see if your dates are blacked out is to try to price out the award and see what comes back. When pricing out my dates I realized that I had overlooked the “Weekend Rental” award rates which, contrary to Boston’s regular rental rates, are cheaper than the M-F rates:
This brought my rental down to just 1,000 points! So, how did I fare?
I booked a 52-hour rental (the extra 4 hours are a perk of the AMEX Platinum Card) for a grand total of 1,000 points + $39.67 (they only comp the rental portion, all taxes, fees and surcharges still get passed along). This resulted in a redemption value of:
Not bad for my first Hertz Award!
BOTTOM LINE: Rental car loyalty programs have some great value, too! When booking with Hertz, best bet is to price out your award and just see what comes back.