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On a beautiful southern California day, there is nothing better than cruising north along the coast in a convertible with the top dropped.
Except when that convertible rental is almost free.
I love National Car Rental because of how easy it is to earn free car rentals through their Emerald Club.
General members earn one free day after every seven rental credits. Executive members (those with 12-24 annual rentals and/or 40-84 annual rental days) earn one free day after every six rental credits. And Executive Elite members (those with 25+ annual rentals and/or 85+ annual rental days) earn one free day after every seven rental credits.
For a renter like me who mostly rents for one to two days at a time, those credits accrue quickly, as the program accrues one credit per qualifying rental or one credit for every four consecutive rental days. That means I can some weeks earn 2 to 3 credits (when I have 2-3 separate rentals) while others are earning only 1 per week.
But I love even more how their free rental days allow you to rent virtually ANY car available for a reservation if you have status in Emerald Club. While prices may vary widely on the reservations screen, drop in the free rental day and it will deduct the full daily rental cost up to a mid-size for general Emerald Club members, up to a full size for Executive Members, and for ANY car (except trucks and exotics) for Executive Elite members. Free rentals are only subject to charges for certain taxes or elected options (GPS, optional insurance, etc.)
This is great for someone like me who wants to splurge when I rent a car. Typically I either want a convertible to enjoy during a couple of days off in the sunshine OR I want a large SUV because I’m traveling with several people. My free rental days cover both.
Free days remain valid until December 31 of the year after they are earned – so its possible to save these up and use them for rentals up to seven days long. In other words, its a great way to have a free car for an entire vacation.
Right now (from August 20, 2014 through January 31, 2015), Emerald Club is also running their ONE TWO FREE promotion that allows users to earn additional free days by completing a variety of activities (some online, some rental-related). And they are offering (via that promotion), status match for Hertz, Avis, and US Airways elite status members). Free rentals earned via this promo are separate from National’s normal free rental program (which runs concurrently) and are good through June 15, 2015.
I look forward to earning several free rental days via both the regular Emerald Club earnings as well as the ONE TWO FREE promotion which means I will hopefully have many more sunny convertible days in my future!