Comparisons

Avis Preferred VS National Emerald Club

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Avis Car rental’s rewards program, Avis Preferred, and National’s Emerald Club both stand out as two of the top car rental programs in the United States. While Avis has more than four times the locations in the US, National Car Rental, and their Emerald Club, offers some unique benefits that can sway renters — especially if they simply rent at airport locations.

In this article, we will compare Avis Preferred and National Emerald Club, explore their features, tiers, partners and benefits to help you decide which program is best suited for your car rental needs.

Avis Preferred

As a member of Avis Preferred, you can enjoy various benefits and perks such as faster reservations and free upgrades. Members earn points with every qualifying rental, based on the amount of money spent, which can be redeemed for free car rental days. Alternatively, you can opt to earn hotel/airline points from a wide array of partners. If you are able to achieve a higher tier, additional benefits will also become available. It’s free to join and your points will only expire under two circumstances: First, if your account has no activity in a 12 month period. Second – over a 60 month timeframe, if you do not use any points, they expire.

Redeeming Avis Preferred Points

In order to redeem free car rentals you will need a minimum of 700 points and for accessories you will need a minimum of 250 points. Note, Avis has no blackout dates when redeeming points for a free rental. Avis rewards are grouped into four levels based on the standard base rate, car class and location of your rental. Standard base rate does not include any Avis Worldwide Discount (AWD), special rates, or any other offers. See the chart below for a more in depth breakdown of Avis Reward days.

REWARD DAY LEVELSTANDARD BASE RATEPOINTS PER DAY
LEVEL 1UP TO $50700
LEVEL 2$50.01 – $851400
LEVEL 3$85.01 – $1252100
LEVEL 4$125.01 – $2253500
Source: Avis.com

National Emerald Club

National Emerald Club members earn 1 rental credit per car rental, which can be redeemed for free rental days in the future. Base level members will need to have accumulated 7 credits for each free car rental day. Members also have the ability to earn airline or hotels points instead of free rental days. Emerald Club members also have the ability to skip lines and counters by the using the National App to expedite the rental process. The higher on the tier ladder members climb, the more benefits will follow. Car rental credits do not expire, however any free days earned will expire on 12/31 each year. So be sure to track your free car rental days and use them before they expire.

Comparing Tiers

Avis PreferredNational Emerald Club
This is the first tier offered by Avis, which gives members the ability to earn points that can be sued towards further rentals or exchanged for miles and points with Avis’s partners. Benefits include:The first tier in National’s loyalty membership program is granted simply by signing up for the Emerald Club Loyalty. Benefits include
Members will earn 1 point per dollar spent on rentals and 2 points per dollar spent on accessories.In order to redeem free car rentals you will need a minimum of 700 points and for accessories you will need a minimum of 250 points.Earn 1 rental credit for every qualified rental. You will need 7 credits for one free rental day.
Save your rental preferences and track your activity/rewards.Access to the Emerald checkout and Emerald Aisle Access features.
Receive exclusive monthly email offers.Receive priority/expedited services while renting with National
Enjoy expedited service and go straight to your car at most locationsDrop & Go benefit. with convenient email receipts, all you need to do is drop off your car and go if you vehicle has not been damaged during your rental.
Earn 100 bonus points when you rent within the first three months of joining.No second driver fee.
Exclusive members only discounts and offers through seasonal emails from National Car Rental
When renting at participating Enterprise locations, your Emerald Club membership number on the reservation/rental will count towards elevating your Emerald Club status. Elite status in Emerald Club provides additional rental benefits when renting at National, but not at Enterprise.
Comparing First Level Tiers
Avis Preferred PlusNational Emerald Club Executive
In order to achieve this tier level you will need to accumulate 10 rentals or $4,000 spent in a 12 month period. Every January, Avis will review your rentals/dollars spent in a 12 month period and will determine either renewal or downgrade your tier level status. Benefits include: To obtain this tier status level members will need to either have 12 paid rentals or 40 paid rental days in a calendar year. Benefits include:
Free one-car class upgrade when reserving a midsize or above.Free rental day reduced to 6 credits.
Earn 1.25 points per every dollar spent on car rentals.Executive Area access, which means you can choose any car full-size or above in the Executive area and only pay the mid-size rate in US and Canada.
Earn 2.5 points per every dollar spent on accessories.Guaranteed upgrades when you reserve a full-size through luxury vehicle.
Exclusive pricing when you upgrade to premier selection at the rental lot.
Comparing Second Level Tiers
Avis President’s Club National Emerald Club Executive Elite
In order to obtain this tier you will need to bank 20 rentals or spend $6,000 in a 12 month period. benefits include: In order to reach this status level you either need 25 paid rentals or 85 paid rental days in a calendar year. Benefits include:
Free two car class upgrades when reserving midsize or above.Guaranteed rental car availability (with 24 hours notice).
Guaranteed car up to a full size with a confirmed 24 hour advanced reservation.5 credits equal a free rental day in any car class.
Upgraded support phone number.No blackout dates.
Earn 1.5 points per dollar spent on car rentals.Guaranteed vehicle promise:  Executive Elite members will be able to rent a car up to full-size with a 24 hour notice when you reserve using the mid-size rate in the US and Canada. 
Earn 3 points per dollar spent on accessories
Comparing Third Level Tiers

Other Ways to Obtain Status

Avis

Even if you don’t meet the requirements to obtain Avis Preferred status, you can obtain it through various credit cards and membership programs:

  1. American Express Platinum: Holders of The Platinum Card or The Business Platinum Card from American Express automatically receive Avis Preferred Plus status as a travel benefit, but you must enroll once logged into the Amex website to activate this and various other benefits.
  2. Visa Infinite Cards: If you have a Visa Infinite card, you can enroll on avis.com to receive Avis Preferred Plus status.
  3. United Airlines Credit Cards: Cardholders of specific United credit cards, including the United Club Infinite Card, United Presidential Plus Card, United Club Business Card, and the United Presidential Plus Business Card, are eligible for Avis President’s Club status. Visit united.com to up your status.
  4. United Premier Elite Members: United Premier Silver and Premier Gold members can obtain Avis Preferred Plus status, while Premier Platinum and higher levels are eligible for Avis President’s Club status. Visit united.com to up your status.
  5. Avis also has a status match program that requires you have status with another program. Learn more about this program on avis.com

National

National offers a generous status match program as well, it kickstart your earning if you have elite status elsewhere. They do not only match other car rental program status, like airlines only match other airline status — they’ll upgrade your status if you’ve got airline, hotel or rental car elite status. And your newly upgraded status will be effective through February 28th of the second calendar year following match approval. To maintain your matched status, you’ll need to qualify at the normal threshold. Go to the Emerald Club Status Match site to apply and for more information.

Comparing Airline Partners

Avis

Avis has partnerships with 61 different airline companies. Preferred members have the option to earn airline points/miles in lieu of Avis points. The amount of points members will earn per rental depends on which airline you choose. Below is a list of a few selected partnered airlines and the amount of points you will earn per rental.

  • Alaska Airlines: Mileage Plan members will earn 1,250 miles per rental for Mileage Plan members with MVP Gold 75K or MVP Gold 100K status. 1,000 miles per rental for Mileage Plan members with MVP or MVP Gold status or 500 miles per rental for all other Mileage Plan members. Discounts are also available when members provide their Alaska Airlines Mileage plan/Avis Worldwide discount number K197800.
  • American Airlines: AAdvantage members will earn 2 base miles per dollar spent with each qualifying rental. You will also earn 3 base miles per dollar spent on Avis car rentals with – Citi/ AAdvantage cardmembers and AAdvantage Aviator Mastercard cardmembers without AAdvantage status. AAdvantage Platinum and Gold members will earn 4 base points per dollar spent on Avis rentals and AAdvantage Platinum pro and Executive Platinum members will earn 5 base points per dollar spent on rentals.
  • JetBlue: TrueBlue members will earn 100 points per rental day (up to 5 days) on all qualifying rentals at participating airport rental locations in the U.S., Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. Discounts are also available when members provide their TrueBlue/Avis Worldwide discount number H798500.

National

National Car Rental has a total of 9 airline partners. While this number may be significantly smaller than Avis’ list, it is still worth noting for frequent travelers. While earning airline points can be enticing, it may not always be the most practical option for frequent renters of National. Like Avis, the amount of points members will earn per rental varies on which partnered airline you choose. Below is a list of a couple airlines partnered with National and the amount of points you will earn per rental.

  • Alaska Airlines: As an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan member you can earn 50 mileage plan miles per rental day on every qualifying rental.
  • Delta: As a Delta SkyMiles member you will earn 2 SkyMiles per dollar on every qualifying rental with National – and it’s important to note that this is the only program that earns based on dollars spent, so if you’re going to be spending a lot on a rental, this is the program that may benefit the most. If you’ve found a great deal and are only paying a hundred or two dollars, another program will likely maximize your earnings.
  • Southwest: Rapids rewards list the best offer of 600 Rapid Rewards per rental on every qualifying rental.
Hyatt New York Union Square
Hyatt New York Union Square – Photo courtesy: Hyatt Hotels

Comparing Hotel Partners

AvisNational
All-Accor live limitless: Earn 125 ALL Reward Points per day for rentals between 1-6 days OR 150 ALL Reward Points per day for rentals of 7 days or more on all qualifying rentals. Discounts are also available when members provide you ALL-Accor Live Limitless/Avis Worldwide Discount number C285900.Best Western: as a Best Western club member you will 1 Best Western Rewards point per $1 dollar spent on time and mileage for every qualifying rental through National.
Best Western Rewards: Earn 1,000 Best Western Rewards points per rental on all qualifying rentals. Discounts are also available when members provide their Best Western/Avis Worldwide Discount number K850880.Hilton: As a Hilton Honors member you will earn 500 Hilton Honors points on every qualifying rental with National. This is a poor earning option considering Hilton’s lowest room rate is 5,000 points per night at their lowest level properties and rates usually topping 30,000.
Choice Hotels: Earn 1,000 Choice Privileges points per rental on qualifying rentals. Discounts are also available when members provide their Choice Privileges Avis Worldwide discount number 0418900.
Hyatt Hotels and Resorts: Earn 500 World of Hyatt Bonus Points per rental on qualifying rentals. Discounts are available when members provide their World of Hyatt/Avis Worldwide discount number K817700.
Nordic Choice Club:  Nordic Choice Club members earn 500 points per qualifying rental.
Wyndham Hotels and Resorts: Members will earn 100 Wyndham Rewards points per rental on qualifying rentals. Members can also earn discount when they provide their Wyndham Rewards/Avis Worldwide discount number K969100.
Comparing Hotel Partners

Additional Benefits

Avis QuickPass: QuickPass allows you to skip the counter at most airport locations and while you don’t need to be a Preferred member to use the QuickPass app, only Preferred members get to skip the counter.

Final Thoughts

Both Avis Preferred rewards and National Emerald Club rewards offer attractive benefits for frequent car rental customers. However, it is clear that Avis stands out for its large number of locations in the US and variety of partners. But National does a commendable job in competing with Avis (and others) and provides consistent benefits to its members. One area where National Rental Car could improve is by expanding its list of airline and hotel partnerships, but they are also known for providing better cars and upgrades. But on the other hand, Avis offers a more lenient policy concerning expiration of their points which gives members more time to earn and use them which may benefit the less-frequent renter. Regardless of which rewards program you choose, both reward programs enhance your car rental experience and offer additional benefits to its members.

Editorial Note: Information and opinions articulated in this article are solely those of the author’s, not those of a credit card company, bank, airline or hotel chain. This article has not been reviewed or approved by or otherwise endorsed by any of these companies or organizations.

Tal-ee is a co-founder and Executive Editor of Miles Junkie. A skier, backpacker and veteran marathoner, you'll usually find him on a trail, a mountain or cranking away at the keyboard. Tal-ee holds a degree from Colgate University in English, with emphasis in creative writing.

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