Exclusive Partnership Between Hertz and United Airlines Ends Effective November 1, 2021

The “seven-year itch” strikes again.

The exclusive partnership between The Hertz Corporation and United Airlines — which includes Thrifty Car Rental and Dollar Rent A Car, both of which are a part of The Hertz Corporation — was launched effective as of Saturday, November 1, 2014 and was announced only eleven days before the exclusive partnership was to take effect

Exclusive Partnership Between Hertz and United Airlines Ends Effective November 1, 2021

Source: United Airlines.

…but that exclusive partnership officially terminates as of the stroke of midnight on Monday, November 1, 2021 — which is exactly seven years after it was launched — as indicated by the following message:

! Important Notice: You will no longer be able to enroll for this Hertz benefit after October 31, 2021. Please Register by that date to receive Hertz Presidents Circle®status or Hertz Five Star® status valid through January 31, 2023. Visit the FAQ page for details on this benefit.

The exclusive partnership meant that if you are a member of the MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program, you could only earn award miles with those three rental car partners.

Notice from other car rental companies who are now former partners with the United Airlines MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program — such as from National Car Rental — was sent via e-mail message in as little as hours in advance prior to the time the exclusive partnership became effective, catching some frequent travelers by surprise…

…and the announcement pertaining to the end of the exclusive partnership seems to be just as surprising and with short advance notice as well.

Details of the Exclusive Partnership — For One More Day

United Airlines Boeing 777-222(ER) airplane
Photograph ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

The MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program miles you earn when renting vehicles from Hertz varies with the current elite level status which you have earned as follows:

  • 1,250 miles — MileagePlus Global Services, Premier 1K and Premier Platinum members
  • 1,000 miles — MileagePlus Premier Gold and Premier Silver members
  • 750 miles — Primary card members of MileagePlus credit cards from Chase
  • 500 miles — MileagePlus general members without any elite level status

Additionally, you will still receive discounts when you book rental cars from Hertz through the official Internet web site of United Airlines — at least, until through tomorrow, Sunday, October 31, 2021.

Renting vehicles from Thrifty Car Rental and Dollar Rent A Car will still earn 50 MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program miles per day for rentals of one to four days; or 500 MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program miles for rentals five days or longer.

If you reserved your car rental before November 1, you will accrue the higher level of benefits available if you pick up your vehicle on or after November 1.

Additionally — effective as of Thursday, January 1, 2015 — MileagePlus Premier 1K and Premier Platinum elite level status members and primary MileagePlus Club and Presidential Plus Card members may sign up for complimentary Hertz President’s Circle elite level status in the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program, with benefits which include:

  • Confirmed availability of standard-equipment economy through full-size, four-door vehicles in the United States and Canada, with a minimum 48-hour advance reservation; and
  • Confirmed one-car-class upgrade availability at all participating locations in the United States and Canada and select European locations

MileagePlus Premier Gold and Premier Silver elite level status members may sign up for complimentary Hertz Five Star status, which includes one-car-class upgrades — based on availability.

If you already have earned one of the aforementioned elite status levels with the  United Airlines MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program — or you are a co-branded credit card holder — tomorrow, Sunday, October 31, 2021 is the last day and your last chance when you can match your status to receive complimentary elite status with Hertz through Saturday, December 31, 2022.

Final Boarding Call

Photograph ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

This announcement of the end of the exclusive partnership seems to have been handled as poorly as the announcement of the launch of the exclusive partnership, from what I have seen as a member of both the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards frequent renter loyalty program and the United Airlines MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program.

As I first reported in this article back on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 — which discusses whether lodging and car rental companies should form alliances similar to airlines — there are two other rental car companies in the United States…

  • Enterprise Holdings, which owns the National Car Rental, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and Alamo Rent a Car brands; and
  • Avis Budget Group, which owns the Avis Car Rental, Budget Rent a Car, and Zipcar brands

…so could United Airlines eventually partner with one of those rental car companies? “However United teases that a new car partnership is coming soon”, according to this article written by Matthew Klint of Live and Let’s Fly. “Premier members who have status matched will retain that status through 2022. A reason for the termination was not provided by either side, nor is it clear what side initiated the termination or if it was mutual.”

Apparently, the two companies experienced what is known as “the seven year itch” in which an exclusive relationship declines in quality after approximately seven years — and data which is included in this official article from July of 1981 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States seems to corroborate that theory...

All photographs ©2017 and ©2021 by Brian Cohen.

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