National Car Rental has brought back its popular ONE TWO FREE promotion through January 31, 2015. When you complete two qualifying rentals of two days or more, you’ll earn enough points to get one free day to use on a future trip. Additional points can be earned for other actions. It’s one of the more lucrative car rental promotions available.
I’ve been an Executive member of National’s Emerald Club loyalty program for a few years and tend to make it my default choice every time I need a car rental. But usually my trips don’t require a car. To promote the value of ONE TWO FREE and Emerald Club, National thought it would be useful to have me connect with one of its most frequent customers, a person who actively participates on National’s community forum and sometimes sees that feedback turned into real service improvements.
Full disclosure: National offered me compensation to write this post, and I’ll also be giving away a prize to readers who read to the end. Regardless, these are my personal opinions and do not reflect the views of National Car Rental.
I got on the phone with Harold a few weeks ago to learn more about what made him a National Car Rental fan and long-time Executive Elite Emerald Club member. Harold has been a frequent business traveler for years and currently works for a national pharmacy services provider.
Harold says the biggest reason he has remained a National customer is the choice offered by its Emerald Aisle. After booking a midsize car online, he can pick any car available in the Emerald Aisle upon arrival, giving himself an automatic upgrade. He’s a fan of SUVs like the Dodge Durango, but even if he goes for a sedan or other vehicle type he appreciates that the choice is up to him rather than assigned at the counter. It also saves him time, going directly from the airplane to his vehicle once he arrives.
Like many business travelers, Harold uses his free days to vacation with his family. Recent trips include Puerto Rico, Niagara Falls, Las Vegas, and Seattle, where he commented that the GPS really came in handy after getting lost looking for Pike Place Market. (I can relate, having missed the downtown exits too many times when I first moved here and ending up on the other side of Lake Union.)
Some of us have tricks to maximize the value of promotions like ONE TWO FREE. Harold says that’s not normally possible because of the simplicity of National’s Emerald Club: every rental day earns progress toward the next free day. But when ONE TWO FREE comes around, the bonus credits work differently. Harold says he’ll sometimes fly home for the weekend and come back, splitting a longer rental into two so he can accumulate free days faster.
ONE TWO FREE is a points-based system: each qualifying rental is 300 points, and you need 600 points to earn a free day. But there are many other ways to earn points, including renting a car on your mobile phone, referring a friend, or just visiting the Drive Alliance website to learn more about National’s partnership with Enterprise Rent-a-Car and Alamo. You can also earn extra credits toward your next free day when you book a local rental at Enterprise Rent-A-Car and include your National Emerald Club number.
In fact, Harold has a story about just that. Members of National’s online community – the Emerald Exchange – have a regular opportunity to pitch new ideas to the company about improving the customer experience. Harold pointed out that it’s not always easy to look for neighborhood rentals when searching National’s website, which contains a majority of airport locations. As a result of his feedback, National plans to include neighborhood Enterprise locations in the same search results, making it easier for you to book your next rental and earning Harold his third community contribution award.
Along the way Harold has picked up some impressive stories from the road. In his previous job he helped organize events for an athletic apparel chain and got close-up experiences at premier sporting events such as the Super Bowl. He’s even spotted celebrities on his flights and sat next to Susan Sarandon one day when she was flying to the Oscars.
But the most signification moment for him was driving through Pennsylvania one day and watching a truck swerve into someone else’s rental car. He got out to help, took photographs of the scene, and provided advice on filling out the insurance claim. Harold says he later heard back that the claim was approved in part because of his advice. He was glad to learn his hours of experience on the road had also helped another individual.
You Can Be a National Pro, Too!
National Car Rental wants to help you get the same level of customer service and rewards when you rent your next car. In addition to signing up for ONE TWO FREE, you can comment on this post to enter to win a $200 American Express gift card and a year of complimentary Emerald Club Executive status. Just share your favorite story as a frequent traveler—even if its not related to renting a car—and I’ll pick the winner in a random drawing next week. Please comment by 9 PM Pacific Time on Sunday, October 19.