National Car Rental is the first in the industry to extend loyalty benefits by a full year. As a resident of Texas, a state known for its car culture, I’m glad that National partnered with me to help promote this news. I’ve been driving thousands of extra miles since I moved here and often rent with National when I’m on the road.
So it’s great news that any current Executive or Executive Elite members in National’s Emerald Club will receive an automatic extension of their status through February 28, 2022. Furthermore, any free rental days you’ve already earned as part of this award-winning loyalty program will be extended with a new expiration date of December 31, 2021. Together this will make it easier than ever to maintain your loyalty even if it’s more difficult to travel right now.
Status with Emerald Club normally runs through February of the following year, and free rental days normally expire in December. This decision effectively provides an extra year of benefits without having to complete any paid rentals and gives you more time to use the free rental days you’ve already earned.
Many travel providers have been extending status to their members this year, and National is now the first rental car company to extend its benefits for a full year. This has been great for me, personally since I have top-tier status with . Earlier restrictions on travel would have made it challenging to keep my 2020 status active with my favorite airlines and hotels. A rental car is also an important part of many trips. Who wants to step off their upgraded flight and get into a sub-compact?
When programs like Emerald Club extend their benefits, it’s the best example of loyalty between a brand and its customers because it acknowledges that this relationship extends beyond a single program year. We all need to stick things out together, making compromises until the situation improves.
Paid Rental Credits Roll Over to 2021
National’s announcement is even more generous than the title suggests. Let’s say you did manage to get some travel in before the spring lockdowns or perhaps you’ve been willing to take a few excursions as things have opened back up. As a result, the paid rental credits you’ve earned and any free rental days could roll over to the next program year.
For example, if you already have Executive status with Emerald Club and have earned 15 rentals this year, then you would only need 12 rentals to maintain your Executive status. Because your Executive status has been extended through February 2022, the extra three rentals will roll over to the 2021 program year. You would only need nine more rentals to renew your status through February 2023.
That means even if you haven’t been traveling as much as you expected during 2020, any trips you still manage to take would give you a head start on earning status during 2021.
Emerald Club Saves Time, Even for Infrequent Renters
National Car Rental’s Emerald Club is one of the best choices in the industry because of the convenience and choice it provides its members. As someone who’s been traveling over 100,000 miles a year for nearly a decade, I can tell you that convenience matters more to me than anything else when choosing a loyalty program. All those little time savers really add up.
But National isn’t the only rental program that keeps your information on file so you can skip the line. That’s why choice is also important.
Many of National’s locations in the U.S. and Canada have an Emerald Aisle that lets you select any vehicle you like when you reserve a midsize car or above. This is available to all members just by signing up for a free Emerald Club membership.
You can keep moving faster by confirming your rental and payment details with Emerald Checkout, which provides an easy mobile option instead of handling paperwork at the exit booth. You’ll also start earning one free rental day with every seven qualified car rentals.
Automatic Upgrades for Elite Members
Executive members who complete 12 paid rentals or 40 paid rental days earn free rentals even faster and get to choose their car from an exclusive Executive Area with guaranteed upgrades in the U.S. and Canada.
But here’s a thought: National is offering to roll over some excess rental credits to the 2021 program year. Instead of just setting a lower bar to keep your existing status, you could use this as an opportunity to move up a rung to Executive Elite.
What It’s Like to Travel during 2020
The last several months have been trying times for many of us. Austin is one of the lucky places with a flattening curve of new infections, but my wife and I have still been working from home since March – much of that time without childcare for our toddler – and had to cancel some travel plans.
But there have also been some positive signs. My family took two short trips over the summer and were impressed by how carefully travel providers were implementing their new safety and cleanliness protocols, such as National’s Complete Clean Pledge with attention to over 20 high-touch surfaces. I just got back home after a solo road trip from California to Texas, renting a car and staying in five hotels along the way. I can tell you that everyone is taking this seriously.
Now we’re thinking of renting an SUV for a family road trip to see nearby national parks over the holidays. There are certainly ways to travel safely, with or without flying, and these experiences have given my wife and I confidence that we don’t need to stay at home all the time. National already announced that members can use their free rental days at neighborhood Enterprise Rent-A-Car locations for reservations made by the end of the year, which is perfect for this kind of road trip.
We all play a part in continuing to live and travel safely until we see this through. Meanwhile, extending elite status and free rental days is a nice touch that rewards long-term loyalty.