How To Get Most Of Your Money Back Even Though Hertz Won’t Refund Prepaid Reservations

Airlines are offering travel credit for cancelled reservations. Hotels are letting customers with prepaid reservations cancel without penalty. It’s frequently not possible to travel, either because of a government ban or an employer’s policy. The events or activities you planned to go to may not be happening – all of the world’s Disney theme parks are closed, even. Yet Hertz is keeping your money from prepaid car rental reservations.

I’ve never been a fan of prepaid car bookings, and don’t even like them for hotels. The savings just usually isn’t worth it (outside of Hotwire-style opaque bookings). Nonetheless they’ve become increasingly common.

Readers keep asking me when Hertz will let up and become more flexible? At best Hertz is saying

Fortunately Edward Chan points out this hack to save some money if Hertz won’t offer a refund.

Hertz once informed me that reservations for their cars are never guaranteed.

There was a time when Hertz was the rental company for business travelers. In this extended montage from Up in the Air when George Clooney is grounded in Omaha he wants to buy a Chrysler Sebring from Hertz.

Now I avoid them.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @ Gary — Another company to stop doing business with. I for one, have never booked a prepaid car rental reservation outside of Priceline and probably never would.

  2. Avis refunded my prepaid reservation booked directly with them for travel next week. I’m usually indifferent to rental car agencies but will definitely use Avis going forward.

    Alamo is a mess. Budget has too many independent franchises and variable quality. Enterprise is too expensive and never competitive on price.

  3. Hertz is really terrible. The worst of the worst is Hertz in Ireland. Twice I didn’t pay attention and found random extra charges on my bill, so the third time (yes, fool me twice …) I called Hertz before to confirm the exact amount, discussed it when I picked up the car, and still got a random 30 Euro charge … and currency conversion which I explicitly declined on my bill. I immediately called Hertz and they said you have to wait 10 days to dispute a bill. After my next trip I got back tot he issue and they said it was too late.

  4. Hertz in the past was #1. It is now the American Airlines in car rentals. I would suggest to also avoid them when possible.

  5. Sorry, I have to disagree with everybody so far. I’ve had nothing but pleasant experiences in dealing with Hertz. When my brand new Ford explorer I rented from them was totaled by another driver crossing the center line in Kauai, they politely gave me another one exactly like it but a different color and even fewer miles on it. I didn’t really have any problems with them dealing with the insurance because of the accident either. The rental of a SUV has been affordable for me twice because of low PREPAID rates. Once in Kona and this time in Kauai with weekly rates around $250, which is a heckuva deal in my mind. I especially like getting off the Hertz bus and looking at the board and being able to walk straight to my vehicle, getting in it, and driving off the lot; after stopping at the gate first of course. Don’t get me started on the ability to get Hertz points though E-rewards which has paid for many a rental my travels. About the only thing that I don’t like is the inability to use those points for a rental outside of the United States for the most part.

  6. I called them last night to cancel a week prepaid reservation, they waived the $100 cancellation fee without any problems.

  7. I have been trying to get a refund on a prepaid mini van booked and paid for in 9-2019 and that I cancelled 2-8-20. I have spoken to Hertz billing department 13 times, all different people that have told me I would have the transaction in my account within 24-48 hrs. It’s still has not been credited to me. HERTZ IS THE WORSE! I am at my wits end. They told me a Supervisor would call me back, they never did. Finally I Google looking for telephone numbers for Hertz Corporation Offices. I found a telephone number, called it and am now dealing with a person I can understand and am supposedly have an answer by Monday. Keeping my fingers crossed!

  8. Ok people, let me explain something, Avis n Budget are the same company, so they have same policies. Prepaid through 3rd parties like Hotwire or Priceline, doesnt mean theyre affiliated with the rental company, theyre just a tour operator. U prepay through them, they create the voucher that gets sent out to the rental company, but they dont release the payment to them until your rental is over. Those tour operators dont allow any changes to the voucher… if u wanna cancel or change the booking, the rental agency doesnt have access to your funds. U paid a 3rd party so they control your funds. Any refunds are through them, if they deny u a refund, is not the rental agency thats doing that, is the 3rd party

  9. Had a similar issue with Avis (Aust) pre-paid car but after much discussion they agreed to give a credit note but not a refund.

  10. I rent cars almost every other month and Hertz has horrible customer service. I will happily pay the difference at Enterprise just to be treated good.

  11. Dollar (owned by Hertz), just allowed me to drop off my minivan 2 days early at PHX instead of LAS for no charge. They even gave me a refund for 2 days of my trip not used. Wasn’t expecting the refund.

    I had called them up a few days ago and they said it wasn’t possible to drop off at PHX even if I was willing to pay a drop off charge.

    I called this time and told them there was a risk my flight would be cancelled due to Covid19 and asked if they could make this change. They said I could make the change due to the virus issue.

  12. I have been trying to modify my hertz rental to a later date due to covid19. They are going through bankruptcy now. So, no one is answering phones nor will the computer allow me to modify my prepaid car reservations. Am I screwed or is there a way around this?

  13. Rented car for 2 wks . Increased to a month
    , then asked for monthly rental. Have now had car since sepr 14, hopefully will end on feb 13th. Have not noted monthly special rate or Gold Rewards. How do I handle this?

  14. We are having a terrible experience with Hertz. Even though their own website says you can pay a Return Change Fee of $12.99 if you need to change the drop off location, they are refusing to allow us to do that because we pre-paid our rental. They say we must return the vehicle to where we originally said we would, even though our plans had to change. What’s the point of having a heading on the website about being able to change your drop off location when they won’t allow you to change it? “Bryan”, a Hertz manager, agreed with me, and conceded that their website has incorrect information. We will never rent from Hertz again.

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