Even if you got a good deal on your flights and hotels, the daily cost of renting a car can inflate the cost of your trip. It can also inflate your stress levels as you wait in long lines to get your keys.
This is why it’s now more important than ever to take advantage of every discount and promo code you can get — or at least try to squeeze some extra rewards out of car rentals. The rental discount programs offered by American Express (a CreditCardForum advertising partner) are one way to do this.
Here’s a review of the various AmEx car rental deals available as of 2014. Please note that these are subject to change without notice, which is why you should always check and confirm a discount is still valid with American Express customer service.
Discounts for American Express Open Savings (on business cards):
- If you spend up to $500 annually on your account, you will automatically save 3 percent OR get 1 extra Membership Rewards point per dollar.
- If you spend $500 to $2,000 annually on Hertz car rentals, you will automatically save 5 percent OR get 2 additional Membership Rewards points per dollar.
- If you spend more than $2,000 annually at Hertz, you will automatically save 10 percent OR get an extra 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar.
Don’t have an Amex business card? Then I highly recommend checking out my American Express Simply Cash review (no annual fee with excellent cash back and benefits).
Elite status with Hertz, Avis and National with AmEx Platinum and Business Platinum:
The annual fee on the American Express Platinum may seem steep. But if you do a decent amount of traveling, the money and time you will save with the card’s benefits can help justify paying more up front. When it comes to car rentals, here is what the card will give you (in addition to any applicable Open Savings if you have the business version of the Platinum):
Normally, to get elite status with those companies, you’d have to use them frequently. But having a Platinum American Express card gets you into three major car-rental loyalty programs right off the bat. Look into each program for specifics, but some benefits you can expect include discounts, upgrades and the ability to skip the line at the counter.
If you’re interested in finding out more information, you can check out our sponsored offer for the AmEx Business Platinum Card
Double Membership Reward points through American Express Travel:
Do you have an American Express that participates in the Membership Rewards program, such as the Green, Gold, or Platinum charge cards? If so, book your car rental using the American Express Travel website and earn double points.
As you see, a lot of major car rental companies participate, including Enterprise, Alamo, Payless, Thrifty, Budget and others. Don’t have a card with Membership Rewards? Then I recommend checking out these reviews of the American Express Premier Rewards Gold or Platinum Card.
Car rental discount at Dollar:
Dollar Rent A Car occasionally features “Partner Special Offers” from various companies, including American Express. Here is a recent screenshot from the Dollar car rental website (as an example only, since these offers change frequently):
Car rental deals at National:
If you rent from National you may be able to snag some great discounts thanks to your American Express card. Check the National car rental website to see if there’s anything being offered. Here is a recent example (check with National for current offers):
As you can see, there are quite a few ways to score an American Express car rental discount — or at least some extra perks. The best part: some of these discounts are streamlined to the point where you just need to use your card for your rental — no hunting for coupons.
Last updated Sept. 3, 2014