The American Express Platinum Hertz benefit has saved me over $1000/yr on rental cars

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There are many credit cards that offer elite status at car rental companies. While some of these statuses offer a few perks like class upgrades and improved (but still meager) points earning, there is one in particular that I have found to be very useful over the last few years: the Amex Platinum Hertz discount code.

The American Express Platinum discount on Hertz rentals can be very lucrative.

The Deal

  • American Express Cardholders get the following benefits when using the Amex Platinum corporate code on a rental: up to 15% discount off standard rates (in practice as much as 40%), skip the rental counter, add spouse or domestic partner for free, one-car-class upgrade (at participating markets and subject to availability) and up to a 4-hour grace period when returning the vehicle.
  • Once the discount code is added to your account, it seems to stay there, regardless of if you remain a Platinum cardholder or not.
  • You do not have to pay with a Platinum card in order to use the Platinum rate.

Direct Link to American Express Hertz International Enrollment Page (log-in required)

Direct Link to Domestic Hertz Enrollment Page (use cdp#211762 if prompted)

 

We’re not really gonna talk about car rental discount codes are we?

Ok, what could be more boring than talking about rental car rewards. Rental car companies are notoriously poor-earning, making price a far bigger concern than earning rewards in a given program. Elite status makes earnings slightly better, but more importantly allows the renter to skip the rental counter lines and, in the case of Hertz, also allows for a spouse or domestic partner to be added to the rental for free.

However, the Amex Platinum rate at Hertz is a bird of a different feather.

I rent a lot of cars throughout the year and always comparison shop. I would say that, about 75-80% of the time, we find ourselves renting through Hertz because of the combination of better pricing with the Platinum code and the 4-hour grace period on returns, which I have found VERY valuable.

The Platinum code seems to provide a baseline of 15-20% off of the lowest public price, as opposed to other car rental discount codes (like the Amazon Budget/Avis discount) that, in practice, can actually be more than the best publicly-available rate. I’ve found that the Platinum Hertz Code can offer as much as 30-40% off public rates.

The four-hour grace period is incredible, in that you can get a free four hours added onto the end of any rental.  You can check out a car at 12:00 and return it at 4pm on the last day of the rental while only paying for a 12pm-12pm rental…often saving as much as an entire additional day in cost.

Let’s look at an example.

My wife and I are going to the Ventana Big Sur at the beginning of May and needed a car out of San Jose.  We’ll be flying in late Thursday night and driving out Friday around noon. We’ll be staying downtown-ish San Jose, so I want to do a search that includes both on- and off-airport locations.  For whatever reason, I often find the best mix of availability and accurate pricing comes through Priceline.com. Hertz, unfortunately, doesn’t allow you to search multiple locations at once.

Looking at a rental period from 5/6-5/9,12pm-12pm, here’s what I found:

There are three Hertz neighbourhood locations that are listed as being the least expensive in the city (outside of a cargo van). Note that these are all “Pay Now” rates, which I try to use as little as possible. Also note that airport rates are quite a bit higher.

The 1040 Alameda location is right by where we are staying, so I went to Hertz and looked up rentals at that location…both in incognito mode and when signed into my Hertz account:

On the left, with no discount code, we see the pay now rate is almost exactly the same as what we found on Priceline. On the right, we see the rates with the Amex code.  The Pay later rate with the Platinum code is 6% cheaper than the best, publicly available, pay-now offer.  The discounted “pay-now” rate is over 20% cheaper.

The difference is even more pronounced when adding in the 4-hour grace period, which we need because we are flying out at 6pm on the 9th, but picking up at 12pm on the 6th.

I changed both options to checking out the car at 12pm, but returning on the 9th at 4pm.  Here’s the results now:

The Amex pricing is effectively unchanged (there is sometimes a very small change if there are taxes that are based on rental period as opposed to dollar-amount)…the pay later price is still cheaper than the publicly available pay-now price returning at 12pm.  But look at the difference with the 4pm return.  Pay-now and pay-later are now 40% off.  That’s a huge difference. When I go back in to Priceline and enter a 4pm return-time, I see that the discounted Hertz rate is cheaper than the next publicly available rate…from any company…by about 35%.

Note that you do not have to pay with the Platinum card in order to use the rate, nor would you want to if you have a card with Primary CDW like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve and most United cards; or the Capital One Venture X.  Also worth noting is that portal discounts on Hertz are usually stackable with this rate, some have found it stackable with the Venture X Hertz discount as well.

Quick Thoughts

Hertz has become our primary rental car company over the last few years due to the benefits from the Amex Platinum discount.  The combination of being able to skip the line, upgrade the car, get my wife on the rental at no cost, four hours of rental for free AND often being the cheapest option has made this an extremely valuable perk for us. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it’s saved us (and my company) thousand of dollars over 4-5 years.

It’s at least worth adding this to your Hertz account and checking out the rates the next time you rent, even if you plan on cancelling your Platinum card.

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Trevoe

I’ve used this before for the grace period. However now when I use it it only lets me pay with my Amex. I want to use my CSP but keeps giving an error. I used my CSP before with no issue.

Dan

This may be silly question — but how have others gotten this discount added to their hertz account?

I tried enrolling my business platinum Amex for hertz and got message returned that there are no benefits for card that require enrollment. Then I called Amex platinum and they referred me to hertz phone number. But hertz referred me back to Amex. Perhaps this code / discount is not available for business in spite of it being listed on a benefit for both on Amex website?

Andy

Took me a little bit to find this. Go here:

https://www.hertz.com/rentacar/emember/modify/profile.do?

Add the discount code under Corporate Discount Programs and save it to your account.

Lance

Hey Tim. We have also used Hertz for about 90% of our rentals over the last few years. For these same reasons – the Amex Platinum code (even though I pay with the Sapphire Reserve), the extra driver, and the 4 hour grace period.

Eric

Greg I’m curious if you compared Hertz rates to Costco Travel rental rates. When doing my comparison study for rentals, I’ve found that Costco beats out all rated with platinum codes pretty much every time. Note, I have a large family so we usually get a larger vehicle size or Van as the data point comparison

Albert

I’ll be at ventana around the same time as you! Might see you there.

See

I have the Venture X and player 2 has Amex Platinum. If Player 2 books with Amex code, can I pay with my Venture X and get the CDW rental coverage still?

Dan

One follow-up question; is the hertz discount benefit available on the business platinum American Express as well? Or just the personal version?

Thanks again!

Dan

Thanks for the article and info! Do you have a sense for how the discount compares between American Express platinum and venture x card?

I believe both have the status and am considering which card best positions me on this front. Thanks!

Dan

Sweet — thank you! I think that answers my question (was trying to determine if Amex platinum code would improve my savings relative to my venture x discount code … but sounds likely to be the case with possibility of codes stacking, which would be crazy.

CMC

I can’t imagine why anyone would take a chance and use Hertz at this point. Discount or not, is it really worth the very real risk? It’s not just small corner cases, it’s a real issue and has affected lots of people. Take the AmEx discount and go to National instead.

whocares

Free food in prison. Free showers. What’s not to like?

DavidS

Are the free meals an elite benefit?

Last edited 2 months ago by DavidS
Robert

What card is best to use for lawyer fees when Hertz arrests you?

Seriously though, I’m glad i have a killer coupon code for National, I typically save nearly 40% with it and even more now with covid shortages. Throw in Executive status and I’ll gladly leave the other companies alone

James

1. I signed up for Hertz rewards thru my Amex Platinum link but have since cancelled the platinum, but I think the discount code is still loaded in there. How do you get the 4 hour grace period, does that happen automatically when you book using the Amex Plat discount code?

2. I also have the Venture X..You mentioned you can stack this platinum benedit with the Venture X Hertz “discount”? But what discount is there? I know Venture X gives you President’s Circle status but i think that’s different than a discount?

3. If I sign up for president circle status with my Venture X, how will that then impact the Amex Platinum discount code that is currently loaded into my Hertz account, an/or any other Hertz benefits I get from platinum? Or does the Hertz benefit kind of just trump/improve upon all the platinum benefits?

Any other advice on how to combine the platinum and venture x benefits for maximum benefit will be much appreciated, thank you.

Peter

Even though the Platinum code may still be loaded, you are not supposed to use it. You can apply for Presidents circle through the Venture card and if that erases the Platinum code, you can just add it back. Again, though, you are only allowed to use the Platinum code if you have the platinum card and they can, and occasionally do, ask you to show your card at pickup. The 4 hr grace period is automatic, just book a 28 hr reservation and it will be charged as 1 day

Pam

Thanks, Tim. Are there any benefits to adding the member number to an Autoslash/Priceline res (like spouse added for free)?

Peter

By law, at least in New York State, but I think this is national, your spouse is allowed to drive a rental vehicle in your name. You don’t even need to add them to the contract.

Pam

Autoslash has a great detailed post by state: https://blog.autoslash.com/all-about-additional-driver-fees/amp/

Mark

So does TPG always steal Frequent Miler posts, or is this just something that’s happened in the past 3 months?

whocares

I learned about this from Miles to Memories some months ago.

Captain Greg

Hi Tim, thank you for this article. When I click the link, it just brings me to hertz.com though. What am I missing?

Marc

Isn’t the 4 grace period limited to US rentals. When I checked for rental cars in Germany 24h + 2h resulted in two full days charge.

Johnny

FWIW the discount code you provided provides me the same decent discounts I get with my AAA membership. Same exact price on a couple of different reservations.

Johnny

no extra four hours with AAA.

Susan

This is helpful – we’ve got a corporate code in our household for Avis that blows nearly every other rate and code out of the water, but the 4hr grace period may be the game changer in the future when we comparison shop. Thank you!

Christian

What about stacking by going through an airline portal? A few years back, Hertz was offering thousands of United miles for any rental so I rented a car from my local airport for one hour but never actually took the car out of the lot. I did this so often that the staff told me to stop coming in for my one hour rental and just signed me in and back out automatically. I even got a couple of years top tier status out of it. Anyway, any stacks that you can think of?

Seb

Nope, not worth going to jail for! I’m sticking with National

Steve

have to agree. Ease of pickup, combined with 7th free rental has made me switch.

NK3

The link you posted for the Five Star benefit is for the international currency card. Are you sure that US based/issued Platinum members still get this benefit? It is not listed in the benefits for card, and I know I saw postings that it went away around 2018/2019. Do you have a link for US issued cards? I know the Amex code still works for rentals.

satellite

Just hope you don’t get arrested for stealing a Hertz car. Some 230 people are already suing Hertz for false police reports that lead to them spending 2700 days in jail already. The real number of people affected is probably much bigger.

Frank

Exactly. This situation is beyond egregious. And, after months, if not years, of false arrests and people spending weeks/months in prison, the Hertz CEO finally came out last week with a half-baked apology. I wouldn’t rent from hertz even if it was free. I agree that National is the way to go.

whocares

With the high cost of inflation, just think of the $$ you could save while in jail.