Several weeks ago I described a new partnership between United Airlines and Hertz, in which some United elite members would get complimentary elite status with Hertz and Hertz would become the only car rental agency to offer discounts to United customers. They kicked National and Avis to the curb. One incident does not create a trend, but viewed it as a sign that partnerships between different loyalty programs might someday limit choice rather than expanding it.
Delta recently announced its own enhanced partnership with Hertz. What I find most interesting about the new partnership is that it seems for once Delta is copying United, and United may have gotten the better deal by being first in line.
See, Delta customers will continue to have access to special offers and to earn earn miles when they rent with National Car Rental and other companies. But it doesn’t appear that they’ll have supercharged earnings rates with Hertz. That’s good or bad depending on whether you value choice or miles more highly.
Hertz will also offer status to Delta elites as it did to United’s customers, providing President’s Circle status to Diamond and Platinum Medallion members and Five Star status to Gold Medallion members. Contrast this with the exclusive United partnership. Hertz is giving President’s Circle status to Premier 1K and Platinum members (and to Global Services, which is an invitation tier higher than Premier 1K). But it’s giving Five Star status to both Premier Gold and Premier Silver members. Even the lowest tier gets something out of the United-Hertz partnership.
|United Airlines||Delta Air Lines||Hertz|
|Premier 1K (and Global Services)||Diamond Medallion||President's Circle|
|Premier Platinum||Platinum Medallion||President's Circle|
|Premier Gold||Gold Medallion||Five Star|
|Premier Silver||N/A||Five Star|
The fact that Hertz was able to make this arrangement at all suggests to me that they have the stronger bargaining position. United got more that Delta for giving up other relationships. But it still had to give them up. What did Delta have to give up to offer status to its members? Nothing so far as I’m aware.
Two incidents don’t create a trend, either. I’ll have to wait to see if American announces something similar next year.