8 Reasons to Avoid Hertz Free-To-Go Pass Subscription Service
Hertz has recently introduced a subscription service which bundles several features to create value: for only $99.00 per year, you can purportedly save greater than $100.00 for every time you rent a vehicle from Hertz using its Free-To-Go Pass subscription service, which includes such features as a guaranteed discount, home delivery of rental vehicles, and free cancellations…
8 Reasons to Avoid Hertz Free-To-Go Pass Subscription Service
…so should you enroll in the Hertz Free-To-Go Pass subscription service — especially as a bonus of $250.00 in travel credits is available within ten days after you enroll?
No — you most likely should not enroll in the Hertz Free-To-Go Pass subscription service; but before explaining the eight reasons as to why you should consider avoiding the service, listed below are the features of the service and the value with which Hertz has placed on each feature:
- 10 percent guaranteed discount for unlimited savings throughout the year
- Free home delivery — saving $30.00 on the delivery charge
- Free additional driver older than 25 years of age only — saving $13.50 per day
- Free cancellations — saving $50.00 per prepaid trip
- Convenient refueling — subject to change based on national average rate. $2.00 per gallon fixed rate
- Free young renter — Renters younger than 25 years of age only — saving $29.00 per day
1. Ten Percent Discount: You Can Do Better
The discount of ten percent is automatically applied to your vehicle rentals — with no blackout dates or car class restrictions — as long as you book your reservations with your Gold Plus Rewards membership account.
If you have multiple contracted rates associated with your membership account, please make sure that the Hertz Free-to-Go Pass is set as your default rate. Hertz agents will set this as your default rate when you enroll into the program.
That default rate may mean that you cannot use offers which are found regularly at the official Internet web site of Hertz. For example, if Hertz has a promotion for a limited time through which you can save as much as 40 percent on renting a vehicle, can members of the Hertz Free-To-Go Pass subscription service apply an additional discount of ten percent? If so, great…
…but if not, you are better off with the discount of 40 percent — or with many of the other discounts, deals, and offers Hertz regularly promotes. Discounts of ten percent to 25 percent off of vehicle rentals are not uncommon much of the year.
2. Free Home Delivery: Not From Airport Locations; and More Caveats…
Free home delivery can be convenient for someone who wants to rent a vehicle from Hertz but cannot find someone to drive him or her to the rental car facility…
…but you must be located within 15 miles of the facility; and you will still be required to return the rental vehicle to the facility — lest you pay a fee of $30.00 for the service to return the vehicle…
…and that is regardless of whether you are a member of the Hertz Free-To-Go Pass subscription service. Contacting a ride-sharing service or taxi may actually be less expensive than the return delivery service.
Unless you are located within 15 miles of a neighborhood rental car facility of Hertz — as airport locations are not included for use of free delivery of your rental vehicle — this feature is virtually useless.
3. Free Additional Driver May Be Available at No Charge Anyway
You may be able to add an additional driver to your rental contract without being a member of the Hertz Free-To-Go Pass subscription service — although usually that additional driver is a spouse.
Unless you find yourself constantly needing an additional driver whenever you rent a vehicle, this feature is virtually useless as well.
4. Free Cancellations — For Rentals Which You Pay in Advance
Paying for your rental in advance may be modestly less expensive than paying later at the rental car facility; but restrictions are then placed on your rental contract as a result of the lower cost, which may not always be worth the difference in price.
When you pay for your rental later instead of at the time of booking your reservation, the cost may be more expensive — but cancellations are usually free of charge and can be done virtually anytime.
Unless you pay for your rental vehicles at the time you book your reservation, this feature is completely useless; and its usefulness is questionable at best if you pay for your rental car reservations in advance — especially if you plan your travel carefully and rarely cancel your reservations.
5. Convenient Refueling May Cost You
As of now, you can have the rental vehicle refueled at two dollars per gallon of gasoline — except that the price for a gallon of gasoline in many parts of the United States is less expensive than two dollars per gallon at the time this article was written.
If you think you could benefit from either a location where gasoline costs more than two dollars per gallon or wait until fuel prices increase, think again: the price is subject to change based on the national average rate.
Forget the possibility of benefiting from arbitrage: this feature is simply a variation of paying for your fuel in advance from the rental car facility, which is almost never a good deal — so unless you believe that the convenience of not having to patronize a fuel station prior to returning the rental vehicle is worth the extra expense, this feature is of little use.
6. Free Young Renter — Except…
At the time this article was written, Hertz has extended the waiver of young renter fees for rentals of all economy class and higher classes of vehicles through Tuesday, June 30, 2020 due to the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic…
…and unless you rent vehicles several times per year in which a person who is younger than 25 years of age is needed to be added as a driver, consider skipping this feature as important to you.
7. The $250.00 in Travel Credits are Laden With Restrictions
Of the $250.00 in travel credits which you will have access as a new member of the Hertz Free-To-Go Pass subscription service, $100.00 is for lodging; $100.00 is for attending live events; and $50.00 is for dining…
…and each one of those credits is not within the control of Hertz. Rather, they are managed by third-party companies: The Reward Company, Incorporated for lodging; Ticketnetwork for live events; and Restaurant.com for dining.
Each set of credits are fraught with numerous restrictions, terms, and conditions which can render them extremely difficult to use — including but certainly not limited to:
- Reward credit redemption links for lodging credits expire sixty days after issuance, with Thursday, December 31, 2020 as the last day when you can use your code
- Rewards are subject to availability, which is usually a red flag in and of itself
- Credits are not valid at all lodging establishments, restaurants, or live events
8. The Subscription Automatically Renews Each Year
Although you will supposedly receive a reminder via e-mail message three days prior to the expiration of the current term of your subscription, this service automatically renews each year unless you cancel it, which you may do without any penalty or obligation at any time prior to midnight of the third day following the date of subscription enrollment.
After that, subscription fees are final.
When reputable companies such as Hertz market programs as though they were to save customers money but likely will not, that can tend to harm and erode a reputation. The Hertz Free-To-Go Pass subscription service reminds me of the Hilton Select program, which is an excellent example of a similar — but virtually useless — service.
Although no countries worldwide seem to be excluded from the Hertz Free-To-Go Pass subscription service, certain regions do not participate in the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards frequent guest loyalty program, as Hertz Gold Plus Rewards points can be earned and redeemed only at participating locations in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Saint Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. For Hertz On Demand 24/7, qualifying rentals include rentals only in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain.
Also, Hertz Global Holdings, Incorporated — which is the parent company of Hertz — has filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware; but this is likely not to have an adverse effect on you. Rather, the Hertz Free-To-Go Pass subscription service is a way to attempt to siphon some much-needed capital into its coffers…
…and although the concept of the Hertz Free-To-Go Pass subscription service itself is not a bad idea, the features which are included are not worth the cost of the subscription — especially if you can get a better deal from a competitor. Unless you know that you can benefit from its features to which you can experience true value, avoid the Hertz Free-To-Go Pass subscription service.
All photographs ©2018 by Brian Cohen.