For the miles and points junkie, it’s all about the deal. With any deal, bigger is always better, right? That’s our goal. Find the biggest deals. The game keeps changing which is what keeps it interesting. I recently stumbled upon a wrinkle in the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program that can provide such value. I wrote about the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program in the middle of last year and found some good (though not great) value. The play there was mostly about diversity but I did find some good values at 2 cents a point.
But when booking a recent one-way rental I found a truly crazy redemption value for some of my Gold Plus Rewards points. I can’t remember a time when I got a truly reasonable price on a one-way rental from a car company. It was a 2-day, one-way weekend rental, which requires 2000 points. The base rental price (which is really all that points covers, you still pay taxes, etc) was $300. That works out to 15 cents per point. While on a very small scale, this may be the best value I’ve ever gotten for points.
I decided to take the math just a bit further to make sure I couldn’t get better value out of the car rentals if I credited them somewhere else. Car rentals earn 1 mile per dollar spent on eligible charges, which are rentals as well as some other add-ons like Neverlost and satellite radio. Currently, American Airlines has a bonus offer that awards 4 miles per dollar spent on eligible charges with Hertz which I use frequently. If I credited the rentals that earned me 2000 Hertz Gold Plus Rewards points to American, I would have earned 8,000 miles. At two cents a mile (which is a bit generous) this would be worth $160, though it’s not really an apples-to-apples comparison. So, from a conservative standpoint, you could argue I got about 4 cents per point value, since that’s about what I could have earned elsewhere using this currency.
And, there are mileage purists who will say there’s better value in renting cars from other companies and crediting elsewhere. Hertz Platinum service saves me a ton of time and aggravation, so I pretty much exclusively rent from Hertz , though I tried to get Avis’ Chairman last year to no avail (note to anyone from AVIS who’s tuned in, I’d be happy to buy it and give it a test spin for a year).
For me, though, this represented a nice win in the miles and points game.
As a separate note, I did discover another transfer option I didn’t know existed with Hertz. You can see the relative transfer values in the screen shot below. I don’t consider it a good value to swap 600 Hertz Gold Club Rewards points for 500 miles since I can earn much more crediting directly to the airlines (such as the 4X offer I mention above which would yield 3,000 AAdvantage miles instead of 600 Hertz points). But, more options is better than less. Just be careful you’re always getting the best value you can.
In points, as in most things, diversification is a good thing. If all of your currency is in one basket you might be forced to convert them using a bad conversion rate. Better to keep a small hoard of points for a rainy day (or the occasional really expensive one-way car rental).
Update: My original link to the 4X AA promo was expired. Thanks to Glenn for pointing that out. The link is corrected above.