Hertz President’s Circle Status: My first experience
On our recent trip to Southern California (where we stayed at Alila Marea Encinitas), I took advantage of my new Hertz President’s Circle status for the first time, which I got through the Capital One Venture credit card. X Rewards (notice). I wanted to review my experience because I’m starting to hate renting cars less than I did before.
How to achieve Hertz President’s Circle status
There are many ways to achieve Hertz President’s Circle status, whether through rentals, status matches, or credit card, airline and hotel benefits.
At the most basic level, Hertz President’s Circle status typically requires $ 4,000 in qualifying expenses or 20 rentals per year. For 2021, those requirements have been lowered to $ 3,000 in expenses or 15 rentals, depending on the circumstances.
However, there are many other ways to achieve Hertz President’s Circle status:
Obtaining Hertz President’s Circle status through Capital One Venture X is probably the easiest way to access this level, given that the card is very good value for money even without this benefit (the card has a fee). annual fee of $ 395, but offers an annual travel credit of $ 300 and 10,000 anniversary bonus miles, which alone more than justify the annual fee).
Benefits of Hertz President’s Circle status
Here are the published benefits of Hertz President’s Circle status:
- Guaranteed car upgrades, at least one class, at participating locations
- Freedom to choose any vehicle from the President’s Circle section of the Hertz Ultimate Choice bundle onsite at no additional cost
- No additional driver fees for a spouse or domestic partner in the US
- 50% bonus on Gold Plus Rewards points on all qualifying rentals
- Expedited vehicle pick-up at over 1,000 locations worldwide
- No stop at the counter in more than 50 airports
- eReturn, thanks to which you do not have to wait when returning your car
- Hertz Valet, through which you can enjoy a terminal return service at participating branches up to four times a year
- A dedicated phone line for the President’s Circle
If you want my opinion, the best perk here is access to the President’s Circle section of the Hertz Ultimate Choice bundle, available at participating stores. Just like with National Emerald Aisle, the idea is that you can skip the counter altogether and pick your car, as it simplifies the car rental experience.
The other perk that might stand out is the Hertz Valet concept, although I’ve heard mixed reports of what is actually being honored so I wouldn’t rely on that.
Hertz President’s Circle Rental Experience
I recently rented with Hertz at the San Diego Airport (SAN). I rented a “standard” vehicle at $ 135 for two days (including taxes and fees, there are a lot), and it gave me access to the Hertz Ultimate Choice bundle.
I took the bus to the car rental center, and outside the Hertz counter there was a sign directing members to go straight to the garage and look at the directory board.
In the garage there was a Hertz Gold Plus Rewards desk, probably if you wanted an extra upgrade or needed help.
Hertz has the “Gold Membership Directory”, where there is a table that shows all the elite members who are renting and their status (and therefore in which area they should choose their car). Okay, a few thoughts:
- Am I the only one who finds it a little odd the way they display the full name of all the elite members who are renting? Maybe they should learn from airlines and just post initials?
- The whole concept also seems a little pointless, because if you know your elite status, this board is not needed; it all just shows your status, in order to remind you from which zone you can select a car
I had checked the availability of Hertz on the day of our rental and saw that there were no more cars available for rental so I really expected to show up and have no choice of cars. Well luckily it wasn’t, and there were plenty of cars to choose from.
The Hertz President’s Circle car selection was not just in one area, but rather the cars were in different sections, with other car categories in between (like premium upgrade cars).
There was of course a whole selection of cars, mostly compact SUVs and minivans. There was no option that turned out to be particularly exciting,
Am I the only one having trouble choosing cars in this situation? I like having a choice, but I also suffer from a horrible indecision in situations like this, when there is no clear better option. In theory, I would base this on the most recent car and the one with the fewest miles, but I also saw in the welcome email that the cars were ‘sealed’ due to improved cleaning protocols:
Rent with confidence knowing that every car undergoes an enhanced cleaning process before sealing it so you’ll be the first inside after a thorough disinfection.
I quickly noticed that almost all of the seals were “broken”, although I still haven’t done a mileage comparison of all the cars.
I ended up choosing a Chevrolet SUV. I don’t know why exactly, but I just did. He was about 15,000 miles, so it was pretty new. As usual, the keys were already in the car, so I was able to walk to the exit.
At the door I presented my driving license. I reported that there was damage to the car so I was given a little sheet where I could mark the damage and then sent on my way. I didn’t have to provide a credit card or anything.
My opinion on the Hertz President’s Circle status
I have written in the past about how I find the car rental process incredibly frustrating. You have to worry about whether your reservation will be honored, sometimes you have to wait a long time at a rental car counter, you end up with a horrible car, there are endless upsells and everything about it is horrible.
Then I discovered National Emerald Aisle (I know I’m late in the game), and that all changed – the rental experience wasn’t complicated and you had a good selection of cars.
Well, my experience with Hertz President’s Circle status is largely the same, at least based on my first rental. I’m a happy camper who rents cars so the process is smooth, and this is an area where Hertz President’s Circle status is great. I could skip the rental car counter, I could pick my car, and I could leave with just one human interaction that lasted less than a minute (at the pit exit out of the parking lot), with no wait anywhere.
Although I think I still slightly prefer National for car selection, I would absolutely rent from Hertz again, as Hertz is often cheaper in my experience. Thank you for having easy access to the ‘choose your own car’ aisles with two car rental companies now.
At the end of the line
I recently achieved Hertz President’s Circle status through Capital One Venture X, and my experience has been great. The best benefit of Hertz President’s Circle status is the ability to choose your own car from the President’s Circle section of the Hertz Ultimate Choice bundle.
President’s Circle status makes the car rental experience easier, so I’m grateful to have access to it. The whole experience reminded me a lot of renting with National, which is a good thing. My car rental experiences are getting better and better, and I am grateful for that.
To the other members of the Hertz President’s Circle, what has been your experience? Any advice on the things I missed? How do you go about choosing a car?