Hertz Gold Plus Rewards was a solid plus for Hertz loyalists when the new format was released almost 2 years ago. If you’re considering purchasing one of the Hertz Daily Getaways offers, this information may be of assistance. There were a handful of really good rewards and a bunch more reasonable opportunities to get good value out of the program. I wrote about some of those high value options a little over a year ago.
Since then, and I’m not 100% sure when, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards changed the prices on a number of awards I use. The last time I remember booking a car using points was last summer, so it’s been sometime within the last 10 months or so.
One of my favorite redemption categories were the one-way rentals. I was able to redeem points and get 15 cents per point value out of them last year. At that point, the price was 2000 points for 2 free rental days. The new rate is 2650 points, or a 32.5% increase. Yikes! The majority of one-way rentals saw a similar increase.
Nearest I can tell from an incomplete set of data from last year, specialty vehicle rentals increased about 20%.
But what hurts even more is the exclusion of large SUVs from both the specialty and Prestige Collection categories. Both of these categories will already cost a lot of points (4,400 points for a weekly specialty rental, 8,250 points for a Prestige Collection vehicle). I’d justified these higher amounts (it used to be 4,000 for a weekly specialty rental IIRC) by being able to get a large SUV to move around a bunch of folks. That’s no longer an option.
Let’s turn to the value of the Daily Getaways offers. For starters, the tiers are misaligned in pricing. The price per point breakdown on the three packages are:
5,500 points for 4.6 cents per point.
13,200 points for 3.2 cents per point.
16,500 points for 4.2 cents per point.
Pretty easy to see that buying 13,200 points for $475 ($427.50 with the AMEX 10% discount) is the best deal.
But, is a Hertz Gold Plus Reward point worth more than 3.2 cents? Let’s take a look at some of the break-even marks if you buy points:
2,750 points for a standard weekly rental (up to a premium car) needs to cost you more than $88 prior to taxes to equal 3.2 cents/point.
5,300 points for a 4-day one-way rental needs just $170, an absolute steal when you see what rental companies charge for one-way rentals.
8,250 points for a Prestige Collection vehicle needs a $264 rate to break even.
These are all easily achievable. Hertz Gold Plus Rewards is still a rewarding program if you have points. Where the question comes into play is whether you should be crediting your rentals to Hertz or to an airline, especially with the proliferation of 4X points offers out there to major airlines. I still tend to think the answer is yes, both from a diversification standpoint and also to ensure a “free” vacation. You might get more pure value in certain circumstances out of airline miles, but you might also get stuck with a large car rental bill.
I’m a big fan of making sure you have the ability to take as many free vacations as you can, such that the cost of getting to your destination doesn’t impact where you want to travel to. If you take airfare, car rental and hotel charges out of the equation, springing for a great dinner somewhere special isn’t as big a deal.
Overall, these changes aren’t that surprising to me. There was a lot of value when they first released the program so it was inevitable there would be tweaks. The program still represents a decent enough value to continue holding some points for car rentals.