OH, NO! I’m Losing My Favorite Travel Benefit!

I’ve had a lot of different travel benefits over the decade that I’ve been traveling for business.  Some of my favorites:

  • American Airlines Executive Platinum Systemwide Upgrades (back when they used to clear).
  • Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrades
  • Faster Free Nights (Hyatt)
  • Tennis lesson with Andre Agassi
  • Luxurious suites and welcome amenities.

None of these is my favorite, though Andre Agassi is a very close second.  When you look at the list above, you might be wondering what I value more.  Hertz Platinum status.  Never heard of it?  That’s because you can’t earn it.  For years, it was invitation only.  Then, about 8 or 9 years ago they opened it up to a select few paid memberships.  My business partner actually mentioned it to me and I shrugged my shoulders at first.  Then, I started to dig in.  A list of benefits doesn’t really do it justice.  How about a few stories?

There was the time I had to go to Detroit for my NEXUS interview.  I rented a car and drove to the Windsor bridge.  My interview got done early and my original flight got canceled in the span of about 5 minutes.  There was an earlier flight but I had no way to return the rental car and still make it to the gate on time. I called the Platinum folks in Detroit.  No problem, they said. Leave the keys under the floor mat in the parking garage and tell us where you parked it.  Are you kidding me????

Chicago, a few years back.  Traffic, running tragically late for my flight.  I called the Platinum folks at Chicago.  No problem, Mr. Pizza.  We’ll have a Hertz employee standing at the departure level of O’Hare when you get there to take the car from you!

There was the time my business partner got sick and ended up having to leave town quickly to return home.  Hertz sent someone out to retrieve the keys from his hotel and pick up the car.

And, there was Denver.  The people there are awesome.  The upgrades are always great, but the people made the service.  I can remember being late for a meeting one day.  I got to the Hertz lot and the line to get out of the parking lot was easily a hundred cars deep.  The station manager hopped in my car when he saw I was distressed.  He drove me around to a back gate and escorted me off the lot and then walked the 1/4 mile back to the front.

The yellow Corvette convertible in San Francisco as a surprise.  The SUVs or Minivans for the price of a full-size any time I rented a car for family trips.  Then, just two weeks ago, a brand new Infiniti SUV, a Jaguar and a Cadillac 3 days in a row in 3 different cities.

Time Is My Favorite Benefit

Upgrades are great, but my favorite benefit was time.  Hertz Platinum status means they’ll drop your car off at the terminal when you arrive in most cities.  Ever rent a car in Las Vegas at the airport?  The car rental facility is almost in California.  Phoenix?  An easy 15-20 minute waste of time.  Not with Hertz Platinum.  They were always waiting at baggage claim for me or already had the car at the curb.

I saved at least 30 minutes on virtually every business trip for almost a decade.  An hour or more on many occasions.  And, there were those flights I would have missed, instead turning into time with my family. On family vacations, we saved so much time and heartache not hauling suitcases, strollers and car seats on rental car buses.

And then, this:

We are writing to inform you that your Platinum membership has expired and you will no longer be eligible to receive Platinum benefits effective April 30, 2018. Our records indicate that your membership into this program was purchased. At this time, we have chosen to discontinue the option to purchase Platinum membership and are no longer accepting invitations.

Sigh

It was a good run, and all great things come to an end at some point.  But, man!  This one hurts.  As a business traveler, time is my most valuable commodity.  Hertz Platinum saved me a ton of time, made me more productive, and got me home to my family.

I knew the paid path to Hertz Platinum had gone away.  I had heard rumors about it for a while.  But, mine didn’t disappear right away, so I was hopeful.  The rumors I heard talked about how there were some Platinum members who were very difficult to deal with, rude and demanding.  I can honestly say I don’t recall any complaints I had over almost 10 years.  How could I?  They did everything I ever asked of them.

I’m still a big fan of Hertz.  I’ll just really miss Hertz Platinum.

The post OH, NO! I’m Losing My Favorite Travel Benefit (And, It’s Not Even Close) was published first on Pizza in Motion

12 Comments

  1. For years i was a dedicated Avis customer. I never realized i had the platinum status with Hertz as a centurian member. It is great for the attention, service snd upgrades. I dont take advantage i am appreciative of the service.

    My first time using it was LAX i kept getting asked questions about my arrival then i reslized they were meeting me at arrivsls and had the car waiting, no way this was great. When i returned they drove me back to the airport departures.

    A few weeks ago i had a late arrival into zurich from CDG. Apparently i forgot to add my flight information to my reservation, my flight was delayed at least an hour and it was late on a Friday night. The Hertz representative kept the counter open for me, i only realized it in a conversation as i was leaving. She said we waited for you because we know you always show up. As long as i sm still traveling i hope i never lose this benefit.

    I have not rented from anyone else since except where hertz was not available in a dmsll town in Germany.

  2. For the record, there was no sign-up fee when I first received my card. The way I received the card, I called to challenge a charge from Price line (name at the time) the representative said, you should have the Centurion card, I said it does exist?

    At the time I thought, I will keep it for one year, the fee was $2,000 a year the benefits at the time were terrific. They included star alliance gold, Avis President, and Hilton Diamond to name a few and yes Delta which I do not use because of the value of their points.

    After the loss of Star alliance gold with the merger to American, I was considering giving the card up. I held on hoping they would establish a new relationship with another Star Alliance airline. Then I learned purely by accident the value of the Hertz Platinum status which I had for years and never used. Now unless the cost of the card increases significantly I stop traveling or they take this benefit away, I am keeping the card.

  3. I was the operation manager for Hertz in Phoenix for ten years and have enough Platinum stories to fill a book… however like many other programs inclusion only degraded this service in my opinion, however it’s been 10+ yrs since I worked there… my opinion is that it sould only be reserved for travel decision makers and select executives with large accounts with Hertz, not via credit cards or purchase…. did you know Hertz has a level above regular Platinum, VIP Platinum… in a given year in Phoenix we might rent 400,000+ cars, maybe 10 VIP Platinum all year all must be met by Ops or City Manager…

    Love the new podcast Ed, keep it up

  4. They asked me one time at OGG if I was platinum when I asked for ride back to the Ford dealer in Kahului. I had no idea what it was. But I knew they had a level like that, just didn’t know it was called “platinum”.

    Did you just pay one time Ed, or was it every year?

    -David

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