Should You Sign Up For National Car Rental’s One Two Free Promotion?

It’s the beginning of September and that means it’s time for National Car Rental’s One Two Free promotion. While there are some who feel this is the rental car promotion of the year, I like to take a closer look at what’s being offered. This year, the promotion is very similar to the one they offered in 2018 and in 2017. In other words, if it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it.

To sign up for the promotion, you need to be a National Emerald Club member. If you’re not, check out our post on how to sign up for the programs for all the major US car rental companies.

Once you sign up, or if you were already a National Emerald Club member, here’s the sign-up link for the promotion.

So what is National offering with One Two Free and what are you giving away when you choose to take advantage of this promotion?

In short, for each rental from National, you’ll earn 300 points. When you earn 600 points, you get a voucher for a free rental day. The promotion runs from August 22, 2019, through February 29, 2020. There are also a bunch of other ways to earn points besides renting a car but to find out what those are, you’ll need to register.

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Signing up was easy and I was forwarded to the webpage containing my dashboard of bonus tasks.

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Now, while I do think this is great promotion for some people, it’s just not right for us and the way we travel and there are a bunch of people who are in the same boat. One Two Free really benefits frequent renters who only need a car for a few days. You get 300 points for either a 7-day rental or a one-day rental. Infrequent, leisure renters don’t get as much value from an offer like this. Even if you rent from National twice in the six month promo period (which is a really generous amount of time), the free night coupons earned expire on June 15, 2020.

I did notice in the terms of the promotion that if you earned a free night in 2018 and didn’t use it, or if you earned points but just not enough for a free night, they sent out pre-promotion offers:

  • Targeted Preregistration offer to rollover points earned during the 2018 Promotion when you preregister for the 2019 Promotion. Targeted to U.S. registrants who earned 300–599 points, including points for rental activity, but never earned a Free Rental Day coupon during the 2018 ONE TWO FREE® promotion. Registrants who received a preregistration offer for the 2018 promotion are not eligible. Preregistration by 8/7/2019 required.
  • Targeted Preregistration offer to earn a one-time bonus of 300 points when you redeem a Free Rental Day earned during the 2018 ONE TWO FREE® Promotion. Targeted to 2018 U.S. registrants who earned one Free Rental Day coupon during the 2018 promotion and rented without a redemption before 6/13/2019. Registrants who received preregistration rollover point for the 2018 promotion are not eligible. Preregistration by 8/7/2019 required.

I think it’s a nice touch that if you participated in the promo last year but didn’t get to take advantage of it, they’ll give you a head start for this year.

Another reason this isn’t a great promotion for us is that when you lock yourself into National for a rental, you won’t be able to check and see if there are cheaper car rentals available from a different company. Would you rather pay less now or earn a coupon that will give you a free rental day (that’s not totally free) in the future? In addition, to earn credits in the “One Two Free” promotion you need to choose to earn National rental credits instead of airline miles for the rental. I worked through some of the math of whether that’s a good deal or not in this article. Once again, National rental credits favor those making multiple short rentals. At least they’re worth more than Dollar’s rental program, which I found out the hard way.

I signed up for the “One Two Free” offer because, well, why not? It doesn’t hurt to sign up. Actually, the big driver for me to sign up was so I could see what my bonus offers were for writing this article. 

Will I rent from National during this timeframe? I don’t know. Will I rent a car at all in the next six months? I have one rental in mind. If I do need to rent a car and if National has a competitive price, I’ll keep in mind that I might be able to earn a free rental day out of the deal, or I could just stick to earning airline miles for my rentals.

You can find the Terms and Conditions for the “One Two Free” promotion on the National Car Rental website.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

2 thoughts on “Should You Sign Up For National Car Rental’s One Two Free Promotion?”

  1. Another reason this isn’t a great promotion for us is that when you lock yourself into National for a rental, you won’t be able to check and see if there are cheaper car rentals available from a different company. Would you rather pay less now or earn a coupon that will give you a free rental day (that’s not totally free) in the future?

    Um.. Why can’t you check other car rental companies that are cheaper? Yes you can, and you can cancel whenever you like. So find a cheaper price and then cancel it. Not sure what you mean by “when you lock yourself into National for a rental, you won’t be able to check and see if there are cheaper car rentals available from a different company”

    1. What I was trying to say was that if you’re so obsessed into taking advantage of National’s promo that you don’t look at other options, you’ll likely miss out on lower rates just to earn one free rental night.

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