I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about car rental programs and how to best leverage them. I’ve used airline points on a few occasions for car rentals, but it’s not usually a winning proposition. From time to time though, I do have to travel for my work or rent a one-way from my home in Michiana to fly out of Chicago O’Hare, and those are great opportunities to earn some car rental points + airline miles. I received the below e-mail from United’s MileagePlus. I decided to try booking through it and see what comes out of it.
Let me backtrack here and start by saying that this all started when I received an e-mail from United with the below offer:
Unfortunately, because of moving from the west coast to the midwest, I lost premier status in 2017. So I knew I wouldn’t earn the higher bonus amount of MileagePlus miles. So I expected to earn 750 miles, as I’m a MileagePlus card member.
So there was 3 different buckets of points I was looking for:
- 750 rental miles
- 1,500 mid-size rental bonus
- 3,000 bonus award miles – this 3,000 bonus is not always available.
Total expected earned miles: 5,250
I was a little skeptical that all 3 would accrue to my account without me having to call. To my surprise, however, within 5 days, all miles were in my account! Here’s how that looked:
Not sure why the 750 was split into 2, but as long as it all adds up… My next concern would be how much I spent to earn these miles. I paid $48 for my one-way rental. Disregarding the Hertz points I’m earning, this means that I earned United MileagePlus miles at a rate of 0.9 cents/mile on this rental. Offer maximized! And again, that’s without counting the points I earned with Hertz, which I’ll be able to redeem later for free car rentals.
Note that the offer says that they’ll “also add an extra 3,000 bonus award miles on your next one or two rentals”. Why “or”? What determines whether they grant you the 3,000 bonus award miles or not? I’ve already done my second rental and am currently waiting for the points to hit my account. Once that happens I’ll update this post and likely have some additional information on the latter. UPDATE: The 3,000 bonus award miles posted and I earned the full 10,500 bonus award miles from 2 rentals, as per the e-mail offer.
In conclusion, it’s a win to use car rentals as airline mile earning tools to redeem later as awards. Refer to my recent post about EVA air award availability to see my latest award redemption.