It’s time to start saying goodbye to Hertz and starting to say hello to Avis. Interestingly enough with the travel market as it is, companies are always competing with each other, so rates tend to be fairly on par with each other. Planning my trip to Hawaii for next month, my original booking was with Hertz. Hertz has been my preferred rental company for the last year or more. A lot of that has to do with their initial impression on me with Hertz Gold, it was just easy. My company also uses Hertz as their dealer, so I get points from those trips as well.
After booking with Hertz, I thought through why it was that I use Hertz and came to the conclusions that it was just what I had good experiences with in the past, despite trying very few other companies. At the same time, I remembered that having a Mastercard World Elite card, like the Citi Prestige card, gives you free elite status with some car rental companies.
Mastercard World Elite offers status with three different companies. Both Avis and Sixt offer permanent elite status. National offers a one year status match kind of deal. In this case you are bumped to elite status with National for 1 year, and then need to qualify again the following year. Really the best deal seemed to be Avis, and I already had an account with them, though no points. With a quick check, the car prices in Hawaii were even slightly better than my already booked Hertz reservation, so I cancelled my booking with Hertz and moved on over to Avis.
In order to get my elite status added to the Avis account, it really is fairly straightforward. Call Mastercard World Elite help desk and just request that they bump your status to Preferred Plus with Avis. Oddly enough, when I called they didn’t verify in any way that I held a Mastercard World Elite other than maybe my name, seemed to me like a system that could easily be gamed if left that wide open, but this also meant it was very easy. Call Mastercard, give them your Wizard number from Avis, wait a week or two, and now I’m Preferred Plus… simple as can be.
Hertz will probably remain the go to company for work since that is their choice, though I may change it up if Avis proves to be as good as I hope. Moving up to Preferred Plus has several advantages. First, the status provides 25% additional points earning, always a good thing for free rides in the future. Honestly though, I don’t rent cars very often and so the other perk is the one I really am looking for. If there is an upgraded car available, you get a free upgrade to a better class car. This perk is great, it’s like getting a car that would have cost hundreds of dollars more in some cases, for free. So why not take advantage of a nicer car, for the price of a lower classed car, seems like a great deal to me.
If you have a Mastercard World Elite card, check the Mastercard symbol on your credit card, then you are eligible to get free status upgrades with Avis, Sixt and National. Keep in mind that National has one of the best rated customer loyalty programs of any car rental company, so it may be worth trying out for 1 year, but if you don’t qualify, that status drops away next year. I just don’t drive enough rentals to re-qualify, so I’ll save it until I really see it being worth the use of that perk