Every part of the travel industry has different rules about the loyalty benefits you’ll receive when booking with a third party. Hotel bookings made through third parties, including Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), will almost always not receive benefits including status night credits or additional perks during your stay. The exception to the rule is bookings made through a corporate travel agent.
For airlines, you’ll generally get credit for the flight if you book through a travel agent as long as your frequent flyer number is linked to your reservation.
But how do things work with rental cars? Will you get loyalty benefits when booking through an OTA?
I put this theory to the test with a recent rental car booking. To find the cheapest fare, I used Autoslash. They found a great rate using the code from my AMEX Platinum card which gives an additional grace period, which saved me 1 day of rental fees. Once you’ve found a cheap price, Autoslash directs you to Priceline to make the reservation. I’m sure Autoslash gets a commission, which I’m glad to give them for the service provided.
While there was a place for me to put my Hertz Gold Rewards number on the Priceline website, I wasn’t sure which benefits I’d receive.
The rental showed up on my Hertz account after making the reservation. But as a President’s Circle member, would I receive an upgrade as promised?
I’m happy to say that my name showed up on the board and directed me to the 5 Star aisle. This was quite an upgrade as I booked the least expensive economy car available.
When I checked out of the parking lot, the agent recognized my President’s Circle status and told me that to get an upgrade to the President’s Circle aisle, I had to book a mid-grade car. Since I booked an economy car, I was upgraded to the 5-Star aisle.
For a sample size of one, I can say that you’ll receive status benefits from Hertz when renting through Priceline, as long as you enter your Gold Plus number at the time of your rental.
I did some more searching and found a blog post from Autoslash which shows you how to enter your frequent renter number when booking with Priceline.
I looked at other online travel agencies like Expedia, Hotwire and Travelocity but I couldn’t find anywhere on their websites for you to enter your frequent renter number while booking. That could make a difference because car rental companies may not let you add the number later without editing the reservation and possibly changing the price.
Does anyone else have data points from other online travel agencies?
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