The very first legal nastygram this blog ever received – 17 years ago, if memory serves – was from Avis over posting a list of their discount codes. There was nothing wrong about such a posting, of course.
People have long used discount codes to reduce the cost of their car rentals. Some they may be eligible for, others that are for employees of specific companies or members of specific associations that they aren’t eligible for.
No one ever checks eligibility, until they do of course. Some codes are more likely to be checked than others. Avis is now warning everyone using a discount code that they’re going to be checked, including this message in reminder emails.
This reservation was made using a corporate AWD (Avis Worldwide Discount Code) that requires validation of eligibility. Please be prepared to produce your company ID, business card, or a recent email with the company’s email domain (e.g. @xyzcompany.com) for employment verification purposes when picking up your vehicle.
I doubt that actual practice on the ground is going to be much different. When you’ve got your Wizard Number in your reservation, most of the time your name will be on the board with an assigned space number. You won’t have anyone at a rental counter checking your discount eligibility.
However with rental prices sky high, and rental lots running low on cars, they don’t want to see revenue leakage. In normal times they may look the other way because they’re picking up incremental rentals they wouldn’t otherwise get, so why not take the money? But now they might have rented that car for more money, so at a corporate level they probably do want to crack down.
Hotels usually don’t ID corporate rates but sometimes do. I would be careful using law enforcement rates you aren’t eligible for, you might be prosecuted for impersonating an officer.