Car Rental Rewards Programs

National Car Rental – Emerald Club Overview

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National Car Rental, owned by Enterprise holdings, gives you a lot of options across the county and around the globe for car rentals and the ability to access several benefits and perks. National Car Rental operates its “Emerald Club” loyalty program which is free to join, and allows you to accumulate rental credits toward free rental days, earn airline or hotel points, and progress towards different loyalty tier levels that provide premium benefits.

  • National offers free rental days to Emerald Club Loyalty members. 
  • Credits are earned for every qualified car rental, and a free rental day is equal to 7 credits up to a mid-size car.
  • Choose to earn free rental days, airline miles, or hotel points. Note – an administrative fee may apply if choosing to earn airline/hotel partner rewards.
  • Credits expire at the end of the year unless used before then.
  • Emerald Aisle Access
  • Emerald Club Counter Service
  • Status Match program is a great way to jump start earning, if you have elite status elsewhere
National’s explainer video about the Emerald Club benefits (YouTube)

Emerald Aisle Access

This benefit, included when you enroll in Emerald Club,  allows you to choose any car in the Emerald Aisle (midsize and above) and only pay the midsize rate. This offer is only available in the USA and Canada.  

Emerald App & Checkout

And if you download the National App, it will accelerate the rental process allowing you to choose your car, confirm your rental details, and proceed to the exit booth where you’ll show a driver’s license and barcode within the app — completely bypassing lines and counters. And being a member grants you access to Emerald Club Counter Service — so when you are unable to bypass the counter, enjoy a dedicated and expedited line. 

You can also scan a vehicle in the emerald aisle locations, which will give you details on mileage and other features offered with the vehicle, confirm your rental options and take care of your quick exit process by scanning with the virtual pass barcode.

The National App allows you to manage rentals and much more.

You will also be capable of managing your Emerald Club profile, view your progress to the next Emerald Club Tier and keep track of the credits you have accumulated towards your next free day car rental. When you reserve rentals through the National app and being a loyal Emerald Club member, your profile details are automatically applied to your reservation and the National Tracker provides you with important trip information specific to your itinerary.

Emerald Club Tiers

There are three Emerald Club status tiers offered with National Car Rental. By raising your tier status level you will gain additional benefits/perks and earn free rentals quicker.

Emerald Club

The first tier in National’s loyalty membership program is granted simply by signing up for the Emerald Club Loyalty. Benefits include

  • Earn 1 rental credit for every qualified rental. You will need 7 credits for one free rental day.
  •  Access to the Emerald checkout and Emerald Aisle Access features.
  • Receive priority/expedited services while renting with National
  • Drop & 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.
  • 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.

Emerald Club Executive

 The second tier in the Emerald Club loyalty membership program requires either 12 paid rentals or 40 paid rental days in a calendar year. After reaching Executive status, you will receive:

  • Free rental day reduced to 6 credits.
  • 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.
  • Guaranteed upgrades when you reserve a full-size through luxury vehicle.
  • Exclusive pricing when you upgrade to premier selection at the rental lot.

All of the benefits offered in the first tier status is included when you reach the Emerald Club Executive tier status.

Emerald Club Executive Elite

This is the third and highest tier status offered by National. In order to reach this status level you either need 25 paid rentals or 85 paid rental days in a calendar year. You will then receive:

  • Guaranteed rental car availability (with 24 hours notice)
  • 5 credits equal a free rental day in any car class.
  •  No blackout dates.

National offers their guaranteed vehicle promise to Emerald Club Executive tier members, which means they guarantee a car up to full-size with a 24 hour notice when you reserve using the mid-size rate in the US and Canada. National also offers a private airport delivery perk, which states they will have you car waiting at most private airports within 50 miles of their locations in the US/Canada and all of the benefits/perks offered by the two lower tiers of the Emerald Club tier status.

Emerald Club Status Match

National offers a generous status match program that can 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.

Top Three Credit Cards for National Car Rentals

Click on each link to see all current benefits and promotions.

Earn miles with Nationals Airline Partners

You can earn miles or points with Nationals airline partners on qualifying rentals. Below are the airline partners of National and the amount of miles/points you can earn per rental day are as follows. If you’re an infrequent renter with National, or need a few airline miles to push you over the top for an upcoming award, these are probably the way to go. But if you rent often, you may want to bank free rental days for future vacation use etc.

  •  ANA mileage club: as a loyal member you will earn 50 base credits per rental day with a maximum of 300 credits per rental option. Be sure to provide your ANA club membership card in order to earn miles for your rental.
  • Air China: as a phoenix miles member you qualify to earn 800 kilometers per qualifying rental. Note; the rental must be under your name and you have to provide your membership number when you reserve your vehicle or provide your membership card at the rental counter.
  • Alaska Airlines: As an Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan member you can earn 50 mileage plan miles per rental day on every qualifying rental through National.
  • American Airlines, As an American Airlines AAdvantage member you will also earn 50 American Airlines Aadvantage miles per rental day.
  • 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.
  • Eva Air: As an Eva Air Infinity MileageLands member you will earn 500 miles per rental.
  • Frontier Airlines: As a Frontier Early returns member you can earn 50 miles per day with a cap of 500.
  • Korean Air; As a Korean Air Skypass member you will earn 500 base miles per rental.
  • Southwest Rapids rewards list the best offer of 600 Rapid Rewards per rental on every qualifying rental.
  • Sun Country Airlines: lists 300 Sun Country Rewards points on every qualifying rental with National.

Hotel Partners

In addition to airline miles National also gives you the option to earn hotel points. But there are only two partners – and the earning amount leaves something to be desired. These are not recommended earning options unless you’re a loyal Best Western customer.

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.

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.

Final Thoughts

National Car Rental has reasonable prices, convenient locations around the globe and gives you opportunity to earn credits towards free rentals, flights and/or hotels stays when renting through their company or Enterprise. National Car rental Emerald Club Loyalty program is appealing since it’s free to join, and has valuable benefits, even at its lowest tier level.

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.

Travis is a Senior Editor at Miles Junkie. An avid outdoorsman, you'll see him shredding the slopes of Colorado in the winter and cutting rounds to heat his home in the national forests during the summer. He lives with his wife and three dogs in southwest Colorado.

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