United Airlines and Hertz Now Exclusive Partners

A n exclusive partnership between The Hertz Corporation and United Airlines — which includes Thrifty Car Rental and Dollar Rent A Car, both of which are owned by The Hertz Corporation — was launched as of yesterday, November 1, 2014. This means that if you are a member of the MileagePlus frequent flier loyalty program, you can only earn award miles with those three rental car partners.

Advance notice of this exclusive partnership was given through this press release on October 21, 2014 — only eleven days before the exclusive partnership was to take effect.

Meanwhile, 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, which I received only two days ago — 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.

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


You will continue to receive discounts when you book rental cars from Hertz through the official Internet web site of United Airlines.

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 January 1, 2015 — MileagePlus Global Services, 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.

This announcement and implementation of the exclusive partnership seems to have been handled poorly at best, 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. However, if you regularly fly as a passenger on flights operated by United Airlines and also rent vehicles regularly from Hertz, you could potentially significantly benefit from this exclusive partnership…

…but this leads me to wonder: will more exclusive partnerships between airlines and rental car companies occur in the future as a result of the exclusive partnership between Hertz and United Airlines? After all — as I first reported in this article back on 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


Do not be surprised if exclusive partnerships are formed between these two remaining car rental companies and American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, which are the two other legacy airlines in the United States — although interestingly enough, it appears that the exclusivity is exclusively on the part of United Airlines, as I find that you can still earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles and Delta Air Lines SkyMiles by renting vehicles from Hertz…

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