One thing many blogs don’t write about is status with rental car agencies. Sure, they aren’t as rewarding as hotel and airline programs. I have been renting with Avis since I started my consulting career in 2012. Some colleagues rent with Hertz and their experience seems to be in-line with my overall Avis experience. About a year or so ago, Avis re-tooled their points program, and the changes do seem to be somewhat better.
First, let’s start with the old Avis program. Avis Preferred was the free to sign up tier. You kept all your information stored in your profile and it made renting easier, as you can just go to the car. At this basic tier no points were offered (unlike Hertz). If you rented nine or more times a year (or met some threshold of rental days) you became Avis First. This tier would provide you with a complimentary upgrade (if available), and Avis First customer support number. Avis First didn’t exactly give out points either. After every certain amount of rentals (I forgot exactly), you would receive an Avis First coupon. This coupon gave you two free weekend nights (one of the nights was required to be a Saturday). This wasn’t too bad, I guess. Most times when I rent cars for leisure its on short weekend trips anyway. However, it is annoying that a Saturday night is required (can’t return it on a Saturday as the overnight is required). There was also a website to track your coupons and see your progress for the next coupon (AvisFirst.com, which now redirects to Avis main website).
Avis relaunched their loyalty program sometime in 2015 if my memory serves me correctly. Like with most programs they went to a spend based system. There are now three tiers that Avis adversities
- Avis Preferred
- Avis Preferred Plus (12 rentals or 5K in spend)
- Avis Preferred Plus (25 rentals or 7K in spend)
- This is a mini tier within the Plus category which slightly higher point earnings
The base Avis Preferred earns 1 point per dollar spent. As you go up each tier you earn an additional .25 points per dollar spent. Don’t spend all those extra points at once!
Accessories earn more points than the base rental. So if you love renting a GPS, this is the program for you.
Points needed for a one day rental seem to vary based on location. I guess the best you can hope for is each point is worth a cent (which will vary based on season, promotion, corporate rate code, etc.). Below are some sample airports and how much Avis is requiring for a one day rental.
- DFW 3,200/day
- JFK 2,400/day
- SFO 2,400/day
- MIA 1,330/day
Booking a car on points is pretty simple. You go through the booking process like normal and on the final review page there is a area on the top of the page where you can select how many days you would like to pay for with points.
This is a pretty basic points program, nothing to write home about. The new program does let you use points to make any rental at any time, which is a improvement over the old program.