Earlier this year Hertz pulled a no-notice devaluation of their Gold Rewards program. It always irks me when companies do this, as it seems only right to give members a little lead time so that they can use their points/miles as planned. In my case, I had to pay more for two car bookings that I had put off.

My Need for One-Way Rentals

Living far from a major airport, I find that I’m looking for one-way rentals fairly regularly. While I can often find a decent one-way deal from the San Francisco Bay Area (usually from either SJC airport or Berkeley) back to Humboldt County, California (where I live), what is much harder to find is a deal headed south. Most of the time cash rates are $200-250, which is almost a non-starter. If it’s just me, I’d rather use miles to fly. Another option is taking the Amtrak bus.

When Hertz raised their rate from 1,325 points to 1,500 points for a standard one-way rental, I was a bit frustrated. The points are already like gold, and this meant that I’d need to accrue even more each time I needed a car. The weekend rate of 1,100 Hertz points for a one-way, one-day rental went away entirely. Thieves. You steal my car rental joy.

But What Other Options Are There?

Still, accruing 1,500 points and using those for a one-way rental beats paying cash. I *almost* bought points during the Daily Getaways, although Hertz launched their devaulation right around that time, which made me gun shy. I didn’t know what was happening to the program. With few other reasonable options for leaving the county, Hertz points are still the best bet.

My most recent rental would have cost $207 after taxes. Instead, I paid less than $2. Well, I should have. I’m still working with Hertz to get the incorrect fueling charge removed.

This same rental cost me just 1,500 points. That’s an excellent 13.8 cents per point. These were accrued from a couple short-term personal rentals, and one longer work rental. I’ve not been able to leverage National’s “One Two Free” promotion yet, so Hertz points still remain lucrative for me, even post devaluation. They are one of the best frequent renter programs out there.

Conclusion

Hertz may have hurt their loyalty by the no-notice devaluation, but given that they still have one of the strongest frequent renter programs out there, I’m still a fan. It may be more out of necessity than anything (although their service is generally good, too), given my desire to earn points for free one-way rentals.

Do you rent cars often and have a frequent renter program that you prefer?