National Car Rental WILL Give Elite Status Credits When Earning Airline Miles After All

National Car Rental revised its terms and conditions last week, sneaking in some changes (they don’t tell you what the changes are) right before the Thanksgiving holiday.

A reader alerted me that the updated terms specifically say that elite status credit will not be given for car rentals where you choose to earn miles instead of free rental day credits.

Qualifying Rentals: Members attain their Membership Level (described below) based upon the number of qualifying vehicle rentals… A qualifying rental does not include … when a member chooses to receive mileage, credits or points for a frequent traveler program (such as, but not limited to, an airline frequent flyer or hotel points program)…

National Car rental writes in to clarify that, even though this is what they say, it isn’t what they mean:

. I’m reaching out about your blog post on the updates to our Emerald Club terms and conditions because I’d like to offer you and your readers some clarification. In the section you called out, what we intended to express is that if you choose to earn frequent flyer miles you will not earn credits for free rental days. However, if you choose to earn frequent flyer miles for your rentals you will receive credits toward status in the upgraded loyalty tiers (e.g. Executive and Elite status).

The way the terms are currently written, we agree that this is not clearly communicated and we’re working to add some clarification around this section as soon as possible. Meanwhile, we sincerely apologize for the confusion this has caused and encourage you to share this information with your readers/followers.

So you’ll still earn credit towards elite status even if you choose to earn miles rather than free rental days.

Since the mileage offers are rarely that great, I pretty much always opt for free rental days anyway. But earning miles can be useful to keep an account active, preventing miles from expiring with a program where you don’t have much other regular activity.

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 »

More articles by Gary Leff »



  1. While they are working on their “clarification” language, perhaps they can also put together a summary of the important “changes” that they intended to incorporate in the revised document.

  2. I’m glad National offered the clarification. They really should avoid confusion like this by, instead of just offering a link to a multiple page legal document, offering a simple language summary of the changes. That would go a long way to building customer loyalty.

  3. Unfortunately, they still do not reward loyalty for overseas rentals. My three rentals for a total of 40 days in Europe counts as nothing toward elite status. So if they are not going to reward my loyalty, I see no reason to reward them with any future loyalty

  4. I wouldn’t even waste you energy using your points from the rental to keep a passive miles account from expiring – the points, in the form of a credit towards a free rental, is much more valuable! If you need to keep your points from expiring, use the airline’s shopping portal and buy a lightbulb at The Home Depot for $2. Select buy online and pickup in store and there will be no shipping charges.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *